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Europe is waiting for its Napoleon The instability at the heart of the EU may pave the way for a strongman

Napoleon claimed Charlemagne's throne. Will anyone claim Napoleon's? (Photo by © Fine Art Photographic Library/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Napoleon claimed Charlemagne's throne. Will anyone claim Napoleon's? (Photo by © Fine Art Photographic Library/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)


February 17, 2021   7 mins

“A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of populism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Politicians and financiers, Macron and Merkel, French bureaucrats and German central bankers.”

As you may have noticed, the above is a slightly modified excerpt from the 1848 Communist Manifesto. Then, as now, the political establishment was faced with an external threat; and then, as now, they didn’t entirely succeed in exorcising it. Populism continues to haunt European politics. Populist governments in Hungary and Poland retain their grip. And far from fading away, populist movements elsewhere are still making breakthroughs. Only this week, Spain’s Vox party made it into Catalan parliament for the first time.

And yet, earlier fears of a wholesale populist takeover were wildly exaggerated. 2016 — the year of the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump — was not the end of days after all. Instead, the political establishment has adapted.

In Greece, the power of the European Central Bank proved more than equal to that of the Syriza government. In France, a centrist movement — En Marche — emerged out of nowhere to see off the hard Left and the hard Right. In Ireland, Sinn FĂ©in has surged in popularity — only for Fine Gael and Fianna FĂĄil to put aside their historic differences and form their first coalition. In America, the country’s democratic institutions weathered an attempt by a bad loser President to overturn an election result. And in Italy, the populist government elected in 2018 has been replaced by a technical government headed by Mario Draghi, the ultimate establishment fixer.

The establishment has not killed off populism, but it is learning to live with it. There’s a parallel here with the situation in post-war western Europe, when the main challenge wasn’t populism, but homegrown communism. We forget it now, but there were times in the 1940s and 50s when the French Communist Party was the biggest party in the National Assembly. The Italian Communist Party was another major force — peaking in 1976 with more than a third of the vote.

Despite the scale of the challenge, the communists of free Europe were tolerated — though also deliberately excluded from power, in some parts of Italy with the help of the Mafia. Today’s establishment will hope to do the same in regard to the populists; and, so far, they’re succeeding.

But what if the real enemy isn’t who they think it is?

External threats are visible: the barbarian at the gate, the invading army, the rampaging mob. Only last month, in Washington DC, there was a very literal example of what can happen when the gates aren’t adequately guarded. But not every enemy is to be found outside the city walls — indeed sometimes the threat is from within.

I’m not talking about a fifth column, but rather when a ruling establishment is captured by one of its own — and subsequently remade in the new leader’s image.

The classic example is that of Julius Caesar and the fall of the Roman Republic. Here we see the quintessential features of the internal authoritarian takeover. Firstly, Caesar was a man of action — conqueror of Gaul, invader of Britannia. Secondly, he was already in a senior position of leadership — as part of the first Triumvirate (along with Pompey and Crassus). Thirdly, he posed as the champion of the people — even though the system he would establish was even less democratic than the one it replaced. Fourthly, the new system masqueraded as a continuation of the old. The Roman Republic was not formally overthrown; there was no return to the Roman monarchy and Julius’s successors did not style themselves “emperor” , but rather as princeps — “first among equals”. And finally, once securely established in power, Julius’s heir — Augustus — posed, hypocritically, as a conservative: a champion of stability and of old-fashioned Roman virtue, while ending the republic.

Joseph Stalin’s takeover of the Soviet Union followed a similar pattern. He was one of the leading revolutionaries — and one among a number of senior figures vying for influence after Lenin’s death. Stalin won that power struggle — not least by presenting himself as a true man of the people against the Bolshevik intellectuals. Once his rivals had been crushed, he maintained and secured the outward forms of the USSR, while remaking it from within.

Given the horrors he unleashed, I hesitate to call him any sort of conservative, but there’s no denying that his totalitarian system was overtly patriotic in character. It was also, in some respects, socially conservative — earlier revolutionary attempts to redefine fundamentals like the family were dispensed with. To bolster morale in the Second World War, Stalin even co-opted what remained of the Orthodox Church. At the same time, just as Augustus expanded the borders of Rome, so in Stalin’s Russia industrialisation took place on a massive scale and Moscow’s rule was extended far beyond the borders of the old Russian empire.

A third example of the Caesarist phenomenon — and the one most relevant to Europe today — is the career of Napoleon Bonaparte. Again, we see a man of action, a supremely gifted and successful military commander. Again, we see that the regime he loyally served was unstable — power shifting back and forth between different factions and individuals. Again, we see a man of the people acting in the name of the people to restore order — and in the process grabbing all the power for himself. Again, there’s no return to the ancien regime, but rather the establishment of a quasi-monarchy with himself as monarch. And again, there’s a weird, but effective, mixture of conservatism and ruthless modernism. While Napoleon had no time for the Jacobin excesses of the early revolution, he also saw it as his mission to cleanse Europe of feudalism and other unenlightened remnants of the past.

The reason Napoleon seems particularly relevant today is because of the parallels between Revolutionary France in the late 18th century and the European Union in the early 21st. Note that I say parallels and not convergences. Obviously, we don’t have guillotines slicing up and down in public squares. Those who fall foul of today’s progressive orthodoxies may find themselves consigned to a “basket of deplorables”, but not to a basket of severed heads.

However, if you take away the violence and focus instead on the underlying power structures — the parallels between Napoleon’s time and our own become apparent. To begin with, the European project is revolutionary in nature — it seeks to replace a long-established system of government (the nation-state) with a jarringly different system (a federal superstate). “Ever closer Union” is not just a slogan, it is a political programme of world-changing significance.

Admittedly, as revolutions go this is a slow one. But, from time-to-time, it takes another lurch forward. The creation of the single currency is the most important development so far. Other lurches include the last year’s decision to empower the European Commission to borrow hundreds of billions of euros, and the transformation of the Frontex agency into a quasi-military border force.

A further example is the vaccine procurement strategy. That this has gone so badly wrong doesn’t just expose the administrative weaknesses of the EU, but also its democratic deficit. Ursula von der Leyen and has not been held democratically accountable for the very good reason that she doesn’t have a democratic mandate. She doesn’t even have regular, EU-wide approval ratings to worry about — after all, what would be the point?

In any case, we shouldn’t forget that she’s not the head of government (to the extent that that EU even has a government). Infamously, the EU doesn’t have one President, but five (of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union and the European Central Bank). Even without the complications of incomplete integration, authority within the EU is divided — and thus any hope of clear accountability frustrated.

Coincidentally, the governing body that Napoleon usurped in 1799 — the Directory — also had five members. Only weakly accountable to the elected legislature and divided among themselves, the Directors were in a poor position to cope with the foreign and domestic threats to the revolutionary state. It became clear that authority would have to be placed in the hands of an effective leader or the revolution would collapse — with the restoration of monarchy as the most likely outcome.

Currently, the EU has more room for manoeuvre. Its member-states still retain sovereign control over most policy areas. But the further Europe goes down the path of integration, the harder it will be to retreat to national competences. Crisis situations will have to be dealt with at a federal level — the actions of decision-makers facilitated by untested institutions.

The EU’s future will not be an easy one. The vaccine fiasco is still far from sorted, and there’s the post-Covid economic recovery to navigate — and the impact of “long lockdown” restrictions on international travel. Populism has not been defeated and will feed on the economic hardships that lie ahead of us. A renewed migration crisis cannot be ruled out — only this time inflamed by fears of coronavirus variants from outside the EU. On immigration and other issues, the challenge from the Hungarian and Polish governments has not been resolved — and indeed could multiply if the hard-Right advances in western European countries like Italy or France.

And, underlying everything, there’s the fact that the engine of EU integration — the single currency — is also a ticking time bomb. We’ve already seen that the EU will do “whatever it takes” to stop the eurozone from collapsing. It is a reminder that, beyond a certain point, integration passes a point of no return.

Okay, but can we really imagine a Brussels Bonaparte taking control of the EU’s evolving federal structures? It needn’t be anything so dramatic as a military coup — and, assuming the continuing absence of a European Army, it couldn’t be. But a consolidation of power within a democratically dubious system of crisis government? That certainly can be envisaged. Indeed, it’s happening in Italy right now.

So a technocrat, then, not a soldier — but a technocrat with broad popular appeal built on a record of “getting things done”.

Would the EU establishment tolerate such a figure — and indeed facilitate the centralisation of authority around a single, undisputed leader? It all depends on the alternative. If the other choices are a chaotic meltdown of the entire system starting with the single currency — or a hostile takeover by a Viktor Orbán-style populist, then a Brussels Bonaparte would be the least worst option.

And that’s the trouble with constructing a novel and weakly democratic system of government. Sooner or later, the question of “whatever it takes” boils down to “whoever it takes”.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

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Simon Cross
Simon Cross
3 years ago

Another article that sneerily uses ‘populist’ as some sort of book-burning Satan. A populist isn’t someone who is necessarily far-right or far-left. It is someone who does not like what he sees in supposedly democratic governments and opposes it by reflecting what the – mostly sensible – majority thinks.
That’s a dangerous opponent for the anti-democratic (we could define our terms here, but we would have to include a common definition of ‘populist’) organisations like the EU, the liberal left in US and UK etc.
So the dismissive sneer is repeated, because the playbook of these groups is to repeat your views as fact, and if you do it enough without it being challenged, it becomes accepted as such.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Cross

I agree.

‘Populism’ is too often used as a term of disparagement that says more about the user of the word than the movements or people it purports to denote.

And the ‘dismissive sneer’ you mention is probably a prime reason for more and more people to find populism attractive.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Cross

Exactly. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been annoyed about exactly the same thing and haven’t really paid a great deal of attention to the content of this article for that reason.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Agree. I’m as clear as to what a populist is as to what a wokist is. Luckily, apart from here and the comments pages of the Telegraph, no one seems to care.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Ah here he is the EU fanboy – populism is an easy one – it’s government representing the majority on any given issue rather than a middle class metropolitan elite – Brexit was a classic example you would call it populism – I democracy

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

I don’t think from his writings that Peter Franklin can in any way be described as an ‘EU fanboy’ Yet again, it is just so predictable, someone decides first which ‘tribe’ the author is in, condemns him this and ignores almost every point he actually writes and indeed the entire subject of the article. It is a shame as so much space is taken up with this sort of thing.
You talk about the ‘the majority’ as if this is an entirely obvious and uncontested concept. (Rather similar to ‘the people’ who are endlessly appealed to on this site and others). Does it mean a government with most votes? If so this would include of course the ‘metropolitan elite’ Blair/ Brown governments of 1997-2010. Or only where elected by proportional representation? They have that in Germany of course, often leaning to liberal leaning majorities. Or do you support replacing Parliamentary democracy with a system of continuous referenda. Ok, but then you might well lose on some issue of importance to you, especially since young people are significantly more left-liberal leaning than older ones. Referenda have also historically been used by authoritarian leaders – with the vote of course designed and planned to ensure a particular outcome.
What many people and organisations tend to do is agree with a system according to whether it results they approve of, at any given time. Note how parties out of power move towards favouring PR and then against it once the benefits of ‘fast past the post’ to them increase.

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

What many people and organisations tend to do is agree with a system according to whether it results they approve of, at any given time. Note how parties out of power move towards favouring PR and then against it once the benefits of ‘fast past the post’ to them increase.”
Yup…..

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I was referring to Mark Bridgeford

Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I think you will find, if you read more carefully: simonbaggley was referring/replying, to Mark Bridgeford’s comment? Not the opinions of the author of the article.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Populism is what the establishment call it when the peasants vote for what they want, instead of what their masters tell them they need

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Without, I hope, being discourteous, you may be clear what a populist and a wokist are, but:

(i) what those are to you is not clear to readers of your very brief post

(ii) it’s not impossible that being clear is not the same as being right.

The term ‘populist’, for example, is used to cover a huge range of political positions, many of which are at complete variance with each other. It’s not only a hopelessly vague term, it’s one that is often used only as a term of disparagement. The result of which is to risk insulting people in a way that does not encourage fruitful dialogue.

R Malarkey
R Malarkey
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Cross

It’s a word that only really entered political discourse here in 2016. We all know why.
The plebs didn’t vote the way they were supposed to. That’s it.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

The writer might have a point. The EU’s multiple and diffuse centres of power probably have dysfunction built in. That said, the main reason why all that the EU touches turns to crap is the extremely poor quality of those who wield that power – the Kinnocks and van der Layens of this world.
As such, a strong man (or woman) might be the only way of embedding some effectiveness and competence. However, the only effective or competent politician currently in power anywhere within the EU seems to be Orban, and perhaps those in Poland, but they will never be given the role. I therefore suggest that Putin take over the whole lot of it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

How does one edit within this wretchedly appalling new comment system?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I agree. I often type fast on a tablet with attendant errors and now we cannot edit. Huh?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Look at my comment above

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You can edit – just tap your text and you’ll see a little cog below and to the right. Tap that and you’ll see an edit option.
It’s a dreadful interface design – but it works
More concerning to me is the removal of the functionality to quickly see that someone has responded to one of your comments – which WAS probably the best functional feature of this site
I got a response from Sophie Muscat at Unherd saying that they were aware – and the IT guys were working on it.
I hope they are quick to rectify the consequences of a poor decision.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I have tried that and it works in about 1 shot in 20.
I’m in danger of destroying my otherwise innocent I-pad.
Also Censorship has increased enormously.
Frankly a near perfect system has been trashed for this rubbish, no doubt due to new Chinese ownership?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Are you being ironic or do they really have new Chinese ownership?

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Ironic I hope, but I was rather strangely censored yesterday for talking about the capability of US Subs.
Either way, as you so poignantly pointed out, UnHerd has wrecked what was a first class forum, without equal in the UK.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I don’t know, but even my first reply to you has been censored!

As you so poignantly put it, they have wrecked a first class forum.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

This is my third attempt to reply to you!!

I have no idea really, but it is certainly very suspicious that absolutely any criticism is now censored immediately.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

George, in their defense, I’ve got an answer from a certain Sophie Muscat to my email asking for instructions on how to operate the “improved” forum interface. She was polite and stated that she is available to help – but provided no objective answer to my question “how does one zoom straight into one’s own posts to follow the comments thread?”.
I answered asking again for answers, and will circulate any instructions Sophie may eventually provide.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

Sophie Muscat’s answer – for what it’s worth:

“Hello Andre, 

Thank you for your email. 

Yes we are aware of this and we have our tech team on it. 

Thank you for pointing this out however all the same and should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to get in touch. “

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

I received pretty much the same worthless boilerplate response.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Do what I’m about to do. Close the tab on the forum and don’t open it again.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

This is my fourth attempt to reply to you.
There is definitely some pernicious Chinese influence here!

Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Why should the Chinese care about a navel-gazing article about an existential crisis within the EU?

Michael Inglefield
Michael Inglefield
3 years ago

Agree!

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

Then what are you doing here..?

simon taylor
simon taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

He lurks.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago

Because if it wasn’t the Russians influencing Brexit – then surely it must have been the Chinese

Robert Reseigh
Robert Reseigh
3 years ago

Because the Chinese take an interest in all forms of media and propaganda tools so as to promote themselves and undermine criticism.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Well the fourth attempt got through. I have no idea why the three others were vetoed.
God, yet another successful edit on the 16th attempt!

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
Hal Lives
Hal Lives
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

All your replies were posted, there just seems to be some lag in the system.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Hal Lives

Censorship also terrible.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

How do you know if someone has commented without having to trawl through all the posts?
Incidentally I have written to UnHerd twice and heard precisely nothing in return.
Comments on US military capability are now also verboten, which is ominous.
Are ‘they’ here already?

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Ah! So that’s why I was nuked for a negative comment about the US Marines several days ago. Now my posts seem to be censored for, as far as I can see no reason. Is Unheard finished?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

No cog when I tap.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

This is a copied quote from an email to me:
We noticed that you were having a few issues with our commenting system. 
We have moved to a new system in order to better integrate the comments into the user experience, notifications, and our new app.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

“-better integrate the comments into the user experience…”. Has Brussels sent functionaries to take over messy UnHerd?

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

What wonderful boll*cks and thanks for posting it !

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

After you’ve typed, if you hover just under the text and to the right you can see the ‘gearwheel’ icon which you can click and edit.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Unless you are incredibly lucky you don’t!

As the Pope would say this system is s**t.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Impossible to use on a smartphone, especially to follow conversations- they end up as a string of letters dropping vertically down the page. Hopeless. Also difficult to tick the “thumbs up” – needs about 10 attempts and I’m not that bothered

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You can’t, and nor is criticism permitted, or not at least in the form we used to use.
This is Chinese takeover.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Unless you are incredibly lucky you don’t!

As the Pope would say this system is sh*t.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Agreed. There seemed to be an edit function yesterday but today it has vanished.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Yep – I also noticed the cog wheel that gives access to editing appears only sometimes… perhaps it is time-based? Like “you can only edit up to 60 min after originally posting”?

Last edited 3 years ago by Andre Lower
Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

No idea. Unherd is like FB and my bank, everytime they ‘improve’ something, it turns to crap.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

More to the point is the person responsible still in a job and when do we get the old system back

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Can edit but apparently not delete ..

Last edited 3 years ago by Peter Mott
Carl Goulding
Carl Goulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

More likely to be President Xi!

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

As European Project founding father Jean Monnet helpfully stated many decades ago, ‘Europe will be founded in crises’.

Politicians across the globe and of every hue, never naturally ones to let a said crisis go to waste, have frequently used covid for their own ends, but no more was this most obvious and, frankly, distasteful than in the EU’s cynical attempts to try and snaffle in extremis the legally defined health procurement competence from under the noses of sovereign member states ultimately for its own political ends.

To compound this error, which was essentially a power grab masquerading as an act of unity (its speciality) it then had the temerity to try and unilaterally revoke the NI Protocol in an act of pique in a feeble attempt to try and distract from its ineptitude without even consulting the Irish government, let alone the UK’s.

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Monnet meant ‘Europe will founder in crises.’

Ellie Gladiataurus
Ellie Gladiataurus
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I thought it was Mutti who handed the reins of the vaccine procurement to VDL, in keeping with the unity of the EU. Bet she’s hoping that gets hushed up!

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

Yes it was. To my knowledge, there was at first an informal vaccine procurement alliance comprising Germany, Italy and the Netherlands and possibly a couple of other countries. Merkel strong-armed her health minister Jens Spahn into handing the task over to the Commission in a big show of EU unity. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where it all started to go severely pear-shaped. No chance of it being hushed up – this is common knowledge. At least in the German-speaking world…
A smarter way of doing it would have been to let the alliance proceed. The solidarity card should then have been played once they were in the negotiation process – they would have been able to procure enough vaccines to share out within the EU. That would have avoided the fannying about on the European level that has resulted in this fiasco. I daresay the individual member states would have drummed up better lawyers to negotiate the contracts too.

Jonathan Munday
Jonathan Munday
3 years ago

The problem with the Great Man theory of history is that it requires great men.
And we are talking about Brussels.

John James
John James
3 years ago

Great woman then? Mutti will have some time on her hands soon and is probably up for a job without the need for bothersome electioneering. I could see her being many people’s answer to the right crisis.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
3 years ago

Democracy is already dead. How many leaders do what the people want rather than corporate donors? The last great hope for democracy was Donald Trump and the establishment smeared, vilified and obstructed him for four years eventually ending his presidency through a rigged election and lapdog media that played along.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

Caesar got off to a similar shaky start but triumphed in the end.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago

The EU can never work.
For a start its a dumping ground for second rate failures who couldn’t make it in their own countries.Secondly the voters cannot change the people in power. Thirdly its civil service are out of control.
Its amazing that it has staggered on so long. But as it starts to do real things – like Vaccinations- its uselessness is exposed.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago

Nevertheless, the leaders of Germany and France like the arrangement. Every other member either likes it too, or sees no option other than to support it.

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago

For the people of Unherd who run this forum:
If it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Jean Fothers

Hear, hear.

Jonathan Barker
Jonathan Barker
3 years ago

The people altogether call up or create the politics that they deserve – in their own image.
For the usual person, politics is merely a matter of listening to the “news” every night – which is always more or less bad because good news does not sell very well. And continuous never ending exposure to bad news is always essentially demonic you become and invoke what you put your attention on.
Normal politics is thus either a childish or adolescent reaction to the fact of being controlled by the “news” of the world and by the abstract, all-controlling politics of the State. Some individuals play the system and others are “revolutionary”. The child buys the system and expects it to work, and the adolescent is a perpetual “revolutionary” whose childish expectations are not fulfilled. Both types are merely relating to the world as a parent-like thing that controls them.
If you stop listening to and being brain-washed or emotionally manipulated by the “news”, and if you you simply observe what is going on, you inevitably become depressed by the feeling that your life is not under your control. However, depression is only a minimal insight. Obviously, EVERYBODY is both, naturally and humanly under control, and frustrated too.
The typical response to to the observation of the controlling forces of life is to react by joining a “revolution”, getting drunk, kicking some bad politicians out of office, having a war (which is always popular), becoming against a political “something”, or becoming for a political “something”, or wanting a strong man to take control.
But not of those merely reactive responses are obviously not the way to rightly transform real politics. What is needed is to establish a completely different principle of human culture and politics that is not based on reaction to all the bad “news”.
Instead of all of that ever worsening situation people must, one at a time become involved in intimate cooperative community or a real cooperative social culture with other human beings. In such a responsible, mutually dependent, cooperative, tolerant, peaceful, and intimate relationship with other human beings, people must choose to create and protect the basics of a truly human and humanizing culture and of a truly intimate daily human world.

Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago

It was very refreshing to read your words. But… as I am sure you have found yourself, such words (or rather the reaction to them, if any) most often exemplify the well known phrase ‘Pearls Before Swine’. Not that this refers to readers here who seem an intelligent enough bunch, but more generally. The world has had more than enough eminently sane and insightful men and women who have covered much the same bases as yourself Jonathan and we have still ended up here no doubt in much the same human and political situation as when they wrote their words down. Nonetheless, I thank you for the fresh air you breathed into the debate here.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

In your lickspittle CCP case I posit that it is more a matter of swine before pearls.

Victor Newman
Victor Newman
3 years ago

Europe has already had its new Napoleon, and she [Merkel] has failed, the substitution of suits for uniforms, laws for concentration camps, and political courts for justice means the same thing, again. And it always fails.
“A spectre is ruling haunting Europe — the spectre of oligarchism populism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise revitalise this spectre’s [feeble grip]: Politicians and financiers, Macron and Merkel, French bureaucrats and German central bankers.” – The vaccine failure has demonstrated that EU citizens are hostages to an incompetent oligarchic class enabled by pseudo-moral narcissism that sees them merely as collateral damage.

Gary Cole
Gary Cole
3 years ago

And you know who almost certainly thinks himself born for the job? I’ll give you some clues: been in the news this week for a very uncharacteristic, but typically rant-filled, attack on his beloved EU; his first name begins with ‘G’; and his second begins with ‘V’.

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Cole

sorry, I don’t know who you mean.

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago
Reply to  Jean Fothers

Sorry again, it has just occurred to me who you meant. I was trying to think of someone in UK and was listing all the noisy remainers.

Peter Lockyer
Peter Lockyer
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Cole

Guy Verhofstadt.? He will have to do something about his dreadful hairstyle first.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Cole

GV is more dangerous to the EU than OrbĂĄn is. He was in line for presiding over the forthcoming big discussion on Europe (sorry, have forgotten the actual name of it…the European Forum?) but was deemed too divisive. Too much of a federalist…don’t scare the horses…

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

Would the EU allow a single person to take control? The answer is undouble yes, so long as that control lay within the commission. The whole EU structure and evolution centralises more and more power in the commission and every “president of the commission” follows the centralisation agenda. UVDL has made a comprehensive and successful grab of health care procurement. The failure of the procurement scheme is completely irrelevant to the commission achieving it’s aim.
Then we have the every present Guy Verhofstadt who’s called for the creation of a “European Empire” must never be forgotten.
The parallels to history are all there and the outcomes will be just as unpleasant. Whenever a single person grabs power without accountability in Europe war follows. The Eu is heading down that path at breakneck speed

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

The ‘parallels to history’ are indeed all there and so is the conculsion: War. The ‘strong man’ will either be German, as is the most recent fashion, or French (God help us) as was the fashion. But I think the EU will dissolve into War, although I hope the UK will remain aloof from it all and not seek to save the Europeans from themselves as we have done for 300 years.

Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago

It is semantically convenient to pejoratively call policies which appeal to large swathes of European citizens as ‘populist’. This in order to negate them with the apparent desire to appeal to those the author hopes regard themselves as having superior insight and intelligence. This elitist view has been in fashion for some time now, however it totally negates the validity of the dissatisfaction these apparent deplorables who sometimes compose the voting majority, feel.

Was it the so-called superior men and women who got us into this mess or was it the populists and their supporters? It seems clear to me that it was the former, the ever so urbane elites who had no challengers for so very many years. The word ‘populist’ is relatively new and the fact of such people being popular (a more accurate word) indicates the depth of disappointment felt with the old guard, the previously relatively sacrosanct elites who cozily arranged things, usually in two parties ostensibly opposed to each other but normally with so much more in common than not. The main object most of the time being getting into power and staying there no matter by what means, rather than demonstrating the will to provide what voters asked of them.

Now we have ‘populists’ who voters demand action from, actions not based on issues agreed by far away committees or the highest ranking officials (mandarins?) in Brussels. Many years were spent awaiting the promised benefits of EU membership while those at the centre seemed eternally focused on internal empire building and external expansion. A great number of European citizens have lost patience with a one-size-fits-all policy delivered from a remote location which hardly fits at all with their local needs, culture and national interests. Others who wish to supply such desires have become popular. They say things which are locally relevant. It is not by some magical process that they gain trust and power. It comes from needs expressed and direct attention to those needs. It’s not rocket science as the saying goes.

Last edited 3 years ago by Allan Edward Tierney
Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

For whom was the comments system downgraded? Was it to make life easier for censors? It certainly wasn’t done with readers in mind.
Ah well. I will check back in a week to see if they have fixed it. If not, another forum bites the dust…

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

I couldn’t agree me more, what a shambles!
What a tragedy indeed to wreck the old forum.
Where else could we have had such a light hearted banter with you accusing me of being an acolyte of Dr Shipman and me accusing you of being a disciple of Dr Mengele? Anyway no harm done.

I shall give it a few more days, in hope sadly, rather than expectation.

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
3 years ago

Hmm…you seem to have utterly messed up your comment system in every respect. It’s really quite spectacular.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tom Adams
Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago

The problem with the EU and all Leftist organizations is they have no values and the leaders have no honor. They will lie, cheat, steal, commit violence, and worse to promote their agenda to gain power and to keep power. They believe that for them, the end justifies the means. These are not people you can turn your back to.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

Europe hasn’t not done anything Democratic since Pericles.
They are either closet fascists or communists. They yearn for the strong man, be it Adolph or Joseph, it’s in the DNA.
(Merkel is an aberration.)

EURIKA! I have just managed to EDIT this! God be praised……a true miracle before our very eyes!!!

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Can’t really understand why everyone gets excited about the word, ‘democracy’. There are so many definitions of this word, depending on your political viewpoint. I think, but who am I, that Switzerland has the best democracy.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Agreed, Switzerland is the exception, an excellent form of direct democracy which I happen to know well.

However what have the Swiss ever done? Who was it who said “chocolate and cuckoo clocks”?

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

What have the Swiss ever done?
Well, at the present time, they live a damn sight more happily than we do. That’s one thing they are doing. Perhaps because their Democracy is better than ours.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Jean Fothers

Even the slopes are open and it’s skiing as usual.
How very civilised and hurrah for the land of William Tell.

Eureka again! Another successful EDIT & on the second attempt.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

It’s a lot easier if you only have a population of 8 million cf 80 million though…

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

Yes and of those 70% are really ethnic Germans.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Harry Lime-“The Third Man”.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Vienna, surely.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Precisely, the giant Ferris wheel in the Prater Park.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Well done!
“Everyone should go carefully in Vienna”.

John James
John James
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

In the movie but not the book: I seem to recall it was an Orson Welles creation…

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  John James

How very interesting, thank you.

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Having a homogeneous population and no attachment to “diversity” as an end in itself has been helpful. And tight borders.

nicktoeman4
nicktoeman4
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Orson Wells as Harry Lime in The Third Man film

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Well, they haven’t spunked money on wars, or had to rebuild after one. (This is a test comment.)

Last edited 3 years ago by Benjamin Jones
stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Mencken: ” Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
3 years ago

I’d take Orban over Draghi any day.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nick Faulks
Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
3 years ago

I don’t think Europeans realize how illegitimate Joe Biden is seen by an enormous percentage of the population. Nor do they realize why this is so. TIME magazine published a strange article a couple of weeks past that amount to an end-zone dance by the corporate-media, the military-industrial complex, the political class, Marxist-influenced academia and the various other components of the ruling class, including the anarchists used as the point of the spear throughout the summer before the election. They combined in ways never before seen to steal the election from Trump. TIME spelled it out its gloating article, which promptly went down the memory hole. It was a rare lapse in the iron discipline which will now dissolve as Biden’s dithering incompetence becomes more starkly visible. He will soon be replaced by Kamala Harris with Obama functioning as the Ă©minence grise.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago

Biden is a usurper and was put into office by a very shady cabal by massive fraud, following a carefully worked out plan. The Time magazine article was a foolish bit of bragging, but eventually the truth will out and Donald Trump will be proved to be correct just as he was regarding Obama and spying.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago

“Bad loser president” who just happened to get the most votes in American history and still “ lose”.
Then the worry is that a strong man might take over using non democratic means, with a popular mandate……

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

“Bad loser president” who got the most votes in American history FOR A REPUBLICAN but still 7 million fewer than his Democrat opponent. (The ever-growing US population explains this.)
Then tried to induce Republican-controlled State legislatures in swing states to appoint Trumpist Electors to the Electoral College even though the voters in those states had given a majority to Biden (they refused), tried to persuade the US Attorney General to impose Martial Law on the swing states in order to rerun the election there (he refused), and finally spent an hour trying to browbeat the Georgia Secretary of State to “find me 11780 votes”.
An attempt to overthrow democracy, clear to anyone willing to face facts.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

From the other side of the pond it seems like it is a case of …..”No voter fraud” ( to 78 million voters), “your concerns are not worth testing in a court of law. Move on, nothing to see here”.
I am not sure that actually treating the “basket of deplorables” as… well… deplorable, is the wisest policy in the long run.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Exactly, James. The victims of populism are very volatile, and triggering their emotional response plays very nicely into the hands of… the populist. That is why it works.

In their defense, it is easy to understand frustration at a political status quo that is obviously deserving of criticism. The fact that (out of frustration) they fall for con artist populists should not warrant discrediting the victims forever.
The path to stability should be providing a government with real, documented results that the populism victims – at least the more rational ones – are able to “grudgingly accept”.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andre Lower
stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Well, now we have a “bad winner”…

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

More like a “fart in a windstorm “.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago

I usually agree with much this contributor writes but I think this article is completely upside down.
Rather than Rome, France or whoever else functioning as the stable centre of a traditional attempt at a European, or indeed worldwide empire, I think the model is more like the Austrian-Hungarian empire or the USSR/Warsaw Pact.
There has never been a stable, understandable democratic structure, let alone democratically accountable one, to the *European project*. It has advanced on what seem half articulated ideas about no more European wars and pushed forward by a completely opaque bureaurocracy who seem to agree with the writer’s idea that if they never tell anyone a central, single state is the end goal, they can somehow get there by accident.

I don’t beleive this will happen, the EU seems to be going directly from a short lived entusiastic phase which coincided with Francis Fukoyama’s *End of History* idea being fashionable (and look how that’s worked out) to exhausted dissolution.

Britain leaving isn’t the outlier, strange act of the conventional narrative, it’s the future.
Admittedly separate nation states will trade away some definitions of sovereignty in trade deals…this doesn’t negate their underlying sovereignty. That taunt that sometimes one still hears from Remainers is incoherent.

But the EU is a political project that has always hidden behind *trade and economics*. I’ts why in 1975 we voted to stay in a European Economic Community with clear aims and mechanisms and a balance of upsides and downsides, and why we voted to leave the European Union it had become.
The name change is a piece of the sort of typical, yet typically empty as well, nominative determinism that politicans put their exhausted faith into, when they have nothing practical left to say or offer.

j hoffman
j hoffman
3 years ago

Another, typically shallow, Uherd commentary. True as far as it goes.
BUT: the EU is FUNDAMENTLLY UNGOVERNABLE.
The Bueaucrats-For-Life Run Rings around the Hapless Country Representatives, most of whom are not First Class Brains in the First Place.
Little Cypress is the Fount of Knowledge on COVID-19?
IT IS WHERE THE BUREAUCRATS LIVE! All the time.
See, perhaps on YouTube, BBC “Yes, Minister” which wittily illustrated the problem.
LOOK!

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  j hoffman

Anything which is so big is ungovernable. Putin is supposed to govern Russia with an iron hand but he has no real control over Russian/Chinese movements across the border near to Vladivostok.

Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

You are quite right to use the term ‘supposed’ in relation to Putin. The same is generally thought concerning Stalin and is wrong for the same reason, the vast size of Russia. It is not well known but Stalin presided over the creation of a new constitution for the Soviet Union. Among a plethora of other areas covered it provided much more power to local officials within their jurisdictions. (A young American lady has been researching this constitution in Russia for several years now.) It is inevitably a mistake by westerners to believe they are privy to anything approaching an understanding of Putin gleaned from western coverage which is far more interested in demonisation than detail.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

How are you getting on
with your explanation of
“The Great Leap Forward “ Mr Tierney?

quigleyjr
quigleyjr
3 years ago

A very long-winded way of saying not very much at all.

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

How can you have a dictator in the EU, they only give jobs to their own class of religious EU fanatic’s
Only the project counts.
Also you band about words like hard right and populism which is more like centre right and democracy so you lose all creditability.

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago

For some time now, Macron has had the illusion that he is Napoleon.
I have sent him a recommendation of a good book to read. It is titled “The Bellerophon” aka “The Billy Ruf’n”

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Jean Fothers

Must be something in the water at the Elysee. They all seem to end up suffering from the same delusion, but Macron has a rather bad dose of it. Alas it is terminal.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

You maybe onto something.
The Duke of Wellington (co-victor of Waterloo) used to live there, and look what a terrible PM he later made.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Jean Fothers

Is St Helen far enough away?

What about the Moon? It will give that wretched parasite the European Space Agency something worthwhile to do.

If ‘they’ can’t, I’m sure either Messrs Branson or Musk would oblige.

Mud Hopper
Mud Hopper
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Airbus have spare manufacturing capacity at the moment, I believe.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

Those who fall foul of today’s progressive orthodoxies may find themselves consigned to a “basket of deplorables”, but not to a basket of severed heads. – Not yet

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago

Whether or not it’s waiting for it’s Napoleon. , it definitely needs something. I tend to think it suffers from being neither a proper United States of Europe nor a free trade agreement between sovereign countries – each of which being free to follow its own agenda and build up its place in the world without mind numbing constraints of having to argue details on the minutea of life with 20 plus other nations.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago

Who cares?!
Everyone is and acts authoritarian these days- the EU and its countries leaders have absolutely no more right and no more credibility to criticize Poland, Hungary, Putin or Xi in that regard.
The major currencies of the world will all reset after the printing binge resulted in hyperinflation.
Thereafter, we’ll see.

James Vernier
James Vernier
3 years ago

Excuse me, but the “bad loser” is now the president in the USA having stolen the election

Stephen Haxby
Stephen Haxby
3 years ago

The author’s 4th paragraph is largely a celebration of democratic decisions being overturned by a technocratic establishment, or by opportunistic political shenanigans. He approves the outcomes and so democratic process can take a jump.
One day he might not like the outcome, and regret those pesky processes.
Meanwhile those horrible populist voters, who have been cheated, have not gone away.

gasparalvite
gasparalvite
3 years ago

‘A bad loser trying to overturn an election result’? Oh please. I stopped reading after that. I can , indeed rather enjoy, taking on differing opinions, but to say outright that the election was not fraudulent, it’s demeaning my intelligence, and lowering your moral standards. Trump won that election by a landslide. and everybody, everybody, including you guys, in your heart of hearts, know it too.

Robert Reseigh
Robert Reseigh
3 years ago

The ” Deplorable’s” and in the international sense the “Populists” are as voters not hard right or for that matter hard left voters but are everyday people who are fed up with moribund bureaucracy,pseudo realities and sciences being foisted on them and being hounded for not accepting the fantasy. They are people who can see the hypocrisy and double standards of the elite and resent being told how they should not only live but feel by these people who live in privileged isolation. The ballot box is a way for the quiet middle whoever to exercise their displeasure without losing their livelihood and in general being cancelled and reviled.

Last edited 3 years ago by Robert Reseigh
Cynthia Neville
Cynthia Neville
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Reseigh

Well said.

Duncan Philps-tate
Duncan Philps-tate
3 years ago

Clearly democracy is all very well until it needs to be re-labelled as populism. We can’t have hoi polloi deciding what happens. And if that lets in a strong man government instead, so be it.

Neil Papadeli
Neil Papadeli
3 years ago

EU Presidents are decided by behind the scenes negotiations between the national big beasts. Macron, Merkel and subsequent replacements are unlikely to fill the role of ‘President’ with anyone having the requisite ability, energy, exposure, status or motivation to become a true European leader. That’s their job. The President of France and Chancellor of Germany are the gatekeepers and will not let their hands off the reins.
Von der Leyen is the perfect Presidential candidate. I would expect that template to be repeated until Hell freezes over.

j hoffman
j hoffman
3 years ago

I see I am ‘Awaiting for [sic] Approval’. Thanks!

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  j hoffman

“Awaiting for approval “ is grammatically nonsense.
It should be ‘Awaiting approval’.

QED.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

If my experience at The Spectator is anything to go by, the ‘This comment is awaiting approval’, is a d@mned lie anyway. Over there at the Spectator, such comments were marked by the Disqus profanity filter which won’t even let you write words like, ‘h0m0sapiens’ because the Disqus system has been programmed to screen out all words used as terms of abuse in the USA, such as the British slang for cigarettes, and they lie unchecked forever in some dump or other, never to be seen again.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Thanks for that and I am glad you are still onboard!
I rather feared you might have quite understandably “chucked in the sponge” with this dreadful new system. I very nearly did, but ever the masochistic have decided to remain.

Nine hours later I realise mistake! You remain a vulgar toad spewing out insults at random, a sort of malignant Gollum hiding in the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall.
. Your long suffering exGP consort must have the patience of Job.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

..

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
Gordon Black
Gordon Black
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Scunthorpe is a good test place.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

If you Google “upside down text” you get a number of websites that allow you to enter text that they then invert, like so:
:os ǝʞᎉl ‘ʇÉčǝʌuᮉ uǝɄʇ ʎǝɄʇ ʇɐɄʇ ʇxǝʇ Éčǝʇuǝ oʇ noʎ ʍollɐ ʇɐɄʇ sǝʇᎉsqǝʍ ɟo ÉčǝqÉŻnu ɐ ʇǝƃ noʎ ,,ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpᮉsdn,, ǝlƃooŚ€ noʎ ɟI
This generally foxes autocensors quite effectively. You can write words like ƃɐɟ and snoǝuǝƃoÉŻoÉ„ and it doesn’t notice.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Thanks!

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Thus the word fanny passes untouched while that term of affection some use for a cat is definitely verboten.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

-perhaps more proof that English is not the first language of the new crew at UnHerd…

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Ooooo flungdung?

Jonathan Barker
Jonathan Barker
3 years ago

Without exception all human beings are trapped in and controlled in every minute fraction of their lives by the collective hive mind, which is also, by its very nature, completely indifferent to the well-being or the survival of any apparent individual within the hive.
In essence, human society is no different from a beehive or an any colony. In a beehive, the queen is simply pumping out eggs. All the other bees are “designed”, in the grid-pattern of their particular species, to have their particular functions. Each type of bee has its own genetic genetic and chemical triggers, as a result of which it acquires a certain appearance and functions in a certain manner. Every bee unconsciously fulfills its pre-patterned role – including its participation in the necessary processes of replication of the species – and every bee eventually becomes obsolete, post-replication, in a pre-determined period of however many days or weeks.
Human society functions in exactly the same manner. There is a necessary replication-process, by which “replacement organisms” are made – and also a process of replicating states of mind and emotion – and then you (the temporary link) become obsolete and drops dead. What you always cling to as “you” in your mortal fear is eventually shed, without a moments hesitation – like excrement. From the point of view of the great pattern that is the universe, the “you” that is the body-mind is nothing but a temporary insignificant event.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

Glad to see most comments are about the problems with the comments system rather than about the article. I think that’s a fair reflection on the quality of the article. What was the argument again? Three dictators have arisen in the past and may do again? Something about European Federalism being revolutionary? Or just a certain number of words due to a certain deadline?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

“I’m not talking about a fifth column, but rather when a ruling establishment is captured by one of its own — and subsequently remade in the new leader’s image.”
Napoleon was Corsican, not French.
Stalin was Georgian, not Russian.
Hitler was Austrian, not German.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I certainly concur on Napoleon and Stalin, but not on Austria.

Austria was member of the Reich for a thousand years, and only ejected by Herr Bismarck quite recently. It tried to rejoin the Reich in 1919 but the Allies prohibited it.
After 1945 it had the confounded cheek to describe itself as the First Victim of Nazism! And that having disproportionately produced the largest number of the said Nazis.
,

I personally find Austrians almost indistinguishable from Bavarians. A bit too noisy and feeble when compared to your average Prussian or Westphalian but otherwise perfectly acceptable company.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

The EU is living on borrowed time, because the Federal Reserve is now under the jurisdiction of the US treasury (not the Rothchild Central Bank system) so limitless funding will dry up. Populism will increase as the people and their respective governments take back control of their own futures and finances.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Public sector fat cats take note.
The days of half-pay will return!

Richard Lord
Richard Lord
3 years ago

The reasons for the eventual collapse of the EU will be many and varied. This article does get to the core of one of these reasons. The nation states of the EU are reluctant to cede real power to the EU, lest they be dumped by their electors (or deposed by rioters). This is the root of the organisational mess that the EU is. The nation leaders have never allowed a person of quality, foresight or character to lead the EU because they do not want lose their own grip on power. You only have to look a the last two, Von De Leven and Junker to see how true this is. A true Bonaparte character might have half a chance but such a person will never get into power.

Last edited 3 years ago by Richard Lord
Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago

Why no mention of Hitler? He tried to unify Europe under a new political structure.
“Again, we see a man of action, a supremely gifted and successful military commander.” A passage describing Napoleon but through the use of the word ‘again’ also applied to the previous person discussed, Stalin. Stalin had executed almost every senior or middle-ranking officer in the Soviet armed forces. There is as strong an argument to support the assertion that ‘The USSR defeated the Nazis despite Stalin’ as for the argument that they did so ‘because of Stalin’.

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago

” A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of populism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Politicians and financiers, Macron and Merkel, French bureaucrats and German central bankers.”
The irony is that the above mentioned persons, in order to cope with populism (or rather in order to destroy it), are creating a new kind of fascism, far worse than any kind of populist agenda. And let’s be clear about the concerns of the populist electorate. These concerns are legitimate concerns about a truly corrupt system.

Last edited 3 years ago by Frederik van Beek
Michelle Haley
Michelle Haley
3 years ago

It dumbfounds me how so many countries are not understanding what is happening in the US! the seriousness of the situation and the imact for the world. I’m only going to take the 2020 election in this case;

Donald Trump was going to win the election by a big margin even in the time of CV it was infectious everywhere in the US except maybe DC. spontaneous boat & car parades, corner rallies and Trump rallies all over America. People were happy, peaceful proud Trump supporters. No burning, vandalism, violence…We watched the left encourge burning down businesses, attacking the police, violence and vandalism. Biden bailed out the riotors. Biden had 10 car rallies when he showed up. Biden can’t form a complete sentence. Kamala Harris had to drop out of the race before the first Primary election due to lack of support, even in her own State of California. In the US we have States rights over Federal rights. So this was a Blue State problem of riots and mayhem.
Trump was doing 5 outdoor rallies a day in 30 degrees F. Packed audiences that stood and waited for hours till T showed up. AZ had a spontaneous 99 car rally. 100’s of thousands of people were showing up for Trump and his message. There is enormous empirical evidence to unwrap what happened in the 2020 election,(election dominion and [ ]fraud dates back to 2006) No court has thrown out an “election fraud case” on the “Merits of the evidence”. Its the cowadice of our Judicial system. Who were threatened by the mob. Nothing was off the table to threaten people, Judges, Lawyers who argue the case of Fraud That has been done before in Gore vs Bush Th mob threatens families, vandalizes their homes, harrases, goes after children, colleges errase their names … Anyone who stands, speaks out against Globalism, follows the constitution. looses they’re job, or are literally sent to re-education classes…and doxed. Keep in mind everything you watch on Youtube now is subject to harsh censorship and demonitization. So all that is left on YouTube is “careful” content.

DT is our Napoleon. Our George Washington. Risked wealth, health and hate but stayed on the battlefield, wounded with bad weather and enemies getting close to him and T still won battle after battle, lawsuit after lawsuit, expensive and meant to keep him a lameduck President so he couldn’t get anything done. The DC mob didn’t care about half the nation that voted for Trumps policies. With all the lies and subterfuge DT still got a lot done & followed through on campaign promises. The Rhino Right also was trying to trip up DT, every opportunity afforded them.
Big Tech doesn’t even pretend anymore to be a place of free thoughts or ideas. Read the Times magazine article! You’re cancelled sent to purgatory. i live in California and I’ve watched liberal thinkers move to Cal vote their leftest agenda. Destroy California and have been leaving California for years to the Red States to only spread their damage, I seriously think unknowingly, there. Look at all the wealthy that left the chaos in NYC for Florida just this last year.
One thought is Billionaires are becoming younger everyday without the wisdom on what it takes to live a life, raise a family… get along with people that don’t think like you…

California has not always been, not even close. Cal can’t provide electricity to the whole populist, 49 mil in Cal alone. We are incurring rolling blackouts, I have solar panels and still our electricity goes out randomly. We are banning natural gas. 60k homeless, needles and feeces, opiod deaths in the tens of thousands. In Cal 1 in 4 living in poverty, 1 in 5 were not born in the US, out of 50 States we rank 49th in infrastructure, 46th in best public schools and so on.
Trump was standing up to this mayem. Biden and his administration literally says “lets Californize America” California Governor Newsom is being recalled. The problems with California are many.

I watch/read Unhead to follow thoughtful content about what is going in Europe. You won’t find it on CNN, MSNBC or Fox, New York Times, WSJ…

Trump pulled the curtain back and what we saw wasn’t Orange man bad. What we saw was the decades of corruption that occurs at a rapid pace unchecked in DC. I found myself mumering, “say it ain’t so Joe”
a basball quote from years back.

Half of America is trying to find her way back while the other half are sheep jumping off the cliff hoping for some reprieve from the wrath that lands upon you if you speak against this ideology. What the average left person doesn’t realize is they’re not included in “the plan”, they aren’t rich enough, educated enough or powerful. The global reset only includes the few. The ppl who buy 25mil$ beachfront properties (not just one hse either)flies in private jets while pushing climate change bc of course the seas are going to rise and swallow everyone up. There is no common sense and those that have it are drowned out.

America is in a fight for her life and it will not be pretty for the world, not just America if the constitutionalists loose this war. God says he sends the most unlikely leaders to lead us to the light. I think DT fits that description. Cheer for freedom, Cheer for liberty!

Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton
3 years ago

Europe, Europe, Europe…many times, and much more lately, I think the United States of America is dysfunctional….and then I look at you…and am relieved that at least we still have a chance to set things right. You are too far gone. No wonder the UK left you. At this point you’re just a cheap date.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of populism‘ the article begins.

This is similar to the title of a paper analysing the meaning of ‘populism’ by political scientist Takis S Pappas: The Specter Haunting Europe: Distinguishing Liberal Democracy’s Challengers.

You can easily find a copy of it on Pappas’s website.

Apologies for readers of these pages who have seen a similar post from me recommending this paper, but it really is enlightening reading for anyone who would like a clear categorisation of the various parties in Europe which fall under the unhelpfully vague (and often contemptuous) label ‘populism’.

robert.kelsey
robert.kelsey
3 years ago

You forgot Cromwell.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  robert.kelsey

Yes indeed. No there was man who knew how to rule. What a pity he didn’t live longer to cement his revolution.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago

The EU doesn’t need a Napoleon, it needs a Gorbachev.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

Very sexist. Could be a woman, for example Le Pen
Why is Napoleon a hero? A man that laid waste to Europe? A man that killed so many, French in particular.
https://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters Check out how well he did.
Or perhaps Hitler is an example of the sort of person who will save Europe.
The problem in Europe boils down to one thing. Socialist pension debts. They are hidden off the books. They are massive and strangling the life out of Europe. In the UK for example 14 trillion GBP.
The EU won’t save people. Its part of the problem.
So what has worked? Look at the Italian renaisance where small city states competed and by and large there was no war until the French invaded. Spot the pattern.
Small countries working together when its in their interest, for as long as it is their interest is the way to go. The idea of “compromise” just means governments will screw one section of their society, typically the majority for the benefit of the favoured.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

I was interested in your renaissance reference. The reason it worked, at least for a time, may have been the independence and constructive competition, but it left them vulnerable to a highly integrated aggressor; revolutionary France under an able ‘strongman’.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

Quo usque tandem abutere, Freddie patientia nostra?’

Alan Hawley
Alan Hawley
3 years ago

It’s not often that an article in this sort of journal reminds us of what is in fact the case “[The EU’s] member-states still retain sovereign control over most policy areas”. Despite all the trumpeting and dreams, the EU is still a treaty organisation rather than a sovereign state, and is democratic not just in the fact that the EU Parliament (an important brake on legislation) is elected, but also because it is the servant of the democratically elected governments of its sovereign member states. My view is that the UK left the single market and customs union mainly due to a misconception of what the EU currently is, the incorrect view that the EU is already sovereign member state, and that this happened just at the very moment when it became obvious that a “United States of Europe” is not going to happen. The alternative to a right-wing populist leader is more likely to be that the EU remains in its current format, mainly a treaty organisation managing the single market and matters of continental significance that are best handled at an international level.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawley

I disagree.

The architects of (what has developed into) the EU had a superstate in mind from the outset, expressly in disregard of the will of the peoples concerned.

Just for example, by Christopher Booker in the Daily Telegraph, 12 November 2011: ‘…the “European project” was never intended to be a democratic institution. The idea first conceived back in the 1920s by two senior officials of the League of Nations – Jean Monnet and Arthur Salter, a British civil servant – was a United States of Europe, ruled by a government of unelected technocrats like themselves. Two things were anathema to them: nation states with the power of veto (which they had seen destroy the League of Nations) and any need to consult the wishes of the people in elections.’

Who voted for Mrs von der Leyen? Who can vote her out?

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawley

In my experience, the European Parliament is simply ignored if it suits the Commission. And, it is not the servant of the democratically elected governments of member States. MEPs are independent of their own governments, form their own alliances, and follow policies agreed by those groupings. Labour and Lib Democrats MEPs didn’t support UK government priorities. I am sure the same is true of MEPs from other member states.
.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawley

We have often heard this kind of logic in the last few years, but it is wrong. For example, you say “The EU ……. is the servant of the democratically elected governments of its sovereign member states”.
No. The UK government has not found that to be true for very many years.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

Surely Caesar was Sulla’s rather astute student? Besides nearly being his victim.

Martin Woodford
Martin Woodford
3 years ago

And then, as now, Britain and Russia, sitting outside, waiting to bring it all crashing down.

KM
KM
3 years ago

Good observations all around.
But I would wonder why an article like that is written in a UK publication with an EU Napoleonic state in mind.
When, already, in the UK you have essentially a government (essentially the PM and a few key ministers) ruling by absolute decree and moving the goalposts of this type of napoleonic polity (as defined by an excellent UK lawyer here in this website) almost on a weekly basis on account of ‘safety’. And not only moving the goalposts but also introducing – in a napoleonic manner – even more draconian measures like internment of foreigners for two weeks at airport hotels etc.
In some ways, Napoleon’s vision has already arrived in the UK.
Obviously, a similar model exists already in Europe as well though one could argue that at least over there you have an active society challenging all this – see for instance the recent ruling in a Dutch court re curfews brought about by a group of citizens.
Just saying of course!

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
3 years ago

This is a hysterical article in both senses of the word. A smörgasbord of contradictory historical examples.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago

We have to use some terminology to describe political movements and shifts, and I don’t see that from anything he has written Peter Franklin is using the term ‘populist’ as a sneer but as a set of political shifts in different countries with some (but not all) common characteristics. The term ‘democracy’ is often only invoked when it suits the political position of the person making it and an election result goes in a certain approved direction.
It is just too so easy for political forums to become polarised with people making ‘trigger-hair’ assumptions on what others think and responding to this as much as anything they have actually written. It is a shame that this one has yet again gone off course, because this article was a really interesting take I hadn’t read before. Tensions build up between divided and ineffectual ‘traditional’ polities and popular demand – or it could be economic stresses – which can end up eventually being ‘resolved’ through some form of authoritarian rule e.g. Caesar, Napoleon.
I am a supporter of many of the positions held it seems by most UnHerd subscribers, such as Brexit, but surely we can see that a simple recourse to direct democracy isn’t entirely unproblematic and can readily address all the major issues as to how too run modern complex societies. First of all, the public often want contradictory things e.g. great public services but low taxes (for themselves at least). Referenda can also be particularly subject to emotive and polarising rhetoric with a ratchet effect on public discourse – how quickly we forget that for example Nigel Farage was once favourable towards a ‘Norway option’, now seen as a very ‘soft’ Brexit, or Brexit in name only’! Referenda have also often been used by authoritarian leaders with the vote of course taken whenever the chance of winning is maximised. Or you have the phenomenon of the ‘neverendum’ as championed by the SNP and previously by the Parti Quebecois. It can work well as in Switzerland, but that country has a very different and decentralised political tradition going back hundreds of years.
I would also be more happy with some people on the Right making the point on democracy, if (some) of these people were not at the same time regularly calling out ‘fraud’ on elections they don’t win, such as the recent US Presidential election, and even the French one (they hate Macron).
There is also the entirely separate but arguably more important issue of the competence of government administration. It has to be said that many of the European anti-establishment parties have been notably incompetent when in power as their simplistic solutions can’t be implemented or don’t have the claimed effect. It seems as if some of the East Asian countries are beating many European ones, including post-Brexit UK, hands down in this regard.

Steve Mires
Steve Mires
3 years ago

Britain did imprison Napoleon, something that France will never forget. Macron is still obsessed with revenge against the UK.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

Well here’s one American, Peter, who greatly appreciates your very instructive explanation of the European dilemma. As we say over here: It makes a lot of sense. In the sense of . . . your analysis pulls together many disparate historical and contemporary developments.
As Descartes wrote, many moons ago, “I think, therefore I am”, I now write “I think I understand the world a little better now, thanks to Peter’s explanation; therefore I am going to offer my opinion:
Most likely, the strong man will emerge from the Eastern block–dare I say it–Hungary, Poland or even, G-dforbid, Ukraine. But the hope for west would be that strong leader would be a centrist who could truly unite Europe, and not deepen the left/right division that threatens to destroy civil discourse instead of elevating it to productive governance.
Over here, now that we have ejected (we hope) the strongman wannabee, I think we have a better understanding of the perilous dynamics with which ye Europeans have contorted yourselves over lo, these many centuries and two millennia.
Good luck, but if the lukewarm political climate gets too heated up over there on the Continent, come take a break in America. We might benefit from you seasoned experience. And, as we like to say down South here in the land of the free and the home of the brave (haha, or let’s hope it still is). . . y’all come see us when you can now.
And thanks, Peter for providing your cogent analysis on UnHerd. The several comments I read were also eye-openers. Keep up the good work.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

Seems slightly arrogant to discuss Caesarism without once mentioning Spengler.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

This is frightening, as many predict a biblical antichrist arising in Europe in christian circles when trying to piece together the predictions in the bible.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

Finding parallels between Napoleon and the EU is fascinating.When Ursula van der Leyen proclaims herself emperor or empress or emprx, and when she changes national boundaries and creates several client states and makes family members heads of the same – then we’ll have a good match.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I don’t see much difference between Brussels appointing Monti and Draghi as Italian PM, and Napoleon appointing his family as heads of state. And I think you’ll find that there is quite a lot of nepotism in Brussels – as indeed there is in Westminster. As for changing national boundaries, they have more or less achieved this already with regard to Northern Ireland.
In short, and as has been obvious for some years, there is no essential difference between the objective of Napoleon, Hitler and the EU. And I say that as one who was once almost fanatically pro-EU.

simon taylor
simon taylor
3 years ago

I think there is another short-a#sed Frenchman who fits the bill rather well.

Angela Frith
Angela Frith
3 years ago

I think populism is a general term for a political position that appeals to and manipulates the largest number of ill informed citizens, and suffers no moral restraints as to truth and decency.
it can be of the left or right.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

The problem with populism is not the short-term humiliation of having as head-figure a horrible person, who is however skilled at manipulating people’s emotions and urge for convenience.
The real damage of populism is the legitimization of irrationality as a political option. Fabricating facts, twisting those it cannot erase and above all taking no responsibility for anything that may be perceived as unpopular – regardless of the consequences to the country’s welfare.
Populism legitimizes narratives and discredits fact-checking. In the long term, that can only lead to chaos – which the populist will of course blame on anything but his/her own destruction of the means to establish the truth.
Those that rate thinking above feelings will find this uncomfortably familiar.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

The ‘irrationality’ you refer to manifested itself in the invasions of Iraq and various other places, the worshipping of the banks, the offshoring of jobs, uncontrolled immigration and various other policies and issues. Populism is merely a common sense reaction to these irrational – and indeed – wicked policies.

simon taylor
simon taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Indeed, I am “populist” and proud of it.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fraser, let’s get the record straight: do you remember under which government the Iraq invasions occurred (be fair and count them all…)? Do you not remember Ronnie Ray-Gun and Tatcher as the paragons of offshoring jobs? Do you see the “birther” argument for what it was? Anyways, I don’t think we’ll ever agree… Just wanted to point out some facts.
You wrote that in your mind “populism is a common-sense reaction”. That is an oxymoron, and from here on I see no point in debating the subject.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

“Ronnie Ray Gun and Tatcher…? I am glad that you no longer see any point in debating the subject-it’s time for you to get back to the business of maturity.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

And you to the business of providing arguments in lieu of insults.
Whether it sits well with you or not, Ronnie & Tatcher gave boundless support to the predatory dismembering of companies by the venture capitalism vultures of the 80s. The shallow defense against criticism was that anyone opposing boundless freedom to these vultures had to be a vile communist, union puppet, etc.
The supreme irony of it all is that the jobs that Ronnie & Tatcher helped export were the drivers of China’s incredible growth (just check the timing…), and ultimately the trigger for the current demise of their respective countries.
Now Stephen, how about you show us your proclaimed maturity and bring out some real arguments?

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago

These fantasies are getting more and more tiresome by the day. Was this not established as a forum to liberate the herdlike? The EU is like Caesar, no it’s like Napoleon, no it’s like Stalin, except it’s not, because well, it’s weak and useless and corrupt and cr*p. Of course Boris’s vaccine ‘win’ is great, but it is a welcome win for the country with the highest death toll from Covid-19 in all of Europe, lest we forget. What kind of people would glorify, openly celebrate minor national victories over the mistakes of their neighbours, during a pandemic affecting every country on earth? All of this fantasizing is a premature attempt at justifying Brexit, post hoc, ergo propter hoc. A far closer parallel historically is the Henrician ‘reformation’ of the 1530s. Once again an establishment felt it’s power waning and its treasury draining. The state bankrupted the nation through profligacy and foreign wars over issues that never concerned it and for a supremacy that eluded it. Once again it united the plebs under a faux nationalism. Outside there be monsters. In far off Rome (Brussels), they make laws we have no say over, talk funny, they take our money, their agents are everywhere. Once again we are special, special. Why don’t they know this? Why do they not know that we are chosen? Once again the foreigners will fall asunder, descend into tyranny, fall apart, without *us*. Once again we require a special English sovereignty, laws, church, rebate, backstop, frontstop, protocol … Once again the poor will pay, the hospitals, libraries, and schools will decay. Are those pesky Irish still behaving like they’re independent? How dare they! Even the normally better behaved Scots are beginning to get uppity. We’ll show them. What’s that you say? The antichrist still sits in Rome? The Russians won the war? That troublesome colony of yobos across the Atlantic is now the empire? What we need now is a new Napoleon. Then all the fibs we tell ourselves will not matter. Our darkest fantasies will have come true.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

‘Boris’s vaccine ‘win’ is great, but it is a welcome win for the country with the highest death toll from Covid-19 in all of Europe, lest we forget. What kind of people would glorify, openly celebrate minor national victories over the mistakes of their neighbours,’

Whilst I agree that the UK vaccine ‘victory’ has been cynically, possibly prematurely and foolishly overplayed by some in this country, not least for ‘Brexit related’ purposes, it’s difficult to see how you’re not playing much the same game here.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I’ll admit, I enjoy playing devil’s advocate. A minor pleasure in these strange days. On a more serious note though I do find the current government and media driven propaganda (and it is propaganda) in the UK of the last few weeks truly troubling, both the hold certain persons must have over the national narrative and the degree to which some, who one hoped would know better, are unquestioningly going along with it. Deep down I’m no great cheerleader for the EU, but neither is it the Beast of Revelation. Unherd me thinks not.

Last edited 3 years ago by Spiro Spero
Richard Brown
Richard Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

As all countries have different means of counting their death toll from Covid, it’s utterly impossible to say that the UK has the highest. From the start Government chose to headline the biggest number it could, thus dragging in all sorts of people with terminal illnesses who would have died anyway. The only reasonable number to look at is the excess deaths figure (number of deaths today less the number who died this time last year,or the previous year), and that has not shown any clear ‘winner’ in Europe over the course of the pandemic.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

Exactly. If Mrs Brown stabbed you with the bread knife, and upon arrival at A&E you coughed and promptly snuffed it, you would be recorded as a Covid related death, bread knife not withstanding. This would have the advantage in that Mrs Brown would not be charged and found Guilty of Murder, and thus do 12 years in Holloway, but would be able to trot around the world as a glamorous widow spending the insurance.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

Oh for the days of Ruth Ellis. RIP

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

I suppose that would be the ultimate revenge on Mrs Lake. But if it has to be done, better it done quick. And Pierrepoint was quick.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

Not always, as his work in Hamelin Gaol was to prove. 15 minutes between hangings proved (apologies for the pun) too tight.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Should have been left on the rope for an hour as was customary in the UK.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

Spot on!

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I would take the ‘highest death toll from Covid-19’ statistics with a large pinch of salt if I were you. They have been quite deliberately inflated and are essentially nonsense.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Interesting that you got away cr*p, but I didn’t with sh*t

Must be something cultural?

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Funny I first used 1 and it failed, but then followed your erudite example and used * and bingo! It worked!
What fun this is.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

So far, haven’t had one item which is ‘Awaiting for approval.” I think this is because it is early-ish. When the site gets busy the waiting times could get longer.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Come on let’s not beat about the bush, the elephant in the room is Herr Adolph Hitler.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Adolf.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Both are correct. I happen to prefer Adolph.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

How can both be correct? Surely it’s on his birth certificate or the 1884 Austrian equivalent.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

There is more than one accepted way of spelling Adolf/Adolph, although there isn’t much call for either these days for some curious reason.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Just looked it up on the Wikibeast, and it is the Latinised version, Adolfus!

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Napoleon works too-I am wondering which member of the EU will be taken first…

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Well there is the progenitor of it all, Karl de Gross/Charlemagne.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Bit tough on Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII. 8 million acres of England rapidly changed hands and a completely new class of landowners emerged. A Middle Class. Some of them (Spencer’s) survive to this day.

Today we would call it ‘trickle down’.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake