Jyllands-Posten, the original publishers of the Mohammed cartoons ten years ago, has a big interview with me in today's paper. Niels Lillelund is somewhat of a cryptic interrogator: Usually when you shoot the breeze with someone from a newspaper or magazine, you can sort of tell how on board they are with your general line. But the poker-faced Mr Lillelund plays his cards close to his chest. So, for our Danish readers, enjoy!
»Vi magter ikke at forsvare os, for vi har glemt hvorfor ...«
Europas fremtid: »Hvis man er moralsk ansvarlig, så gør man verden til et bedre sted. Man flytter ikke bare problemer fra de kollapsede lande og hertil. Det er ikke en løsning,« siger forfatter og kommentator Mark Steyn. Han ser mørkt på Europas situation og betragter sig selv om en gammeldags, mere ærlig kolonialist.
Which I think translates to something like:
'We aren't defending ourselves, because we've forgotten why...'
The future of Europe: 'If one is truly "morally responsible" [for the "Syrian" "refugees"], you have to make the world better, not just move the problems from the collapsed countries to your own. That's not a solution, "said author and commentator Mark Steyn. He looks darkly on Europe's situation and see himself as an old-fashioned, more honest colonialist.
As often with print interviews, I don't recall saying it quite that way originally - I always describe myself as an imperialist rather than a "colonialist". But Mr Lillelund asks interesting questions, and I try to provide interesting answers.
~In my comments on the two Commonwealth airmen buried in the Jewish cemetery at Malmö, I dwelt mostly on young Henry George Popper, mainly because, as I was leaving, I was stopped short and profoundly moved by his parents' graves nearby. Melbourne reader Richard Harrison writes with more details of the other man buried there - RAAF Flight Sergeant Simon Stanley Solomons:
Thank you for your column "The two faces of Facebook".
This link is to the details of Flight Sergeant Solomons' name on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial.
Further details about him are on this page of the Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs website.
To me, the point about these records, scant as they are, is that they help humanise the name on the grave. At 32, he must have been the old man of the Lancaster flight crew. And being a native of Sydney, born in the suburb of Kensington, must have given him an accent that caused endless merriment. Back in Sydney to receive the awful news of his death was Esther, perhaps his mother, or maybe his wife.
It is all too easy to imagine a time in the not too distant future when his grave will no longer be tended (despite the best efforts of the CWGC) – and perhaps worse given the propensities of the new Swedes of Malmo. But Solomons is, and will continue to be, honoured in the land of his birth, half a world away from where he now lies.
I thank Richard for that note, and also Jim Cowan for providing more information on the final moments of that Lancaster flight.
~Back in my native land, I may have underestimated the political wiles of Stephen Harper. A couple of weeks back I wrote:
Canada, like most of the rest of the Westminster system, usually has a six-week election campaign. For various reasons, this time round Stephen Harper opted for a highly unusual 11-week campaign. Or, in American terms, about the length of time between the early November election and the late January day on which the previous guy finally moves out of the White House...
The assumption behind the 11-week campaign was initially, from the government point of view, that it would give time for a certain weariness with Stephen Harper to be lifted by the nimbleness of his skills on the stump. Later, when it became clear that this was unlikely to happen, the assumption, from the media/opposition point of view, was that it would allow time for the Liberals or, more likely, the NDP to break away from the three-way tie.
It's looking like Harper made the better bet. It seems the drawn-out, interminable 11-week campaign was necessary to the Conservatives to enable them to penetrate the extraordinary anti-Tory animus of the media and give the electorate time to sober up from whatever passing fancies they might be tickled by. They seem to be doing so. A fortnight ago, the parties stood at:
NDP: 31.3 per cent;
Liberal Party: 30.3 per cent;
Conservative Party: 30.2 per cent.
Liberal Party: 32.2 per cent;
Conservative Party: 32.1 per cent;
NDP: 26.3 per cent.
My compatriots seem to be souring on the idea of the NDP's Tom Mulcair even as Prime Minister of a minority government. The prolonged exposure of an 11-week campaign has not worked to his advantage. Given that in many ridings the Liberals and the NDP will essentially be vote-splitting, the current poll numbers would translate in Parliamentary terms to a Tory minority government - and Mr Harper back as PM. Can that hold for another three weeks?
By the way, even Canadian Liberals occasionally forget that they're meant to be all gung ho for Islam - and quickly pay the price:
A Liberal candidate in British Columbia who allegedly referred to mosques as "brainwashing stations" on social media has withdrawn her candidacy.
Cheryl Thomas was running in the riding of Victoria, but resigned Wednesday after contentious Facebook posts surfaced.
~On a not entirely unrelated free-speech matter, The National Post's Barbara Kay notes a subtle concession in the war to end what I call in my book the "climate of fear" in the world of global warm-mongering: The Associated Press has decided to modify its style book with respect to climate change. The words "skeptics" and "deniers" are out and henceforth such persons will be described as "doubters" or "those who reject mainstream climate science". Mrs Kay comments:
This is welcome news, for it releases people like me from implicit mental alignment with conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites. It may even reflect a glimmer of hope that the honchos at AP are beginning to realize that the "doubters" might actually be on to something, and that it won't look good for AP 10 years from now when the doubters turn out to be right after all.
Or maybe they've been struck by the fact that in the defamation suit by Michael "hockey stick" Mann against journalist Mark Steyn, who publicly called Mann out as a "fraud," Steyn is backed in print by a hundred credible scientists, and can boast a host of freedom-of-speech organizations queuing up to witness on his behalf, while not a single scientist has offered to appear in an amicus capacity for Mann. (Even the most passionate defender of the mainstream view that climate change is a serious threat to the planet has to find that pretty odd, and an obvious sign that the now thoroughly debunked hockey stick myth is a huge embarrassment to the climate-change-as-apocalypse cause...)
All we're competent to do is read the statements of the scientists who are debating amongst themselves and ask ourselves who is making the better case in terms lay people can understand. For me it's the doubters hands down. Mainly because they speak as secularists devoted to evidence and not as devotees of a religion that calls for blind faith in mystics and gurus like Michael Mann and David Suzuki (and although I rarely agree with much that Justin Trudeau has to say, if in fact Trudeau did tell Suzuki he was full of "sanctimonious crap" during a phone call regarding western oil fields, I am in full-throated agreement there).
Thanks to dear old Justin for that coinage. I hope I live long enough to see the AP style book announce that they're replacing the phrase "settled science" with "sanctimonious crap". Read the rest of Barbara Kay's column here.
The book alluded to above is "A Disgrace to the Profession", the story of the most influential graph of the 21st century - and the damage it's done. It's garnering, as those of us who've done PhDs in Garnerology like to say, lots of hot five-star reviews from around the world. From Harry Buttle at Amazon Australia:
You want to know just how unreliable the climate change "hockey stick" graph is in the eyes of other scientists? Buy this book. Well written, factual and hard hitting.
From Thomas J Shepstone at Amazon US:
Super book that destroys Michael Mann who I must say is a huge embarrassment to my Penn State alma mater.
From Anders M at Amazon Canada:
I was astounded at how many credentialed scientists and PhDs are willing to go on record damning Mann's hockey stick. What particularly struck me was how many viewed the hockey stick as one of the biggest factors that has brought climate science into disrepute, if not contempt, among the public.
From Richard Evans at Amazon UK:
Surely there has never been such a complete dismemberment of a public figure.