Anthony Watts, proprietor of the indispensable Watts Up With That, has been a vital ally through my interminable struggles with the climate mullahs. (He's also one of my very distinguished co-writers on Climate Change: The Facts.) Anthony has been horribly walloped by the California wildfires, and, unlike the big-time warm-mongers, he does not have any cozy sinecures such as serving as Jessica Alba's personal climatologist to cushion the blow. It would be a disaster for the flow of information and the exchange of ideas if what's happening on the west coast were to claim among its victims one of the world's most read and certainly most energetic websites on climate science and climate politics. If you're able to help keep Anthony in harness and doing what he does at WUWT, I hope you'll consider helping out.
~The people of the United Kingdom face a political choice between Jeremy Corbyn, who is sincerely appalling, and Theresa May, who is insincerely appalling. Corbyn doesn't like the Queen, the union, the army, the Jews; on the other hand, he's quite partial to the IRA and Middle Eastern terrorists. And, somewhat to his credit, he's either not very good at pretending otherwise or disinclined to do so. Mrs May, by contrast, is a shifty dissembler. Who knows what, if any, are her genuine beliefs - or even if she's capable of recognizing such a concept.
Nevertheless, it is some considerable achievement for a Tory leader to have inflicted more damage on the nation than a polytechnic Trotskyite would. In June 2016, when David Cameron went flouncing off into the post-referendum sunset, Mrs May seized the prime ministership under a characteristically evasive battle-cry of "Brexit means Brexit".
Two-and-a-half years on, Brexit means anything but Brexit. The Spectator has a grim hit parade of the Top Forty horrors to emerge from the PM's "deal" with Brussels. Sample quote from her triumphant "agreement" with the Eurocrats:
All references to Member States and competent authorities of Member States ...shall be read as including the United Kingdom.
As I said months back: Welcome to the Hotel Brexifornia. You can check "Out" any time you like, but you can never leave.
Note, too, that the "transitional" period could theoretically last forever, a supposedly sovereign state has no right to withdraw from it, and what would be an obviously inequitable contract under English law instead comes solely under "European law". This is a divorce agreement that appoints your ex-husband as the family-court judge. Britain would be, from the viewpoint of Mrs May's team, an EU protectorate in perpetuity and, from the viewpoint of Brussels, a vassal state. Neither counts as Brexit.
I'm a "no-deal" man, if only because that's preferable to a deal conducted on the basis of Wrestlemania - "where the fights are fake but the injuries are very real". Also over at the Speccie, the former Aussie PM, Tony Abbott, has his three-ha'porth on the subject, and likewise comes down on the side of no deal. Within the conventions of prime ministerial collegiality, he is withering about what Mrs May hath wrought:
The referendum result was perhaps the biggest-ever vote of confidence in the United Kingdom, its past and its future. But the British establishment doesn't seem to share that confidence and instead looks desperate to cut a deal, even if that means staying under the rule of Brussels. Looking at this from abroad, it's baffling: the country that did the most to bring democracy into the modern world might yet throw away the chance to take charge of its own destiny.
That last point is worth reiterating. London has written the constitutions of more sovereign states than anybody in history. The constitution of Mr Abbott's country is an act of the British Parliament, no more or less. So is the constitution of my own country. So too those of Barbados and Papua New Guinea and Mauritius and dozens of others. As I occasionally mention, a decade or so back I received from a retired colonial civil servant in Wales an e-mail with the enviable opening line, "Having helped write seven constitutions..."
Yet we are now expected to believe that the Mother of Parliaments, the "mother of the free", is incapable of midwifing its own restored sovereignty. There is nothing in British history to compare to the quivering paralysis of the last two years.
By the way, under British nationality law, there is nothing to prevent a Commonwealth citizen sitting in the UK parliament, and many have done so. Granted, it has been a while since one of Her Majesty's overseas subjects served as Conservative leader and prime minister (my compatriot Bonar Law in 1922), but the Tories could do far worse than install Tony Abbott in Downing Street on a drive-thru no-deal platform.
~From Brexit bungling to "Hee Haw": that's an improvement right there. Roy Clark died a few days ago. Aside from his "Hee Haw" hosting, he also helped give the French troubadour Charles Aznavour his biggest hit in America: "Yesterday, When I Was Young". When he first sang the song all those yesterdays ago, Clark was, in fact, young. Here he is, having aged to meet its lyric, reprising the number on TV four decades later:
"Yesterday When I Was Young" was written by the late M Aznavour and our old friend Herbie Kretzmer. For the story of the song, see here.
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline starting with my thoughts on the passing of Stan Lee and our pop culture's noticeable dearth of non-super heroes. Our Saturday movie date saluted the screenwriter of Butch Cassidy, The Princess Bride, Marathon Man and more, William Goldman, and our Sunday song selection celebrated the eightieth birthday of my compatriot Gordon Lightfoot. SteynOnline's marquee presentation was our continuing Tale for Our Time, Baroness Orczy's thrilling adventure set during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror - The Scarlet Pimpernel: Click for Part Eight, Part Nine and Part Ten - or, if you want to start at the very beginning, settle in for a good old binge-listen here. If you were too busy having your chad re-dimpled in Broward County, I hope you'll want to catch up with one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.
Tales for Our Time is made possible through the support of Mark Steyn Club members, for which we're profoundly grateful - and we'd love to welcome you to our ranks if you're so inclined. For more information on The Mark Steyn Club, see here - and don't forget our special Gift Membership, which makes a fine Thanksgiving or Christmas present.
If you prefer live stage performance, the legendary Dennis Miller and the not so legendary me will be together for the first time in a mini-tour of Pennsylvania and western New York. You can pre-book tickets for Reading, Syracuse, Wilkes-Barre and Rochester - and at all four shows there's a special opportunity to meet Dennis and me after the show. Oh, and Dennis is on board for next year's second annual Mark Steyn cruise.
Catch you on the telly with Tucker live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, and, for Mark Steyn Club members, just before that for Part Eleven of The Scarlet Pimpernel. And tomorrow morning, Tuesday, I'll be back on the curvy couch with Steve, Ainsley and Brian at "Fox & Friends", live at 8am Eastern.