When is enough enough?

Telegraph
They stood in the centre of Brussels. Row on row.
Hands held high, making hearts to the heavens. Showing the slaughtered they were not forgotten. Reminding themselves they were here with love. Looking to show humanity wins. That love conquers all.
They lay in the centre of London, face down where they fell. Stabbed by a knife, rammed with a car, flung, broken, into the Thames, life bleeding out on the curb.
And the news came thick and fast.
A car rammed deliberately into pedestrians on the bridge. Ten innocents down.
A police officer stabbed at the House of Commons. Confirmed dead.
Another woman now, dead at the scene.
Shots fired. An Asian man rushed to hospital.
A woman, plucked from the water.
And I grew colder. And more tiny.
No anger for me this time No rage like I’ve felt before. No desperate urge to get out there and scream at the idiots who refused to see this coming.
Not even a nod for the glib idiots who say this will not defeat us, that we will never be broken, that cowardice and terror will not get the better of Britain.
Because, as loyal as I am, as patriotic as I am, as much as my whole younger life was about joining the British military and fighting for my country — I fear we are broken.
Not because of this ghoulish spectacle outside our own Parliament. Not because of the lives rammed apart on the pavement, even as they thought about what was for tea. Or what train home they might make.
But because this is us now.
This is our country now.
This is what we have become.
To this, we have been reduced.
Because all the while those forgiving fools in Brussels stood with their stupid hands raised in hearts to the sky, another mischief was in the making. More death was in the pipeline.
As the last life-blood of a police officer ran out across the cobbles, the attacker was being stretchered away in an attempt to save his life.
London is a city so desperate to be seen as tolerant, no news of the injured was released. No clue about who was safe or not.
Liberals convince themselves multiculturalism works because we all die together, too.
An entire city of monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Blind. Deaf. And dumb.
Immersed in a seething pit of hatred, hidden in pockets of communities plagued by old animosities and ancient strife.
These people may have left their lands. But they have brought every tension, every conflict, every bit of fight here with them.
The Afghans hate the Somalias who loathe the Eritreans. As it was before, it is now. London is a city of ghettos behind a thin veneer of civility kept polished by a Muslim mayor whose greatest validation is his father’s old job.
Son-of-a-bus-driver Sadiq.
I see him now, penning a missive about how London is a beautiful and tolerant city, how we are united by shared values and understanding, and how we will not be cowed by terror.
Sure enough, there he was, saying exactly that, just now. Fool.
Even as mothers text to check their children are safe. Including my own, worrying about me as I sit overlooking the scene, feeling fearful of this place where monsters lurk and steal lives away in an instant. For nothing.
I would ask Sadiq to stop talking. Empty words. Meanwhile, banning pictures of women in bikinis on the Underground. How does that help?
Please, no hashtag, no vigil, no tea lights. I am begging you not to light up Parliament in the colours of the Union
Because we are not united. We are wrenched asunder.
The patriots of the rest of England versus the liberals in this city. The endless tolerance to those who harm us, (while the Home Office tries to shift the focus of public fear to white terror) — versus the millions like me who face the truth, with worried families and hopeless hearts, who feel the country sinking.
We are taken under the cold water by this heavy right foot in the south, a city of lead, so desperately wedded to the multicultural illusion that it can only fight those who love the country the most, blame those who are most proud to be British, and shout racist at the 52%.
This place is just like Sweden. Terrified of admitting the truth about the threat we face, about the horrors committed by the migrants we failed to deter — because to admit that we are sinking, and fast, would be to admit that everything the liberals believe is wrong.
That multiculturalism has not worked. That it is one big fat failure and one big fat lie.
President Erdogan of Turkey said there is a war being waged between the crescent and the cross. But he is wrong. Because the cross is not strong. We are down on bended knee, a doormat to be trodden on, a joke only funny to those that wish us harm.
The war is between London and the rest of the country. Between the liberals and the right-minded. Between those who think it is more important to tip-toe around the cultures of those who choose to join us, rather than defend our own culture.
How many more times?
And how many more attacks must pass before we acknowledge these are no longer the acts of ‘extremists’? That there is no safe badge with which to hold these people at arm’s length, in the way the liberals casually use the term ‘far-right’ for anyone who has National pride.
These events are no longer extreme. They are commonplace. Every day occurrences.
These people are no longer extremists. They are simply more devout. More true to their beliefs. Beliefs which will be supported endlessly across our state broadcaster for the next few months until we buy into the narrative that one religion is not to blame.
That in fact we should blame Brexit supporters. For believing in a Britain. As it was before.
Anything but the truth.
This is why there is no anger from me this time, no rage. No nod for those who pretend we will not be cowed, even as they rush home to text their mum they are safe. No surprise that the city of which I was so proud is now punctured by fear, and demarcated even more formally by places we cannot tread; there were always parts in which a white woman could not safely walk.
Now I feel only sadness, overwhelming sadness.
I will walk over the river tonight and look to the Thames, to the Union flag lowered at half mast, and the Parliament below, and I will wonder, just how much longer we can go on like this.

About the guest author
A trained economist, graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Intelligence Corps bursar and qualified marketer, Katie Hopkins spent 15 years working for a global brand consultancy in the UK and Tokyo.

President Erdogan of Turkey melts down over Europe

The Turkish President Recep Erdogan has unleashed invective against the Dutch specifically and in general against the EU as a whole, as relations between Europe and Turkey crash to an all time low. Prior to the recent Dutch elections the Turkish government attempted to interfere with the sovereign rights of the Dutch electoral process by actively electioneering for the Erdogan administration, in another Sovereign State’s territory.

PA

Erdogan demanded that Holland open itself up to the Turkish electoral process by allowing electioneering by the Turkish ‘firebrand’ Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and access to campaign in Holland amongst Dutch resident Turkish citizens. Such an outrageous demand by a foreign power galvanised the normally quiescent Dutch administration into a response. They absolutely forbad Turkish campaigning in Holland, and backed up that rejection by banning  Cavusoglu’s entry into The Netherlands.

This ban immediately triggered Erdogan into a tirade against Holland which rapidly grew into a hate-fest against the whole of Europe. The old chesnuts regarding the ban on Islamist headscarfs and associated head and body coverings, because of their inflammatory cultural/political connotations roared back, with Erdogan inflammatory rhetoric, in the Turkish daily Hurriyet, suggesting a return to the Crusades and a ” struggle between Cross and Crescent”. <http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/headscarf-ruling-touches-off-battle-between-cross-crescent-president-erdogan-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=110893&NewsCatID=510>. The Turkish President then upped the ante by accusing the EU of reverting to a Nazi type ‘spirit of Fascism’ roaming the streets of European capitals.

Not to be outdone the excluded Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, engaged in a most undiplomatic outburst about how a Jihad Holy War would soon engulf the whole of Europe. <http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-fm-warns-of-holy-wars-in-europe-in-remarks-on-dutch-elections–.aspx?pageID=238&nID=110874&NewsCatID=510> .

Once the dust had settled and the Dutch elections were over, Cavusoglu rejoined the overheated rhetoric with, … “When you look at the many parties you see there is no difference between the social democrats and fascist [Geert] Wilders. All have the same mentality. Where will you go? Where are you taking Europe? You have begun to collapse Europe. You are dragging Europe into the abyss. Holy wars will soon begin in Europe.”

Whilst  the rest of the European leaders were congratulating the Dutch Prime Minister for successfully seeing off the challenge from Geert Wilders, the leader of the right wing Freedom Party, Cavusoglu and Erdogan took  to thumbing their noses at the Netherlands, taunting re-elected Prime Minister Mark Rutte: “O Rutte! You may have been first in the elections, but you have lost a friend like Turkey.” Newly re-elected PM Rutte must have thought, ‘with friends’ like these who needs enemies.’

Erdogan continued, “there is no such prime minister here – give it up, you have lost” after Rutte, understandably, declined an invitation from Erdofan and Cavusoglu to dine with them and  receive a further personal tirade of hatful rhetoric. 

Erdogan’s undiplomatic language is symptomatic of his current tentative grasp on power, as he lurches hard fascist right, into a potentially sharia compliant Islamic State in Turkey. By purging most of his opponents, within the former Turkish secular administration, Erdogan appears to be emboldened, however he must know that he has generated a serious groundswell of opposition against his administration. His ‘attack dog’, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu is playing to the semi-literate tailings in the Eastern electorate hinterlands of Turkey, who epitomise the current move towards a single party Islamist State and away from a secular NATO ally.

Threatening the EU with Jihad Holy War and suggesting that Turkey will flood Europe with millions more displaced Syrians and other Islamic populations, appears to show Erdogan’s true face. Threatening to scuttle Turkey’s migrant readmission agreement with the European Union and demanding more ‘Danegeld’ reparations from Europe is classic extortion writ large.

The faux coup d’etat of 2016 in Turkey, using the pretext of a ‘Gullan plot’ against the Turkish State, has swept away much of the expertise and experience within the Turkish Armed Forces, Bureaucracy and Courts. It has also relegated any hope of Turkish admission to the EU moot, for the foreseeable future. Erdogan’s dream of a neo-Ottomon empire appears to have reverted to the back burner for now, as the Assad Regime slowly regains power over Syria. This realpolitik from Erdogan is reflected in his apparent rapprochement with both Russia and Israel. Faced with a shocked EU, a traditionally hostile Arab Saudi Arabia on his doorstep, a galvanised Kurdish threat to his Southern Borders, and a challenge from a Shi’a, soon to be nuclear, Iran, Erdogan needs all the allies he can get.

Expect the Erdogan Administration to turn inward over the next few years as he bolsters his internal grip on power. Erdogan must be feeling vulnerable as his reconstituted ‘allies’ have had recent experience of Erdogan’s capriciousness and he must question just how much support he might actually get from them.

 

 

 



Four Years Later: Reflections on an Unprecedented Pontificate

On March 13, 2013, I sat in my office and watched my screen as a new pope — a man whom I had never seen before that moment — walked out onto the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. I had never heard of him. I did not even know his name. Like most Catholics, I had approached the papal conclave with a sense of hopeful anticipation. But the feeling that came over me when I saw the man the cardinals had elected was shockingly forceful. It was a feeling of icy cold dread. As I looked at him, standing there, staring out at the crowd, I heard seven words distinctly in my mind, unbidden: “This man is no friend of Tradition.”

Reuters

It was a strange sentence. Oddly phrased. I knew, just as surely as one knows that the voice of someone speaking to them in a quiet room is not their own, that this was not my thought, but some sort of external prompting. It would have been impossible for me to even attempt such an assessment, since I knew literally nothing about the man, this Argentinian cardinal, Jorge Bergoglio.

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BREXIT Article 50 trigger to be pulled by the end of March 2017

The British Prime Minister Theresa May has finally won the power to trigger the BREXIT Article 50, after the Lords, upper house, backed down and passed the Brexit Bill. Two crucial votes in the House of Commons allowed May to trigger the bill to pull the UK out of the European Union. It was thought that if the ‘soft’ option was blocked, either by rebel Tories in the Commons, or by the Lords, then May would go with the ‘nuclear’ Hard Exit Option on BREXIT. Earlier Tory MPs knuckled down to the will of the Whips and withdrew their amendment, guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals currently working in the UK. It also gave short shift, calling the bluff of EU threats against British workers currently domiciled in the EU countries. The BREXIT triggering bill backed the May Government 335 to 287, majority 48.

AP

The Commons MPs also defeated a second amendment on the timetabling of votes at the end of the negotiation. After a long debate the Lords agreed not to contradict the will of the elected chamber. A Tory peer, Viscount Hailsham, who had previously voted in favour of the amendment  said tonight: “We have asked the Commons to think again, they have thought again, they have not taken our advice, and our role now I believe is not to insist.”

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The US Fed’s plan for Rate Hikes and the resulting fallout in 2017

Donald Trump’s election has increased the expectation further Federal Reserve rate hikes. The recent hike in the Fed’s interest rates, only the second such hike in the past decade, may be the foretaste of up to Three further rate hikes during 2017.

FRB

 

Trump’s  campaign platform was based on stimulus policies that would both increase economic activity — through infrastructure investment,  corporate tax  cut to 15%,raise tariff barriers to imports resulting in  boosting prices domestically. Such plans on the back of interest rate rises are recipes for higher inflation.

One of the Fed’s key jobs is to stabilise prices , by adjusting interest rates. In fact interest rate manipulation is one of the few remaining effective tools left in its financial tool kit. Higher cost of money however nominally brings with it inflationary pressures that could compound and set of an inflationary spiral. The chances of that however are remote given the record low levels of current inflationary pressure.

Given the likelihood of three planned modest rate rises during 2017, the chances of an inflationary spike is remote however, for the remainder of Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen’s term. In 2018, her position will be up for renewal, raising the possibility that she might be replaced by a Fed Chairman less receptive to interest rate hikes, particularly if the Trump administration proves to be more interested in  sustaining growth. For the time being, the Trump economic policy path to higher spending, higher inflation and higher rates resulting in a stronger dollar appears to be set.

The interest rate gap between the United States and other major currencies like Japan and the eurozone, both of which have negative interest rates and are deep in bond purchasing, is noteworthy. Such Interest Rate divergence among the world’s major central banks is historically rare, and as the disparity grows, it will boost the gains to be made by borrowing in the lower-rate countries and lending in the higher-rate ones, such as the US, especially if the US economy ‘takes off’.

Such flows of capital among the world’s major centers can be destabilising to weaker economies as was shown with the EU after the recent US Fed rate hike.  The Bank of Japan in particular stepped back from its  quantitative easing and appears now set on a  bond-buying program.

The European Central Bank has reduced its rate of bond purchases, sen as an attempt to reduce the divergence effect ahead of further U.S. rate hikes in an effort to keep the gap under control. The ECB will likely fail.

That said, each central bank also had other reasons for its strategy shift, from the dwindling supply of bonds available for purchase by the Japanese bank to the overall improvement in global economic circumstances and increasing signs of general inflation as commodity prices have stabilized.

In fact, the improving global economic climate has allowed the market to largely ride out developments that at the beginning of 2016 seemed to be filling it with panic. Last December’s U.S. rate hike made China’s yuan look overvalued, especially following the move in 2015 by the People’s Bank of China to break its currency’s dollar peg. The resulting rapid increase in capital outflows prompted the Chinese central bank to spend $100 billion a month in foreign exchange reserves to staunch the bleeding. With under $3 trillion left in China’s reserves and with $2.4 trillion ‘ringfenced’ to underwrite  China’s $16 trillion in loans, the Chinese economy is fast running out of financial defences. Especially so with the prospects of strategic instability in the South China Sea, complicating China’s economic options.

In the wake of Italy’s failed constitutional referendum, and with debt repayment scheduling again approaching, with the banks still vulnerable to instability, the economic situation in Southern Europe is fraught. Populist political elections are due across the EU over the next 18 months, adding to the sense of approaching political and fiscal crisis once more. The shock of Brexit could be followed by more ‘falling dominoes’ as the EU looks vulnerable, at a time when the German economic powerhouse looks weak and divided.

With Italy’s banks now at an extremely fragile point, and with China’s $3 trillion in reserves (effectively only $0.6 trillion available) now 25 percent lower than they were in 2014, countries around the world are hoping that another financial storm will not descend. If it does the US will weather the financial maelstrom better than most.