We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

The problem is that a lot of data suggests that countries with more robust welfare states tend to have stronger far-right movements. Providing white voters with higher levels of economic security does not tamp down their anxieties about race and immigration — or, more precisely, it doesn’t do it powerfully enough. For some, it frees them to worry less about what it’s in their wallet and more about who may be moving into their neighbourhoods or competing with them for jobs.

Zack Beauchamp, Vox.

(Yes, I am putting up a SQOTD from a lefty news service. If readers’ blood pressure rises, sorry. The article contains a few errors and arguments I don’t agree with, but I like to find signs, or glimmerings, of intelligence wherever I can. Maybe, just maybe it is dawning on some of the smarter souls in the Left that the identity politics game has been a catastrophe, and that some of the so-called solutions for our ills as advocated by socialists/Welfare Statists have been an abject failure. Politics/ideas are in ferment right now, and this article is a sort of suggestion of what the ferment is causing. I also commend the author for the amount of data here.)

I added this to the pushback in the comments:

Let’s consider: the article goes into considerable detail to point the fact that in those countries with high levels of Welfare State spending and the rest, support for the far right has increased often more than among those places with less of this, and the author concludes that one reason might be that citizens in those places feel their welfare frees them up to worry about non-economic issues, such as the allegedly malign impact of foreigners entering a country. That seems to be just as plausible a reading of the facts – and in some ways an original and perceptive one – as the standard line that high welfare has sucked in lots of foreign scroungers who have provoked a backlash. For a start, there is no clear evidence that immigrants in net terms consume more welfare than the indigenous population. Secondly, there is the point that the sort of people who want high welfare spending (paid for, they naively think, by other, richer people) tend to have a zero-sum, economically illiterate view of the world (hence their support for a Welfare State), and people who hold wrong-headed views about the State tend also to hold fearful views about immigrants “taking their jobs” or whatever. And the kind of folk who are turned on by the politics of identity tend, given their collectivist assumptions about life (bosses, workers, them, us, etc) to be the sort who like Big Government.

This article shows why it is no accident that Labour Party voters, who by and large aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, have switched to UKIP, or even further to the right, and why socialism often blends very easily with nationalism.

Like I said, what I hope (naively!) this article suggests is that there are people on the Left who are seeing this, and who realise there is a problem. At the very least, rather than simply criticise and pick holes, it is a good idea in my view to engage with these folk, to show where they are correct and draw them out. This is how intellectual shifts occur; smart advocates of liberal free markets and limited government should embrace anyone who seems honestly to be wrestling with what is going on.

 

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37 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • John B

    “The problem is that a lot of data suggests that countries with more robust welfare states tend to have stronger far-right movements…”

    The problem is using correlation to prove causality in the absence of independent corroborative data.

    Equally one could argue that… a lot of data suggests that countries which tend to have stronger far-right movements have more robust welfare states.

    Far-right movements espouse increased power of the State over the individual; centralised economic control (see, for example, ‘Far Right’ Marie Le Pen’s policies.)

    Except increased power of the State over the individual and centralised economic power…root of Fascism (alleged Far Right), is also the root of Socialism (not alleged Far Right).

    So…

    Fascism and Socialism are in essence the same and therefore either both Left or both Far Right. I say both Left.

    And that actually explains the Welfare State thing: Far-Right movements are in fact Socialist at root.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Actually, the root cause of the correlation seems (to me) to be different from the hypotheses offered by Zack Beauchamp and John B. It’s pretty simple, really: in countries with large transfers from certain ethnic groups to others, the groups that stand to lose as a group, blame the groups that stand to gain. They really should blame the politicians who let the poorer groups in, and then started using them as mascots (a word i borrow from Thomas Sowell); but human nature is what it is.

    It is not just nativism: i bet that high-earning immigrants to Denmark and Sweden resent having to pay for the welfare of lazy natives. (Denmark alleviates the problem by setting a low, flat tax rate for highly skilled immigrants, for the first 3 years iirc.)

  • Mr Ed

    Maybe, just maybe it is dawning on some of the smarter souls in the Left that the identity politics game has been a catastrophe, and that some of the so-called solutions for our ills as advocated by socialists/Welfare Statists have been an abject failure.

    What is ‘failure‘ to a socialist?

    The absence of starvation, the absence of tyranny, the existence of property. Socialism is about destruction, tearing down that which does not exalt the socialist.

  • bob

    Yes. Regardless of the meaning of “right wing”, that more are awakening to the possibility that one of their idols (“left-wing outlook”) is unhappy sitting on the same shelf as another of their idols (governments intrusive in domestic affairs) is to be celebrated at least a little.

    Off topic, but on this blog:

    Weeks ago appeared on this blog a review of an essay or book detailing extensive technology transfers from the west to the Soviet Union. I have searched for it, to no avail.

    Does any Samizdato or Samizdate recall th author or the name of that book or essay?

    Quatloos…

  • “Unexpectedly,” as Glenn Reynolds likes to say. . . .

    I don’t think that the greater intensity of ethnic and nationalist movements in countries with strong welfare states is any surprise. A strong welfare state, unless it has very narrow restrictions on who can get welfare, is an attractant for migrants from other countries. They aren’t necessarily even looking for work; they may be looking for public assistance of a kind their own countries don’t provide, or they may be looking for escape from brutal regimes and not worrying about whether they’ll be able to find work because their new home has welfare. And in the meantime the people in the new home country are paying taxes to support this process. The more generous the provisions, the higher the taxes, and the greater the perceived urgency of resisting further immigration.

    Really, it’s the same process that created the “fat and fags” agenda for the NHS in the UK: Taxpayers saying, “I don’t want to pay for that!”

  • Fraser Orr

    We all need to say again and again: fascism is not a right wing movement. It is neither right nor left in the traditional sense, but insofar as your force it onto a line, it shares far more in common with the left than the right.

    My view on this is that lefties grew tired of being the only ones with an extreme wing — communism — so they concocted this idea that righties have an extreme wing too, and ironically chose the national socialist party as their exemplar.

    Left wing is “communism for everyone, whether you like it or not”, fascism is “communism for the special ones whether they like it or not, and death to everyone else.” If anything characterizes the right wing it is the idea of private property. Communism opposes the “property” part, fascism opposes the “private” part.

    However, what I got out of the QOTD was the subtext of seething contempt the writer has for the poor. He might as well have complained about them clinging to their god and their guns.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Mr Ed asks: What is ‘failure‘ to a socialist?

    As far as I can tell, for most of them, it is being out of power. They might like Bernie Sanders and Corbyn, but they also know that these fools are not able to drive events. Being an ageing, charity-shop Trot is no life for an adult.

  • Hoth

    It’s funny how people oppose you when you’ve forced them into dependency and stripped them of their pride.

  • Jacob

    Countries with a more “robust welfare state” tend to be countries on an economic downward slope – i.e. they are getting poorer. When a country (with most of it’s “middle class”) gets poorer than it used to be, all kind of troubles emerge.

    What is remarkable is that opposition to immigration is seen as a “far right” issue, and deemed unreasonable or unacceptable.
    The question is: is all opposition to immigration unreasonable? How much immigration is good, and when does it turn bad?

  • Watchman

    John B,

    The article did report a suggested causation – that economic security means people don’t vote for economic interests (wierdly exactly the same logic as that that explains the fact that the only area where Labour in the UK gain more support nowadays is the middle class…), which is to me interesting, although I obviously dispute the fact that a welfare safety net really equals economic security. But I can see that the existence of a welfare net might help an identity develop around the nation state that provides the welfare, and which excludes ‘others’ (those not from that state, so immigrant groups) – this in Europe might differ from racial profiling as in the UK and France at least certain groups (especially those of Caribean or African descent) are accepted as part of the nation by many (for example UKIP have a fair few members of different ethnicities – more than just the token one or two that most parties that actually work on the line that race is important manage to display, and then there’s this handy BBC story about Front National supporters).

    In the US, where the welfare net does not create the same obligation to nation state, or generally to state (it would be interesting to know if there was a different profile in the higher-welfare states) then the division is more easily expressed on grounds of race rather than nationhood. So I would suggest that the welfare state in Europe is likely to have produced the shape of the European “far-right” (the fact East European parties, in countries with weaker welfare states, tend to be much more focussed on race would also support this), but that the analysis is wrong overall because the author views racism in the US as the factor that has stopped the development of a welfare state, which seems to be a resort to the liberal bogeyman of American racism (albeit we would have to review the supporting studies to confirm that), whilst a neater answer is simply that there are factors pushing people towards a “far right”, generally statist extermist, position, including the failure of socialism and social democracy, and that the manifestations of this differ in the US and Europe due to the existence of welfare nets and therefore the resultant ideas of community.

    And that’s my hypothesis – none of which takes away from that being an interesting article, even if I disagree with Johnathan that the author doesn’t appear to be questioning identity politics, but still falling back on this to explain a difference. It’s nice to read someone from a progressive point of view who can clearly think anyway – gets us out of our own echo chambers.

  • Confucious

    I’d venture a simpler explanation: Perhaps white voters are aware that the welfare state aka their economic security surviving long-term, is contingent on the net payer vs net receiver ratio not tilting too far to the latter. Which is exactly what mass immigration by low-skilled, poor-work-ethic migrants with anti-integration cultural baggage causes.

  • nemesis

    What is ‘failure‘ to a socialist?

    Might I suggest that socialism is motivated by ‘envy’ or rather the elimination of envy – according to this book;
    http://www.amazon.com/ENVY-Theory-Behaviour-Helmut-Schoeck/dp/0865970645/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
    Which I intend to read. Of course, while any minor inequality exists, envy can never be entirely eliminated, hence this utopia can never be reached. It just becomes a constant struggle, often over a sea of blood.

  • Jacob

    “The problem is that a lot of data suggests that countries with more robust welfare states tend to have stronger far-right movements. Providing white voters with higher levels of economic security does not tamp down their anxieties about race and immigration…”

    The writer gets it exactly backwards .
    Countries with a “robust welfare state” do not (repeat: DO NOT) provide “white voters” (or any color voters, this was a racist remark by Zack) with “higher levels of economic security”.
    This is standard leftist dogma: welfare state = economic security. It is totally wrong. Robust welfare state means near-poverty for everybody. Living off welfare means living in poverty (though, probably not in hunger). A “robust welfare state” causes discontent for sure.

    The second mistaken premise of this piece is that opposition to immigration is a “extreme right” thing, because the “reasonable position”, the “progressive” position, would be acceptance of immigrants in unlimited numbers.
    Wrong. Unlimited immigration is NOT the reasonable position, and has not been practiced for at least a 100 years, neither by right-wing, nor by left-wing governments. The implicit assumption of the Zack article – that more immigration is always better and more “progressive” is false.

    So, this article as a whole is standard progressive nonsense.

  • The OP notes that “I like to find signs, or glimmerings, of intelligence wherever I can”. I do too, plus even reading leftwing articles that have few or no such signs can be (a) amusing, and (b) useful preparation should one ever have to critique their arguments (all the more effective because they, knowing we are ‘the stupid ones’ will likely be less knowledgable of our arguments). Johnathan “also commend[s] the author for the amount of data here” and there is indeed some analysis of trends and potted history.

    That said, I have to echo commenters above who think the author thick as a brick for imagining that it’s the economic security given by the welfare state that allows the “far”-right time to indulge their racism towards immigrants. Add me to those who think their ability to do arithmetic might explain things. If our borders are open and our welfare benefits generous (and a ‘right’ to all who cross them), maybe you don’t need an expensive university education to notice that, in a world of 7 billion plus people, there will be values for the various rates that are unsustainable, and these are most likely to happen when those who are university-educated have learned merely never to think that. The article is an example of this, its theory a confabulation by someone who can’t see the obvious, so must invent an explanation to fill the hole in their head.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Niall, the author states that the alt-right can’t be defeated by socialist economics and points out that he likes of Corbyn have been a disaster. I’d say that the author shows some understanding.

  • Johnathan Pearce (March 14, 2017 at 10:07 pm), I agree the author is right about the points you mention – there are indeed “signs, or glimmerings, of intelligence”, just as you suggest.

    By contrast, I think his theory of why welfare state and far/alt-right views do not anti-correlate is a prime example of confabulation. Some very obvious reasons being unthinkable, some far less credible ones must be confabulated to fill the gap. So there are indeed mere “signs, or glimmerings, of intelligence” in the article.

  • Paul Marks

    The assumption in the first quote is that the Welfare State is automatically a good thing – perhaps just not good enough.

    Even where the establishment left admits that government welfare has not always existed they do so in a perverse way – for example the “laggard welfare state” section in Wikipedia about Third Republic France before the First World War – everything is done to present France without government welfare (unlike Britain – or especially Germany) in the worst possible light.

    As for Zack B.

    He has “the data” in front of him – but he does not understand it.

    For example it does not occur to him that the IMMIGRANTS are attracted by the “robust welfare states”.

    As for confusing government benefits and services with the “economic security” that men seek by meaningful work – damn him, damn him to Hell fire.

    Still back to government benefits and public services.

    All American States are compelled to offer “free” education to the children of illegals (an intellectually corrupt Supreme Court case in 1982 against Texas), “emergency” care has been forced on every hospital by a demented Act of Congress from the mid 1980s, and “Food Stamps” have been available (to more and more people) since 1961.

    There was no Trump wall in the 1950s and no need for one – as there was some immigration from Latin America but no tidal wave of welfare seekers (as there was little in terms of government benefits or services to seek in the 1950s).

    As for Europe.

    I watched the Prime Minister of the Netherlands last night – not a socialist, a smooth talking “conservative” or “liberal” (is there a difference in these countries?).

    The Prime Minister of the Netherlands lies very well – Britain is in “chaos” (lie – in spite of the lack of clear principles from the British government which is run by “Remainers” like the government of the Netherlands), the Netherlands would lose 1.4 million jobs if it left the E.U. (or some such number – another lie, and a wonderfully precise lie sounding very “scientific”), things are, basically, going well with the forces of Islam in the Netherlands – the man almost had me believing him, he had learned his lies so well and delivered them so perfectly.

    The elite have decided that 13 centuries of history can be shoved down the Memory Hole – that Islam is to be presented as peaceful and there is no problem other than a few “extremists” and “white racism” (as if Islam was a race).

    The uneducated “masses” have a nagging feeling that the elite are spinning lies (which they are) – but they lack the means to articulate their doubts correctly, and the establishment elite are very clever (and very ruthless).

    Europe is doomed – its unlimited Welfare States will bankrupt the various European countries. And its leaders (the establishment elite) are determined to destroy to Europe. That is the mad ideology that their “European Union” is based upon.

    The only other thing is that the establishment elite will themselves be destroyed – they and their children.

    Not by the “far right” (they have no chance of power in most European countries) – but by the very forces the establishment elite have opened the gates to and invited into Europe.

  • Flubber

    “The problem is that a lot of data suggests that countries with more robust welfare states tend to have stronger far-right movements. Providing white voters with higher levels of economic security does not tamp down their anxieties about race and immigration…”

    This is as Jacob notes completely backwards. The Welfare states of the west are so large and all consuming that the middle classes are being taxed into oblivion to pay for them. Combine that with the left’s downright absurd evolution from lets look after our countries poor to lets invite the poor of the world to come live here means that people can see the writing is on the wall – the white west is on its knees. When you see the left’s cherished cheerleaders openly advocating for a post white world, do you think people will just accept their fates? Well the lefty ones will because consumed by their hate, as long as the people they hate get theirs, the fact that those same lefties will also get it is of minor inconvenience.

    The left’s embrace of globalism, with its root in finance is also mind bending.

    I saw a good quote recently – Globalism means a few rich families and billions of serfs.

  • Flubber

    And the old proverb goes, that if something cant go on forever then it wont – i.e. Western nations racking up more and more debt.

    What happens when the money runs out? The saying goes, the veneer of civilisation can be quite thin…

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Niall writes: I think his theory of why welfare state and far/alt-right views do not anti-correlate is a prime example of confabulation. Some very obvious reasons being unthinkable, some far less credible ones must be confabulated to fill the gap. So there are indeed mere “signs, or glimmerings, of intelligence” in the article.

    I still think that is unfair on the writer, because we should not start by assuming that those on the Left are either evil or willfully blind to what is in front of them. Let’s consider: the article goes into considerable detail to point the fact that in those countries with high levels of Welfare State spending and the rest, support for the far right has increased often more than among those places with less of this, and the author concludes that one reason might be that citizens in those places feel their welfare frees them up to worry about non-economic issues, such as the allegedly malign impact of foreigners entering a country. That seems to be just as plausible a reading of the facts – and in some ways an original and perceptive one – as the standard line that high welfare has sucked in lots of foreign scroungers who have provoked a backlash. For a start, there is no clear evidence that immigrants in net terms consume more welfare than the indigenous population. Secondly, there is the point that the sort of people who want high welfare spending (paid for, they naively think, by other, richer people) tend to have a zero-sum, economically illiterate view of the world (hence their support for a Welfare State), and people who hold wrong-headed views about the State tend also to hold fearful views about immigrants “taking their jobs” or whatever. And the kind of folk who are turned on by the politics of identity tend, given their collectivist assumptions about life (bosses, workers, them, us, etc) to be the sort who like Big Government.

    This article shows why it is no accident that Labour Party voters, who by and large aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, have switched to UKIP, or even further to the right, and why socialism often blends very easily with nationalism.

    Like I said, what I hope (naively!) this article suggests is that there are people on the Left who are seeing this, and who realise there is a problem. At the very least, rather than simply criticise and pick holes, it is a good idea in my view to engage with these folk, to show where they are correct and draw them out. This is how intellectual shifts occur; smart advocates of liberal free markets and limited government should embrace anyone who seems honestly to be wrestling with what is going on.

  • Snorri Godhi

    For a start, there is no clear evidence that immigrants in net terms consume more welfare than the indigenous population.

    I thought that Christopher Caldwell did provide evidence for that proposition, in Reflections on the Revolution in Europe; or so i read in the book reviews, since i did not read the book itself.

    Anyway, i agree with what Johnathan seems to imply: the natives will resent immigrants getting welfare benefits, even when immigrants do not get more than their fair share. (Immigrants will resent having to contribute to welfare, too, even if the natives do not get more than their fair share.) You might shake your head sadly about this, but it’s just human nature.

    The fact is, Johnathan seems to attribute this idea to Zack Beauchamp, but the quote in the OP does not say anything like that. The closest it gets to that, is the claim that immigrants take “our” jobs; but the connection between the welfare state and unemployment is rather tenuous: labor market flexibility can do more than welfare cuts to increase employment.

  • Jacob

    “and the author [Zack] concludes that one reason might be that citizens in those places feel their welfare frees them up to worry about non-economic issues”

    This conclusion (the main idea of the article) is absolutely and totally, and obviously, wrong.
    Citizens worry about immigration regardless of “robust welfare” policies. In many countries that have no “robust welfare state”, and are poor, people also worry about immigration, even more so. For example: (legal) immigration to Mexico is totally and absolutely forbidden (unless you are rich).
    It is not the feeling of economic security (reached via welfare, as Zack claims absurdly) that causes people (alt-right or whatever) to oppose immigration. It is the feeling of IN-security that causes opposition to immigration.

  • Jacob

    Paul: As for confusing government benefits and services with the “economic security” that men seek by meaningful work – damn him, damn him to Hell fire.

    Absolutely.

    Every premise of Zack’s article is wrong:
    1. “Robust welfare = economic security” – Wrong.
    2. “Economic security frees people to worry about immigration.” Wrong.
    3. “Immigration is good and reasonable, opposition to immigration is an alt-right thing and is bad” Wrong again.

  • Jacob

    And besides: the ugly and prevalent and absurd Marxist idea of the “materialistic interpretation of history” is manifest in this article. The idea that money is the only motivation for all behavior.

    The opposition to immigration is NOT an economic issue! It is not all about money. People mistrust and oppose the “other”, especially the very distinct “other” (Muslims), for reasons that have nothing to do with economics or welfare. Call them religious, cultural or whatever, they are NOT economic. Surely not ONLY economic, or mainly economic.

  • Paul Marks

    The idea that welfare makes people feel “secure” so they can “forget about economic issues” and worry about other things is such rubbish that is hard to know where to start with it.

    The writer quoted has everything reversed in his head.

  • Paul Marks

    Of course Mr Wilders, in the Netherlands, is also mixed up.

    One does not “defend freedom” by banning books.

    He is also pro MORE spending on “public services”.

    Although against the insanity of government “overseas aid” and art subsidies and so on.

  • Laird

    I agree with the general sense of Johnathan’s post, that it is good to see that some on the left are beginning to realize there is a problem with their message, although I don’t see (from this article, anyway) any evidence of recognition that the problem is with “identity politics”. To his credit, Beauchamp doesn’t offer a solution, merely an honest admission that a problem exists. But identity politics seems to be inherent in his entire discussion. Specifically, he (and the soi disant experts he cites) seem obsessed with race.

    I will offer one specific example, based on personal observation. About 2/3rds of the way through the article he offers a nice scatter chart (with a handy regression line drawn through it) labelled “States with higher percentages of black citizens pay less in welfare.” I will assume that the data is correct. But what if fails to show is that the states at the low end of that regression line (mine included: SC) are all low-income states with a correspondingly lower cost of living. What the chart doesn’t show is either the relationship of the welfare payment to the median cost of living, or to the median income in the state. A lower welfare payment in AL compared to NY makes perfect sense by any objective economic measure. But the only conclusion he is able to draw is “racism.” I submit that race colors his (and his sources’) every thought. This (and the other) charts are projections, not analyses.

    I have lived in SC for 20 years, although I grew up and spent a large part of my professional career in the Northeast. I can tell you from personal observation that black-white relations here, where blacks comprise a much higher percentage of the population, are far better than they are in the north. Beauchamp appears to have an ivory tower perspective on things, untainted by any connection with objective reality. I pretty much dismiss all of his arguments.

  • Julie near Chicago

    That’s very interesting, Laird. I have lived within 100 mi. of Chicago almost all my life, except for a year spent in NYC and three years at Purdue. (My Honey, after leaving the Big Apple: “A train wreck waiting to happen.” We were there for the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965. By the way, people were helpful, considerate, kind. Not much in the way of looting, as I recall. –The lights, and the subway, went out around suppertime, 6 pm or so IIRC, so lots of people were caught in the subway on the way home from work.– And lots of babies born 9 months later, oddly enough *g*.)

    So, a Midwesterner almost all my life.

    But my Dad was from New Orleans (immigrated — legally — from British Honduras, sometime before 1910 I think). And we used to go down there every year to visit my Grands and aunt. And he always said the same thing you noted about the Negroes in the South. These visits, by the way, ran from around 1945 to sometime in the early ’60s, plus one more in 1975 or so.

  • bloke in spain

    To understand this you do have to listen to what a lot of supporters of the Welfare State think & say. They do understand that a system that helps the needy in a society costs money. And in a redistributive system, it’s their money being redistributed. They consent to this because it is regarded as “fair” & in the common good of the society they belong to. The “social contract”.(Hence they think it is “fair” that those with more wealth should contribute proportionally more.) But this doesn’t mean they regard themselves as having relinquished “ownership” of the money. Likewise, if they’re beneficiaries of the Welfare State, they believe they have “ownership” of the assistance they receive under the “social contract”.
    So naturally, when they see large numbers of immigrants also receiving this assistance, they believe it is “their” money being diverted to provide it. And the recipients undeserving because they aren’t party to the “social contract” to which they themselves subscribe.

  • James g

    The left’s solutions:
    More funding.
    Put people into identity buckets and then shame those in the buckets associated with comparably more social success into feeling guilty about the others.

  • Runcie Balspune


    1. “Robust welfare = economic security”
    2. “Economic security frees people to worry about immigration.”
    3. “Immigration is good and reasonable, opposition to immigration is an alt-right thing and is bad”

    It’s the old große Lüge again, made famous by you-know-who.

  • Laird

    OK, this is about as far off-topic as it’s possible to get, but it’s too good not to share so here it is:

    Theresa May with a photoshopped fish. Why? Because internet.

  • Alisa

    This must be the best portrait of her that I have ever seen – thank you, Al Gore.

  • Mr Ed

    That fish is not a sturgeon!

    Anyway, today ‘La Reine le veult’ wrt the notification bill. Now, if HM has a vgsoh, she should:

    1. Sack Theresa May as PM.
    2. Appoint a suitable peer of the realm as Prime Minister for the purposes of notifying withdrawal from the EU under Article 50, and get that done pdq, the only suitable peer who comes to mind is HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, the Lord High Admiral.
    3. HRH may then resign from his latest post.
    4. Theresa May may be re-appointed as PM, it could all be done when Mrs May is, say, taking a bath, and she’d be none the wiser (for a minute or two).

  • Laird

    I never said it was a sturgeon! To me it looks more like a small herring. But whatever it is, the clip makes me giggle uncontrollably whenever I see it. Small things amuse small minds and all that.

  • Mr Ed

    Laird, I was lamenting the missed topicality that the gif presented, not your fine posting. I have seen a cormorant do the same thing with what was probably a perch, but I would guess that was a sea bass or perhaps a mackerel. It is strangely appropriate for the subject.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Laird: the first time i visited the Netherlands, a Dutch academic took me to a street market at lunch time, and pointed with his finger at a Dutch lady doing the same thing with a herring (except for holding the tail of the herring, for control).

    For some reason, the Dutch lady did not seem to be happy at being the object of touristic interest. Theresa May, by contrast, seems to be having a jolly good time.