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Elections have consequences – and so does arranging that they don’t

There’s a Snoopy cartoon that starts with Linus telling Violet he is running away from home. “I know a joke about running away from home”, says Violet. “A boy at a street crossing tells a friend he is running away from home. ‘Then why are you waiting here?’, she asks. ‘I’m not allowed to cross the street without permission.’, he explains.”

“That’s a riot”, replies Linus sourly, gazing down at the kerbstone on which he is standing.

Winning a referendum, electing a president – with hindsight, we can see these were not so much victories as winning the right to fight. They did not force the deep state to obey – they forced the deep state to fight. While some crudely expressed their entitlement (“The Electoral College should ignore the outcome” or “Just declare him insane”, and “Hold another referendum” or “It was only advisory”), more professional liars began a longer-term strategy to undo what was voted.

Two years later, we have reached stage two: as with Harvey Weinstein, everybody knows – and everybody knows the insiders always knew. In the US, there was no collusion, just a lot of cheating to pretend there was. In the UK, May and collaborators lied (quite a lot) to get the power to tell us we can run away from the EU just as soon as the EU gives us permission. In the US, the media’s collusion story is over. In the UK, all the papers are talking about who will succeed May. And all that means is, the deep state can be made to stand and fight.

– If you can frame a president, and the only price you pay for failing is that you didn’t succeed, then (to paraphrase the Brighton bomb terrorists) Trump has to be lucky every time; the deep state only has to be lucky once.

– If no vote is so solemn, so pledged to be decisive before and after by government and opposition, that its decision can’t be delayed forever, then votes don’t control what the deep state can do; the deep state controls what votes can do.

It’s been quite an education, watching it unfold. But they’ve had to be just a bit obvious to get here – so now they can be made to stand and fight.

“The night before the Nazi-Soviet pact was announced, I dreamed that the war had started. It was one of those dreams which … reveal to you the real state of your feelings. It taught me .. that I should be simply relieved when the long-dreaded war started.” (George Orwell, ‘My Country, Right or Left’)

In Britain, it begins with a fight for the soul of the Tory party. Some of us used to point out that our hate speech laws were not imposed on us by the EU against our rulers’ will – that May loves them, that Corbyn adores them, that Brexit was only ever going to be the start. Now we have been taught the worthlessness of establishment promises. We know there is no Brexit without a leader who wants it – and deselecting MPs who don’t. The struggle we hoped to start sometime has become the unavoidable fight of today – and we have some very angry allies.

In the US, it begins with a fight for consequences. The usual suspects intend to show that fitting up Trump has no consequences, but being un-PC has grave consequences. Trump can drain the swamp now or drown in it next time – and he has quite a lot of evidence.

The deep state, the establishment, the ‘experts’, the people who know best – they will fight. It’s our achievement (helped by their errors) that they will have to. I don’t know who will win, on either side of the pond, but

“for myself, I am an optimist; there does not seem much point in being anything else.” (Sir Winston Churchill)

What I do think is that politics tomorrow will not be like politics yesterday – that in a deep sense, what the deep state has done has already had consequences.

23 comments to Elections have consequences – and so does arranging that they don’t

  • Mr Ed

    Well at least we only live in a Banana Monarchy, not a Republic. I dread to think what might happen if the Great Chocolate Teapot of a Monarch weren’t there as an ultimate safeguard against oppressive government in her name.

    Perhaps we shall see under the next Labour government just what we are being saved from, when the Yezhovs emerge like vampires at dusk, thirsty for blood.

  • Flubber

    “f you can frame a president, and the only price you pay for failing is that you didn’t succeed” -well I dont think that’s the case.

    Between Barr, Nunes, Meadows et al, I think Brennan Clapper, Comey, McCabe are going to get their comeuppances. Otherwise Trump knows, they’ll go after his kids when he leaves office.

    Plus when has Trump ever turned the other cheek?

  • staghounds

    Their consequences will be book deals, speaking fees, and consultancies for as long as they want them. To half the politically interested people, and three fourths of academics, politicians, and journalists they are heroes.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “I agree with everybody,” she said sourly.


    However, thank you, Niall, for mentioning Mr. Blair’s epistle. I was unaware, so naturally I ran to Look It Up.

    I suppose everybody else hereabouts is reasonably well-educated, but to save petrol and wear & tear on the tyres, among other places the essay is stored in the cyberstacks at


    The site ( orwell.ru) has a bunch of other Orwelliana as well.

  • Julie near Chicago

    On third thought: This article is pertinent, because it bears on the question of how much people comprising the “Deep State” can get away with, and whether it’s even possible to delimit either the meaning or the enforcement of a law in a bright-line way. So I mention again the paper “You’re (Probably) a Federal Criminal,” by Alex Kozinski, a Judge on the Ninth Circuit, and Misha Tseytlin, former Solicitor General for Wisconsin.

    17 pdf pages. Not exactly new news, but confirmatory of what we all are pretty sure we know, with commentary to back it up.


  • Renminbi

    Julie, thank-you for the link to Kozinski. The ever growing body of law eventually sinks civilization

  • Julie near Chicago

    Renminbi, YVW. 🙂

    Yes, I’m afraid that’s true. The more closely and rigorously you try to state the law, the more words you have to use and the more elusive a final fixed statement of it becomes. Like trying to grasp tightly a handful of mud — the tighter you close your fist on it, the more of it oozes out between your fingers.

  • DP

    Dear Mr Kilmartin

    We the sheeple are merely the livestock of the state.

    Those who want power over us, to milk us, shear us and fleece us are those for whom that is the natural order of things. What the sheeple want is irrelevant, unless it doesn’t impinge on what those in power want, then they might permit us to have it, or not, as the mood takes them.


  • Bots have feelings too

    Someone framed the president? Is he in prison? Did I miss something?

  • Paul Marks

    I have lost count of the number of times that Mrs May has BROKEN HER WORD om the independence of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

    Mrs May is not some normal political opponent – she is an evil (yes – evil) person. And to have her as the leader of the political party I have been a member of for some 40 years fills me with terrible shame.

  • Someone framed the president? Is he in prison? (Bots have feelings too, April 15, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    To ‘fit someone up’ in UK parlance is to manufacture a false case against them. It does not necessarily mean the attempt to get them convicted will be successful. I use ‘fitting up’ and ‘frame’ as synonyms above, but perhaps, in the US, ‘frame’ has stronger connotations of success in the endeavour.

    I am happy to inform you that Trump is not impeached, nor in jail 🙂 – no thanks to those who were so sure their egregious behaviour would be discretely rewarded by Hillary that the early hours of the 9th November 2016 came as a most unwelcome shock.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Mr. K.: “In Britain, it begins with a fight for the soul of the Tory party.”

    Sounds like a plot idea for Tom Cruise’s next Mission Impossible movie! The distortions of the First Past the Post voting system have disguised to some extent the fact that the Conservative Party does not have the support of anything like a majority of the UK population. There has long been a perception that the Conservative Party is weighted down with the freight of an antiquated Class system. And now elected Conservative MPs have proved to the world that modern Tories are incapable of any sensible action. Does the Tory Party even have a soul?

    Not picking on the sorry Conservatives — similar observations could be made about other modern political parties, and not just in the UK. Presumably, Mr. K., you have given some thought to how to rescue the tarnished Tory brand. It would be interesting to share those thoughts.

  • Bots have feelings too

    “To ‘fit someone up’ in UK parlance is to manufacture a false case against them.”

    And when did that happen? All I saw was an investigation being conducted into a set of circumstances that absolutely needed investigating. Followed by the writing of a report that has yet to see the light of day.
    If a false case has been manufactured, it sure hasn’t been presented by any authority I am aware of.

  • Gavin Longmuir (April 15, 2019 at 9:24 pm), you are one of those I had in mind when I wrote of people warning “that our hate speech laws were not imposed on us by the EU against our rulers’ will”. Dominic Cummings explained why a series of events in the run up to 2016 made the referendum competitive in that year – why in the early 2000s he warned vehemently that that referendum (we would have had if Brown had not blocked Blair on joining the euro) had to be about whether to join the euro, not about whether to leave the EU. In the same way, all we could have hoped for in July 2016 was to get a Brexit leader of a party of MPs whose kind we know only too well. Today, the coincidence of an angry Tory base and a poll having Tory support dipping below 30% makes the fight for a sea-change in the Tory MP base competitive. ‘Competitive’ and ‘certain to win’ are very different terms – but if not now then when do you anticipate a good chance appearing? Even more different are the terms ‘Tony Blair predicts it’ and ‘it will be so’ – but just because Tony is saying a Boris-lead party will beat Corbyn does not mean it is not so. Sea-changed Tories could un-tarnish themselves fast enough.

    The Tories held the referendum to solve this problem. The parliamentary party did not like the result, so is cheating on it. Now they have the problem in a new form.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “And when did that happen? All I saw was an investigation being conducted into a set of circumstances that absolutely needed investigating. Followed by the writing of a report that has yet to see the light of day.”

    Really? I thought most of the Steele report had already seen the light of day?

  • To ‘fit someone up’ … And when did that happen? (Bots have feelings too, April 15, 2019 at 9:40 pm)

    Over the last three years, in three stages – each of which was intended to be the last, but “What a tangled web we weave when without foresight we deceive.”

    Stage 1 began during the 2016 election campaign. Hillary’s team hired a firm, Fusion GPS, who hired a British ex-spy, Christopher Steele, who provided a dossier of ‘wow-style’ anti-Trump allegations. Via overlaps between the state, the Democrats and the hirelings (e.g. the Ohrs – one working for Fusion on the dossier, the other for the Justice department liaising with Steele), this dossier was used to secure a FISA warrant by not informing the court that it was purchased by the Clinton team. Thus they could eavesdrop on the Trump team.

    Stage 2 began when Hillary complained, “Why am I not 50 points ahead?” The Stage 1 dossier, with its ‘golden showers’ and suchlike imaginative touches, originally meant for the cognoscenti, was increasingly used on those who could be influenced behind closed doors, for cherry-picking and for rumours, till it became an open secret. Finally, knowledge of it was shoved (there was some hesitation even in the Hillary-friendly media to be the first to mention it) into the public domain in increasingly raw totality between late October 2016 and – the process continuing once started – early January 2017. Thus its allegations were exposed to less interestedly-unsceptical eyes.

    Stage 3 began when Trump won. Fitting someone up for a FISA warrant has an advantage over planting bugs in the Watergate building: it can be done under form of law, not under form of burglary. But it also has a disadvantage: it leaves a paper trail hard to hide from a president, who is likely to retaliate. So getting their retaliation in first was both easy to do – they knew they had a problem in the early hours of November 9th, whereas Trump learned of it months after, in a manner planned by them – and essential to maintain their ‘form of law’ cover.

    a set of circumstances that absolutely needed investigating

    The people involved did indeed, for the reasons I’ve explained, absolutely need an investigation to manage the paper trail. However not all is bad. That Mueller and his very motivated team exonerated Trump of collusion ends all rational defence of the idea, of the dossier, etc., in a way that no demonstration from a less unwilling source could so conclusively do.

    This recent post provides a slightly longer summary. The point of my post – 50% of it – is that there were, are, and will be, many more.

    Meanwhile, I can well believe that ‘Bots have feelings too’. The question is: are their reasoning powers subservient to them? It was the contemptible James Burnham, of all people, who said (of communist sympathisers in the west such as he himself had recently been) that

    Nothing can make anyone see who has determined in advance to keep their eyes tight shut.

    You tell me, O bot with feelings,

    Did I miss something? … All I saw … it sure hasn’t been presented by any authority I am aware of.

    and I believe you. 🙂 And if you go on telling me how much you do not see, I will go on believing you. (But thanks for the practice. I’m sure there will be call for more, against more subtle dismissers.)

  • Bots have feelings too

    You are clinging to the incorrect belief that the Steele dossier somehow preceded the investigation eventually headed by Mueller. Something was clearly fishy long before then. Otherwise there would have been no investigation.
    Maybe we’ll get more clarity when a redacted version of the Mueller report finally comes out on Thursday morning. Until then, I do not share your level of confidence in speculating about its contents.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Nial K. “Sea-changed Tories could un-tarnish themselves fast enough.”

    How fast is Boeing going to be able to un-tarnish itself after the 737 MAX issue? Restoring a damaged reputation is a tough challenge for any organization or any individual. Sometimes re-branding is possible. Sometimes the best course of action is to shut down the tarnished organization and start again.

    This is an interesting topic, with the potential for lessons which could be applied around the world. If you think the Tories have been deeply damaged by their actions over the last few years, take a look at the Republican Party in the US! I was hoping that you had some specific ideas about how to effect a sea-change among Tories. And if there really is a sea-change in the Tory Party, will it still be the Tory Party?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “You are clinging to the incorrect belief that the Steele dossier somehow preceded the investigation eventually headed by Mueller.”

    The Steele dossier was written between June and December 2016, the Mueller investigation didn’t start until May 2017, so the first clearly precedes the second.

    “Something was clearly fishy long before then. Otherwise there would have been no investigation.”

    Nothing was fishy. There was simply a lot of accusations and insinuations and unattributed rumours and leaks being thrown around by various Democrat Party hacks, a lot of them sourced from the Steele dossier, that the media hyped up. None of the claims were even vaguely plausible. There was no evidence. There was nothing to investigate. All of that was known from very nearly the start of the investigation. The only purpose of which was to try to dig up some more dirt by legally leaning on some of Trump’s subordinates in the hope of blackmailing them into spilling the beans on Trump. Which effort also failed – very likely because there was nothing to find.

    The whole exercise was a smokescreen put out by Hillary so that we wouldn’t spend the first two years of the Trump presidency looking into unauthorised email servers and Watergate-style FISA court spying and ‘Uranium One’ deals. And how Steele, a former operative of a foreign intelligence service, in conjunction with a ‘political research’ company with a lot of shady Russian oligarch clients, conspired with one of the parties in the US presidential election to try to sabotage the other.

    But when a conspiracy theorist’s conspiracy theory is debunked and discredited, they just make up another one. The Mueller report won’t settle anything. This one will run forever.

  • I was hoping that you had some specific ideas about how to effect a sea-change among Tories. (Gavin Longmuir, April 16, 2019 at 4:28 pm)

    I have specific ideas – but they may be too specific to be applied anywhere else.

    1) After the referendum, the Tory parliamentary party managed to avoid letting the country party vote for a new leader. (In US terms, they managed to avoid holding a primary – or perhaps ‘closed caucus’ is more accurate, as only Tory party members vote.) I believe little time remains before they can no longer avoid this. In recent weeks, media here – most of whom are hostile to Brexit – are treating it as very-probable-to-certain that the next Tory leader will be a committed Brexitter. (I hope they are right.)

    2) Had such a leader been chosen in 2016, the Brexitter leader would have presided over a majority-Brexit-disliking set of MPs, well dug in and with a fairly complacent, obedient party base. Today, the party base is angry, and aware that numerous identified MPs will not serve them. Thus the strategy of following the leadership change with serious turnover of MPs is competitive as it would not have been in 2016.

    3) Any such turnover would have to be coordinated with a promptly-following election (which, like the leadership change, may also not be delayable for much longer anyway). Despite their many failings, the Tories were ahead of Corbyn in polls until quite recently – the current tumbling of their brand correlates not with the Brexit mess of the first quarter of this year (which tended to make all parties even less respected than usual, not just them), but with the Brexit betrayal. Only major turnover of MPs can undo this – but such targeted replacing of MPs is precisely what can undo it.

    4) The conflict is over a specific binary issue and everyone is on-record very recently in numerous votes. That is an unusual situation, giving the base and the voters greater clarity about the MPs. Another feature is, it is the taking away of something very solemnly promised – a good way to make people angry.

    The Brexit referendum was competitive in 2016, as it would not have been much earlier. That did not of course mean we were sure to win it. Similarly, major revamp of the Tory party is competitive now, as it was not in 2016. That does not mean it will happen or that it will triumph.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Niall — thanks for those ideas. As you say, they are mostly specific to the separation debate in the UK, but they do point to issues which affect other countries too.

    One point enabling change is having a highly motivated (and largely unified) electorate. Certainly, the Brexit guys are now highly motivated. But Leave voters were only 37% of UK citizens, and a significant number of them were not Conservatives. I am an outsider and cannot judge — the politically active Conservatives are highly motivated, but what proportion of the Conservative Party (and of the general population) do they constitute? Incumbency has always been a great advantage in elections.

    A key point is, as you note, sweeping out those Conservative MPs who are hostile to separation from the EU. It looks like the difficulty there might be finding a sufficiently large number of new generation attractive candidates to run against those MPs in the Conservative Party selection process. When only a small number of Party activists are involved in that selection process, the results can be … surprising! You have probably heard of Alexandra Occasional-Cortex, who bumped off a sitting Democrat Congressional critter in a low turnout Democrat primary — a turnover which many Democrats now quietly regret.

    Once those new faces get selected and elected, they will get exposed to the same soft corrupting influences as the old faces. Certainly, in the US, there have been a number of Congresscritters who got elected as crusaders but soon softened their stances. Four legs good, two legs better. That might be a particular issue for Conservatives with the aftermath of Brexit, because separation is only Job One of a very long process.

    Good luck! There is a bumpy road ahead.

  • Bots have feelings too

    “The Steele dossier was written between June and December 2016, the Mueller investigation didn’t start until May 2017, so the first clearly precedes the second.”

    Wrong. Mueller was appointed to take over a counterintelligence investigation that was started in July 2016.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Wrong. Mueller was appointed to take over a counterintelligence investigation that was started in July 2016.”

    Yes. The one based on the Steele dossier.

    The Democrats wanted to be able to spy on Trump’s election campaign. But having learnt from Watergate the dangers of doing it ‘off the books’, they tried to do it through official channels. So they ginned up a ‘dossier’ of scurrilous rumours and nonsense, passed it to Steele to launder it as an ‘independent’ external report, then fed it into the FBI and DoJ via various back channels and friend-of-a-friend networks. They separately leaked bits of the report to the press, (while denying that they had done so) which they then used to argue was independent corroboration. This was then used as the basis of an application to the FISA courts for a domestic spying operation on members of the Trump camp. Information on the dubious source of the dossier as paid-for Clinton campaign propaganda was known, and Steele’s credibility officially under question, but this was not disclosed to the FISA court. What’s known about the affair already puts it miles ahead of Watergate in the scandal league table, and I expect there’s much more to be discovered. At least Tricky Dicky had to do his spying illegally, he hadn’t corrupted the justice system to the point where he could put a legal veneer on what he was doing! The other difference being that Nixon knew his position was untenable, but the current lot seem to think they can brazen it out by denying everything. We’ll have to see if they’ll get away with it.

    They might well do, at that. It’s like Hillary’s email server thing. Any bottom-of-the-ladder clerk working for government *knows* that you do *not* muck around with classified records. Anyone else who was discovered to be directing classified government emails through their own private off-the-books homebrew email server, using pseudonyms to disguise identities, and then discovered trying to wipe the thing when caught, they can reasonably expect to find themselves doing 35 years in supermax. But of course, such laws are only for the little people. (Juanita Broaddrick knew all about that.) So of course the charges vanished in full view of the world in a magic trick that would have made David Blaine drool with envy.

    If they can get away with that one, and have the media all agreeing that 2 + 2 = 5 about it, then this one should be easy. But we’ll see.