Tragedy in Turkey and Nice

The UK media seems to apply differing approaches to 84 dead in Nice and 200  plus  dead in Turkey. I mourn them all and send my condolences to their families and loved ones. That is so much human grief and sadness, so many ruined dreams and wrenched lives. 202 remain injured in Nice, and 1440 in Turkey. That is a lot of pain and suffering.

Why did they die? The murderer in Nice is said to be a loner. ISIL has claimed  the dismal and violent credit for the deeds, though the security forces have no clear linkage of the dead lorry driver to the terrorist movement. The murderers in Turkey appear to be senior military commanders and the troops and pilots loyal to them who turned their fire on civilians and the buildings of their own state. It is almost beyond belief that trusted very senior state servants can in 2016 in a  close ally and neighbour of the EU and NATO use the terrible power of a modern government against its own people.

It is possible that  both these violent crime scenes arise in part  from the struggles in Syria and the wider Middle East.  The Turkish President and Parliament are hostile to the Kurds and working with some of the Islamist forces in Syria. The loner in France may have been recently radicalised by ISIL propaganda as they wish us to think. Turkey’s complex relationship with the struggling factions in Syria and Iraq is part of her present story. The armed forces who abused their weaponry to fire on their own Parliament and Presidential forces may well have acted to wrestle Turkey away to a more secular stance, though they certainly did not act on behalf of western democracy by doing so.

The position of Turley is said to be pivotal and central to the west’s own security. It is true Turkey is a large buffer state between the eastern EU countries and the Middle East. The EU’s approach of drawing Turkey into ever closer alliance has led to the recent EU/Turkey Association Agreement and to the acceptance of visa free access to the wider EU Schengen area for Turkish citizens. The EU is meant to stand for democratic principles, for settling political disagreements by arguments and votes, not by bombs. Where does this policy rest today?

The picture of the bombed Turkish Parliament building should be a warning to the west. By all means let us be in diplomatic contact with Turkey, trade with Turkey, be friends when we can. But let us have sufficient reserve in our relationship so we can protect ourselves from any lapse in democratic standards and any turning to violence as a way of proceeding politically. The EU has been too trusting, and has once again been overtaken by dangerous events. Just as with Ukraine, the EU lacks a convincing policy to deal with civil wars on its eastern doorstep. What will the EU do if the Turkish government reaction to these dreadful crimes is to erode liberty and democracy?

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  1. alan jutson
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Afraid the problems are all getting closer and closer to us, but so many are blind to the problems.

    The more we see of what is happening abroad with porous borders, the more we should need to be able to control and verify who comes here.

    We also need to look inside our own Country as to what is happening here, our tolerance and understanding of others and their way of life can often be seen as a weakness by those who wish eventually to try to change our way of life, our standards, the way we live or to do us harm.

    Mass unrestricted people (population) movement between Countries I suggest is a real problem, as it does not allow time for much needed gradual integration.

    Why oh why did our politicians ever want to get involved in regime change in other parts of the World, what a bloody mess.
    Millions of people have now been killed, disfigured and displaced, and we have a very big lesson to learn that I am sure has not been fully understood yet.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      “Why oh why did our politicians ever want to get involved in regime change in other parts of the World, what a bloody mess”.

      Perhaps too much religion and “belief” was involved in that decision too! it certainly did not seem like a rational decision to me. Nor even was the planning and organisation of it remotely competent.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        It’s geopolitics,not religion and it’s happened because since 1991 the USA has been the sole superpower and did not need to consider the consequences of it’s actions.Fortunately,that period has probably come to an end although the after effects will probably be with us for a long time.

      • Hope
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Macmillan and other deluded political fools thought migration would end differences by integration. Merkel needs to hold her hands up and walk! Cameron dragged before a justice led inquiry over Lybia. Quick speedy justice, none of this I acted in good faith crap. A law introduced for MPs so ministers can be held to account- there is nor room for vanity and egos when the lives of our service personnel are at risk.

        Hollande rightly booed. He should be ousted. The political class still do not get that they should put their nation and their people first. Stop the equality babble and take firm action to make our country and its citizens safe.

        May is clueless as we have seen over six years with immigration, lost asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, poor border control when she claims otherwise, lack of deportation of terrorists, EU citizens with criminal records allowed to walk in and commit further crime. What does she not understand? Her record is appalling.

  2. John Downes
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    With regard to your final sentence, I think you should be asking; “What will the EU do if the Turkish government reaction to these dreadful crimes is FURTHER to erode liberty and democracy?”

    Erdoğan’s gaols have for a long time been full of journalists, soldiers and ordinary citizens to whom he has taken a dislike, and his policy has been one of creeping Islamisation. This has manifested itself in a number of ways including a mosque-construction program, the wholesale closure of bars, the wearing of restrictive clothing, and the raising of alcohol taxes. Ankara is (so far as I can tell) now completely dry.

    So the erosion of liberty etc is scarcely a new development. Add to that Erdoğan’s open hostility to Israel, his suppression of the Kurds and the sympathy (to put it no more strongly) of some of the Turkish population for ISIS and you have a country whose value as an ally is now, if not worthless, at least severely prejudiced.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      “What will the EU do……”

      Relating to Turkey(but in the context of the Crimean War),Karl Marx quipped:-“There they are,the French doing nothing and the British helping them as fast as possible”

  3. APL
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    JR: “The murderer in Nice is said to be a loner.”

    Firstly, he was a Jihadi, Nice, was a Jihadist attack. The sooner you come to terms with the implications of that the better.

    Secondly he wasn’t working alone, it is said ( see, same authoritative source you cite ) the back of the vehicle was stocked with munitions. So presumably he was going to detonate the whole kit and caboodle at some point or was supposed to have an accomplice hefting grenades out the back of the truck.

    Turkey, is a different kettle of fish, Erdogan has taken the opportunity to strip the civil system of its judges and anyone in the slightest critical of his administration.

    One might think the whole charade was planned.

    Erdogan is not an ally of the West, we’d do well to expel Turkey from NATO and stand at arms length from the country under Erdogan and Islamic rule.

    • APL
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      APL: “One might think the whole charade was planned.”

      Even that most gullible of organisations, the EU is thinking the coup d’état was a feint. Odd, after only a couple of hours of the failure of the coup, Erdogan has a comprehensive list of officials and post holders in the armed forces and civil society to purge.

      What he is doing is reversing the reforms Ataturk implemented a century ago.

      We now need to start supporting Greece and halt the austerity imposed by the EU.

      • Gareth
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Definitely agree, we in Britain have had a long and inglorious history of its government supporting the Ottoman’s despite their …….. practices, while the population was firmly against them.

        Now that Erdogan is keen to move Turkey back to its Ottoman and Islamist roots I believe we should keep them at arms length. I fail to see the threat that they are supposed to contain, in truth we are no longer a power in that part of the world, and we were only a power due to our possession of India. Today we can and should let the natural balance of forces play out there, we as traders will be welcome more if we meddle less.
        No doubt Russia, Greece and Israel will be key countries in that region, Turkey will always be threatened by Russia, just as Greece is threatened by Turkey. If Turkey does become an aggressive Islamist country then we can ally with those three countries as needed, and I predict that the path Erdogan is treading is one that will bring Turkey to ruin.
        Something we neither need to help nor hinder.

  4. APL
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    JR: “differing approaches to 84 dead in Nice and 200 plus dead in Turkey. ”

    Actually, I am amazed, at your attempt to put these two events on the same footing.

    Bad judgment.

    JR: “The position of Turley is said to be pivotal and central to the west’s own security.”

    That was never, never the reason Turkey is in NATO, it was in NATO because it was a buffer with the Soviet Union. Why the west is trying to provoke Putin is beyond me.

    Given the choice between Islamic fundamentalism which has afflicted Russia and the West, or an alliance with non soviet Russia, I’d choose Russia in a heartbeat.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      I tend to think any innocent pointless death is a dreadful tragedy, be it an accident, negligence, murder, caused by mental heath issues, pointless wars (on a lie or otherwise) or mad warped religions. It is perfectly reasonable and sensbile to look at the numbers in each category and try to reduce these deaths and injuries in the most efficient manner possible. Some are rather easier and less costly to avoid & prevent than others and perhaps that is where the effort should be placed.

      Blair not entering the illegal war on a lie for example, which was almost certain to be a disaster, particularly without any sensible planning for the aftermath. Or a review of some of the often dreadful mental health care. “Care” in the community spring to mind. It seems however the police in Nottingham are more concerned with making wolf-whistling a “hate crime” than dealing with any real threats. Cameron has gone now, so please can we have less of this PC, “BBC think” drivel and get the police to use their time sensibly for a change?

      So what is this new government under May actually going to actually be like, there are a few encouraging signs but not many?

      Simon Heffer yesterday had a fairly good ten point list they could usefully learn from and Allister Heath shows the way for the economy.

      Greening raises “the prospect of an end to the ban on Grammars” says the Telegraph today. Just lift the ban now and get on with it Justine stop pussy footing about! Also give some tax relief to lower earners to use private schools while you are at it! It will save the state money and improve education too.

      What sort of idiot would ban anything as sensible, productive and useful as a good Grammar or selective school! Cameron, Osborne, the Libdims and “BBC equality think” types I suppose.

      • acorn
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        “Allister Heath shows the way for the economy.” Oh you do make us laugh LL. Heath is an out of date Hayekian of the Thatcher era. As a neo-liberal flag waver for the 1% metropolitan elite, we can thank him for pissing off enough voters to get a vote for Brexit.

      • APL
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “I tend to think any innocent pointless death is a dreadful tragedy,”

        Fair enough. But one was an attack on civil society by a mindless agent of a philosophy that has now made many, many such attacks, and in fact since its inception in the 5th century, has cast itself as a brutal adversary of Western civilisation.

        The other, a internal family squabble among savages.

        • Mitchel
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          …and Eastern civilization too-both the Persian and Byzantine empires were consumed albeit the Byzantines’ European citizens proved less amenable to assimilation than the Persians.This advance of Islam was facilitated by squabbles between the Western and the Eastern halves of the Christian world which,as you have alluded to,has contemporary resonance.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I totally agree with you,APL.Turkey joined NATO because Stalin had revived Tsarist foreign policy and,in the aftermath of WWII,was demanding rights to establish a base in the Dardanelles (and also making territorial demands in the Caucasus).Those circumstances no longer exist.

      However,no matter how badly Turkey behaves,the US (and therefore the EU)will seek to keep Turkey on board as part of it’s encirclement of Russia – unless either the neocons are ousted in the US or Turkey itself decides to make a break with the West and pivot eastwards although whether any of the Eurasian powers would ever trust Erdogan despite his recent attempts at rapprochement is dubious.

      • acorn
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget Turkey had 90 US B61 bunker busting nukes, out of the 350 parked in five EU, supposedly none nuclear States and the UK. The Teflon Sultan shutdown the NATO Air Base where they are parked.

        • APL
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          Acorn: “Don’t forget Turkey had 90 US B61 bunker busting nukes, ”

          I rather hope a good many of them have been flown out of there by now.

  5. ken mahon
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The erodion of liberty is already happening. \ The state is heading for dictatorship.

  6. Oggy
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    JR – ‘What will the EU do if the Turkish government reaction to these dreadful crimes is to erode liberty and democracy?’

    What can they do ? – not much. Although it does play straight into the hands of all those who said Turkey wasn’t a safe place to return illegal migrants to from the EU. Consequently the EU needs to find a new way to solve the migrant crisis. I think the word ‘Impotence’ applies here.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Lone wolf ISIL inspired terrorism:

    Let’s not forget the involvement of cannabis here. Nearly all western jihadists have been taking cannabis, it seems. We ought not be surprised. The word ‘assassin’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘hashishin’ meaning drug-induced killer. Such problems can be blamed on the Left:

    – political correctness

    – their love of cannabis (which trumps even political correctness, so that they’d rather Islam takes the fall for terrorism than their beloved weed.)

    “It’s nothing to do with Islam” Notice that they don’t even mention cannabis.



    What lunacy to extend our borders so far and so wide – and put them so out of our control – that such things are now ‘on our doorstep.’

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      What lunacy to extend our borders so far and so wide – and put them so out of our control – that such things are now ‘on our doorstep.’

      Yet Mrs May lied to the nation that we had control of our borders within the EU through Schengen! This only a few weeks ago. Will she ever apologise for this attempted deception (or at the very least correct it and distance herself from it) I wonder?

      Or will she like John Major and the ERM disaster just forget about it and ignore it and blame it on others?

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Both appalling and pointless tragedies. What Nice shows is that is it almost impossible to stop people who are motivated in this way. They do not even need to obtain weapons or explosives.There are endless soft targets for such people to attack, they cannot all be protected. All we can do it try to gather intelligence of improve mental heath services, monitoring and similar provisions.

    Even in the UK we have about two murders per week from people with mental health problems that are not being treated of dealt with properly.

    We need to look at the harm many religions can do to some people. Indoctrinating them them with such warped beliefs and motivations. Giving them such evil intent and the determination to actually carry it through.

    Religious schools (especially state funded ones) can surely not be a very good idea. Surely we have learnt that just from our experiences in Ireland, but it seems this has not been learned in Government not by the “BBC think”, “religion of peace” people.

  9. oldtimer
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    The question you raise in your final sentence also applies to the attitude of NATO to Turkey in the weeks, months and years ahead. Depending on what happens next and, perhaps even more importantly, how it happens then I expect that pragmatism will prevail. But the danger that Turkey becomes a loose cannon must be on the minds of those whose job it is to examine potential outcomes following the failed coup attempt. And if the worst outcome does not happen then, no doubt, there will be questions raised about the effectiveness of a NATO member whose military command structure appears to have been severely compromised.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      I can foresee the US intervening to keep the Turks and the Greeks from each others’ throats. The Turks allowing migrants to use Turkey as a route into Greece was only an inconvenience to the Greeks while they could just send the migrants on to the rest of Europe, as the Italians do. Once neighbouring countries have refused to allow that then the Greeks will have to decide whether to allow their country to be taken over by untold numbers of illegal immigrants or to intercept them at sea, turn them around and send them back to Turkey over the opposition of the Turkish naval forces.

      • Gareth
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        The Greeks today are not likely to attack the Turks as militarily they face an overwhelming disadvantage, although even as recently as the 1920’s there was a movement to retake parts of its old empire. Whether the later ethnic cleansing killed this dream off has yet to be seen.
        The interesting scenario would be a Kurdish state appearing, this would take a significant chunk out of Iran and Turkey. Centuries ago the Byzantines were defeated at the battle of Manzikert, the loss of which ended up in the loss of Anotolia. The Kurdish nation would probably fatally weaken the present Turkish state, probably leaving it to a rump state bordered by the mountains to the north and cut off from the Bosporus.

  10. Antisthenes
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    They were both ghastly and tragic and many innocent lives have been lost because of the insanity of a group of Islamist terrorists and because Turkey since the voting in of the current president has become deeply divided. It proves how easy and how little needs to happen to cause suffering. There are easy answers to the problems that cause these dreadful actions however they only are easy if everyone embraces a new way of thinking and that is similar. The latter of course is the key because we have a myriad different ways of thinking that causes the problem in the first place. A catch 22.

  11. Chris S
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Erdogan’s creeping Islamisation of Turkey is at the root of the current problem.

    For decades Turkey has been a secular state but it has always been Erdogan’s intention to move away from the Atatürk legacy. This is a dangerous path which can inevitably have only one outcome.

    While Turkey remains a democracy ( just ), the West can do little more than observe and make quiet but strong representations.

    Turkey is a delightful country to visit for a holiday and the people are mostly charming, pro-western and extremely helpful.

    However, tragically, I am not optimistic for their future.

    The current purge, especially the arrest of so many judges and the suggestion that the death penalty may be re-introduced, is extremely worrying.

  12. The Active Citizen
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    “The EU has been too trusting, and has once again been overtaken by dangerous events. Just as with Ukraine, the EU lacks a convincing policy to deal with civil wars on its eastern doorstep. What will the EU do if the Turkish government reaction to these dreadful crimes is to erode liberty and democracy?”

    Sorry to be so cynical, but the EU-Turkey deal wasn’t about trust. It was sheer desperation by Angela Merkel, who started the Turkey deal unilaterally and then got her EU colleagues to go along with it.

    Without that deal, the massive influx of refugees into Germany via Greece would have continued, and Merkel faces an election next year. It seems clear that Merkel was surprised by the number she attracted, and the number of her own electorate she alienated. As it is, the influx of refugees has switched to Italy, although largely unreported by the UK media.

    Merkel now faces a real problem. Political expediency led to the Turkey deal, but there has to be a limit to the extent to which she and the EU can turn a blind eye to civil liberties abuse in Turkey, whilst retaining public support.

    If anyone doubts the problems Merkel faces, read the latest report on 2015 immigration by the German statistics service here on Facts4EU:

    Merkel’s Turkish arrangement was already a cynical, politically-inspired deal. Now it looks likely to become impossible to persuade the EU public that the original deal can stand. I say this because it seems probable that Erdogan is embarked on a further transformation of Turkey which even the EU bureaucrats will be unable to spin.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      There was an interesting interview with Yezid Savigh of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut on RT’s Worlds Apart programme yesterday.

      When asked whether there were anymore candidates for an Arab Spring type situation,he suggested that on a three-to-five year view Egypt could also implode due to a combination of poverty,illiteracy and lack of investment and opportunity with dire consequences for Europe which would not have the resources to deal with it.

  13. agricola
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    You say ” The EU is meant to stand for democratic principals.” I do not know whether your tongue is in your cheek, because whenever countries within the EU make their views known by referendum, the result is ignored. It is why we have just voted to leave.

    As to the Turkish government’s reaction, it should be pointed out that they haver been increasingly anti democratic themselves over recent years. There must have been a great sense of desperation within the military for them to have reacted the way they did. As presently run, Turkey would be a totally alien member of the EU, and a questionable member of NATO. Whose side are they on.

    I know you shy away from any open discussion of Islam in your diary. The more the EU and for that matter the UK delays such discussion, the greater will be the problem we are confronted with in the near and distant future. In the UK the integration of Islam is a very different problem from past integrations of other religious or national groups who came to our shores in hope or desperation. We need to realise this and take appropriate steps before we end up with a Turkey type situation within the UK.

  14. DaveM
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    The EU is a trade area which has become hugely bureacratic and insular. It jas an overinflated opinion of its own abilities and importance, to the extent where it thinks it can handle foreign and security policy. As you say, they are incapable of doing so, which is one of the main reasons I voted to leave it.

    Speaking of which, I don’t recall Brown hanging round No 10 in 2010, neither do I recall the Govt asking the English (or indeed all the Scots who live in England) what they thought about the Scot Indyref result. I have never noticed MPs who have lost their seats hanging round Westminster hoping the GE result will be ignored or reversed. So why are your colleagues STILL procrastinating and refusing to give dates for leaving the EU? What do they not get about “Leave won”? Do you need me to come and explain it to them?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      “I have never noticed MPs who have lost their seats hanging round Westminster hoping the GE result will be ignored or reversed.”

      But nine German MEPs did that when the Treaty of Lisbon came into force and under its terms they became surplus to requirements.

      Everybody obligingly agreed to a protocol to amend the treaties and retroactively legitimise their positions, you can see where the UK Parliament approved that by Part 2 of the European Union Act 2011, here:

      “15 Protocol on MEPs: approval, and addition to list of treaties”

    • Mark B
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      The EU was never about trade. It merely used trade as cover for their real intent, and that was to create a federal Europe. What do you think EVER CLOSER UNION means ?

      Brown did indeed hang around. For a full week if I remember. He could not get a deal with the Lib Dems so had to go.

      The English do not exist outside the Westminster Village. Scotland not only voted in but, thanks to Gordon Brown and the Three Little Stooges, Dave, Ed and Whatshisname the signed as piece of paper committing the UK and UK Government to give the Scots even more power than they themselves asked for.

      Yes Mr. Redwood MP sir, I haven’t bloody forgotten !

  15. Elsey
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Turkey has never been trustworthy. Erdogan conned Merkel out of billions of Euros by threatening to send more refugees and probably allowed the coup to go ahead so that he can eliminate more opposition figures inside Turkey. Anyone who trusts him is a fool. The six billion Euros would have been better spent erecting a very big wall right along the Bulgarian and Greek borders.
    France is showing what the stupidity of EU leaders has unleashed. The French establishment has allowed 6.5million immigrants from very different cultures to enter France. They do not assimilate- proved by them being 21 times more likely to be jailed as the locals. A few more terrorist attacks and you’ll see civil war in France. Our own leaders are little better. All the terrorist attacks are completely and solely the fault of the political leadership in the west.

    • Tom William
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      The idiocy/hubris of some colonial powers granting and encouraging citizenship to colonial nationals is the main reason there are problems of assimilation in Europe.

      • bluedog
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        A very good point. Educated as they were in the classics and the nostrum of ‘Civis Romanus Sum’, one can recall claims for similar munificence from British politicians.

  16. Dioclese
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    As far as I am concerned, the situation in Turkey makes it all the more imperative we get on with Brexit asap

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Yet another reason as if there were not enough to already!

  17. APL
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    JR: “The loner in France may have been recently radicalised by ISIL propaganda as they wish us to think.”

    I’m bored with this ‘radicalised’ nonsense. What doesn’t radicalize these people?

    Why, if Western civilisation is so dire do they all want to live here?

    Where are the radicalised Hindu, Sikh or Christian or Yazidi?

    Why is this particular group so gullible and susceptible to ‘radicalisation’?

    • APL
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      APL: “Where are the radicalised Hindu, Sikh or Christian or Yazidi?”

      The Yazidi, of course, we know are mostly dead, the Yazidi women mostly taken into slavery.

  18. Alan
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Once again Mr Redwood has forgotten that we are one of the principle members of the EU. He asks questions about what the EU should do, when he should be proposing answers.

    Our new foreign secretary is well informed about Turkey and France. I look forward to hearing of his proposals.

    • acorn
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Britain’s Government of Amateurs.

      “The British addiction to amateurism bewilders foreign governments who have to deal with top British officials who are simply not up to their jobs, which they anyway usually only occupy for a short time. The Chilcot Inquiry Report identified this amateurism as a major factor in the British debacle in Iraq as key decisions were made by people who lacked either the experience or the expertise to make them. Nothing however is being done to address the problem. (Alexander Mercouris: Duran.)”

      • acorn
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Addressing the problem.

        (a) Remove the “Executive” (Cabinet) from the “Legislature” (House of Commons). Close the House of Lords.

        (b) Prime minister elected by nation-wide popular vote, after a non-partisan primary election process.

        (c) Prime minister appoints his own executive (cabinet) from anywhere he/she wants; but, nobody who has been elected to House of Commons.

        (d) House of Commons reduced to one MP per UK Local District Council (LDC), currently a bit less than 400. With all (circa 325) English LDC converted to “Unitary” status.

      • APL
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        acorn: “Britain’s Government of Amateurs.”

        They are full time professional politicians, paid extremely well, they are in no sense of the word amateurs. They may be incompetent or dishonest, it’s difficult to say which. But they are not amateurs.

        It’s actually an insult to many amateurs who often bring excellence to their chosen pursuit.

    • margaret
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Firstly we have the answer , we voted to get the answer which was Brexit. Being a principle member of the EU does not stop the breaking of treaties and as I have said before individuals and groups taking things into their own hands. Believing that those intent with searching for power and status is controllable by the word is naïve. Putting too much weight on academic evidence which can be open to re editing and re editing if the ‘powers that be’ allow it is also pre university stuff and intended for the gullible.

      • Alan
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Brexit is not, in my opinion, an answer to Nice and Turkey. I think it is an evasion of responsibility.

        • bluedog
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Alternatively, Brexit is an assumption of responsibility on a basis you appear not to understand.

  19. Brexit
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    JR, apologies for going off-topic, but are you concerned at the packing of the new Government with Remainers? Another 33 out of 37 MP appointments yesterday were Remainers.

    We’re very disappointed that you and some of your colleagues appear to have been passed over for any positions at all. We’re even more concerned that 74% of Mrs May’s Cabinet are Remainers, as are an incredible 86% of her new Junior Ministers so far.

    Regards, the Team

    • Bob
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink


      “your colleagues appear to have been passed over for any positions at all.”

      Which is why the establishment hounded Andrea Leadsom out of the leadership contest.

      When you heard Mr Cameron humming a happy tune as he strolled into number 10 did you visualise a speech bubble above his head saying “I love it when a plan comes together”

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      You should be more concerned about the news that Theresa May is coming back to her constituency to consult with the leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead on whether we should leave the EU. This is because despite our best efforts over the years a majority of people in the borough voted to stay in the EU, and she has recognised that there is deep concern that Maidonians will be dragged out of the EU against their will.

      Since Berkshire County Council was abolished the unitary authorities like the Royal Borough have assumed the constitutional position it previously occupied, that is to say one level below the UK-wide authorities; and just as Theresa May thinks she must get permission from Nicola Sturgeon so she thinks she must get permission from all the other authorities at the same constitutional level – Sadiq Kahn in London, where a majority voted to stay in the EU, and the Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies, and the leaders of all the county councils and city councils and unitary authorities across England.

      Only joking.

      • zorro
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        We hope that you are only joking!


    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      For what it’s worth, I lobbied hard for JR. I also lobbied for another man’s inclusion and got some very encouraging responses, but unfortunately, the power of selection was not theirs to dispense.

      For instance, I wrote this of Kwasi Kwarteng:

      ‘He is young, highly intelligent, articulate, has a significant presence, commands respect, has a PhD in Economic History from Cambridge University, and is destined to achieve great things on his own merit.’

      Why he was overlooked in preference to some of the others, I find perplexing, but looking on the bright side, we did at least get rid of Anna Soubry, hopefully never to return.

      Tad Davison


      • peter davies
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Anna will have more spare time on her hands to air her strong views on question time now, the BBC will be happy…..

      • rose
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        She has thrown out the only two intellectuals – Gove and Letwin – and not brought in others. Kwasi Kwateng is an intellectual and also went to Eton (as a Kings Scholar.) Boris is all that is left, presumably because the membership had to be appeased after the coup against Mrs Leadsom.

        • rose
          Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, Kwarteng.

    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    In triumphalist tones; in a tenor of voice commanding respect and national heartfelt feelings; dynamic, forceful, meaningful, with an inherent tinge of historical pomp the female TV broadcaster proclaimed:-

    ” President Erdoğan promises to cleanse the virus from the Turkish state..”

    Which TV station broadcast this piece of (unacceptable comment ed)?

    1. A US far right allegedly Christian one?
    2. A Turkish regional TV station broadcasting in English?
    3. A Russian nationalist one supporting the black-shirted football hooligans in France?

    It was the BBC, this morning, at approximately 8.30am

    • hefner
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      CH. ??? The broadcaster simply repeated in English what Erdogan had said.
      Sometimes one’s hate of the BBC makes one profer inanities.

    • rose
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I am afraid we are going to have to get used to this sort of thing. If you leave a moral and religious vacuum in an organisation like the BBC then someone else is going to come along and fill it. This is why the Chief Rabbis have always wanted the C of E to remain the Established Church.

    Posted July 18, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Can anyone recall through the fog of EU pro-Erdogan rhetoric and support, just exactly what the coup conspirators were attempting to change and why?

    Prior to all this the Dutch Prime Minister had certain words for the Turkish regime about threats to Turks living in the Netherlands. Then there were the threats not only to Turks living in Germany but to German born novelists and poets made by President Erdogan himself. The Kurds, remember the Kurds, those seen as our allies in Syria, Iraq and throughout the Middle-East have something to say, had something to say, about President Erdogan. Then there was the suppression by violent means of an opposition public newspaper in Turkey.
    All the anti-coup demonstrators appear to be men. Where are the women protesters? Can we remember now. Has the BBC forgotten? Again?

  22. Mark
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    It is always difficult to work out what is going on in Turkey. We know they don’t like most of their neighbours (Greeks, Armenians, Kurds in particular) and that there is an undercurrent still from the days of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, which has rather overtaken the historic efforts of Atatürk to reform the country. Erdogan now seems to be indulging in a considerable purge of the judiciary as well as the armed forces, and to have unleashed a strongly Islamic popular movement on the streets. There are those who suggest that the coup was in fact orchestrated to permit such a purge, noting among other things that “rebel” aircraft apparently had Erdogan’s plane in their sights and did not down it.

    It must have alarmed NATO commanders that Incirlik was subjected to a power cut and the arrest of the Turkish base commander. At least we still have Akrotiri.

  23. Norman
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    All such needless carnage is distressing and tragic. But can you equate democracy in a predominantly Muslim country with the values and freedom we enjoy in the West? Consider the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt, which was overthrown in a coup by the army under General Sisi. Even now, Coptic Christians are being brutally abused, churches burned and worse. The same in Pakistan. There seems to be a failure on the part of all Western politicians to get the message, that (there ed) is a political ideology that is utterly hostile to the West. Iron cannot mix with clay, except under the all-pervasive and crushing force of a revived Roman Empire. We need to be compassionate and engage with all nations, but at the same time, if we value our freedom and heritage, we need to wake up to the dangers of appeasement, too. It is good to see that some of your commentators already understand this. Another good reason to distance ourselves from the EU. Dangerous times!

    Posted July 18, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    2nd paragraph “…The murderer in Nice is said to be a loner…”

    If a British civilian before and even after the Declaration of War on Germany by the UK on 3rd September 1939 decided to kill Germans without wearing a uniform and without a direct order from London, would he be considered A LONER, with references made perhaps to a failed marriage, moving from job-to-job, being a Petty-thief as opposed to a Grande -thief ( much more acceptable? ) be adjudged at the time and in 2016 as a war hero or someone who should have had tender-loving- care as he no doubt came from a poor dysfunctional family? And was a kind of lunatic though never seen by a psychiatrist and adjudged so?

    Posted July 18, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Off Topic:
    We should all be in favour of the SNP’s desire to rid its soil of everything to do with Trident renewal.
    ALL facilities, the submarine base, the ships and businesses surrounding it, the steel and other machinery parts, any civilian ,police, security personnel, army, navy and airforce personnel , shops, supermarkets , restaurants, lighting, gas and fuel suppliers, and all Scottish workers directly and indirectly employed as a result of Trident should be closed, moved and sacked. Immediately.
    All facilities moved to the rest of the UK. The Scottish electorate can then bow down before the wisdom of Mrs Sturgeon’s defence, employment and social policy and hopefully we will hear the less of her.
    Time for Mrs Sturgeon to stop being the equivalent of a red-ragging car manufacturing shop-steward and start the serious business of States -man (woman)-ship. Her careless talk costs livelihoods and lives.

    • peter davies
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      what you describe adds up to around 30 000 jobs by some estimates. Can Scotland afford to lose that?

      I am sure they would be welcome in Milford Haven

    • Beecee
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Hear Hear!

      I am not the only one fed up with the SNP anti-English rants.

      They are like spoilt, selfish children who have never grown up – throwing tantrums whenever they do not get their own way.

      Time for them to either mature or just GO!

    • Al
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Moving Trident to English or Welsh bases might do wonders for employment in those areas, but it would also alienate Scottish voters over lost jobs. Still, while moving the base immediately may be unwise, it does seem daft not to have a contigency plan and certainly to announce, as they did last week on the BBC, that there are no plans to move it if Scotland does become independent.

      After all, in the event of independence, is it really wise to allow a foreign government to control Britain’s nuclear deterrant – a deterrant they have already stated they do not agree with?

    • rose
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      If she cared about her country she would be thinking about how to revive its fishing industry and how to make the most of what is left of the oil, reviving Aberdeen in the process.

    Posted July 18, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    off topic;
    The Labour Party Leadership contest is looking more like a sixth-form popularity contest day-by-day.
    We have the much despised, by their classmates, the smarmy headboy and headgirl standing before the school with no-one daring to laugh.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      And the shabby old Geography teacher is refusing to stand up from his seat to let them sit down. Jeremy Corbyn is somewhat rare in UK politics in that he has publically called for A50 to be invoked immediately, the fact he is apparently going to remain in his post is excellent news for Brexiters.

  27. lojolondon
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    John, there are several internet-based news sources saying that the Turkish ‘coup’ was entirely faked, in order to allow Erdogan to crack down hard on voices of dissent within his own country. Several obvious targets were ignored, including Erdogan’s very own residence, while most people killed were shot by the army, civilians who came onto the street to ‘cheer’ the alleged coup. Hardly any deaths within the military or government….. expect within a few months or years the mainstream media will have caught up.

    Reply Why then were so many military personnel arrested?

    • rose
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      I was alarmed enough to stay up watching the television. Two things were clear: it wasn’t the whole army; and it wasn’t confronted by the Turkish people. They were indoors. The people who suddenly came out on to the streets in the early hours of the morning at the command of President Erdogan were all men and looked like (Islamic militants?). The next day they were all waving identical flags and their disciplined chants reminded me of “the Arab spring” – which wasn’t a spring at all. It was a very rum coup. Either because so many senior officers were in prison that it couldn’t be managed, or because the young soldiers had no wish to harm their own people. Or because, as has been suggested, it wasn’t really a coup.

      Oddest of all was how the governing forces managed to arrest 5,000 people in the middle of it, over 2 ,000 of them judges.

      If it had been a coup, then it was the last chance to save Turkey’s secular democracy. Naturally we haven’t heard from any of the opposition: they are far too terrified. It is naive of the BBC to keep on telling us that the people and the oppostion parties were opposed to the coup and in favour of President Erdogan’s form of democracy.

    • APL
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      JR: “why then were so many military personnel arrested”

      It’s pretty obvious really. The military were the only check on Erdogan’s ambitions. Which include the rollback of Attaturk’s reforms and the re-islamification of Turkey.

      • APL
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Erdogan is reported to have 20,000 on his list. With such a huge number of people involved in the coup, it’s a wonder anyone at all was ignorant of it!

        • rose
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          Horrifying to see those intelligence men paraded, battered and bruised, and put into shabby clothes. There were reports of a general in court with several wounds – which the BBC would have us believe were sustained in the coup.

          He is devouring his own country.

    • zorro
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Turkey has been experiencing a slow coup over the last few years as an increasingly autocratic and unstable President seeks to bring in a Presidential style of government with an Islamizing undercurrent contrary to the founding tenements of the modern, secular Turkish Republic and its founder Mustafa Kemal ‘Ataturk’…… Opponents have been regularly locked up, including many opposing journalists for daring to criticise Erdogan. That is not in dispute. What is in dispute is to ‘real’ this coup was. Interestingly, the Turkish Army is quite effective and experienced in bringing in coups, and this one is very amateurish in its fulfilment.

      ‘Cui bono’ – most definitely Erdogan who is able to lock up thousands within days from his little black book doubtless. All this does, is give him an ideal excuse to get rid of those who do not agree with him – and there are many (still). This is why so many soldiers/officers have been arrested. His plane could have been shot down if they wanted to get rid of him. Let’s face it – if you were the leader of a secular army coup determined to restore human rights and get rid of a dangerous autocrat (generous description), he would be first on the list to be detained/have an altercation with a piece of lead…..


      • zorro
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        I mean of course ‘tenets’, although of course Mr Erdogan may think ‘tenements’ hence why he wants to pull them down! Sorry, don’t always have the time to correct Apple’s ‘intuitive’ spelling sabotage program…..


  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink


    “Bundesbank Proposes Reform of European Crisis Response Mechanism”

    “The central bank suggests turning the European Stability Mechanism into the region’s leading fiscal authority with competences encompassing those currently carried out by the European Commission and the European Central Bank.”

    But without the need for any EU treaty change, which I find rather difficult to believe.

  29. Mark B
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Good afternoon.

    I too wish to send my condolences to those that have lost these past few days.

    Clearly being a member or even a non-member of the EU does not make you more or less safe. What makes you safe is knowing that the pact between government and the people. The government and its institutions are there to serve the people and not their own or minority interests. It should insure that those who do not share the values are able express themselves through peaceful means.

    Such a system is not perfect but, it is the way of things, and for those who find it difficult to accept this they should be encouraged to make their own arrangements and live in a country more in tune to the way of life that they wish to lead and leave others alone.

    Perhaps it is time some faced some difficult truth about the world around them, both near and far. Not everyone shares our values and some are directly hostile to it and will commit wicked acts to further their demonic cause.

    There can be no more excuses.

    It is also right that the UK government continues to send monies to Turkey on its application for membership of the EU ? Perhaps now that we are leaving it is time to spend that money at home as well and not on a country that is clearly heading in the wrong direction.

  30. Michael Cawood
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    The European Union as a whole is dedicated to eroding liberty and democracy.

  31. The PrangWizard
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    So, neither seem to have anything to do with Islam then?

    This cannot be ignored and hidden behind niceties. The narrative that the Nice mass murderer was a ‘loner’ is a deceit which should not be reinforced by repetition. He and all the other ‘loners’ are part of a war conducted by Islamists to defeat, destroy and replace our way of life. They are using a new form of warfare. Erdogan will use this opportunity to further introduce radical Islam in Turkey and the (problems ed) that goes with it. (words left out ed) I fear for those have been ‘taken into custody’ by the men with beards.

    The refusal to recognise this and to say it encourages more such attacks – it confirms their correct view that leadership in the West is weak and by being so will bring about its own destruction. Our values must be defended by deed, and word.

  32. John Robertson
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Humanity in these troubled areas is not helped by making it easy for those countries brightest and best to leave their troubled country!

    They leave behind them a greater intensity of the problem and the EU is facilitating it.

  33. Dennis
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    “The EU is meant to stand for democratic principles”

    Strange, I thought the EU stood for autocracy / plutocracy.

    Wouldn’t a democratic system interfere with the aims of the EU?

  34. bluedog
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    One notes with extreme concern, Dr JR, further developments in Turkey. It seems that the US is being set up by Erdogan, and that the US residency of the Islamic cleric Gulen will be used as a tool to blackmail the US and NATO, possibly on the basis of completely spurious allegations.

    If the USAF is booted out of the Incirlik airbase in eastern Turkey as a consequence, the air campaign against IS collapses. This may indeed be what Erdogan has in mind, and he would possibly be supported by a large constituency in Turkey as a consequence. NATO officials are threatening to suspend Turkey from NATO, which is likely to provoke Erdogan further. One can see a major shift in Turkey’s position in the offing, with the worst case scenario being that it becomes yet another Islamist dictatorship hostile to the West.

    In that event we need to act quickly to cut Turkey out of the F35 fighter-bomber programme, in which the UK has a major stake. The EU will also need to do something effective to stop the inevitable flow of migrants that Turkey may instigate if the current deal collapses. Our position in Cyprus may become very tenuous.

    Challenging times for Boris.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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