Blair’s Replacement Has To be Smart

November 10, 2005

Nations need smart politicians – like Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan – but often get less-than-smart people like Tony Blair. The Germans are about to get smart leaders, and Brits need to follow, I hope with David Davis.

The Bell Curve pulls together the decades of analysis proving that smarter people are more competent than less smart people. They add more value to the economy, they bring up more productive kids, they’re better citizens, and they make few demands on the state. Which confirms common sense, so lefties hate it and attack the book. They are wrong and the book is right. Incidentally, if you’re reading serious blogs, you’re smart.

Being smart is a necessary but not sufficient requirement to be a Prime Minister or President – you also need strong core values.

Maggie Thatcher is smart – she got a degree in Chemistry from Oxford and worked as chemist before entering politics. Like any smart person, she surrounded herself with smart people – Keith Joseph, Norman Tebbit, Nigel Lawson (plus some dunces, but the talent pool in politics is not big).

Ronald Reagan was smart. He learned in the university of life, and went from actor to broadcaster through union politics to running California to the presidency. He too chose smart colleagues – James Baker, Alexander Haig, Casper Weinberger.

Tony Blair isn’t very smart. Non-smart people are poor at predicting outcomes, which is why he’s in a mess now – trying to push through anti-terror laws on the same day he’s pardoning 150 terrorist murderers is very non-smart behavior. And his cabinet has just one competent person (Brown, who opposes him) with the rest incompetent. He’s a lawyer, which usually means considerable smarts. But lawyer friends tell me that he wasn’t a very good one, so I suspect he gets by with just verbal intelligence, not the core intelligence researchers call “g”.

Germany’s new leaders will be the smart Angela Merkel and Matthias Platzeck, of whom the WSJ (subscription) says:

Both 51 years old, both with a background in science as well as in Protestantism, Ms. Merkel and Mr. Platzeck share a pragmatic, can-do attitude and a lack of patience for ideology.

So, providing Merkel has strong core values, Germany could be on the way up.

When the Brits chuck out New Labour, who would serve the nation best? Of the two men competing to head the opposition Tory party, David Davis looks smarter than his opponent David Cameron. Here’s a quick academic resume comparison:

Davis Cameron
Bachelors degree in Molecular Science/Computer Science

Master’s Degree in Business, London School of Economics

Advanced Management Program, Harvard

Bachelors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Cameron may be smart, but Davis has chosen academically more challenging degrees and done them well, and so is almost certainly smarter.

The Tories are set to choose between the two next month and I hope Davis wins.

You Can’t Fool All Of The People

November 10, 2005

Here’s why the US print MSM’s circulation is tanking. A poll confirms that only half of Americans now believe the press reports fairly on the president. A business perceived by half of its customers to sell shoddy goods is doomed.

Only half see press as fair to Bush

About 50 percent of Americans say the Bush administration is being treated fairly by the press, the lowest number since President Bush was elected, and an increasing percentage say the press is too critical of the president, according to the Pew Research Center.

“There has been a notable rise over the past two years in the percentage who say the press is too critical of the Bush administration,” the survey released Tuesday stated.

The report gives an example:

Many stories that appear to methodically build a case against Mr. Bush might not resonate with readers and viewers. “Iraq, Katrina, CIA leak, Harriet Miers. Things couldn’t get any worse for Bush. But they just did,” noted the Associated Press yesterday in an account of the Virginia governor’s race, won by Democrat Timothy M. Kaine.

Virginia voters will laugh at this report – the previous Governor (a Democrat) imposed a massive tax increase last year that riled many voters. They expected the Republican candidate to commit to rolling it back. He didn’t, so he lost.

I wonder what the journos will do when they get their pink slips?

Women Pilots

November 10, 2005

Boeing just set a long distance record with the 777 flying Hong Kong to London. But if the (woman) pilot had turned east on takeoff she would have gotten there in just over half the time. It was a demonstration, but that’s no reason not to use it in the War Between The Sexes!

A Boeing Co. jet arrived in London from Hong Kong on Thursday, breaking the record for the longest nonstop flight by a commercial jet.

Captain Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, was at the controls when the plane left Hong Kong, said the trip east across the Pacific had been bumpy.

The jet spent 22 hours and 43 minutes in the air.

Travelocity reports:

Sat, 17 Dec
00:45 Depart – Hong Kong (HKG) Cathay Pacific 255
06:20 Arrive – London Heathrow, UK (LHR)
Nonstop Total Travel Time: 13 hrs 35 min

This provides a useful counterpoint to the female claim that, when lost, males refuse to stop & ask directions.

Blair’s Bluff Called

November 10, 2005

Parliament’s defeat of Blair’s anti-terror legislation isn’t what it seems. Many MPs see him him an appeaser of terror who uses gestures like this legislation as a smokescreen. Americans should be reassured that Brits don’t like appeasers.

The story (my ellipsis):

In a bitter personal rebuff (to Blair), the (House of) Commons voted by a margin of 31 votes against his plan for the police to be allowed to hold terrorism suspects for 90 days. Instead they voted for the 28-day period favored by the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and many Labour MPs.

Friends of the Prime Minister said that it was one of the most extraordinary votes in parliamentary history. One said: “Here you have a Labour Prime Minister being beaten because he supports the police and is in tune with public opinion and the Conservatives winning while being against the police and out of touch with public opinion. Is the world going mad?”

Brit cops do want a 90 day detention period – with legal oversight – and I think they’re right. However, based on Blair’s appeasement of the IRA, Brits expect him to ultimately compensate and give amnesties to any terrorists detained under this law. And based on his persecution of our soldiers and police who fought in Northern Ireland and Iraq, they expect him to victimize our anti-terror forces who do the detaining.

Here’s another story today that illustrates this (my ellipsis):

As Tony Blair pleaded with backbenchers to back his plans to detain terrorists, his Government announced legislation that will enable paramilitaries (terrorists) and escaped convicts who fled the province during the Troubles to return and be freed on license.

The Government would not say how many people would benefit from the Northern Ireland (Offences) Bill, but it is estimated that up to 150 fugitives would be eligible.

The law, condemned by politicians and victims of the Troubles, also includes alleged offenses committed by the Army and police when they were fighting terrorism.

That last is creepy misdirection – Brit soldiers and police who fought the terrorists are only eligible for this amnesty if they’re on the lam, which none are reported to be. Why should they be? They were doing their duty for their country. Still, Blair has just tasked a 160 person team to go after them – see here. The story continues:

One of those believed to be entitled to take advantage of the (amnesty) legislation is Charles Caufield, who was named under House of Commons privilege as the man who built and detonated the Enniskillen bomb.

Caufield is thought to have fled to America after the IRA attack, which also injured 63 people, at a war memorial before a Remembrance Day service in 1987.

Remembrance Sunday is Brit Veterans day, where ceremonies take place all over the country on the nearest Sunday to 11/11 to honor those killed during the First and Second World Wars. The IRA exploded a bomb at one such ceremony, murdering eleven civilians and injuring 63, many terribly. It was similar to one of the 4 bombings on 7/7, each of which killed and injured about the same number of people. Blair is giving an amnesty to the man who did this.

So tough talk followed by appeasement is Blair’s trademark – he’s played the same game in Iraq, where since his “brave” decision to go to war he’s relentlessly persecuted our combat troops there.

The vast majority of Brits hate appeasers and support their cops and soldiers, so Blair has forfeited their respect. Americans should be reassured that his defeat emphasizes Brit determination to fight terror, not the opposite.