The Spectator's Notes

Charles Moore’s notes: Does Chuck Blazer exist?

Plus: Chumocracy on the Privy Council; a new case for ‘first past the post’; and the risks of Scottish political life

6 June 2015

9:00 AM

6 June 2015

9:00 AM

We in the West all hate Sepp Blatter, so we pay too little attention to the manner in which the Fifa executives were arrested. For what reason, other than maximum drama, were they all ensnared in a dawn raid on their hotel in Zurich? Are we really satisfied that the US authorities should behave in this way outside their jurisdiction? What is left of Swiss independence if they act thus under US pressure? Can we be confident that this very fat man called Chuck Blazer really exists, or has he been invented by Hollywood? In America, lawyers are more like political players or business entrepreneurs than the sub-fusc professionals of the English tradition. Should we welcome their global reach? Since the Fifa story is an example of the West versus the rest, however, we in the Anglosphere must stick together. We have heard from Vladimir Putin and various Third World sporting potentates that attacks on Fifa’s bosses are examples of arrogance and racism. If we look at such organisations, we can see how the whole world will go when we in the West finally (in 20/30 years?) lose control of it. Absolutely everything will be run by the global, lawless rich doing deals with one another to profit monstrously from the global poor. You may say that this happens already under western hegemony, and you could be right. My only point is that it will get far, far worse. In the meantime, we should keep a close eye on Qatar, who so cleverly managed to win the World Cup so that it can be played in their oven in 2022. Some may welcome the news that Qatar’s ruling al-Thani family now makes a substantial contribution to maintaining the Queen Mother’s former house, the Castle of Mey, but I see it as a sinister development.

After the general election, Edward Llewellyn, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, was made a Privy Councillor. Any member of the Privy Council is addressed as ‘Right Honourable’, and these words well describe Llewellyn’s character, so there is no problem there. But why should an adviser be given this role? If you study the list (which, be warned, takes a long time), you will see that Privy Councillors are almost all MPs (or ex-MPs), peers or judges. This is because they are supposed to be, in some small way, powers in the land, people in their own right, rather than servants of the powerful. There are a few exceptions — Sir John Chilcot, for instance, so that he could see and hear things for his inquiry on ‘Privy Council terms’; and the Queen’s private secretary (presumably for a similar reason, since the Privy Council is the Queen’s). But it has not, until now, been a reward for members of a political entourage. The rumour is that Llewellyn was to be made ambassador to Rome after the election. Perhaps because of the Tories’ unexpected majority, this has not happened, and so he stays in post, but Right Honourably. Not a good idea — yet another example of the chumocracy.


As Britain found, one of the worst things about having an empire is how much time its troublesome parts take up. Today this problem afflicts the EU. Literally every day it has to have meetings about Greece, gatherings which often include the leaders of the main eurozone member states. Greece’s GDP is less than $250 billion a year and that of the EU is more than $18 trillion. There are just over 11 million Greeks in Greece, 335 million people in the eurozone, and 503 million EU citizens. Meanwhile, the borders of the empire are menaced by the infinitely more serious entity of Russia, but the EU cannot pay it proper attention. The Ottomans finally gave up on Greece in 1832. How long before Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin do the same?

Listening this week to someone from the Electoral Reform Society droning on about how we have just had the least representative election ever, I suddenly had an aperçu. Until now, I had argued that it was true that ‘first past the post’ was unfair, but this was a small price to pay for the way it usually produced a decisive national result. I now realise that this is to concede too much to the proportional representation case. The present system is unfair only to parties. It is not unfair to voters, unless one can prove that voters expect the system to represent their party preferences mathematically or wish that it would. This cannot be proved. Indeed, it was disproved in the referendum of 2011. The PR people ignore the fact that MPs represent all their constituents. I have lived in both Labour and Conservative constituencies and it has never occurred to me to think that I will not be served by my MP because, in some cases, I did not vote for him. I have never come across a MP who acted in a partisan manner when dealing with his constituents. Voters well understand that party preference is not the only point of voting.

The sad death of Charles Kennedy reminds one that Scottish political life is a health risk. He joins the ranks of John Smith, Donald Dewar and Robin Cook, a man cut off before his time. In this regard, one worries about Alex Salmond. Although he does not have Mr Kennedy’s drink problem, he is famous for eating the unspeakable food so popular north of the border, as his shape confirms. He is the leader of the arc of obesity which stretches to the Arctic circle. Perhaps it is to reduce these dangers that the next generation of Scottish leaders is almost entirely female.

Aged 100, the charming Jeremy Hutchinson now tells his story (Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories, by Thomas Grant, John Murray). One of his triumphs was to help defend Lady Chatterley’s Lover when it was prosecuted for obscenity in 1960. I am sorry he gives no countenance to my theory about the heroic prosecutor Mervyn Griffith-Jones. Griffith-Jones famously asked the jury: ‘Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?’ For this he was much mocked. But the novel is about the behaviour of a wife (Lady Chatterley) with a servant (Mellors, the gamekeeper). Nine of the jury were men: surely Griffith-Jones was making the sort of joke he thought would appeal to them. It is, of course, fatal in English public life to make a joke.

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Show comments
  • tim5165

    One is amused by Mr Moore’s description of the Scottish leaderette as being “almost entirely female”. As for Mr Charles Blazer, could he be a (distant) cousin of that notorious gourmet, Monsieur Creosote?

    • davidofkent

      I wonder why you have chosen to completely distort the writer’s words.

      • tim5165

        No davidofkent, I rail against the Telegraph’s lack of sub-editors; once upon a time, any journalist’s unintentional ‘double entendre’ would have been corrected before publication.

    • Malus Pudor

      Might I suggest that Mr Creosote was a gourmand, rather than a gourmet…

      Let’s hope that Mr Blazer meets a similar end to Mr Creosote’s…

      • tim5165

        Malus Pudor, thank you, I am a glutton for punishment on this thread!
        Although the sketch is perceived as comedy, there have to be academics and students who have analysed the underlying satire.
        In my case, I like to use liquid creosote; it is a traditional, sustainable wood treatment. Did author & actor Mr Terry Jones use the word as a pun on ‘Le Creuset’, or does he simply dislike the malodorous, dark brown liquid?

    • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

      Showing your complete ignorance of Scottish politics :

      SNP leader : First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP

      Scottish Labour Interim leader : Kezia Dugdale MSP

      Scottish Tory leader : Ruth Davidson MSP

      • Major Plonquer

        No need for corrections. “Ignorance” and “Scottish politics” are two concepts that are naturally bound together and often confused.

      • tim5165

        “Interim” does not require a capital ‘i’, unless you have just founded a group to be known as the Scottish Labour Interim Party. Otherwise you are correct; I am completely ignorant about Scottish politics, although I do recall reading that FMNS’s combined salary is now £144,687.

        • Conan_the_Librarian

          “although I do recall reading that FMNS’s combined salary is now £144,687.”

          Do you recall her not taking it in full? Perhaps you should have mentioned that fact.

          • tim5165

            The woman can do whatever she likes with the salary that she (and/or her MSPs) voted for; as far as I am aware, there is no mechanism to reject or return any money that she may regard as excessive.

      • blandings

        “Showing your complete ignorance of Scottish politics”

        In this instance ignorance truly is bliss

    • The Real Spartacus

      English, do you understand it? 😉

  • Baron

    Very pertinent, your point that the Americans are behaving in Zurich as if the country was a vassal appendix of the Republic, but you are missing the motive behind the FBI investigation, Mr. Moore, it has nothing to do with football, but Putin’s Russia. It began when the FBI were looking into dealings of the Russian mafia on the American soil. By luck, or so they say, they stumbled into FIFA, haven’t stopped since.

    The result of their cleansing operation will be that virtually everything and everyone in FIFA may have been corrupt for decades (except when the Republic was the host in 1994), but the most corrupt, bribery infused beyond belief, fraudulent and unethical was the awarding of the Cup final to Russia in 2018. There will be a new vote, either Britain or the Republic will step in, win.

    Btw, as most of the corruption takes place when a venue is voted for, it may be worth while to hold the Cup in one country permanently. Britain should be as good a place as any even though we’ve won it only once since the war,

    • Worcester_Coarse

      An England/USA final in 2018?

      England picked up two votes during the bidding process and couldn’t better joint bids from Iberia and the Low countries respectively. Let the Russians host this absurd tournament.

    • Damaris Tighe

      I suspect there is a connection between the US, sanctions on Russia & the Cup Final in Russia – which the US might like to dispose of. I’m guessing that swooping on FIFA was an opportunity to achieve this. As you say, the beneficial outcome of all this is that FIFA’s root & branch corruption is exposed.

  • davidofkent

    I can see no reason for FIFA to exist. People, teams and nations can organise a few footie matches themselves. How is FIFA allowed to form itself and declare that it owns the rights to ‘The World Cup’? It has been perfectly obvious for years that FIFA is a system designed to provide kickbacks to Third World reps in return for the constant re-election of the man who can be guaranteed to let them get away with it. The money for FIFA comes from the spectators at football matches and the subscribers to various TV satellite Channels. Why? Stop paying FIFA right now.

    • Tom M

      Quite so david. Can I extend your rationale to the EU while you are at it?

    • Sean L

      But that’s what Fifa *is* – people organising football games. The process has merely been corrupted by the vast sums of cash involved. But that’s bound to be a possibility regardless of who organises the games…

  • LG

    Sorry to disappoint your nasty anti-Scottish racism but:

    “The prevalence of adult obesity and childhood overweight and obesity in England
    appears similar to that for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of
    Ireland.”

    http://www.noo.org.uk/uploads/doc799_2_International_Comparisons_Obesity_Prevalence2.pdf

    • Freddythreepwood

      The Scottish are not a race.

      • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

        There is no such thing as a “race” of people.

        “Race” has it’s origin in the shameful colonial times, a period in which the British were foremost in the inhuman treatment of non-White Europeans whom they regarded as less evolved beings…..Of a different, and lower, “race”.

        We do differ however in culture, nationality and ethnicity, and those bigots who believe that they are in anyway superior, or who consciously or unconsciously offend others by these differences must be challenged at every opportunity.

        To refer to these bigots as racists is appropriate, as whilst hopefully causing offence to them, it also acknowledges the vile origins of that type of behaviour.

        So, you can indeed to racist towards Scots, as you can anyone.

        • Freddythreepwood

          Bollocks. Not just bollocks, but typical SNP bollocks. Much in line with your usual contributions.

          • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

            I’ll take a comment like that, from someone such as yourself, as a great compliment.

          • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

            Every day your union decays a little…… Tomorrow it will be weaker than today.

          • blandings

            Perhaps if you hadn’t behaved like a pack of uncouth, ignorant, thugs you might have persuaded a majority of your countrymen to vote for independence.

          • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

            Read and weep :

            Today’s TNS poll shows support for SNP up 10% in Scotland since GE2015, to 60%.

            The one inevitable road to Scottish independence.

          • blandings

            Why would I weep?
            I don’t want to share a country with the likes of you: BNP without the class.

          • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

            TNS poll today shows SNP support up 10% in Scotland since GE2015….. To 60% !!!!

            I feel your pain Freddy !!

          • Freddythreepwood

            Pain! What pain? The sooner it reaches 100% the better.

        • vieuxceps2

          Indeed,it is never difficult to feel racist towards aScot.They do so invite it…….

          • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

            It’s just what you are.

        • WarriorPrincess111111

          Black people were not the first slaves! The first slaves were the white people – people from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales were sold by James I and taken to be used as slaves in Montserrat and Antigua. The description, Mulatto – came from this period. Oliver Cromwell sold British people as slaves. White slaves were sold in Greece to be used for manual labour. The Vikings captured and sold Britons to the Muslims as slaves. Barbary Pirates captured many white people and sold them as slaves. Ireland lost half of its population and many were tortured and viciously murdered.

          The white slaves were considered to be of less value than the black slaves and were subjected to much harsher punishments.

          Slavery has always been a raceless issue; whilst many slaves are taken because they are seen as subhuman, all races have been victims of slavery, and that
          includes whites.

          • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

            Thanks for your response….. My only point was that I do not recognise that human beings can be of different “races”. Race being a word that was used to differentiate between peoples due to their perceived degree of evolution.

      • Major Plonquer

        That is correct. The Scots are not a “race”. In strict, Darwinist terminology they are a “species”.

        • MacGuffin

          A degenerated mutation?

    • justejudexultionis

      People in southern England: rich, smug, arrogant, thin.
      People in northern England: poor, friendly, fat.
      People in Scotland: poor, friendly, fat.

  • trace9

    They call me a Weed
    & Pull me & kill Me
    For I’m fairer than Roses
    But I set out no Thorns..

    So, spikey wee Nikkie’ll obviously last fur aeonzz.& eaonzz. & She’s not even fat..

  • Des Demona

    No country from outside Europe or South America has ever won the world cup. The rest just make up the numbers anyway. FIFA fodder to line their pockets.

  • Freddythreepwood

    ‘In this regard, one worries about Alex Salmond.’

    Which one?

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    I, for one have never believed that the laws of any other nation should affect ones position. It doesn’t make sense.

  • thomasaikenhead

    Excellent to see the politics behind US moves against FIFA!

    No doubt they will be just as keen to investigate Nike, Alberto Salazar and Mo Farah?

  • abystander

    I have yet to see the English described as ” a degenerated mutation” in a Scottish political blog.

    If they were there would be screeds written in the Spectator, the Daily Mail and the Torygraph about wicked “cybernats”.

    But its ok the other way round, of course.

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  • SNP “AJOCKALYPSE”

    Today’s TNS poll shows that support for the SNP has increased by 10% since GE2015, and now stands at at 60% ( and rising ! ).

    Id like to take this opportunity to thank the numerous frequent contributors of anti-Scottish bile in this and other forums.

    Every vile xenophobic / racist anti-Scottish comment helps to encourage more and more of the people of Scotland to put their trust in the SNP.

    With your assistance, the union dies a little more every day.

    So thanks again, keep the bile coming…………. Every little helps !

  • rtj1211

    Chuck Blazer undoubtedly exists – just ask Andrew Jennings. Whether, like Osama bin Laden, his life/death has been brought into the realms of ‘creative license’, perhaps others should ask. It would of course be most convenient for him already to be dead and his ‘testimony’ to have been invented. After all, the CIA has Full Spectrum Dominance surveillance going globally already. They have no need of ‘wire taps’ other than to convince the naive dolts that that’s the level of their snooping. If they want to, they just focus a US military satellite on a FIFA official and, bingo, everything they say is recorded. It’s just that it’s not admissible in court.

    Everyone of us who owns a computer is subject to CIA/NSA surveillance. Every one. That’s how the USA operates. You want to be private, you dig a 100ft cavern below your house and surround it with sufficient rock and metal to block out all the microwaves that the USA could use to spy on you. You ask about all the bugs in the wall at every public building in towns and cities. No conversation there is private. Not one.

    Really. That’s where we’re at.

    All this wire-tapping nonsense is for the birds.

  • WarriorPrincess111111

    Much of what would be classed as ‘racist’ today, is what was accepted to be friendly rivalry in the past. The Limeys have always socialised with the Jocks, the Paddy’s and the Taff’s and each of these races have poked fun at one another at various times.
    The humanitarians have taken this far too seriously – to the point of stupidity. Even now, some of my colleagues are Scottish – and there is often friendly banter about how they needed a ladder to get over Hadrian’s Wall, and why is everything in Scotland small since they refer to everything as ‘wee’. The response is just as jovial.
    I also know many black people – what they have to say about ‘political correctness’ is not printable. People are not concerned about what you say – it is how you say it that makes it acceptable or not.

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