Tuesday, 6 October 2015

More reasons for being a monarchist, if reasons are needed

The hereditary principle is deeply wired in us humans. Look at the Assads, the Mubaraks, Gadaffis, Bushes. Republics are unnatural.

Monarchy means hierarchy, not equality or even equality of opportunity, it means family not merit. It about blood not brains. We are not equal and we are all here because of family, not merit. Families are the greatest of institutions, after for believers the Church, and countries should be families too.

I love monarchies because there's no damned merit in them and they allow an unassuming churchy, horsey upper class countrywoman, not singular in any way, to be head of state. And why? Because she's the descendant of Edgar who reigned from 959 to 975 and was rowed down the Dee by the Kings of Wessex, Mercia etc etc.
To describe the Queen as remarkable is to misunderstand that it is her unremarkableness that is her remarkable quality.

The British monarchy, like the other European monarchies, is about Christianity, not syncretism. I also like it that the monarchy reminds us that we are one of the most ancient nation states, based on blood, not an immigrant society founded on values. As Joseph de Maistre said
Nations are not made of ink.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Foreigners are like seasoning

Foreigners are like seasoning, put in too much and you ruin the soup. 

John Derbyshire

Breaking up Syria is hard to do

Obama's weakness has turned the Syrian war into a proxy war in which the Saudis, the Turks and now the Russians take sides. I do not understand why the Russians are criticised by the West and not the Saudis, who are trying to topple the Assad regime, or the Turks who are trying to defeat the Kurds. Turkey and Qatar were helping ISIS - though so at times was Assad. I am not sure how much anyone understands what is going on, including Russia and the USA.

I hope a negotiated peace can be made between the regime and the non-ISIS rebels and Russian support for Assad I hope will bring the latter to the negotiating table.

I wonder if Syria, an artificial country, can or should survive but I cannot see how it could be partitioned.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a couple of weeks ago that President Assad is seeking to establish a "mini-Syria," which would comprising Damascus, Hama, Homs, and Latakia. I do not think this is practicable, as Latakia on the coast and its hinterland, where most Alawis live, is at the opposite end of the country from Damascus. 

It is not true to say the Sunnis will never accept the Assad regime - Damascus controlled by Assad is mostly Sunni. Alawis, Sunnis and Christians have lived together without problems for centuries in Damascus. However, Iran was recently reported as wanting the regime to clear hundreds of thousands of Sunnis from Damascus in an exchange of population with Shias elsewhere.

A statelet around Latakia would offer the Alawis and the Assads a safe haven and be the sort of enclave that Russia has created in Moldova and Georgia. But who would rule the Sunni state? To ask the question is to see that partition cannot work. A complete victory for the Assads over the whole country might be the one thing that would bring peace but would require as much bloodshed as Putin's suppression of the Chechens and seems, even with Russia's help, impossible.

A victory for Assad would resemble the description Tacitus puts into the mouth the Caledonian chieftain, Calgacus.
To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace.
Still after what we have seen in Iraq and Libya even such a peace seems more attractive than seemingly endless fighting and chaos. However it seems impossible except if the regime makes peace with some of the 'moderate opposition'.

One Wilsonian liberal, George W. Bush, is responsible for Iraq. What a shame that another, Obama, is charged with finding a solution to Syria. We need a conservative like Kissinger.


Someone just asked me what Timisoara is like. 

I wanted to get there in January 1990 and kicked myself for not getting there sooner when I did go in 2003 or 2004 - now that seems a vanished world too.

I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled...

I found this, that I wrote for Vivid in 2006, about a city I had visited two years earlier.


Bargain-price city breaks have done to tourism what the tank did to warfare. Not only are far more people flying to far more places than ever before but increasingly sophisticated consumers constrained by time rather than money are taking several weekend breaks  a year to supplement their annual foreign holiday. Romania is one of the few countries so far relatively little touched by cheap air rickets but all that is about to change

Nowhere are their effects further reaching than in the former Communist bloc. Eastern European cities, beautiful, until recently obscure, and for Western tourists delightfully cheap, are being transformed and with them whole economies and societies. Budget airlines have done far more to integrate East and West than any initiative from governments or Eurocrats. Tallinn, Riga, Bratislava, Cracow and a score of others have become tourist meccas. As soon as she joins the EU next year Romania too will lose her innocence. 

A number of Romanian cities will make popular destinations but number 1 will undoubtedly be Timisoara. Ryan Air is already said to be planning flights and two Italian budget airlines already fly there. Sibiu and Sighisoara are not close to airports. In any case, for me, Timisoara is the most perfect city in Romania. Already it attracts more foreign visitors than any other city in the country except the capital.

A visitor to Timisoara from Bucharest will be struck by an utterly different atmosphere. A much higher-minded atmosphere. For one thing, Timisoara is capital of the Banat which until 1918 was part of Austro- Hungary and belongs, even more certainly than Transylvania, to Central Europe and not the Balkans. The baroque architecture of Timisoara has a lightness of touch that feels as much Italian as German and the city is home to a sizeable Hungarian minority as well as smaller Serb and German communities. Not far away there are plenty of vestiges of the Hapsburg ethnic jumble including Czech, Slovak, Serb and Croat villages. And in the last eight or ten years significant numbers of Italian businessmen have been draw to a city which is closer to Venice than to Bucharest

For almost two hundred years, until the early eighteenth century, Timisoara like most of Hungary (but unlike most of present-day Romania) was directly governed by the Ottoman Empire. But today nothing of the Moslem world remains. The city the Austrians rebuilt in baroque after they reconquered in 1716 earnt the name ‘the Little Vienna’. Later in the nineteenth century it was the first town on the continent to have horse-drawn trams and the first to have electric lighting. Its most famous son is Johnny Weissmuller, the original Tarzan.

But Timisoara is widely-known abroad, if at all, as the place where the Romanian revolution of December 1989 broke out.  It was the decision by President Nicolae Ceausescu to use deadly force to suppress demonstrators here that was the catalyst that led the army to defect to the side of the uprising. For several days the attention of the world was centred on events in the city despite the Communist government’s complete news blackout and wild stories flew around about the numbers of people killed by the authorities. Timisoara is proud of its role and has nominated itself ‘the first free town in Romania.’ Everyone here believes that the revolution that was launched in Timisoara was stolen by apparatchiks and party hacks in Bucharest.

The jewel of Timisoara is Piata Unirii, one of the loveliest and best-proportioned squares in Europe. It houses not one but two exquisite eighteenth century cathedrals, one Roman Catholic and the other Serbian Orthodox, as well as a series of superb baroque buildings. But instead of the cold grandeur of the original Vienna, the square has a relaxed and abandoned feeling, the slightly down-at-heel formal garden in its centre a place where children play and adults sit and talk. Hard to believe that the square was the scene of many horrible public executions including that of Gheorghe Doja, leader of a peasants’ revolt in 1514, who was cooked alive, his flesh fed to his followers.

A short walk through a maze of attractive old streets leads to Piata Libertatii, another fine square, and then to Piata Victoriei. Piata Victoriei is the modern centre of the town. In architectural terms it is a rather mediocre example of the Hungarian eclectic style that flourished at the turn of the nineteenth century. Much more interestingly it was one of the focal points of the 1989 Revolution. Students of recent history can follow a trail that will lead them to the Protestant church where Pastor Tokes’s arrest sparked an unprecedented gathering on the streets of ethnic Romanians and Hungarians, Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox. After his arrest a bloodied Tokes appeared from a window urging the crowd to dissolve but his appearance had the contrary effect. The rest as they say is history.

In Timisoara the different communities live together pretty amicably and much more so than, for example, in Cluj where irredentist politicians long won votes by stroking chauvinism and distrust. And during the 2000-2004 period when the ex-Communist party, the Social Democrats, and its ‘barons’ (local politicians who dispensed patronage and were accused of widespread corruption) were in power in local authorities throughout the land Timisoara remained a redoubt of the opposition. The city looks out and forward while other cities seem to look backward and inward. It is way ahead of any other provincial city in Romania in the number of international companies that have factories or offices here and will soon have a flourishing tourist industry. EU accession will open the borders of a multicultural city that is at the crossroads of Europe and the city is assured of a prosperous and exciting future. But for many of us, like Romania as a whole, it will never be nearly as charming again as it is now before it has been discovered. Go (or go back) quickly.

Sunday, 4 October 2015


Ninety percent of paid work is time-wasting crap. The world gets by on the other ten.

John Derbyshire

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.

Rick Warren

The secret is not to care what anyone thinks of you.

Julie Burchill

The sure way to be disappointed is to trust easily.

Dorothy Williams 

You can have an affection for a murderer or a sodomite, but you cannot have an affection for a man whose breath stinks — habitually stinks, I mean.

George Orwell

He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars. General good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer.

William Blake

One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.

Bertrand Russell

We are all born American. We die French.

Evelyn Waugh

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Whites will be a minority in the UK, according to the Guardian

An article published by the Guardian in 2000 is headlined:
This prediction is not made in the article itself, but it did suggest non-whites will become a majority in the UK. When you clink on the link it has another headline 
The last days of a white world.
The article tells readers
Last year net immigration to Britain reached 185,000, an all-time record. ..In Britain the number of ethnic minority citizens has risen from a few tens of thousands in the 1950s, to more than 3 million - or around 6 % of the total population. .... 
One demographer, who didn't want to be named for fear of being called racist, said:
'It's a matter of pure arithmetic that, if nothing else happens, non-Europeans will become a majority and whites a minority in the UK. That would probably be the first time an indigenous population has voluntarily become a minority in its historic homeland.'
That was fifteen years ago. Since then there has been nothing much about this very important subject in the press, but in the year to September 2014 net migration to the UK was 298,000, not 185,000. 

That's after emigrants have been deducted. Total immigrants to the UK came to 624,000 in the year ending September 2014. More than half of the immigrants, 292,000, came from outside the EU. I2014 103,000 migrants from outside the EU, Norway and Iceland were given leave to settle in the UK, a third less than in 2013.

The ethnic minority population last year was at least 8 million people, or 14 % of the UK population and that 14% is disproportionately young. Muslims alone, according to the 2011 census, make up 9% of British people aged under 25.

No government can stem immigration from within the EU. The Conservative government has tried very hard to stem immigration from outside Europe. When the Labour Party one day returns to power, which at this moment seems unlikely to happen for the next ten years, immigrants from outside Europe will come in larger numbers. The two parties proceed at different speeds in the same direction.

in 1900 everyone thought ethnic states the most satisfactory kind of states, where they existed - multi-ethnic states like Austria Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were seen as volatile. People thought the same until very recently, when mass migrations changed facts on the ground. 

We have travelled a long way very quickly from the Treaty of Lausanne, which ended the war between Greece and Turkey in 1923, and the 1945 Potsdam Conference. At both of these the UK and the Great Powers ordered huge population movements, to get rid of ethnic minorities and prevent future armed conflict. We have come a very long way too from Sir Winston Churchill's suggestion, expressed at a Cabinet meeting in January 1955 and recorded in Harold Macmillan's diary, that
Keep England White
would be a good election slogan.

Now hundreds of thousands of mostly young, mostly male, mostly Muslim migrants march across Europe, throwing people's thinking into the air. When things settle everything will be different. I suspect the idea of wanting to preserve ethnic states, or what remains of them, will seem to many British people under 40 not only quixotic but even racist. 

Vladimir Putin masterclass in Syria

I take back everything I said about Vladimir Putin not being clever. His muscling the USA out of the way in Syria is masterly. He has played a blinder. Again.

Why didn't Russia intervene in Syria years ago? Their motives are self-interested, but they might do a lot of of good. More good than the American idealists have done in the region.

What good?

American and British planes and bombs have limited effectiveness because we do not want to put soldiers on the ground. Mr. Putin doesn't need to because he has the Syrian army. So he can do something effective. And since he is being very clever there is a good chance he will. He is there to support the regime, not to defeat ISIS, but the murderous regime may be Syria's best chance now. The so-called moderate rebels include supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.

The least bad outcome would be a reformed regime making peace with the moderate rebels and uniting against ISIS. Preserving the regime, though it is almost as cruel as ISIS, is the next least bad outcome - because otherwise the Sunni majority will have power, meaning Islamist guerrillas. So I think and so my Syrian Christian friends told me a while back. Putin may liberate Palmyra, which has huge symbolism because Europeans care more for ruins than for Arab lives, and make peace. 

Much, I imagine, depends on Iran and no doubt America too. In time peace will come, as it finally did in Lebanon, so long as a state structure remains. If that goes, as happened in Iraq, the results will be much worse even than what we have now.

I rejoice that, if it all goes wrong, Russia, not NATO, will be tied down in Syria.

Peter Oborne just came back from Damascus and wrote this about what life there is like. 

What are your favourite book titles?

The best ones I can think of are: 

The Well at the World's End,
The Wood Beyond the World,
A Horse Called Ampersand,
The Unbearable Lightness of Being,
Love in the Time of Cholera,
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,
The Room in the Dragon Volant (a novella, I admit),
The Worm Ouroboros,
At the Back of the North Wind,
Hangover Square,
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen,
When William Came (Saki - it's about a German invasion),
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (a Lord Peter Wimsey murder story),
A Far Cry from Kensington,
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul,
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush.
Why are so many recent books (recent meaning published in the past thirty years)? Perhaps the best of all are both recent by my definition.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil.
Oddest and least inviting title? I nominate Geriatric Dentistry in Eastern European Countries. I once thumbed through a copy of this very rare book in a shop in the Charing Cross Rd.

Huffington Post publishes names and photos of people who criticise the migrant influx on social media

The German edition of the Huffington Post is publishing the names and photos who comment on social media opposing the influx of migrants. If you post a comment on their site or Facebook or any social media, you will be named.

I find this sinister. Don't you?

It's not sinister because it's invading privacy - people who use Facebook forfeit that. What is sinister is that the authors of the article seek to make opposing the migration a thought crime, something people are to be stigmatised for. If this works, as it well may, Europe will take in hundreds of thousands of refugees or 'refugees' from wars on other continents each year. Even without normal immigrants asylum seekers will in time completely alter the demographics of Europe. But voters are not to discuss whether they want this to happen.

Mrs Merkel wants to curtail 'racist posts' on Facebook and social media. A few days ago she met face to face with Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg asking him to do this. But what does she consider racist? Saying Germany should not take any migrants? That Europe is being invaded? That taking more Muslim immigrants is problematic? Saying these things but using rude words? The history does not relate.

I think we should have free speech to determine what Europe should do at its most critical juncture since at least 1948. Partly because freedom of speech is an a priori good and partly because we must not suppress valuable ideas at a time when the European political elite seems to have very few. I expect all liberals to agree strongly with this classical liberal position. I expect all Christian Democrats to want to defend Christian Europe for that matter. I am incorrigibly innocent.

We see once again that what is sacred in Western Europe is not God, not Christianity, nor, of course, Islam, not the nation, not Western civilisation but racial equality, along with sexual equality and homosexuality. 

Sunset in Cismigiu

Thanks to the amazing Octav Dragan: April 2015, sunset in Cismigiu.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Thinking is difficult, that's why most people judge.

I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking  
Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live. 

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.
A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. 
William James
Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. 
Isaac Asimov

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Imposing diversity on Eastern Europe

A Eurocrat called Frans Timmermans has tweeted:
Our societies are getting more diverse. It's the job of politicians to prepare their people for this new reality. @TimmermansEU 
In other words it is the job of politicians to tell people their societies have to be more diverse, not allow the people to decide. if a politician decides not to, like Viktor Orban, he arouses fury. Though there is nothing in EU law that requires the free movement of Syrians in Europe nor even any strategic or moral reason why they should be allowed to enter, but Angela Merkel in an unexplained spasm decided that they should. 

I never believed Nicholas Ridley's assertion, for which he had to resign back in 1989, that the EEC was a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe, but whether that was their intention this is the result. Frau Merkel has been able to force Eastern European countries, against their will, by qualified majority voting, to take refugees. 

Slovakia, which had agreed to take 200 so long as they were Christian, is fighting this in the courts. Romania, predictably, agreed to do as she was told. So did the Czech Republic and, oddly, Hungary.

I wonder if Frau Merkel can insist that refugees settle permanently in member states. The numbers this week were thousands, but presumably she could have required millions to enter Slovakia or Romania and change forever those countries, had she got the majority of votes to do so. Do you think this normal, dear reader? 

The EU 'Migration Commissioner' may do. He wants politicians to be bolder in disregarding their electorates' wishes. He denied yesterday that the Commission was to blame for the chaos in Europe and blames it on elected politicians. 
The Commission does not take the blame because it does not care about the political cost. ...The Commission is here for five years to do its job and we did it with vision, responsibility and commitment. Because what is driving us is not to be reelected. That is why for us the political cost means nothing.
Elected leaders, he thinks, should be similarly blasé.
This is the message I would send all around Europe: stop thinking about the so-called political cost.
He is a Greek - have they not done Europe enough harm? - and so he has reasons of national egoism for wanting migrants landing in Greece to go elsewhere.

More diverse societies mean each society is going to be a different society, to be less of a society, less a community and more a community of communities, not organic societies with unspoken ways of doing things, but rationally designed by experts and directed by the police. Diverse societies in Europe, which has relatively little tradition of freedom, compared to the UK in the past and the USA, belong not to the people but to the people who enforce diversity.

If only we had a Burke (no conservative but a Whig) to argue that
.... a nation is not an idea only of local extent, and individual momentary aggregation; but it is an idea of continuity, which extends in time as well as in numbers and in space. And this is a choice not only of one day, or one set of people, not a tumultuary and giddy choice; it is a deliberate election of ages and of generations; it is a constitution made by what is ten thousand times better than choice, it is made by the peculiar circumstances, occasions, tempers, dispositions, and moral, civil, and social habitudes of the people, which disclose themselves only in a long space of time. 

Quotations for this weekend

This aping man is crafty Love's devising
To make the woman's difference more surprising.

Coventry Patmore
The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.
Audrey Hepburn

[I am not sure it's theologically sound to believe in living for happiness but I think it is. Monsignor Gilbey used to say that he lived entirely for pleasure. Lytton Strachey, it is true, said that the egoist savours every happiness, like a grub eating a leaf, but his death is not inspiring - or something like that . But egoists are not happy.]

Eliminate distractions. 
Bertrand Russell ‏  
Remember the rights of the savage, as we call him. Remember that the happiness of his humble home, remember that the sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan among the winter snows, is as inviolable in the eye of Almighty God as can be your own.
W.E. Gladstone
It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe--until recently--have been rooted. It is against a background of Christianity that all of our thought has significance. An individual European may not believe that the Christian faith is true, and yet what he says, and makes, and does will all spring out of his heritage of Christian culture and depend upon that culture for its meaning...I do not believe that culture of Europe could survive the complete disappearance of the Christian faith. And I am convinced of that, not merely because I am a Christian myself, but as a student of social biology. If Christianity goes, the whole culture goes.

T.S. Eliot
The one indispensable element for Western civilization are the white Christians. Once they go, everything goes. 
Paul Gottfried (he is a Jew, by the way)
 There are two things I hate. Racism and the Dutch.
 Austin Powers

The Pope and I disagree on quite a few things, it seems

I don't remember having disagreed with a pope before. (I have not read very much about Pope Francis and miss Pope Benedict XVI.) But I did take in Pope Francis's speech this week to the US Congress and I question the Pope's admiration for two of the four Americans he praised - the two Protestants. Mainly Abraham Lincoln, who was responsible for a brutal, unnecessary and unjust civil war. Martin Luther King was much better. He was a brave man, a fine orator and he is responsible for nobody's death, but was a lifelong serial adulterer, so an odd choice for a Pope to admire. A very odd choice too for the West Front of Westminster Abbey, which his statue adorns.

On the other hand, Communist turned Catholic Dorothy Day, though very left-wing, is one of my great heroines. 
Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed that easily
she said but she was one.  

The fourth person the Pope was the monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton. I read one of his books and want to read more.

I am also not convinced that climate change is a great problem, unlike the Pope, but he is not an infallible authority on the climate nor claims to be, though I am certain he knows vastly more than I. 

Much more important. I am afraid that I completely disagree with the Pope about taking migrants from Syria into the rich (Christian) countries. His Holiness and the hierarchy are mistaken for all the right reasons but very dangerously mistaken. 

I prefer the view of Hungarian Catholic Bishop of Szeged, Dr. Laszlo Kiss-Rigo, who said the Pope was wrong in saying that Catholics had a moral duty to offer their homes as sanctuaries to the hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees streaming into Europe.
They're not refugees. This is an invasion. They come here with cries of 'Allahu Akbar.' They want to take over.Europe is being overwhelmed by non-believers posing as refugees who pose a serious threat to the continent's Christian, universal values.
I also, to my surprise, find myself agreeing with former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Casey, who never impressed me before, when he said a couple of weeks ago
Some will not like me saying this, but in recent years, there has been too much Muslim mass immigration to Europe.
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church yesterday asked the Government not to permit Muslim refugees to enter Bulgaria - the Church fears an invasion. I do not know what if anything the Romanian Orthodox Church has said.

I think rich countries should pay to ensure Syrian refugees be given refuge in nearby countries. Refuge is fine but we know from previous experience that more than half of these migrants will not return home but settle permanently in Europe. Most, my Syrian refugee friends tell me, are not refugees but economic migrants. Refugees or migrants or both this is an invasion of Europe. And of Christendom

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

This week's quotations

Two quotations from Jackie Collins to mark her passing.

People can smell fear like coffee. 

Many people talk about writing. The secret is not to talk but to write.

The silly and untrue stories about David Cameron doing obscene things with a dead pig bring to mind Churchill on pigs:

I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

A psychopath I know loves Balthasar Gracian, the 'Catholic Machiavelli'. This aphorism suggests why.

Find out each Man's Thumbscrew.’Tis the art of setting their wills in action. It needs more skill than resolution. You must know where to get at any one. Every volition has a special motive which varies according to taste. All men are idolaters, some of fame, others of self-interest, most of pleasure. Skill consists in knowing these idols in order to bring them into play. Knowing any man's mainspringof motive you have as it were the key to his will. Have resort to primary motors, which are not always the highest but more often the lowest part of his nature: there are more dispositions badly organised than well. First guess a man's ruling passion, appeal to it by a word, set it in motion by temptation, and you will infallibly give checkmate to his freedom of will.
Here are more things that I read recently.
It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.
Bertrand Russell
Socialists, therefore, by endeavouring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life. What is of far greater moment, however, is the fact that the remedy they propose is manifestly against justice. For, every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own.
Pope Leo XIII
So long as wisdom in its projects relies upon wisdom, or relies upon its own strength, it forms none but chimerical schemes, and runs a risk of making itself the laughter of the world. But it is certain of success, and may reckon upon aid and admiration, when it finds a place in its intellectual plans for barbarism, rapacity and superstition, and can render the selfish passions of mankind the executors of its purposes.
In his time he struggled mightily, planning and inventing innumerable schemes, but when his days were at an end, for all his sagacity and dignity, he departed. The world will not keep faith with you, nor will she show you her true face.
Shahnameh, The Persian Book of Kings
THE cross is a thing at right angles pointing boldly in opposite directions; but the Swastika is the same thing in the very act of returning to the recurrent curve. That crooked cross is in fact a cross turning into a wheel. Before we dismiss even these symbols as if they were arbitrary symbols, we must remember how intense was the imaginative instinct that produced them or selected them both in the east and the west. The cross has become something more than a historical memory; it does convey, almost as by a mathematical diagram, the truth about the real point at issue; the idea of a conflict stretching outwards into eternity. It is true, and even tautological, to say that the cross is the crux of the whole matter. . . In other words the cross, in fact as well as figure, does really stand for the idea of breaking out of the circle that is everything and nothing. It does escape from the circular argument by which everything begins and ends in the mind.
G K Chesteron

God save the Queen

AJP Taylor said that the power and influence of monarchies has always diminished under queens - Edward VI, had he lived, would have been much more powerful than Elizabeth I and the monarchy lost influence under Anne and Victoria. This is true. Under Victoria the concept of the 'Royal Family' became important and when i lived in England the Queen was seen as the most important member of the Royal Family rather than mother of the nation. I think this may have changed. 

I love the Queen and hope she reigns over us in good health for twenty more years or more. However, the words 'the King' move me in a way that the words 'the Queen' do not.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Closing time in the gardens of the West

A British Pakistani friend wrote to me yesterday that

We are seeing the invasion and destruction of Europe. Hundreds of millions of people are thinking of heading towards Europe now.
We need to determined to keep them out and to preserve Western Europe.

Instead, people have gone all soppy and sentimental.
A British West Indian friend tells me she feels much the same. 

So does an Albanian Muslim friend.

A black American friend just sent me this message:

This is much worse than 9/11 in the long run.
I agree with them. 

I never generally get downhearted for long by the news but this army of economic migrants crossing Europe and breaking through immigration borders makes me almost hopeless.

Just when it should have been clear to most people that, if European countries were to keep their identities and indigenous majorities, they - very regrettably - had to leave the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, this huge migration erupts, accompanied and caused by an extraordinary outbreak of sentimentality among virtue signallers. Their noise is great, even though opinion polls show that most voters, in the UK at least, do not want to admit any refugees. 

Mr Viktor Orban is widely attacked for pointing out that if refugees in numbers continue to be accepted Europe will eventually have a Muslim majority. Though Mr Orban is in many ways a very unsatisfactory hero he is obviously right on this, but being right does not make you friends when most people are wrong. What would the BBC and the Economist have made of Charles Martel, Stephen the Great of Moldavia, John Sibiesky, John Hunyadi (Ioan de Hunedoara) or the Albanian hero Skanderbeg, who all fought wars to protect Europe from Muslim invasion?

This is a turning point more important than September 11th and comparable to 1989 and to 1979 - 1979 being the Iranian revolution.

I saw immigrants in Belgrade on Wednesday. Some were families but many were young men in their twenties without women. The older people looked bewildered but the young men looked like cunning opportunists, which you have to be to make such a journey. Quite a number obviously came from Central Asia (the Stans at a guess?), not Syria. 

The poor PERGIDA people (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) were not Nazis or racists, but nice, concerned East Germans who simply thought there were enough Muslims in Europe. For their pains they were accused by Mrs. Merkel, just a few days after the Hebdo massacre, of
having hate in their heart.
They look justified today, though not in her eyes.

I have a great deal of sympathy for Syrians, though I am not sure how many of these migrants are fleeing danger. I'm not sure how many are even Syrian. I'd like to allow asylum seekers to enter Europe, on the very strict condition that they must leave after a maximum of three years. As Australia does. Many will leave voluntarily and return home but the majority will not and once in Europe it would prove very difficult to make them leave. They would mostly disappear. 

So that won't work. We need to fund the refugee camps in neighbouring countries and turn back the people smugglers instead.

What would work is for EU countries to allow suitably qualified immigrants to enter and work in Europe on the understanding that their right to stay ends when their contract does. In this way we get the economic growth Europe needs and preserve European countries as organic communities, as nations.

The only alternatives are Fortress Europe or an immigrant society that draws people from every part of the world as America, Canada and Australia have become since the 1960s.

Hungary's robust response to illegal immigration is admirable. Dozens of young men lobbing stones at the Hungarian police were captured on film. These youths were trying to harm Hungary before they had even got in. People who lob bricks at border guards are not people who should be given asylum and yet on Facebook and Twitter silly people are cross with Hungary, not the invaders. These silly people include many journalists and historians -including ones who write for allegedly conservative papers.

Serbia is safe for asylum seekers so why should they enter Hungary? As for Germany - the government there has made a problem for itself. Why should other countries help? But Germany is trying to use majority voting to force Eastern Europe to do so.  To change East European societies to make up for Angela Merkel's inexplicable decision to accept eight - hundred - thousand people in her country. 

And another thing. If she wants the migrants, but why isn't she sending buses and trains to get them?

Germany has ensured that a huge flood of immigrants will continue year after year unless people are prepared to use the arguments Viktor Orban deploys against the idea of migrations. My money unfortunately is not on him winning the debate. Hence I feel so despondent. After all these years Count Oxiensterna is still right. 
Thou dost not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed.
And then there's the issue of terrorism. Most Muslims are exemplary people but some are not. We have a problem with Muslims born in Europe who want to kill people to restore the Caliphate. That problem is going to get much worse.

A Lebanese minister has said that his gut feeling told him that about one in fifty of the Syrian refugees is likely to be an ISIS terrorist. If he is right, for those wanting to follow Pope Francis' admonition to take in a refugee, your chance of taking a terrorist into your home is only about 2%. 

The number of ISIS sympathisers and Islamists among the genuine Syrian refugees is, however, very much higher than 2%. 22% of Syrians think that ISIS are a positive influence in their country, according to a recent poll by a British market research company. I imagine that a similar proportion of the Syrian refugees like ISIS too. After all ISIS supporters are attracted to life in Germany as much as Syrian democrats. 

Many other migrants do not like ISIS in the least but are still Islamists, radicalised by the cruel war against a tyrannical, secular government. These would be the moderate rebels that we read about. Assuming that decades of secular government means Syria  does not have as many Islamists as Egypt, where Islamists won the recent election, we can still expect, on a conservative estimate, that between a quarter and a third of the refugees will be by European standards extremists.

If only people as resolute as Margaret Thatcher or as cunning as Francois Mitterand were still in charge in Europe. 
It may be closing time in the gardens of the West, in Cyril Connolly’s  words. It certainly feels like amateur night.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Historical speculations in Belgrade

I am in Serbia for a few hours and I find myself wondering why everyone in 1991 thought Slovenia and Croatia had a right to secede from Yugoslavia - I did - but I am in a minority in thinking the Southern states had a right to secede from the USA in 1861.

Another thought. Austria Hungary had no right to invade Serbia in 1914 to avenge the heir to the throne's murder but the USA, the UK, etc. had the right to avenge 3000 murders in 2011. I suppose Afghanistan was a continuing threat and Serbia was not. And we did not wish to annex Afghanistan.

I had an interesting conversation last night at dinner with a distinguished Serbian historian who foresees eventually a civil war in Europe - a clash of cultures between ethnic groups. He sees feminism being rolled back to encourage women to have more children. He told me Russia has now started reproducing because the government pays $10,000 to women who have children. He also said if it were tried in Serbia it wouldn't encourage Serb babies - Albanians and gypsies would be the ones who took the money not Serbs.. I don~t know what the solution is but low birth rates are the biggest problem in Europe.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Great Invasion

The Invasion of 1910 was the name of William Le Queux’s 1906 bestseller warning the readers of cheap British thrillers of the danger from the Kaiser’s Germany. The Invasion of 2015 is the best way to describe what is happening in Europe today. Europe is being invaded - this is just the start – and refugees are likely to change Europe more than would have victory for the Kaiser.

Did I miss the moment when people in Europe decided that they wanted their countries to become immigrant societies like the USA and Canada?

Mrs. Merkel’s decision to admit 800,000 refugees from the Middle East may be that moment. It may therefore be much more significant than the opening of the Berlin Wall.

In fact there are two choices. European countries can remain ethnic states, the large majority of whose inhabitants are indigenous people whose forbears lived in that country since the Middle Ages, or they can become immigrant societies. The choice most politicians and business leaders in Western Europe want may be the latter, but they do not say so.

Instead people who want immigrants talk about economic growth and those who don't mention pressure on schools and hospitals. This would not make sense to Wellington or Napoleon.

Presumably, using 800,000 Syrians (and that's only this year) as a precedent, from now on Europe will accept scores or hundreds of thousands of refugees from every war in the Eastern hemisphere. The whole thing is a mass hallucination as rational as the outcry over Cecil the lion. But that outcry only hurt one dentist. This hallucination may transform Europe forever, unless people defeat the philosophical arguments for taking asylum seekers into Europe.

This week Romania has agreed to take 1,500 Syrians and the EU wants the country to take another 3,000

Romania should not and nor should any European country. This army of migrants worries me very much - it is symbolically and actually an invasion. David Cameron, were he a statesman possessed of authority and eloquence, which he sometimes is,  should explain that these boat people are not fleeing danger and that we can pay to house the people in camps, who have already fled danger, in various other countries. So should all the European leaders.

But instead soft headed, soft hearted people confuse the migrants trying to find refuge in Europe - the ones who have the money to do so - with the war refugees who in fear of their lives live in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Sam Cameron does and so do opinion formers who have no excuse.

Why has Angela Merkel summoned up this invasion which, like the children’s crusade, winds across Europe forcing its way through international borders?

Nobody knows. 

I suspect it is something to do with political calculation - to appeal to idealistic German voters. It is certainly about Germans' admirable revulsion from the racial ideas of the Nazis. (The whole history of Western Europe since 1945 is a meditation on the Nazis.) Cynics think she needs immigrants because Germans have one of the lowest birth rates in Europe and congratulate her because she will thereby get the best ones, the most courageous and self-reliant. 

In fact if she thinks that she is an even bigger fool than it is manifest that she is. A British Pakistani friend of mine told me he knows from personal experience that those who make these tough and illegal journeys are not only the physically fittest ones, but also the biggest rogues, charlatans and chancers. Who can doubt it? 

And then there is the question of Muslim extremists, Islamists, admirers and members of ISIS. They exist in Europe already in sizable numbers and they are for sure among the refugees. An ISIS commander gloated about his to the press a couple of days ago.

Mrs. Merkel has just made herself the toast of the world's people traffickers. If she insists in taking 800,000 Syrian refugees, which is a huge mistake, she should take them from the camps in Jordan (as the UK is doing). By accepting those who turn up, she's creating a massive market in the illegal movement of people and will be responsible for many more drownings.

Most Eastern Europe people have very different attitudes from Angela Merkel’s, even though she is one of them. Most East Europeans do not want to allow large numbers of Muslims or non-Europeans to settle in their countries and become citizens. The question is why Western Europe does not feel this way and the answer is that they the majority, according to polls, do but their rulers do not.

I don't like Viktor Orban at all, a demagogue with worryingly undemocratic tendencies, but he is the only leader who is right about the refugees. He is a nasty piece of work but, since 1945, the nice people have been wrong about immigration and the nasty ones right. He sees what Eastern Europeans see, that Hungary’s and Europe’s identity is in danger from immigrants.

Eastern Europeans, at least the wiser ones, sees this as a Muslim invasion of the kind Eastern Europe fought and lost in the early modern era.  They ask why these refugees are strapping, young and exclusively Muslim men ready to fight their way to the welfare-rich lands of northern Europe? Where are the Christians? Where, if they are fleeing danger, are the women and children?