Europe and Russia are polls apart

Sky News has treated its viewers to a deep insight while commenting on today’s newspapers.

Their format for this part of the show involves bringing together two or three variably objectionable hacks and asking them to pick a story that caught their eye.

One of the stories selected this morning came from The Times. Apparently, according to an unidentified survey, Europeans in general and Brits in particular wouldn’t fight for their country.

Sky News didn’t cite any specific figures, but they are worth mentioning. Only 27 per cent of the Brits said they would take up arms, while the corresponding proportions for France and Germany were 29 and 18 per cent respectively.

‘Oh well,’ said the female commentator who inhabits the more objectionable end of the scale. “Obviously they only say they wouldn’t want to join the army. That doesn’t mean they won’t stand up for their beliefs.”

She didn’t offer an example of beliefs that, according to her, Europeans would find worth fighting for, but contextually she probably meant such vital causes as multiculturalism.

I agree. It would be churlish to refuse to fight for multiculturalism, especially after its salient points have been so powerfully demonstrated in France over the last couple of days.

Equally impossible would it be to offer conscientious objections to another hypothetical cause probably dear to the woman’s heart: homosexual marriage.

Not even the current profusion of pictures showing a happily prenuptial Stephen Fry, whom anyone with a modicum of taste must find revolting, would dampen the martial ardour of principled Brits.

Inscribe homomarriage on the banners, blow the bugle, and millions will flock to the recruitment offices, falling over themselves in their irresistible bellicosity.

Now defending their country from its potential multicultural enemies is a different matter altogether. That’s where Europeans in general and Brits in particular draw the line.

The same poll, incidentally, says that 76 per cent of Muslims in the Middle East would kill and be killed for their countries, while for Pakistan this figure is 89 per cent, almost everyone.

If true, this is cause for alarm. It’s also grounds for questioning the Muslims’ taste.

De gustibus… and all that, but to die for Pakistan? I don’t see the point. It would be so much easier to move to the East End of London, which has roughly the same demographics as Pakistan, but a higher standard of living and a still lower chance of being stoned (to death, that is).

I don’t know what to make of this poll. Call me an incurable romantic, but I find it hard to believe that if Britain is attacked by, say, Russia, 73 per cent would be happy to let Putin’s storm troopers do to Doncaster and Lincoln what they’ve already done to Donetsk and Luhansk.

It’s more comforting to believe that the poll reflects the Brits’ feelings about not the immediate future but the recent past.

Many must find it hard to envisage hypothetical if, to me, utterly possible wars against Russia or the multi-culti multitudes. Much easier is remembering the actual foolhardy forays into foreign lands instigated by Blair who, one hopes, will one day be tried for war crimes.

Most respondents probably felt that, if that’s what modern war is like, they want no part in it. Still, as the poll left the possible casus belli open-ended, the pacifism professed by Europeans is rather worrying.

And it’s hugely worrying if juxtaposed with a similar survey conducted by the Russian Agency for Social Research.

This is to be put in the context of the unceasing, unrelenting and uncontested war propaganda assailing Russians everywhere they turn.

Putin’s Goebbelses enjoy the same tight grip on mass communications as the original Goebbels had, and they use it with the same shameless mastery. Brainwashing in Russia competes with money laundering as the country’s chosen hygienic practice.

Both succeed famously, as witnessed by Putin’s offshore billions and the results of the poll in question, which have been published by the sociologist Vyacheslav Baliasnikov.

When asked “Would you support invading the Ukraine with troops?”, 56.8 per cent of the 4,200 respondents replied in the affirmative.

The second question moved from the general to the specific: “Are you ready to be conscripted into the army to fulfil this mission, or to send your child to war?”

Yes, answered 52 per cent, we are ready “both to kill our brother Slavs ourselves and to send our children into the meat grinder,” reports Baliasnikov.

“Invasion of which country by Russian troops,” pressed on the survey, “would you support?” The Baltics came at the top, immediately followed by the USA and Japan.

Amazingly, Israel came close to the bottom. Judging by the reported exodus of France’s Jews, Israel might do better in similar French polls, but I’m not aware of any.

However, here is how Baliasnikov, comments on the poll conducted by his organisation: “I congratulate Putin. He has succeeded in creating a state of such stratospheric scum that I’m no longer scared. I’m simply disgusted.”     

So am I, Vyacheslav. But, comparing your poll with ours, I’m scared as well.

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