The wise EU policy of putting the jackboot of politics over the head of economics and culture has created multiple flash points all over Europe. Some have already burst out; some are still smouldering. Some, such as the current riots in Greece, are widely covered. Some, such as thousands of cars being turned to torches in France, less so. And yet the explosive potential is even higher there, going way beyond the petrol tanks of the cars going off.
The EU can’t be held solely responsible for every ill — national governments, including that of France, are doing their fair share too. Over 42,000 cars were burnt in France in 2010, about 30,000 of them in the banlieues around Paris. The figure for 2011 isn’t available yet, and won’t be for a while, considering that most police chiefs refuse to divulge such data. The French press, scornful of the British tendency to wash private linen in public, goes along, tacitly agreeing not to wash even public linen.
That’s why this propensity for immolating private transport only gets an airing during major elections, especially those in which a member of the Le Pen family is a candidate. Then the issue is buried until next time, a few years later. The assumption is that flogging that dead horse (or rather those dead cars) might foster racism, Islamophobia and other fashionable vices that, as we all know, are much worse than social disintegration.
It would be neither racist nor Islamophobic but merely factual to observe that the banlieues, where most of the vehicular auto-da-fés (no pun intended) take place, are belts of public housing built around French cities specifically to accommodate some 10 million North Africans currently resident in France. Thus having assuaged their social conscience and post-colonial guilt, the French then began to pump welfare billions into the banlieues, with the implicit understanding that no stream of humanity must be pumped back into the city centres. As long as the denizens kept themselves to themselves, they were left more or less alone.
No serious attempt to encourage them to assimilate was ever made, partly because the French believe that their language alone is sufficient for any native speaker of it to be French, acquiring thereby an innate superiority over anyone of less fortunate nativity. The North Africans speak French, n’est ce pas? Well then, that’s all we need to know. It’s just best that these particular French speakers stay put in their ghettoes and stew in their own juice.
A social catastrophe flowed out of this attitude the way vin rouge flows out of a tipped bottle. Up to 50 percent of the banlieues’ residents are unemployed, and for young people the figure is believed to be closer to 75 percent. One doesn’t have to be an expert sociologist to realise that such areas will in short order become brutalised and criminalised.
And so it has transpired. The banlieues have turned into urban jungles, bearing little resemblance to ethnic areas in London or Birmingham. The British go to such areas to buy exotic spices in Brick Lane or to have a quick curry at a place that lets you bring your own beer. The French don’t ever go to the banlieues and whenever possible avoid driving through them. Even the police steer clear of those places, fearful of the automatic weapons in the hands of the populace. (Those are in plentiful supply; various Eastern European mafias make sure of it. The Serbs, for example, buy AKs for €450 apiece in their native land and flog them in the banlieues for €2,500.) If les flics ever do dare cross the line, it’s in armoured cars. That’s not to say we don’t have problems with the alienation of minorities — only that the French problems are much worse.
Saint-Denis, just outside the Paris Périphérique, used to be known for its basilica where French kings are buried. Now it’s known for French cars being burned. Most of the cars there are ready for the knacker’s yard anyway (even in nicer areas the French tend to drive heaps that no self-respecting Brit would be caught dead in), but that’s no excuse. The question is, how long before the fires, fanned by multi-culti sanctimoniousness, spread over into the nicer areas? At a guess, it wouldn’t take many more downgrades in France’s credit rating.
Europe is full of such disasters waiting to happen. The tectonic plates have been set in motion by the calamitous bien-pensant policies of the national governments, squared and cubed by the EU. If the current EU madness continues, before long the plates will clamp together, and then it won’t be just cars that’ll go up in smoke.