Are the English still English?

If I were to name one defining (and, to me, the most endearing) characteristic of the English, I’d probably opt for a sense of humour. Take it away, and England would be like Germany, but without the efficiency.

Still laughing, Gary?

Not only is a sense of humour prevalent in England, it’s also unique and diverse. It can be cutting or affable, self-deprecating or savage, dry or ribald, subtle or direct.

Above all, the English have one commendable trait that perhaps only the Jews possess to the same extent: they can laugh at themselves. In that they are different from the French, who only do a good job laughing at others. And of course the Germans’ mirth is only ever provoked by bodily functions.

If humour is a defining characteristic of the English, then losing it would be tantamount to cultural genocide. Which is exactly the catastrophe unfolding before our very eyes.

The unsmiling, self-righteous woke brigade is taking over with the stern resolve typical of all totalitarians. It’s declaring ever-expanding areas of life to be off-limits for humour, realising – as all totalitarians do – that laughter can defeat them faster than rage.

Back in the day, the Soviets rewarded political jokes with 10-year sentences in the Gulag death camps. The Nazis also quashed all attempts at humour: Charlie Chaplin lampooning Hitler was their worst enemy.

Our budding totalitarians have all the same instincts, but they don’t yet have the same power. Hence they can only contort their features into a sanctimonious grimace, voice their displeasure and demand that the hapless wag be censured.

That fate befell the BBC sports presenter Gary Lineker, in the past an England footballer. Gary naturally has impeccable left-wing credentials, which partly explains why he became BBC’s top earner.

Yet also contributing to his popularity are his professional skill, easy charm and, well, sense of humour. It’s that latter faculty that got him in trouble.

Covid gave Gary a bit of downtime but, now the Premier League is back, so is he. Lineker hasn’t changed much from what I can see, but the Premiership has – in line with the neo-totalitarian BLM diktat.

All footballers, managers and referees have to take the knee before each match. I can’t help thinking that, among the several hundred people involved, there have to be a few who disapprove of the international pogrom spree inspired by the BLM slogan – this without being racists.

But the genuflecting craze leaves no room for disagreement, not for someone who wishes to keep his job. Totalitarians demand uniformity and are prepared to enforce it with every means at their disposal.

As part of their re-education campaign, they demanded that every player replace his name on the back of his jersey with the words Black Lives Matter. Thus, instead of saying, for example, ‘Harry Kane 9’ the shirt now has to say ‘Black Lives Matter 9’.

Gary Lineker responded to that holier-than-thou absurdity by tweeting a little joke to his 7.5 million followers: “Had a tenner on Black Lives Matter to score the first goal.”

If he forgot that life in England is no longer a laughing matter, he was quickly reminded of it. A torrent of reprimands wasn’t slow in coming:

“Out of order Gary! Is casual racism a thing with you now?” “So the last two weekends it’s been a serious message, we’ve had TV shows cancelled but this joke is acceptable?” “This is making a mockery of the message so yeah I fully expect people to want him sacked.” “Wow. Nothing to joke about, Gary. You’re cancelled.”

So far Lineker has been neither sacked nor cancelled, but the BBC, though declining to comment, has contacted his agent. We’ll wait and see.

While waiting, however, we can observe that the ethical standards imposed by the woke mob are considerably stricter than those demanded by Jesus Christ. He, after all, only placed the Holy Ghost off-limits:

“Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.”

Never mind all manner of sin and blasphemy. These days – in England! – a man can lose his livelihood for making an innocent joke. He can’t yet lose his life, but one can see where things are going.

Bolton out of the blue

Everyone who knows him as intimately as I do is aware that my friend Donald Trump is a man of exquisite style, vast erudition and unimpeachable [sic] integrity.

Dr Trump, Classics Professor honoris causa

In fact, I advised him during the 2016 campaign to tone down his boundless vocabulary for tactical reasons, and certainly to refrain from using foreign, especially Latin, phrases. The odd grammatical solecism, alien as it was to his refined locution, would also go down well with his core electorate, I suggested.

“But Al,” objected Donald, “Caesar non supra grammaticos, meaning a president shouldn’t sound like a square from Delaware.” Thankfully, however, Donald eventually followed my advice and adjusted his speech patterns accordingly.

So much more appalled was I to find out that Donald fell victim to calumny perpetrated by his disgruntled former employee, John Bolton. That scumbag, to use Donald’s favourite word, maligned the president, describing him as a self-centred ignoramus.

Sensing that Donald was in need of solace, I immediately rang him on the burner mobile he had given me on my birthday. It was only during our conversation that I realised how perfidious Bolton is, and how unfounded his allegations.

“The plebs are all over me,” complained Donald. “They say ex nihilo nihil fit, there’s no smoke without fire.”

“Yes, Don,” I commiserated. “How dare he claim you thought Finland was part of Russia!”

“That scumbag is lying ab ova usque ad mala,” said Don. “He twists every word I actually said.”

“Which was?”

“As I recollect, we were discussing Finland, a Nato member whose sovereignty is inviolable in accordance with Article 5 of the Nato Charter, and whose close proximity to Russia puts it in a precarious position. The Russians treat it as if it still were the Suomen suuriruhtinaskunta, the Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. And now that scumbag claims I said Finland still was part of Russia.”

“He also claims you said invading Venezuela would be cool…”

“I’m getting a distinct sense of déjà vu,” sighed Donald. “All I said was Venezuela delenda est, meaning my moral position on that country’s heinous dictatorship is intractable. Hier stehe, ich kann nicht anders, and I don’t even have to subsist on a diet of worms.”

Seeing that his pun went right by me, Donald added with a wry smile: “I’m as capable of a lapsus manus as the next man. You know, homo sum humani a me nihil alienum puto, even though I’m no homo.

“But that scheming scumbag pretends not to realise that subtle changes in inflection can act effectively as a prosodic, extra-lexical means of communication.

“For example, he says I didn’t know Britain possessed nuclear weapons. What fabulae! You know what really happened?

“That old broad, senex mulier, Theresa said Britain was a nuclear power. I guffawed in my supercilious manner and said, I didn’t realise Britain was a nuclear power. Meaning it takes more than a couple of peashooters to qualify as a power.

Cogitesne? Get it? I know perfectly well that Britain possesses a nuclear deterrent. I just questioned her being a goddamn power.

“Then I talk to that scumbag Xi, saying ‘Can’t offer you any circenses, Xi, other than my speeches, but US farmers can flood you with panem and especially soya, whatever the hell that is in Latin.’

“All I wanted to do was to help out our farmers who overproduce like lepores, and Chinamen, come to that. When I don’t negotiate on their behalf, scumbags like Bolton call me insensitive. When I do, they call me self-serving. Auribus teneo lupum – damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

The rest of our conversation was emotional and strictly confidential. At the end I told my friend not to be excessively worried about the upcoming election.

There’s more to Donald Trump than just the presidency. Worst comes to worse, he can always become a professor of classics at an Ivy League university.

Stating the bleeding obvious

By using the phrase ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’, JK Rowling committed a crime that only by some oversight hasn’t yet been made an imprisonable offence.

I’m glad JK Rowling didn’t ‘transition’

Yet prison isn’t the only form of punishment. Abuse in the social media, ostracism and now a strike at her publisher’s office can be punitive enough.

If you still think free speech is intact, witness the refusal by employees of Hachette UK to work on Miss Rowling’s new book. They simply can’t bring themselves to proofread any text produced by someone who claims that women are women and men are men.

Miss Rowling deserves respect for proving yet again that perverse is the new normal, even more so than for her books, none of which I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Just think of it: virulent attacks are levelled at a celebrated author for saying something that should go without saying – that women’s lavatories should be reserved for women.

This is what Miss Rowling actually wrote: “… I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside.”

If that’s not self-evident, I don’t know what is. Those who have problems with Miss Rowling’s statement ought to look at what’s going on in women’s prisons. Burly thugs are put there because they ‘identify’ as women. Predictably, they then rape everyone there, including some female screws.

Yet the sheer volume of venom splashed on Miss Rowling was such that she felt called upon to offer 3,700 words of superfluous mock-Freudian explanation for her newly unorthodox views. In doing so, she undid some of her good work, though not all.

Apparently, she suffered sexual assault in her younger days, which explains her quest for “women-only spaces”. And because her Daddy really wanted a son, “if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition.”

In other words, if a very feminine Miss Rowling hadn’t been assaulted sexually, she’d have nothing against men walking into women’s lavatories at will. And, belying her crass insensitivity, she feels empathy for gender-benders – why, she could be one herself if she were younger.

Miss Rowling hasn’t quite been forced by the fascistic woke crowd to renounce her sane statement. But she has been forced to claim that, but for that unfortunate blip, she’s like them. And if she’s not entirely like them, she certainly has nothing against them.

I would have simply said that the issue bears no discussion: if your chromosomes are XY, you are a man; if they are XX, you are a woman. Full stop. End of conversation. And if, being a man, you wish to gain access to women’s lavatories, you’re a voyeur at best, rapist at worst. But then of course I have less to lose than Miss Rowling.

Hermaphrodites exist, and they’ve always existed. Yet their numbers are so small that they fall into the same category as Siamese twins and babies born with two heads.

Most unfortunate, that, but hermaphrodites merit no more special dispensation than do Siamese twins or bicephals. One doesn’t read too many demands that all clothing shops carry a line of two-in-one jackets and hats.

Nor does transsexuality merit elevation to a political issue. Yet everything can be made political these days, because our voting masses have been brainwashed to accept woke drivel as reality.

Perhaps ‘brainwashed’ is a wrong word here. Brains have to exist before they are washed, yet the woke brigade doesn’t satisfy this requirement in any other than the purely anatomical sense.

Those people don’t rely on reason to form their convictions. They respond to outside stimuli by reflexes only, like dogs or skunks. That negates the advantage of being human, throwing God’s most sublime creation back into his face.

To their credit, Hachette UK’s managers showed they still possess residual humanity by telling their employees they can’t refuse to work on Miss Rowling’s latest cash cow. “Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing,” they said most commendably if, these days, less than truthfully.

But then, just like their prime client, they had to add a clarification that destroyed the good impression they had made:

“We will never make our employees work on a book whose content they find upsetting for personal reasons, but we draw a distinction between that and refusing to work on a book because they disagree with an author’s views outside their writing, which runs contrary to our belief in free speech.”

In other words, they can’t boycott those writers who express objectionable views in private. However, refusing to work on a book that says something brainless youths don’t like is perfectly all right. Those champions of free speech do draw the line in fine places.

Is it any wonder then that there exists a groundswell of opinion that we should redact from history great warriors, statesmen and philanthropists? Those who are guilty only of having failed to anticipate that at some time in the future an anomic chaos would arrive, turning all certitudes upside down and enforcing compliance with perverse and absurd notions.

This leaves only one question unanswered. If all our beliefs must spring from personal trauma to be valid, was Miss Rowling sexually assaulted in a public lavatory? Her faithful readers want to know.

Making the world safe for aggressors

Without Nato, Europe can’t survive as anything other than a purely geographic entity. This is as true now as it was during the Cold War.

Unheeded lesson of history

Actually, the past tense is misplaced here. The Cold War never ended. It just took a 10-year break, only to come back, this time with red-hot edges.

An expansionist Russia ruled by history’s only fusion of secret police and organised crime constitutes what’s called a clear and present danger. Putin has declared that rebuilding the Soviet Union (whose demise he called “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century”) is his life’s mission – presumably in addition to multiplying his billions in offshore havens.

Lest we refuse to take him at his word, in 2014 Russia annexed vast tracts of Ukrainian territory, killing 13,000 Ukrainians in the process and running up the score even further by downing a certain airliner. In response, Western countries introduced sanctions, turned G8 into G7 and beefed up their military presence in Europe.

In response to their response, Putin recently announced a change to Russia’s war doctrine. The country may now use a nuclear first strike with low-yield theatre weapons. Doctrine or no doctrine, no one ever doubted the Russians were capable of that anyway, but now it’s official. Russia’s threat is at present as deadly as it ever was, perhaps even more so.

Therefore Nato’s role is as vital as it has ever been. And vital to Nato is Article 5 of its charter, saying that an attack on one member is an attack on all. Without all 30 members being fully committed to Article 5, the whole charter is for all intents and purposes null and void.

Now, while Europe can’t survive without Nato, Nato can’t survive without the US. It depends on a wholehearted American commitment – which, under President Trump, has been lukewarm at best.

I’ve written enough about Trump’s obvious admiration for Putin, accompanied by a demonstrable refusal to see Russia as a threat, despite all evidence. I’m not going to probe into the possible reasons for this attachment. Suffice it to say it exists.

Hence Trump has been making anti-Nato noises since even before assuming the presidency. His vitriol is usually aimed at European countries, especially Germany, for failing to meet their funding pledges.

That point is fair: whenever European countries feel the need to reduce public spending, their scissors go to the defence budget first. However, even though America contributes disproportionately to the Nato budget, she also derives numerous economic benefits inherent in her position as the Leader of the Free World.

Still, Europe should contribute more to its own protection, and somewhat begrudgingly it’s beginning to do so. If some countries still fall short of the agreed level of contributions (two per cent of GDP), America should try to influence them, not throw its toys out of the pram.

Yet that’s what Trump would do, given half the chance. With his transactional, bean-counting view of life, he clearly feels that the balance still isn’t in America’s favour. He may or may not be right, but geopolitics, unlike, say, property development, can’t be all about dollars and cents.

One can’t avoid the impression that Trump sees Nato as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Take if it pays; leave if it doesn’t.

As to Article 5, he has dropped countless hints that he sees it as an ad hoc arrangement, not an ironclad commitment. This encourages Putin who has designs on all former Soviet republics, but especially the Baltics, Estonia in particular.

Enter Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, one of Trump’s closest political allies and his mouthpiece, activated to say outright what the president can only intimate. In a recent speech, Gingrich proved that he takes on board not only Trump’s ideas but also his demotic style:

“Estonia is in the suburbs of St Petersburg. The Russians aren’t gonna necessarily come across the border militarily. The Russians are gonna do what they did in Ukraine. I’m not sure I would risk a nuclear war over some place which is the suburbs of St Petersburg. I think we have to think about what does this stuff mean.”

If former professors of history sound like that, what can one expect from mere property developers? But never mind the style, feel the message. And it’s eerily reminiscent of another one, delivered by Neville Chamberlain on 27 September, 1938:

“How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.”

The subsequent events, largely set off by this statement, ought to have taught mankind a useful lesson, but they didn’t. History never does.

Now, Estonia is 98 miles from St Petersburg. If such proximity makes her ineligible for Nato protection, then the Finns can’t sleep peacefully either: they are even closer. But then of course Gingrich was a professor of history, not geography.

Within his own discipline, what does he suppose the Russians did to the Ukraine? The answer is, they committed, and are continuing to commit, an act of unprovoked military aggression.

If that’s what lies in store for Estonia, both Gingrich and Trump seem to be relaxed about that. After all, rather than being a sovereign country and a fellow Nato member, Estonia is a mere suburb of St Petersburg.

If you doubt that Gingrich is enunciating Trump’s thoughts, the president’s actions have their own eloquence. Ever since Russia was booted out of the G8, he has been trying his best to have her reinstated, and to have all sanctions lifted.

Only staunch resistance on the part of Congress has stopped Trump from fully consummating his love affair with Putin. Yet he keeps trying.

A few days ago the president announced plans to withdraw 9,500 US troops from Germany, about a quarter of the total contingent. Some of the top US generals have pointed out that this would greatly jeopardise the Nato capability to respond to Russian aggression. I hope Trump managed to contain a QED smile.

Considering that 22 Republican congressmen are opposed to the action, it may not go ahead. But it’s the thought that counts, and the thought sends a signal to Putin, which isn’t dissimilar to the one Chamberlain sent to Hitler. 

Evil on the march

The video of a seven-year-old girl on a BLM march in Long Island has gone viral. Most comments aren’t just positive but gushing, including one by Halle Berry, whose beauty is only rivalled by her stupidity.

Justice and peace aren’t really supposed
to rhyme, dear

There she is, that poor child, marching with a feral scowl on her face, screaming “No justeece, no peace!!!”, her tiny fists punching the air in a Black Power salute:

And no commentator seems to see the evil of it all.

No, it’s not the little girl who is evil – she isn’t a free agent responsible for her actions and hence can’t be judged on strict moral criteria. It’s the grown-ups, those who brainwashed the child and dragged her into an active support of a political cause.

What kind of cause doesn’t really matter. It may be good, bad or indifferent. However, it forfeits its right to being judged good or even indifferent by conscripting children and destroying their childhood.

Those BLM chaps do start them early, which is a time-honoured tradition of all totalitarians. Yet even Khmer Rouge, ISIS and China with her Red Guards waited until children reached a mature age of 10 or so before sending them on a rampage.

I also like the slogan put into the child’s mouth; it has the benefit of forthrightness. ‘No peace’ can be legitimately taken to mean ‘war’, as in a declaration thereof.

I don’t know whether the New York State authorities are mobilising their forces to join the hostilities, but HMG is ready to surrender before the shots have even been fired.

Boris Johnson announced that “there is much more that we can do” to tackle racism, thereby conceding the point that racism exists, of a kind that would be vulnerable to administrative fiat or legislative action.

One thing we can apparently do is review all 950 commemorative plaques in London for their “problematic connotations”. The current problematic connotations are associated with plaques for Daniel Defoe, Field-Marshal Montgomery and even poor  Arthur Schopenhauer.

This opens a can of proverbial worms: we can argue about which plaques are problematic and which aren’t until the looters come home and still not agree. Therefore I propose a more radical solution.

We should do a Fukuyama and declare that history has ended, the dial has been reset. Since the British Empire was colonialist, racist and criminal, anyone alive at the time was at least indirectly complicit in its crimes.

Therefore all 950 plaques ought to be removed and replaced with those devoid of any problematic connotations whatsoever. Such as BLM marchers, LGTBQIA2S+ activists and rap performers.

As for the little No Justeece girl, she deserves not just a plaque, but a statue. That column in Trafalgar Square, soon to be vacated, looks like a perfect plinth.

Red or brown is no choice at all

Yesterday in London the English went in Dutch. Just as the BLM mob was getting in full swing, another mob arrived, this one made up of Tommy Robinson’s lookalikes.

Paying respects to a policeman murdered by a Muslim terrorist.
Is the thug red or brown? It
doesn’t really matter

The two mobs, the Marxists and the yobs, fought each other and, when the police tried to pull them apart, both mobs fought the police. That proved that it’s violence, not silence, that’s violence.

The Marxists were chanting “BLM”, which still sounds like some kind of sandwich to me. The yobs were screaming “In-ger-land”, a battle cry normally heard in the football terraces, where it tends to be accompanied by “if it wasn’t for Ingerland, you’d all be krauts” and “the ref is a wanker”.

At least, unlike a concurrent event happening in Paris’s Place de la République, no anti-Semitic slogans were heard, yet. There the noble campaigners against racism were screaming, inter alia, “sales juifs”. Clearly, their notion of racial solidarity involves blacks, whites and Muslims closing ranks and marching off together to kill Jews.

Commenting on the melee in central London, the papers reserved their most scathing opprobrium for the Tommy Robinson mob, whose patriotic slogans didn’t go down as well as those of the other lot.

Headlines featuring words like ‘racists’, ‘extremists’ and ‘right-wing thugs’ are screaming off newspaper pages, whereas one has to read the body text to find laments that those fighting against white privilege sometimes go too far, although their cause is just.

‘White privilege’ is a buzz phrase that keeps on buzzing. This is yet another example of the semantic larceny of modernity. The hacks don’t know, or at least pretend they don’t know, the difference between privilege and advantage.

Yet the distinction is vital. Advantage is a confluence of favourable factors, while privilege is advantage institutionalised.

Thus a white youngster born to two well-to-do university graduates and growing up surrounded by good books undoubtedly has an advantage over a black youngster born to a single mother and growing up in a council estate surrounded by crushed beer cans and discarded syringes.

But the former has no privileges compared to the latter. They both can rise to the same position in society, although this particular black chap will have a steeper hill to climb.

Now, if white privilege indeed existed, which it doesn’t, trying to get rid of it would be perfectly just. However, trying to get rid of white advantages is tantamount to a Marxist revolution, typologically close to those in Russia, China or Cambodia.

That whites do enjoy some advantages over blacks in most countries is a demonstrable fact. However, lamentable though this may be to some, doing something about it would involve overturning our whole civilisation, what’s left of it. That is precisely what the BLM mob is after, egged on by the likes of Daniel Finkelstein and other critics of white privilege who ought to know better.

Another pilfered and perverted word is justice, which is routinely modified by the adjective social. Justice means giving people their due. Again, in most countries the whites enjoy higher incomes than the blacks. That would only by unjust if the blacks were blocked from remunerative professions, which isn’t the case anywhere in the West. The disparity of incomes may be unfair, but it’s certainly not unjust.

Alas, such nuances are lost not only on the baying BLM mob, but also on its Oxbridge-educated inciters. And anyone who talks about white privilege is in effect inciting riots.

We are in deep trouble, but the trouble becomes abysmal if the only counterforce to the Marxists is provided not by the state and its law enforcement extension, but by jingoistic, quasi-fascist thugs.

Now, historical parallels vindicate Euclid by never quite converging. Hence one has to be careful drawing them. However, given due care and attention, some events of the past do indeed elucidate the present.

In this case, a parallel with the Weimar Republic seems to defy Euclid and vindicate Lobachevsky by getting very close to our time. There the order of battle involved the red mob on one side and the brown mob on the other. Conservatives, who despised both extremes, were silenced, crushed between two jaws of the same vice.

(Their cri de coeur was at its most piercing in the book Diary of a Man in Despair, by Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen. Having written his moving account, that conservative aristocrat was murdered by the Nazis in February, 1945.)

Many decent, if not excessively bright, Germans became either communists or Nazis because they felt that was the only choice on the table. The socialist government was impotent, while the predominantly conservative industrialists pinched their nostrils and sided with the Nazis. At least, unlike the communists, the Nazis weren’t threatening to dispossess them.

Our situation is eerily similar. I for one wouldn’t like to live in a country run by either the BLM lot or their quasi-fascist opposition.

Looking at the two clashing mobs, all I could think of was: “A plague o’ both your houses!” If that’s the only choice we have, it’s too stark by half. Where is a valid, effective conservative opposition? Who will provide it? Certainly not our so-called conservative government.

Their bang, our whimper

A year before he starved to death in February 1919, the Russian writer Vasily Rozanov published the essay The Apocalypse of Our Time. Looking at the events of the previous few months, he not so much wrote as wept: “Russia faded away in two days. At most – three.”

London, today

In 1925 TS Eliot wrote the poem The Hollow Man, where he too sounded an apocalyptic motif, albeit its different variation: “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.”

A major country fading away in two days, three at most, testified to the world (for which Russia was a metaphor) indeed ending with a bang, an instant violent outburst. Yet the two writers weren’t at odds; their themes meet at counterpoint.

It isn’t either a bang or a whimper, it’s both. What finishes off civilisations is indeed a protracted whimper, a slow erosion of will and atrophy of self-confidence. This brings a civilisation down to its knees (or one knee, as the case may be). When a bang arrives, as it usually does, it merely administers a coup de grâce.

This is exactly what happened to the Roman Empire. The Romans no longer understood their own society. They no longer knew what role they themselves had to play in their community, or what role their community played in the general scheme of things.

Mired in confusion, they resorted to decadence. Misguided in their overall direction, they got lost in a warren of blind alleys. They tried to probe every path, but there was no way out – they were running in place. Fatigue set in. Step by step, the stuffing went out of their previously taut muscles, and they fell prey to barbarian attacks.

Such is the aetiology of the senility to which historians usually ascribe the demise of Rome. And not only Rome. RG Collingwood, our underrated philosopher, extrapolated to a general principle:

“Civilisations sometimes perish because they are forcibly broken up by the armed attack of enemies without or revolutionaries within; but never from this cause alone. Such attacks never succeed unless the thing that is attacked is weakened by doubt as to whether the end which it sets before itself, the form of life which it tries to realise, is worth achieving. On the other hand, this doubt is quite capable of destroying a civilisation without any help whatever. If the people who share a civilisation are no longer on the whole convinced that the form of life which it tries to realise is worth realising, nothing can save it.”

Collingwood died in 1943, but if he were alive today, he’d no doubt observe every symptom of the collective disease he so perceptively diagnosed.

We too are no longer certain of our fundamental convictions. We too have replaced stern resolve with decadence. We too have lost the will to defend ourselves.

The major difference is that we haven’t yet had this point hammered home by a barbarian onslaught. But few are the optimists who maintain that such a development is improbable. Even fewer are the realists who point out that the barbarians have already attacked and won. Except that in our case they came from inside the city walls.

The vandals may fly any number of flags, each of them false in the sense that none would be faithful to the barbarians’ impelling animus. They may inscribe whatever slogan seems promising: anarchism, racial and sex equality, BLM, global warming, anti-nuke – whatever actuates mass passion at the moment, whatever makes the walls totter.

Arguing against the slogan of the day is pointless, especially since, taken at face value, some of them are unobjectionable, what Karl Popper would have called unfalsifiable. For example, who in his right mind would object to the slogan ‘black lives matter’ by saying no, they don’t?

Accepting slogans at face value, or rather pretending to do so, is a time-proven mechanism of craven, abject surrender. A robust civilisation with an intact will to defend itself would be strong enough to see through the slogans and respond with all it has to the murderous intent they camouflage.

Shifting history to the proscribed subjunctive mood, how do you suppose any Victorian prime minister, say Peel, Disraeli or Salisbury, would have responded to an orgy of rioting and looting accompanied by attacks on the Union Jack and other cherished symbols of the nation?

Would they have failed to see the rioters as the deadly enemies of our very civilisation? Would they have instructed the police to show solidarity and only use force when absolutely necessary or not even then? Of course not. They would have seen themselves as the strong arm of a collective will and acted accordingly.

Such a collective will no longer exists. That’s why it’s really useless to invoke the names I mentioned. Those prime ministers would have acted decisively and ruthlessly not because they were better men than today’s lot, but because they had the power of society’s convictions.

Today’s governments are reaping the harvest of defeatism and acquiescence nurtured over many decades. Having lost a unifying centre – spiritual, cultural, social and therefore political – our civilisation has been ceding one by one its positions at the periphery.

No politician can these days have a career unless he professes affection for whatever false flag is hoisted by the enemies of our civilisation. No one in public life can let slip that he sees the hatred and murderous intent hiding behind the flags.

Any idiocy, ignorance or madness merits serious discussion, or what passes for it nowadays. If our enemies insist that there exist 57 sexes, not just two; or that it’s perfectly normal for a man born as a woman to produce a child by a woman born as a man; or that capitalism is destroying ‘our planet’ with carbon dioxide; or that women constitute an oppressed minority; or that various ethnic groups are being targeted for institutional violence; or that children should vote and therefore add their gonadal input into government – we can’t just tell them to shut up and go back to work.

We no longer have the power of our convictions because we have neither convictions nor power. What we have is boundless confidence that what happened in Russia, circa 1917, or in Germany, circa 1933, or for that matter in Rome, circa 410, can’t happen here.

Oh yes it can, ladies and gentlemen: the whimper has been going on for too long to preclude a bang.    

In one era, out the other

As a lifelong champion of progress, I welcome the new world order. For, as anyone who worships progress knows, new always means better.

Proposed new design for what used to be known as Nelson’s Column

It was Joseph Schumpeter who gave us the concept of creative destruction. But we should go the old man one better and declare that all destruction is creative, rather than just some.

Therefore the new world order, spearheaded by the BML and Extinction Rebellion movements, should sweep all remnants of the old order into what another champion of progress, Trotsky, called the dustbin of history.

Our path lit by this enlightened general goal, we can easily work out the specifics, starting with the offensive statues to be removed and/or spray-painted with new-order graffiti and/or smeared with faeces. Here I propose a solution that will in one fell swoop put an end to arguments about which statues are offensive and which aren’t.

They all are, with the possible exception of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Karl Marx. Mandela, Mahatma, Marx – a neatly alliterative acronym MMM can function as a stamp of approval, and it will look good superimposed on a red flag.

All other statues commemorate men who were irredeemably mired in the old order. Hence they were all complicit in its crimes.

For a start, look at the Houses of Parliament adorned with the statues of Richard I and Oliver Cromwell. Richard led an islamophobic crusade, a sin only partly redeemed by his homosexuality. And Cromwell practised not only the death penalty but also genocide. Of course the Irish are racially similar to whites, but they may be elevated to honorary blackness for the purpose of our exercise.

Now what’s George Washington doing in Trafalgar Square? He was a slave owner and one of the founders of an eternally racist state. His statue belongs in a skip, or perhaps on the bottom of the Thames.

And don’t let me get going on Napier, Clive, Rhodes, Mountbatten, Churchill, Smuts and other imperialist, colonialist, racist scum. Their statues should be not just removed but smashed up, with the fragments used as projectiles tossed at police cars and through the windows of Bond Street boutiques.

That Nelson, correctly described by my friend Afua Hirsch as a ‘white supremacist’, should be brought down from that column goes without saying (now that Afua has said it). But who should take that racist’s place?

You know the answer: George Floyd, with angel’s wings attached to his back. The design already exists, so transferring it to stone is dead easy. Of course, the column will have to be renamed after Floyd, and Trafalgar Square should thenceforth be known as Minneapolis Plaza.

Anyway, why bother mentioning historical villains by name? Did any of them speak out against racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, capitalism and global warming? No, they didn’t.

Since we now know that silence is violence, none of those violent criminals merits a statue. Their vacated plinths can accommodate statues of new-order martyrs, black people killed by the police returning fire.

Such mass iconoclasm is a time-honoured practice of every revolution of the past. Statues of saints were destroyed during the Reformation, statues of tsars during the Bolshevik revolution, statues of Jews, such as Heine and Mendelssohn, during the Nazi regime.

The last two also set other worthy examples to follow, such as the bonfires of books. Today’s revolutionaries are too timid: they merely remove racist tracts like Huckleberry Finn and Gone With the Wind from circulation.

I much favour public immolation, ideally also to include the master copies of offensive films and, once the process has gathered speed, Tory MPs. A true revolution can’t stop halfway; it should keep and increase its momentum.

Up the Revolution! ladies and gentlemen. Or Up the Revolution’s, if you’d rather. 

White privilege, anyone?

Daniel Finkelstein has written an article full of empathy, good will and compassionate understanding. It made me want to throw up.

Appropriate reaction, Daniel?

Under the influence of the American feminist Peggy McIntosh, Lord Finkelstein looked at the world and experienced a Buddha-like moment. One day young prince Gautama walked out of his palace, looked around and realised that disease, old age and death were inevitable. He was so shocked that he became Buddha.

Lord Finkelstein must have started from less auspicious beginnings, and the shock he experienced must have been less earth-shattering. But a shock it was nonetheless.

His eyes descaled by Peggy, he looked at the world through the eyes of a black man and realised that “minorities experience multicultural societies very differently to majorities. And there are lots of ways in which this is a burden, some less easy to see than others.”

While acknowledging that “Britain was never a hotbed of racism”, Lord Finkelstein still feels “grateful… to McIntosh for helping me see the world more clearly.”

At least he didn’t have to go to extreme lengths to clarify his eyesight. His colleague John Griffin did.

In 1959 he had his skin temporarily darkened to pass as a black man. Griffin then travelled for six weeks through the racially segregated states of the American Deep South.

He was shocked by the hostility he encountered as a black man, and the humiliations he suffered. In 1961 he published a book about his experience, Black Like Me, which became an instant bestseller.

But the book also attracted a hostile reaction from certain quarters. Eventually Griffin had to flee his home in Texas because he no longer felt safe. Considering that he was treated to the spectacle of his figure hanged in effigy, I’m not surprised.

In 1975 the Ku Klux Klan finally caught up with Griffin. He was severely beaten and left for dead, but survived. Jim Crow was by then extinct legally, but the legacy still survived in many underdeveloped souls.

The situation in America has changed greatly since 1975, and unrecognisably since 1959. Today Griffin might catch a few unkind glances here and there, but he certainly wouldn’t experience overt aggression and discrimination. He’d be more likely to suffer abuse at the hands of other blacks than white racists.

Move from Alabama, circa 1960, to Britain, circa 2020, and examples of racism would be well-nigh impossible to find this side of heavily tattooed, plankton-brained yahoos. There are, however, many examples of white privilege that is seen as such by the likes of Lord Finkelstein, but in fact isn’t.

This is one such example he dredged up: “Anybody who looks out for whose cars the police are more likely to stop, for example, can see that in theory we’re all equal before the law but in practice we aren’t.”

The police have neither sufficient resources nor indeed a mandate to stop every suspicious car (or pedestrian) they see. Hence they have to narrow their targets on the balance of probability, by deciding which vehicle is more likely to be transporting a law-breaker.

Alas, the balance of probability tips heavily towards the black population. For example, even though blacks make up only about 10 per cent of London’s population, in one typical year they accounted for 54 per cent of street crime, 58 per cent of robbery and 67 per cent of gun crime.

Hence cars driven by whites proceed unmolested not because of ‘white privilege’ but because whites commit fewer crimes. If this is privilege, it’s certainly not unearned.

However, Lord Finkelstein thinks it is, even though he finds the term ‘white privilege’ unhelpful: “[Talking about white privilege] makes you reflect on the advantages you have and where they come from. It prevents you being carried away with the idea that all you achieve is on merit.”

Well, I feel I deserve the ‘white privilege’ of not being stopped by cops. I’ve earned it by having lived a life free of crime – and deporting myself as someone who can legitimately make this claim.

Then we come to the heart of the matter, the reason Lord Finkelstein took pen to paper in the first place: “The great power of the assertion that black lives matter is that it correctly argues that they haven’t mattered enough: to the police, to the justice system, to businesses. It demands that this be changed. White privilege instead makes white people the centre of attention.”

Over the past week, I (and many others) have cited reams of evidence showing that even in America black lives matter much more to policemen than to other blacks. American policemen still kill 20 per cent more whites than blacks, which, considering that blacks account for 85 per cent of violent crime, suggests not white privilege but black.

Finkelstein is in default of his remit for not pointing this out, choosing instead to pick old liberal chestnuts. And then he adds a new one of his own: “Britain’s experience of racism is different from America’s. I think, however, that the reaction to George Floyd’s death has been appropriate.”

Which part exactly? Burning the Union Jack? Looting and vandalising shops? Defacing and destroying statues that are the landmarks of our history? Attacking policemen? Putting some of them in hospital? Arson? Or are they all an appropriate reaction to the unlawful killing of a black criminal 4,000 miles away from Britain?

The problem is that our pundits don’t feel they have to hold up their output to any test of reason or veracity when enunciating wokish claptrap. One expects better from a peer of the realm.

I paid good money to end slavery

It’s not only the same language that separates Britain and America. I could name hundreds of differences, but the one currently relevant has to do with race relations.

Lord Mansfield, the face of racial tolerance

In that febrile area Britain and the US are even further apart than in language, which obvious fact is wilfully ignored by the BLM mob and its ‘liberal’ ventriloquists.

For, though both countries can be retrospectively tarred with the slavery brush, the strokes are wider and more lurid in America.

Slavery was practically nonexistent in metropolitan England, though it was important to the economies of her colonies, including the American ones. Already in Elizabethan times slavery was seen as abhorrent.

A report of a case as far back as 1569 states that: “… it was resolved that England was too pure an air for a slave to breathe, and so everyone who breathes it becomes free. Everyone who comes to this island is entitled to the protection of English law, whatever oppression he may have suffered and whatever may be the colour of his skin.”

And in 1772, ruling on the case of a slave suing for his freedom when brought to Britain, Lord Chief Justice Mansfield declared that “no court could compel a slave to obey an order depriving him of his liberty.”

Such statements weren’t heard in many other places at that time. And it wasn’t just words. Though Britain officially banned the slave trade only in 1807, unofficially the Royal Navy had been harassing slave traffic for decades.

Some historians believe that the American colonies rose in insurgence partly for fear that slavery, having been disavowed in the English Common law, would be abolished in America. And the colonists’ feelings about slavery were entirely different, to a point where blacks weren’t believed to be fully human.

Hence the signatories to the Declaration of Independence sensed no incongruity in proclaiming equality and liberty as inalienable rights, while at the same time owning (and in Jefferson’s case also multiplying) slaves. Dr Johnson, who abhorred slavery, was quick to spot the contradiction: “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”

Had Lincoln not chosen abolition as the false flag for his attempt to enshrine the supremacy of the central state, God only knows how much longer slavery could have survived in America.

My guess is that this outdated institution would have died out fairly soon anyway. After all, even in Russia, a place not widely known for its commitment to liberty, the serfs were emancipated in 1861, two years before Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation.

However, abolition of slavery where it’s economically significant raises many legal issues, specifically those involving property rights. These, according to the godfather of Enlightenment politics, John Locke, have to be an inviolable bedrock of just society.

Immoral as chattel slavery might have been believed to be, confiscation of legally acquired property went against the grain of the English Common Law, which applied in the colonies as much as in the metropolis.

The two sides handled this hot potato differently, which to this day affects the huge difference in racial relations between the two. In America the North smashed the South, dispossessed all plantations with no compensation, freed all the slaves and encouraged them to embark on an orgy of violence against white southerners.

That inflicted awful wounds on the American psyche, and they are still festering. This isn’t to say that most white Americans hate blacks, far from it. Universal racism, private or institutional, is a figment of ‘liberal’ imagination. Yet anyone who has ever lived in the South will testify that racist flames aren’t fanned by black activism exclusively.

In Britain the issue was solved in a civilised and amicable way, which left a legacy of more emollient racial interactions. When the Slavery Abolition Act was passed in 1833, the government borrowed £20 million to pay off the dispossessed slave owners.

To put that sum in perspective, it equalled 40 per cent of the country’s budget and five per cent of her GDP. Considering that last year’s GDP was £2.2 trillion, you can figure out the modern equivalent.

That loan was finally paid off only in 2015, meaning that I and other adult Britons had to service it through our taxes throughout most of our working lives. In addition to fostering much healthier race relations, this ought to remind us of the long-term burden imposed by runaway borrowing.

To paraphrase ever so slightly, amici nigri, sed magis amica veritas. And the truth of the matter is that equating the race situation in Britain and America is pernicious demagoguery at its most soaring. When ignorance meets ideology, only idiocy will result.

And ignorant, ideologised idiots are deaf to rational arguments and serious advice. Such as, chaps, let Americans sort out what goes on in America. It really has nothing to do with you.

P.S. One of the statues targeted by the BLM mob is that of Sir Thomas Guy, whose crime was to invest in the South Sea Company around 1720. By all means take the offensive statue down, but why stop there? Do proceed to razing the hospital Sir Thomas endowed, which still bears his name. Now is just the right time.