Following the fire bombing of the refugee centre at High Wycombe, immigration is very much topical again.
All news outlets agree: the crime was motivated by hatred. Seriously? And I thought it was love that motivated people to toss fire bombs into crowded buildings.
That particular building was crowded because 40,000 people have so far crossed the Channel illegally this year, which is five times the number in 2020. Since 50,000 is confidently projected for next year, one can’t help noticing a certain escalating tendency.
This brings into focus the shrill attacks on Home Secretary Suella Braverman, fired by Truss, reinstated by Sunak and now in danger of another sack.
Quite apart from minor procedural violations, Mrs Braverman’s sin is recognising that illegal immigration is a problem and trying to do something about it. This, according to our liberal (meaning illiberal) media, disqualifies her not only from high office but also from her Indian ethnicity. To paraphrase Joe Biden, who is my oratorial role model as much as Neil Kinnock is his, if she is a real Tory, she ain’t Indian.
Parenthetically, I am relaxed about the ethnicity of both Mrs Braverman and her boss Mr Sunak. We’ve had so many cowboys recently, we might as well give Indians a chance.
This particular Indian, however, has strong principles, which makes her suspect in the eyes of our media, especially since Mrs Braverman’s principles are at odds with the rhetoric of the Bollinger bolsheviks resident in the smarter parts of North London.
As to her rhetoric, don’t get me going on that. She had the temerity to use the word ‘invasion’ when talking about the swarms of illegal aliens currently housed in our hotels at a cost of over £6,000,000 a day. The received wisdom is that their numbers mustn’t be limited in any way, provided they are kept out of the smarter parts of North London.
This raises a question. If 40,000 a year is the point of departure, what is the destination? 400,000? 4,000,000? 40,000,000? This ancient method of reductio ad absurdum illustrates the necessity of curbing immigration at some point, ideally not one of no return.
Those who don’t have the exalted privilege of working for the BBC or Sky News do see a massive problem there. And in the congenitally pragmatic British manner they are asking the lapidary question: What are we going to do about it?
We could start by studying the experience of other countries, such as Australia. In this world we aren’t blessed with perfect systems, but, looking from afar, the Australian quota system seems to come pretty close.
Australians admit a certain number of skilled workers every year and a smaller number of genuine refugees, those fleeing for their lives. Once the quota has been filled, everybody else is put on a ship and sent to the Pacific island of Nauru. When practised for a few years, that system severely compromised the criminal business of smuggling people.
Alexander Downer, Australia’s former Foreign Minister, describes the system in today’s Mail and comes up with recommendations. His advice is worth heeding, most of the time.
In fact, when she was Home Secretary in one of the half-dozen Tory governments we’ve had lately, Priti Patel tried to do just that, follow Australia’s example. She chose Rwanda, rather than Nauru, thereby adding a whole new meaning to the film Hotel Rwanda.
A pack of wolves was instantly formed and it attacked Miss Patel with red-toothed ferocity. She was a racist barbarian who saw something wrong in Britain’s population growing at a million a year largely thanks to uncontrolled immigration. She didn’t merit the honourable badge of her ethnicity either, that went without saying.
Mr Downer correctly identifies the origin of the ammunition fired at Miss Patel: “After Brexit, Britain needs to find a lasting legal basis for exemption from European Court of Human Rights diktats. The nation has to be free to control its own borders.”
But then came a real downer [Yes, I know it’s a feeble pun. But if I don’t amuse myself, who will?]:
“Exiting the ECHR should be a last resort. Britain could draw up its own human rights legislation, but it could set a dangerous precedent for other countries to ditch their commitment to human rights.”
Using simple mathematical tricks, one figures out that Mr Downer equates commitment to human rights with ECHR membership. I wonder how we had managed to survive as a reasonably civilised nation until 4 November, 1950, when Europe was first blessed with the arrival of the ECHR.
One can understand the impetus behind it. After all, until five years previously most European nations had been either actively perpetrating, or at least collaborating with, monstrous crimes against humanity. Hence they felt an urgent need to have some pan-European watchdog to keep them on the straight and narrow in the future.
But Britain’s history, both recent and ancient, gave no reason for such concerns. Rather than perpetrating the crimes that gave rise to the ECHR, the British had done their best to stop and punish them.
Mr Downer, I’m afraid, shares the misconception of most politicians and modern Westerners in general who assign undue significance to politics and the institutions produced thereby. In fact, most seminal problems of life have no political solutions. And the solutions they do have come from a very different provenance.
The idea that human beings possess inalienable rights simply because they are indeed human beings is fundamentally Christian. Implicit in that is the notion of real, as opposed to today’s bogus, equality.
To their wide-eyed amazement, the Romans, to whom people had rights as citizens, not as simply people, heard that those inalienable rights didn’t derive from birth, wealth or social status. Everyone was equal before God and therefore the law (the link between the two still existed).
That was the ideal and, what with the laws of human nature always in force, it was sometimes violated, in some places more than in others.
But the ideal itself was perhaps the most revolutionary one ever accepted by mankind. And Britain led the world in putting that ideal into practice, much to the envy of even those European thinkers who started from a different philosophical premise. (Montesquieu and Voltaire come to mind.)
The problem started with that gross misnomer, the Enlightenment. Its principal stratagem was looting the rightful property of Christendom, shifting it into the secular domain and converting it into a tool of political rhetoric and, ultimately, civilisational subversion.
That instantly expanded the idea of human rights, which tendency continued until the idea burst with a mighty bang. Now human rights are used in the meaning of human desires and appetites. Instead of saying “I want” or “I need”, people have been brainwashed to say “I have a right to…”.
Since human rights became political, they had to be enshrined in, and enforced by, political institutions. Hence the ECHR, heir to the French 1789 Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen.
A notion politicised is a notion perverted. Thus the larcenous shift of human rights from the religious and therefore legal domain to the political one produced an endless potential for abuse.
That potential has since been richly realised by two world wars, systematic murder by government (Prof Rummel’s phrase), artificial famines, murder camps, gas chambers, SS and KGB. Some 300 million people died horrific deaths in the 20th century alone, the first century in which secular politics reigned supreme.
The ECHR is part of the problem, its natural development. As such, it can only make the problem worse, not solve it.
Perhaps Mr Downer should give the matter another thought – he comes across as a man capable of it. I hope he’ll realise that ditching the ECHR isn’t only the most practical thing to do, but also the most moral one.