Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A mini convention of Raccoonistas (witers for the "Anna Raccoon" blog) occurred the other weekend, with various contributors to the blog turning up at Madam La Raccoon’s “chateau” in south west France. My chief contribution to this weekend was to provide much mirth as Madam La Raccoon’s enthusiastic hound placed a very well chewed and utterly salivated tennis ball on my seat, nearly resulting in a nasty accident when I sat down. An anus horribilis was only narrowly averted.

However, whilst I was there I discovered, appropriately enough, a superb biography of “local girl”, Eleanor of Aquitaine: “Eleanor of Aquitaine – By the Wrath of God, Queen of England” by Alison Weir (Random House).

Of course I can’t do full justice to a long life of adventure, political intrigue, sex, violence, triumph and tragedy in a short blog, and I truly commend Ms Weir’s book. But let me try to give something of an outline, just because I find Eleanor’s story so fascinating.

Now, as Ms Weir points out constructing a really detailed and complete biography of Eleanor is difficult chiefly for two reasons. First, at the time written sources were rare in any event. Medieval courts preferred fighting and drinking to reading and writing. Second, women occupied a totally subordinate role, expected to be wives and breeding machines or whores. They were not expected to become politicians and administrators. Recording the role and deeds of a great woman of the time would therefore have been contrary to this ethos, and doubtless given rise to a rather uncomfortable sense that the natural order of things had been overturned.
However, one might say that in her time Eleanor managed to play all of these roles, and with aplomb too.

Eleanor was born some time around 1122 or 1124, the daughter of William, Duke of Aquitaine and his wife Aenor. Her name itself is something of a pun, derived from the Latin Alia Aenor, meaning, of course, “the other Aenor”.
At the time Aquitaine included most of south west France and was not only one the richest vassal states or fiefdoms in France: it also had one of the most advanced and culturally sophisticated and glamorous courts.

Eleanor’s mother died when she was about 6, and I gain the clear impression her father doted on her, indeed spoiled her, but recognised her intelligence and spirit and treated her a bit as he would have a treated a son. For example, she was taught to read and write in Latin as well as French (or the local dialect) but some argue that she was schooled in philosophy and rhetoric as well, which at the time would have been radical for a girl. She was also taught riding, hunting and hawking, all activities which the feisty Eleanor loved.

Her father died in 1137 when she was about 15, leaving her as Duchess of Aquitaine. In the medieval times marriage of those of high rank was for political and dynastic purposes, and there was no question of the young Eleanor being left to rule Aquitaine in her own right. She was almost immediately married to 17 year old prince Louis, heir to the French crown. Within a month the old king had died, and Eleanor was not only Duchess of Aquitaine, but Queen of France.

It is this point important to mention that by all accounts Eleanor was outstandingly beautiful. Now to be fair by the conventions of the time it was appropriate to describe any wealthy noble woman as beautiful. It would also be fair to observe that a courtly poet or troubadour who described the Queen of France and Duchess of Aquitaine as looking like a bag of spanners would probably be a making a very poor career move. But even taking these factors into account, it is clear that the descriptions of her striking good looks went well beyond convention, and that she was in fact what is colloquially known as “fit as a butcher’s dog.” Whilst all the contemporary sources are agreed on this fact, annoyingly there is no clear and specific description of her which survives. We know that she had beautiful, flashing eyes, but what colour? The colour of her hair is also a topic much speculated upon, and there is no definitive answer. But it seems likely she had flowing auburn locks, a feature which I think is likely given her partly Norman lineage.

She had great energy, flamboyance and loved spending, fashion and showing off in a way which would make Victoria Beckham blush with shame. Indeed Eleanor’s upbringing in Aquitaine had given her tastes well beyond dreams of the then somewhat dreary Parisian court, and she became a style icon, the “It Girl” of the High Medieval period. With juicy irony, we get one of the best descriptions of what this was like from a contemporary prelate who wrote complaining of the “immodest” dresses worn by Eleanor and her companions in fashion:

“The garments of court ladies are fashioned from the finest tissues of wool or silk. A costly fur between two layers of rich stuff forms the lining and borders of their cloaks. Their arms are loaded with bracelets; from their ears hang pendants, enshrining precious stones. For head-dress they have a kerchief of fine linen which they drape about their neck and shoulders, allowing one corner to fall over the left arm. This is the wimple, ordinarily fastened to their brows by a chaplet, a filet or circle of wrought gold.”

Another description snipes: “As for the ladies, you might think them adders, if you judged by the tails they drag after them.” That sounds rather nice to me. They also had those most sinful of accoutrements, pointy shoes.

However, when she was not partying like it was 1399, Eleanor plainly involved herself in her husband’s affairs of state and politics much more than the Church in particular approved of. She also joined in with the Second Crusade, accompanying her husband and the Christian forces to the Holy Land and Jerusalem. According to some it was she and her female mates who at one point did so dressed up in wild and exotic clothes “like Amazons”. Although it is hard to say whether this is true, it would very much have been Eleanor’s style. According to other chroniclers and historians, Eleanor and her girlfriends were a thorough nuisance and got in the way. That, too, would have been Eleanor’s style at the time.

It also seems clear that she was in some respects frustrated and bored by her somewhat drippy husband King Louis, not least because of his increasing devotion to religion and lack of devotion to his other and more intimate duties as a husband. Frankly, it is quite clear that she like sex, and a lot of it. Indeed, when she was on crusade it was darkly rumoured that she had an extra-marital fling with her uncle, the charismatic, brutal and very handsome knight, Raymond of Poitiers.
Such rumours persisted throughout her life.

There was something of a scandal about this, but let us draw a veil over that, and move on. On her way back from the crusade she had run ins with storms, and it may be she landed in Africa, but it is recorded that she had a narrow escape from capture by pirates. All good stuff.

Despite the lack of “hot love action”, she bore Louis two daughters. However, unfortunately he in turn bored her in a different sense, and after 15 years of marriage the restless Eleanor managed to engineer an annulment in 1152. Now aged about 30 she immediately allied herself by a new marriage with her former husband Louis’ chief and most dangerous rival, the 19 year old Henry, Duke of Normandy.
The historian Simon Schama has written that there was something unusual about this marriage for the age when marriage was principally a tool of dynastic alliance, namely that the bride and the groom actually appeared to fancy each other. I think there is a great deal of truth in that. That said, by the standards of the time it seems an unusual marriage. From Henry’s point of view he was marrying a beautiful but considerably older woman of the world, already with two children and the whiff of scandal about her. What about from Eleanor’s standpoint? Well, she was marrying a young but dynamic powerhouse of a man, full of all the brute energy and fierce cunning and intelligence of his great grandfather, William the Conqueror. A powerful man already, and with a claim to the English throne.

Beauty. Power. Money. Land. Ambition. Rank. A touch of warlord brutality thrown in. It must have been a heady, sexy mix.

And shortly afterwards in early 1154 when her husband finally claimed the English crown becoming Henry II, Eleanor became (“by the Grace of God”) Queen of England. Together she and her husband in their various capacities of King and Queen, Duke and Duchess, ruled a vast family business - the Angevin Empire as it came to be known - that ran from Carlisle in the north to the borders of Pyrenees in the south, and which if it could be held united was arguably the richest and most powerful entity in Europe.

If her first marriage been a disappointment in the bedroom, it seems neither party could say the same of her second to Henry. Whilst the quality of the product cannot be known, the quantity can. Eleanor was to bear Henry eight children, and she was to see two of them Richard I (“the Lion Heart”) and the infamous John sit upon the English throne.

Henry was certainly never faithful, and it is even rumoured that at one point Eleanor had one of his mistresses murdered. I think it is unlikely. By the same token, the whiff of scandal never completely left Eleanor either, and there were again rumours of affairs on her part. And yet they seem to have been genuinely close for some years before ultimately falling out in middle age.

Ironically, in an age in which it was the duty of a queen to bear sons and heirs it may be that Eleanor fulfilled this duty all too well. As Henry’s reign and power matured, so did his sons and on the whole they rounded upon their father and the Angevin Empire tore itself apart as they vied for position and power within it. The Angevin Empiredegenerated into a form of ceaseless familial civil unrest and anarchy. Ultimately, Eleanor appears to have sided with her sons (particularly her favourite, Richard) in the vicious plotting and serial rebellions which took place, so much so that for 16 years Henry had her held under various forms of house arrest. It was this family bickering and back biting which gave rise to the James Goldman’s play and then film “The Lion in Winter”.

In the 1963 film version, the Eleanor of late middle age is played with waspish venom by Katherine Hepburn against Peter O’Toole’s Henry, and she rightly won an Academy Award as best actress for the role. I cannot help but feel that that in many respects in both looks and temperament she got quite close to the real Eleanor and what seems to have been a love/hate relationship between them. A clip which neatly sums it up can be found here:


(If you can't follow the link sorry, still learning how to do this!)

Ever the survivor, she outlived Henry and when upon his death their son Richard I succeeded to the throne in 1189 she was restored to freedom and influence as Queen Mother. Richard may be recorded as a hero in popular fiction, but in truth he was a disaster as a monarch of England. He was obsessed with recapturing the Holy Land, and his chief contribution to English society was to levy taxes for his largely unsuccessful crusades, and then to cause even more taxes to be levied to pay a colossal ransom for his release from imprisonment, almost bankrupting the country.
Richard was largely an absentee king, and in his absence Eleanor ran “the family business” as in effect his Regent. Although by this stage she was already in her late 60’s – of itself a remarkable age for the period - she appears to have done so not simply with efficiency and energy, but also grace, mercy and wisdom, granting rights and charters, dispensing justice with an even hand, and granting alms to the poor and religious orders. This was all the more remarkable because administration of the Angevin lands was a peripatetic exercise, and she was required to travel great distances in around both England and France in doing so.

After his Richard’s pointless death (from blood poisoning after being hit by a cross bow bolt), John succeeded to the throne. Modern historian have tried to repair John’s reputation, but he was arrogant, boorish and (unusually for the Angevin clan) charmless. Once again it fell to her to reign in her manage much of the administration of the family lands.

Sadly, under the intra family strife and poor rule of her children the huge Angevin Empire on the continent was gradually subsumed to the power of the King of France. Richard spent his time and money on the crusades; John appears to have been not untalented but prone to depression and vacillation. Gradually the “Empire” was eaten up by the resurgent King of France and the foundations were thus laid for attempts by the English Crown to reclaim those lands which would lead to strife between England and France for more than two hundred years.

She outlived all but two of her children (John and Eleanor of Castile), and there can be little doubt that despite the wealth, the glamour and the power politics she loved her often feckless, greedy and murderous offspring. Even a queen is not immune to the grief of loss of a child, and she lost six before she died. Ultimately battered and weary of life she retired to a monastery and took the veil. She died in 1204, aged about 82.

In her time she was a fabulously vain and wanton beauty, a wife, a mother and probably an adulteress. She was a style icon, a queen (indeed one may say an empress), a crusader, a formidable politician, a prisoner, and in her latter years a wise and highly able administrator, counsellor and judge. She achieved all this in an era where women were, in the modern parlance to be seen and not heard, and when war, assassination or execution could be only a heartbeat away, and where the Angevin empire was managed from the saddle, with endless processions by horseback.
I think I would have liked her very much. If I had had the chance to have made her acquaintance, and had she been bothered for some reason to ask the question whether she had won my affections, she would probably have expected a poem or a song: as I have mentioned above, she was the poster girl for the medieval concept of “Courtly Love” and received many such “lays” or ballads in praise of her beauty.
I think I would probably have been less flowery and more to the point. Something like:

“You had me at bonjour!”

Eleanor of Aquitaine, circa 1122- 1st April 1204. RIP

Gildas the Monk

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Underclass v Working Class

Underclass v Working Class
I suspect that quite a few, although I hope not all, of the readers of this blog will just about remember “Not the Nine O’clock News”. In one of its classic sketches a professor of sociology and a social worker (“look, I know these kids”) are invited to discuss the solution to the problem of football hooliganism, which, at the time, was a great deal more prevalent than today.
The conclusions they reached were...well, unexpected! For those who are not familiar with the sketch, it is available via YouTube, and for those who do, it’s worth revisiting as a walk down memory lane. A link is available here:

Now, there must have been countless words written about the causes of the riots this week. However, in my opinion by far and away the clearest, the most incisive, the most informed and the most valuable came in a short piece on Wednesday of this week on Radio 5 Live on Shelagh Fogarty’s lunchtime show. I was listening to it as drove to an appointment. I will post the link below, but let me outline the format. First there was an interview with some of the rioters/looters, in which they explained their world view and reasons for their actions.
As one might expect, what this was moronic, uneducated thoughtless and selfish statement to the effect that they felt like it “and....government innit...stuff, innit..nick some stuff ‘cos I can... You know what I mean, and...innit?”
Yeah, I know what you mean...innit?
It was both depressing and hugely irritating.
Then the presenter Ms Fogarty introduced two protagonists to debate the causes and remedies of this problem. One was Lesley Pullman, a victim of crime and supporter of other victims from Manchester, born in a pitifully poor family of twelve. The other was former social/youth worker and now Orwell Prize
winner Winston Smith. So you can see the premise which may or may not have underpinned the “set up”. The reactionary working class versus the understanding, enlightened, liberal intellectual?
In fact, that is certainly not what we got. I have of course punctured the dramatic balloon by giving away an obvious plot spoiler above.
No. What we got was a highly intelligent, informed, clear and brutal dissection of the follies of the leftist and “liberal” intelligentsia’s doctrines since the 1960’s by people who actually know what they are talking about. By people who have been on the front line and seen “the system” in action. Who have seen what it means, and felt the consequences.
The doctrine, for example, that everyone is a victim, and that this includes the criminal. The doctrine that there is no right and wrong. The doctrine above all that there are no consequences for “wrongdoing”: a clear view of very many of the rioters.
This has created a topsy turvy world. A world in which teachers are unable to discipline children aged 12 high on drugs in their classroom, where probation officers must call criminals “clients” and are disciplined if they object to abuse; a world where youth offenders are provided with Nintendo’s in detention, and taxied to and from the gym by their social workers. A world where the criminal justice system is geared up to cater for the criminal, and the victim has no voice, to the extent that it is known colloquially as the “criminal injustice system.”
I do not propose to rehearse the full details of this interview. I do not think I could do it justice without a transcript. For anyone who wants to be informed, enlightened and outraged I commend it. It is here for a limited time on the BBCI player, and commences immediately after the 1.00 pm news (you can drag the cursor to the right place).
The conclusion was, I think, clear and not that surprising. The riots represented an attack by an intellectual and moral underclass on the working class. By those who have never felt any consequences and have no think they ever will, against those who have tried to work and make something of themselves. Because the rioters felt like it.
These riots are the inevitable flowering of the guilt ridden, liberal leftist, patronising folly that has reigned supreme over the Political Classes for the past 40 years. And that includes IDave. Not so keen on hugging a hoodies now, are you...?

Gildas the Monk

The Wrong Peasants Are Revolting

The Wrong Peasants Are Revolting
I started write this piece last night, having and watched general low level vandalism and petty crime spreading across London on Sky, and then retiring to listen to the radio, sip a nice shiraz and join in banter on Twitter, cheerfully urging no one in particular to “Send In The Troops” in true Daily Mail style. Highly entertaining.
I see this morning parts of the London borough where I was born have been burned out. Rioting has spread to Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol. It shows no sign of abating, and on balance, I think it’s about 2 – 0 to the forces of disorder at half time.
I am pretty sanguine. Curiously (and I have blogged on this a little before) from the long view of history England Britain has actually been hotbed of violent revolutionary direct action, going right back to the Peasants Revolt in 1381 which came damn close - and I mean really, really close – to overthrowing the Monarchy and power of the noble classes and establishing a kingdom on what might well be called socialist terms.
But looting mobile phone shops and sports retailers is not exactly what Wat Tyler had in mind, I am thinking.
Can I be controversial? I hope so. It’s a blog. It’s meant to be controversial.
I feel a bit sorry for the rioters. Well, up to a point. Let me explain.
I say nothing about whether the Metropolitan Police have shot and killed an innocent man in the person of Mark Duggan. It may be they have, and it may be they haven’t. Goodness knows the Met has form, and I am not just thinking of Charles De Menezes.
Those with a longer memory will remember many years ago, back in the early 80’s, when the police “opened up” on Stephen Waldorf and riddled his car and him with bullets. Only problem was they got the round guy. Thankfully, he survived.
There is an old Royal Marine saying: the only thing more frightening than an officer with a map is a sailor with a gun. To which one might add: or a Police Officer.
Be that as it may, that is not an excuse for or a reason for the rioting and looting. But it seems to me that we have a situation in which large sections of the community have been sold a pup, a dream, a lie.
The Sunday Times ran a story that that children of ambitious immigrants and “ethnic minorities” are forging ahead in taking up places in grammar schools in disproportionately high numbers. In the West Midlands, for example, Indians make up 9% of the population, but children from an Indian background make up 19% of grammar school children.
Grammar schools have since Shakespeare’s time and before been the principal and best ladder engine of social mobility, enabling and encouraging the talented children of the poor to rise in society. Perhaps that is why the Political Establishment (not just the Left) has for so long tried to destroy them. Sally Liu, who came to this country in the 1970’s and worked in a Chinese restaurant, sends her son Michael to a grammar school. She says:
“We went without a lot. We stopped going out to save money for books and things like that. He travels for more than an hour to get to school, but it is worth it.”
But there are plenty of people in society who do not take the same attitude. For whom education is provided (free), health care is provided (free) legal aid is provided (free), but who end up without qualification, without a job and without much of a future. But these people face a conundrum which they can’t understand. You see, they are told – it’s not your fault, you don’t need to work hard, it’s all the system, it’s racism, it’s sexism, it’s the cuts, it’s...
It is the State which has told these people that it’s all everyone else’s fault. It has told them a lie. The lie that life is fair, when it is not, that it should be easy, when it never is, that if you are disadvantaged then you do not need to be harder working than anyone else when you do, because that’s just how life is.
And they have been told the most pernicious lie of all, that there are no limits, no boundaries, no right and wrong, and no consequences for your action. No come backs.
And at the same time these people are sold and buy into an aspirational dream of the cheapest type. The trainers, the bling, the rap, the iPods, the plasma TVs, the dope, the iPhones – all targets of the rioters, of course. I note that in Clapham every shop in the high street has been ransacked except one: Waterstones. Think that says it all, really!
No wonder these poor ignorant, patronised fools steal and loot, because that what they have been programmed to do. They have no moral compass, and no sense of respect for others.
And the State? Having allowed these lies to be told, indeed having told these lies, it is now the responsibility of the State to deal with this matter, and firmly. The State is the organised servant of the will of the Common People, and the Common People want this ended. That particularly includes the shopkeepers and businesses owners whose livelihoods are being destroyed. That means that there must be very firm action. In short, heads are going to get cracked. That is what happens when people riot and policemen are told to stop it quick. I expect now Boris has returned from Outer Mongolia and IDave has had his sojourn in Tuscany interrupted, the Police will be told to get a damn sight more aggressive, and sharpish
But I have to feel sorry for the Police too. In the new, shiny, politically correct world that fosters indolent smack head rioters, we no longer have Police Force. We have a touchy feely “Police Service”. Maybe, once Health and Safety has conducted a Risk Assessment they will be allowed off the lead, if they are up to it. And if they are, then there will be the inevitable outcry, of course, of about “brutality.”
An interesting aspect of following Twitter last night is how reports came in of local communities – often “ethnic minorities” who’s shops and restaurants are in the front line – banding together and taking fairly tough direct action to preserve their own property and dealing out rough justice, often while the Police turned a blind eye. Good to see there is still some common sense left.
One final musing. Listening to Red Ken this morning, doing his best to make political capital out of thuggery, he said that there is a generation in despair. No jobs, no chance to get on the housing ladder and so forth. I agree. But it is not confined to the “yoof” on the inner city. It is spread more widely. It is the farm worker who cannot afford to rent a house in his local village, the graduates who have worked hard to get a decent degree with no chance of a job, the middle manager with a family thrown on the scrap heap in his middle forties, the ordinary self employed guy or gal struggling with a mortgage and with no chance of a fat public sector pay off or pension who face a bleak old age. These are the people who should be rioting. Quite what they (or we?) would smash up I don’t know. But if anyone has some suggestions, I’d be all for it.
Gildas the Monk

The Battle for the Soul of Britain

The Battle for the Soul of Britain
From the Sunday Times a couple of weeks ago, three stories which illustrate a theme I want to develop over the next few weeks: the battle for the Soul of Britain
Immigration is an important part of this theme, for reasons that the liberal elite has long decried as horrid and racist, but are simply true. Not because the colour of one’s skin has any necessary bearing on my world view on the worth of the person within it, but because shared cultural and social values are critical to a stable and peaceful civil society, and because it is the norms of the community in which a person is brought up which informs a person’s cultural, moral, religious and political values.
Over the past few years Britain has become a magnet for asylum seekers. One such being the perhaps comically named Mr Serafa Salami. Mr Salami pitched up in this country in 2000, claiming asylum. He comes from Togo. I do not know much about Togo, other than it has some deserts and purportedly democratic system of government but nobody can really agree who has been elected because it is a pretty corrupt place. There is also plenty of petty crime. As such, on a world view it fits rather into the “average” part of the spectrum, and not too far from Westminster, apart from the deserts. Pretty unremarkable then, and hard to see why Mr Salami would be fleeing persecution.
Even our own befuddled and incompetent immigration authorities seem to have worked that out, because in 2002 his application for asylum was thrown out. This irritating little detail did not cause too much of a problem for Mr Salami, however, because the authorities did nothing about him, and he was left with time to counter with the now standard manoeuvre of fathering a couple of children. By whom is not recorded.
This, of course, trumped the authorities’ ace, and he was then permitted to remain apparently subject to conditions. This allowed him time in which to commit a serious sexual assault and be imprisoned at tax payer’s expense (estimated at £112,000) for three years.
Now released, Mr Salami enjoys a flat in West Drayton in London, at a further cost to the taxpayer of £800 per month, plus some vouchers and benefits. To be fair, I am not sure what £800 per month gets you even in West Drayton these days. Mr Salami says it is “not a lot” and has complained about it. Perhaps he is there because of his other requests which he made upon entering this country, such as that he be housed near a hospital because he might need an operation, but also near a mosque and a college. Requests which were dealt with in his case file by the observation “oblige ...if possible.”
Mr Salami should have been deported upon his release from prison. It seems that being convicted of a serious criminal offence was a breach of his conditions of residency. He remains, however. It is not clear why. I expect that any further attempt to deport him will result in the now ubiquitous Human Rights challenge, once again using his status as a “father.”
Speaking of which, of course this week we have seen case of Mrs Rashida Chapti. Mrs Chapti (54) has been in the country for six years. She qualified for British nationality via her parents who had a British protected passport issued when Malawi was a British colony.
She lives in Leicester but, perhaps surprisingly, it is not upon this ground that she seeks to complain about an infringement of her “Human Rights.” Indeed, no! Mrs Chapti has been married for 37 years to a gentleman who lives in rural India who is 58, and wishes to bring him to live with her, but this is being resisted on the grounds that he does not speak English, and does not want to learn. Mrs Chapti (who does not much like speaking English either) has deployed the usual Human Rights challenge to this policy, asserting her right to a family life. Since there is nothing, as far as I can see, preventing Mrs Chapti from being re-united with the bosom of her family (she has seven children) by taking the next flight to Mumbai, I think that the case might more accurately be described as an assertion of her “right” to claim the social security, benefits, pension medical benefits which her husband would enjoy, having made no contribution to this country whatsoever. But then, that’s cynical me. I understand her case is being funded by the public, by the way, under Legal Aid. So the public must pay for her case and pay to defend the case she brings.
However, on the other side of the coin we have the story that that children of ambitious immigrants and “ethnic minorities” are forging ahead in taking up places in grammar schools in disproportionately high numbers. In the West Midlands, for example, Indians make up 9% of the population, but children from an Indian background make up 19% of grammar school children.
Grammar schools have since Shakespeare’s time and before been the principal and best ladder engine of social mobility, enabling and encouraging the talented children of the poor to rise in society. Perhaps that is why the Political Establishment (not just the Left) has for so long tried to destroy them. Sally Liu, who came to this country in the 1970’s and worked in a Chinese restaurant, sends her son Michael to a grammar school. She says:
“We went without a lot. We stopped going out to save money for books and things like that. He travels for more than an hour to get to school, but it is worth it.”
Words that reflect the decent, inspirational values of right thinking, hard working parents the world over. And note her son’s first name. Not Cheng or Bao or Jet, but Michael. I suspect Michael will work hard and prosper. An Englishman with a proud Chinese heritage, just as I am an Englishman with a proud Irish heritage.
Conclusions? I have long had the murky, unprovable and yet persistent nagging feeling that the Establishment’s open door policy on immigration has not been to do with economic regeneration or servicing gaps in the labour market, but has been predicated on a wilful and deliberate attempt to break a socially cohesive, largely conservatively minded society and the values that went with it.
Crucial to these were respect for the common law and freedoms secured under it, and a commitment to the democratic process. These are not at all common features of societies around the globe. Indeed, they are the product of more than two thousand years of history from Romano-British times to this, much of it bloody. I would argue that they are, as Churchill wrote, particularly and peculiarly the values of the English speaking peoples of the world.
I have sometimes paused to consider whether it has been the policy of Her Majesty’s Government positively to encourage the wholesale importation of every sponger and criminal in the Sub Saharan, Arab and Asian continents. I know that is absurd, yet such is the manner in which the asylum system in particular has been handled that I still have some nagging doubts in the back of my mind.
However, we are where we are. The huge scale of immigration coupled with the much higher birth rates amongst many “immigrant communities” (I use the term loosely) means that the term “ethnic minority” may very soon be redundant or indeed rather ironically, in certain sections of the country may enjoy a new meaning which is quite the reverse of its original connotation. That cannot be now be undone.
The question is not what the colour of the citizens of this New Jerusalem will be. The question is: what values will prevail? Will it be the primitive criminality of Mr Salami, or the freeloading of Mr and Mrs Chapti? Will it be the intolerance of aggressive Islam which in some areas is already purporting to assert the pre-eminence of Sharia law?
Or will it be the dynamic, hard working, Anglicised approach of Mrs Liu? Over the next fifty or so years, this will be the battle for the Soul of Britain.
Gildas the Monk