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How a one-man protest in Tunisia led to Brexit The past decade's events show the impossibility of political predictions

Refugees arriving in Greece in 2015 . Photo: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images

Refugees arriving in Greece in 2015 . Photo: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images


December 17, 2020   6 mins

Decades, like centuries, never fall as neatly as we might like. The 19th century spilt over into the 20th until the final glorious summer of 1914. The Roaring twenties didn’t last out their own decade before crashing in Manhattan. But the decade we have just been through does have an odd kind of order to it, and although it is a little early to write the history of 2010-2020 anyone tempted to do so would start with a man in a Tunisian market trader setting himself on fire.

The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi appeared to have been provoked by the vegetable and apple-cart trader’s humiliation by officials in Tunis. Though some of the details are disputed, the 26-year-old clearly came up against the sclerotic implacability which dogged the economic opportunities of people like him in Tunisia under its then leader, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

The wounds he suffered at his own hands on 17 December 2010 led to Bouazizi being hospitalised, but he died a fortnight later. By then wider Tunisian society was in revolt. The humiliations which had led Bouazizi to his extreme act were clearly shared by large numbers of his fellow countrymen. As anyone who knows North Africa can attest, such frustrations are almost inevitable in societies where achieving the most basic of things requires a labyrinthine process demanding the patience of a prophet, if not a saint.

As the protests in Tunisia grew so they were replicated across the rest of North Africa and eventually across the Middle East. The Ben Ali government was eventually overthrown, giving huge impetus to the populations of other countries keen to get rid of their own corrupt, inefficient and previously apparently immovable leaders.

Next door in Libya the uprising of a portion of the population against Colonel Gaddafi was met with predictable brutality by the dictator. Expecting a massacre of Gaddafi’s opponents in Benghazi an alliance of outside powers – including the UK and France — were persuaded to intervene. The result was Gaddafi’s rule ending in rather bloodier circumstances than Ben Ali, the sinking of Libya into civil war and the breaking of decades of uncomfortable compromise agreements with the regime; sordid agreements which had largely prevented illegal migration flows from the Libyan coastline across the Mediterranean to the soft underbelly of Europe.

Over in Syria anti-government protests picked up their own momentum. Outspoken opposition to the Assad regime was supressed with a brutality which Gaddafi would have admired, and here the protests soon splintered and the country descended swiftly into civil war. One of the actors that stepped into the resulting vacuum was the Islamist group ISIS, who declared a caliphate across a huge portion of Syria and northern Iraq. Soon people were fleeing the country by the millions, to refugee camps in neighbouring Jordan and Turkey, but also for the more desirable destination of Europe.

Today you can still hear some people claiming that European intervention in some way caused the migrant crisis of the mid-2010s (a subject which is one focus of my 2017 book The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam). But this is a simplistic and Western-centric interpretation of events. True, the intervention of the Western powers in Libya tilted the balance of force in the conflict against Gaddafi. But until the rise of ISIS (when they had very specific business to attend to) the Western powers — notably the United States — played a distinctly hands-off role in the civil war in Syria: a war which has to date claimed the lives of as many as half a million people.

So the view that Western meddling in the region somehow caused the migration crisis is a selective interpretation of events. The intervention in Libya, and the now traditional inability of the interventionists to unify and secure the country in the period immediately after military action, undoubtedly made the Libyan coastline a hive for people smugglers to begin successfully practising their trade in human beings.

But the non-intervention in Syria ensured that when that tragic country fell apart the people had no safe havens from the evils of Assad and the Islamic State, and millions understandably fled. Once that movement began and European leaders started to relax their border and asylum policies, people from a bewildering number of other countries joined in the movement. Soon the Syrian refugee crisis became a Middle East, central Asian, North and sub-Saharan African refugee crisis.

By the middle of the decade, five years after Bouazizi had set himself on fire in Tunis, there were new regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, almost no governance in Libya, and a regime fighting to their last benighted subject to stay in power in Syria. Across the rest of the region, from Morocco to Bahrain, governments that wished to survive had to make accommodations or perpetrate actions which in any usual season would have seen them condemned forcefully. But in a time of flux, as the Arab Spring became the Arab Winter — and as the warning of Syria stared at the world every day — all status quo arrangements in such countries took on a patina of appeal they had not enjoyed in decades.

The political instability did, however, move north, where the arrival of migrants primarily into Italy and Greece caused a political panic of a kind not seen in Europe this century. States like Germany and Sweden, which positively welcomed in the new arrivals by the hundreds of thousands if not millions, soon struggled to cope with the consequences of their own policy of invitation.

Neighbouring countries like Denmark and Hungary, which had not asked for these huge numbers of people to walk into — or over — their territory, started to look like they were going in a different political direction entirely. Fault lines began to grow not only in the Middle East and North Africa, but in Europe, too.

Some states, especially in central and eastern Europe, objected to being expected to pick up the human or financial costs of a policy decided in Berlin and Brussels. On the European shores of the Mediterranean a sullenness grew, borne out of a perfectly reasonable aggravation that the northern European states were advocating policies which on a financial and humanitarian level their southern neighbours were left struggling to cope with.

After all, nobody arrived directly into Germany from the Middle East. They arrived into Mediterranean countries which were already struggling through the fiscal restraints imposed upon them in the wake of the eurozone crises. Countries with stagnant economies were now being asked to welcome in the world’s poor as well as dispossessed. And nobody seemed to know whether — if ever — there would be an end to the policy.

To the farthest side of Europe from the places where the migrants were arriving, the British public saw all this at an important juncture, just as they were being asked to decide whether or not to remain a part of the European Union. When the public voted to leave in 2016 they were propelled by a large number of long-simmering reasons, but one of the final propulsions was the sight of a Europe awash with the consequences of border policies unilaterally announced from Berlin and complained about almost everywhere else. One-by-one the countries of the EU instituted their own border policies and in June 2016 the British public used the ballot box to declare a new one of their own.

But further away still from the seat of the crisis, the Arab spring and the rise of ISIS would arguably help to bring about an even greater seismic event in the world’s greatest power; with massacres in Paris and elsewhere in 2015, American voters turned to a candidate who appeared more suited to a dangerous world.

Today the splits exposed in 2015 have grown ever greater. Only recently, Hungary and Poland resisted a new emergency budget until it became clear that their countries would not have their refugee policy dictated by Brussels. After a terrorist attack in Austria in October the German and Austrian chancellors were once again in public contestation over migrant quotas thought up in Berlin. One event was a reminder that 2015 would not be forgotten; another a reminder that Europe is never more than a few atrocities away from the political bands breaking again.

It is far too early to say what any of this means. The 2010s began with pundits trying to work out what the Arab Spring was. Was it the region’s 1848? Its 1914? Its 1989? Was it one or all of these things? Who knows? What we do know — or should observe — is that the decade shows the impossibility of political predictions.

We are used to the metaphor of the butterfly flapping its wings. What we may still be uncomfortable with — and always should be — is the chain of causality that means that an upset apple-cart in a Tunisian market-place can cause not just governments to tremble, but governments far away — in democracies and dictatorships alike — to fall. It is magnificent for any historian to study. And humbling, if not terrifying, for anyone who believes that human affairs can be much predicted, let alone guided.


Douglas Murray is an author and journalist.

DouglasKMurray

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7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

The Germans have long felt they need self punishing for WWII, and this was their great pathological amend. German hair shirt that became the new fashion in Europe. All the West has had this self harming quality growing under Liberalism, Biden has the same wish, the French still so, All the West, it is inexplicable.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Actually it is quite explicable – you essentially nailed it.

With reduced nationalist sentiment across Europe and the West after the utter awfulness of two world wars, we have many people inculcated in a globalist mindset, with a kind of atonement for previous colonialist sins thrown in for good measure.

Coupled with the huge leap in living standards for most people since WWII (especially in the West, though other places also), this seems to reinforce the globalist mindset, ignoring the real underlying causes of prosperity.

We have not and cannot put the brakes globalism and its subsequent dilution of the very values that created this leap – enlightenment values such as liberalism, the rule of law, tolerance and democracy under the nation state, all binding it together.

Until we rediscover the importance of these values (across all areas of society, not just the economy), we will keep heading towards the tipping point.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Democracy under the nation state created this great leap? What a narrow minded Western perspective.
As many as 650million people have been elevated from dire poverty to middle class standard of living in less than 50 years by the policies of the Chinese Communist Party. No polity in human history even comes close to such a positive achievement.
Anyway, Western tolerance and democratic freedoms have been hollowed out by Wokeism, BLMism and malignant ‘feminism’ (actually neuterism).
Nothing worth defending here!

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Democracy under the nation state created this great leap?

Yes the technological and social advances that went hand in hand were led by the West overwhelmingly over the past 200 years.

As I mentioned – the advancement of people hasn’t only occurred in the West. China’s achievements are well known, but built off the back of manufacturing copied technologies and selling all goods to the rest of the world. This global trade has been enabled by unprecidented relative global peace (enforced largely by the US, especially since the fall of the USSR). This is all good and has helped many people out of poverty, but China has created little itself and so cannot take much credit.

Anyway, Western tolerance and democratic freedoms have been hollowed out by Wokeism, BLMism and malignant ‘feminism’ (actually neuterism).
Nothing worth defending here!

We are perhaps making a similar point here. I don’t happen to think it’s too late, but we’re in danger of losing these values.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I agree but I still feel we have a silent majority who will fight for freedom of speech and will not cave in to this wokism which has within it the seeds of destruction and the taking for granted the freedom we have. Shutting down free speech never helped any country.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

It’s funny that the west used to be called filthy capitalists by the communists of China. But their taking on the mantle of capitalism has prospered their country. However they still have the nasty communist idea of repressing people who don’t fit in with their communism by shoving them in prison and even torturing them. They haven’t lost that bit of communism. There is no freedom of speech there.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Indeed.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

As many as 650million people have been elevated from dire poverty to middle class standard of living in less than 50 years by the policies of the Chinese Communist Party.

You mean when the Chinese Communist Party finally acknowledged that capitalism is the only path to increasing the wealth of the general public and so finally permitted what should be a normal right: making something under your own initiative and selling it for your own benefit, or choosing who you buy from?

Oh, well done, China!

All the CCP did is copy (surprise!) economic policies that have been taken for granted in the west for centuries.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

and yet Farage surrounds himself with 3rd generation acolytes of Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

God’s teeth, your syntax is terrible. Surely Eton taught you better than that, or were you not paying attention?

Gail Young
Gail Young
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

“All the West has had this self harming quality growing…” The overarching premise of Douglas Murray’s excellent article suggests that the last decade has been illustrative of quite the reverse tendency. Brexit was about sovereignty, controlling borders etc; Trump – MAGA. On the cusp of a new decade folks, just make no predictions.

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

Always good to read Douglas Murray but point of order some of us made up our minds about the EU in the 90s when changes were made to our country and they did not even dream of asking the people what we thought.
Blame major, Blair, brown etc full blown lovers of the EU but did not care what we thought and still don’t.

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

While I agree with your sentiments in general, I think it unfair to lump Brown in with the europhiles you list. He kept us out of the euro when Blair was all for us diving into it, probably without bothering to ask the country. If Brown hadn’t been holding the purse strings that funded Blair’s Iraq folly, we’d probably be marooned in the eurozone now.

Peter Turner
Peter Turner
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Carson

Brown’s motives for resisting Blair over joining the Euro have been dissected and discussed over many years, though I think the general consensus is that he simply wanted to take a deliberately contrary position to Blair, on something that he knew was important to his long-time political rival.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Carson

Yes give credit where it is due but Brown is still a globalist who wants one world government so aptly portrayed in the bible as the ultimate evil empire.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Blair and Brown have declared their full colours now which is globalism by hook or crook. We know better than you (not) listen to us. As for Major ask Edwina Curry about him.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

They should be hanged on the Tyburn Tree.

Chris Waghorn
Chris Waghorn
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Fair point. I made my mind up in the early ’70s after listening to J. Enoch Powell and Tony Benn. When two such intelligent opposites described, in agreement, the probable loss of sovereignty in time if Britain joined the EEC that was enough for me. I voted against in the 1975 referendum and have watched, dismayed and with growing anger, as Britain has turned into a pathetic shadow of its former self.

It is too late now; Johnson and his army of yapping, barely coherent adherents, directed cynically by the smirking gilded ones in Whitehall, will let us all down and present BRINO as if it is a great and historic victory. They are beneath contempt.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

who is we?

Teo
Teo
3 years ago

The contention over immigration into Europe did not start with the Arab Spring, that illegal movement was highlighted by the media because it was easier to sentimentalise to the public. The sensationalised three illegals in a boat drifting across the Channel story will always be deployed to distract the British people from the three million aliens entering the UK through Heathrow story.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Teo

Do you have a source for the ‘three million aliens’ statement?

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Idiotic question. Millions of EU nationals settled here after EU enlargement and if they did not come through Heathrow, they came through other airports and even through bus stations. The population of the UK rose by about eight million between 1995 and 2015. In a demographic climate when native born British women were having many fewer babies – almost 25% fewer, than are needed to replace the dying, such population growth could only be from inward migration. People living a bit longer come nowhere near explaining the growth. So, ‘three million aliens’, is a vast underestimate albeit that Heathrow is not the only point of entry.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Thanks, for clarifying. I was wondering who was defined as ‘aliens’. I wasn’t sure if it was referring to illegal immigrants.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Yes-I thought it was saucer people…

Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

‘Foreign Aliens’ was (pre-Blair) the standard Foreign Office descriptive term for all immigrants.

Simon Giora
Simon Giora
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

The ONS states: “In 2018, the UK population reached 66.4 million people and migration remained the main driver to population growth.”

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peop

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Giora

UK population is near 70m England 58.5m NIreland 4m Scotland 5.1m Wales 3m …plus around 1.4million mysteriously issued National insurance numbers over 33M legitimate ones!

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Giora

We need a cull, but sadly C-19 is not going to do it. Perhaps the forthcoming Great Chinese War will do better? Let’s hope so!

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Primary schools in Sandwell and London have children speaking 40+ different languages. Just those I know about. There will be other parts of the UK [England] in the same boat.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

Is that to be applauded or regretted ?

regnad.kcin.fst
regnad.kcin.fst
3 years ago
Reply to  Teo

It’s really really important to avoid Single Causism, which you have not avoided. 2 things can be true at one time – that illegals enter from Calais, and that illegals enter across the Jetbridge at Heathrow or at Machester.

elainefrancesland
elainefrancesland
3 years ago

What is happening today is /colonialism/ – not just immigration. And like the 18th and 19th century equivalents it has it’s own moral mantras;

“Diversity is our strength!” “No one is Illegal!” “There’s no such thing as Indigenous Europeans!” “We bring new food and Ideas and Cultural Enrichment!”

In Australia and the Americas similar arguments could be heard in the 18th centuries

“Manifest destiny” “Terra Nullus” “We enrich the Savage with out civilisation, welcoming him to christendom!”

Different century, same song. Some one has land and resources that others want, and and the invader drapes itself in moralising rhetoric and denial of the previous inhabitants in order to feel okay about it.

Call them what they are. Colonisers.

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
3 years ago

And the left gets worked up over the phrase “indigenous Brits”, as if such a thing was an invention of our fantasies.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

Do you consider yourself one? I mean would the indigenous Brits welcome into their club a man called ‘Goldstein”?

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Yes – and they have even had a Prime Minister called Disraeli.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Why not Kevin? What are you alluding to may I ask?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I thought you were brighter than that Mark. I was obviously alluding to the fact that the kind of narrow minds who use phrases like “indigenous Brit” typically prefer countrymen with names like White, Smith, Featherstonehaugh and Corby.

I’m obviously pleased to be wrong and learn that Goldsteins, Shahs, Chans, Patels and (who knows) even Ryans are all welcome in the big happy rainbow family that is “indigenous Briton”

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Kevin, perhaps because you are Socialist you cannot help it, but you are alarming close to exposing yourself as a rabid anti Semite. Surely you”saw it coming”, or don’t you play chess?

Not a clever move, but certainly in line with the actions of your sainted leader, Jeremy.

Now is your chance to repent

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I am partly descended from indigenous Brits, yes. The kind of people you’re talking about are probably in the EDL. The likes of Michael Grade, Sidney Bernstein and Alan Yentob have likely been welcomed into a number of clubs by native Brits.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

It comes out of their marxist teaching. Weaken the hold of sovereign states and you can overcome them.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago

Except the striking difference that the rhetoric comes from the colonised rather than the colonisers.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

It’s not the best analogy I’ve ever heard.

The white colonists in the Americas and Australia commited genocide against entire races of people. Vastly superior firepower was used to murder and enslave them.

Today we have leaky inflatable boats bringing small numbers of refugees and migrants to new lives as an underclass (if they’re lucky enough to be allowed to stay).

They’re not precisely the same thing, are they ?

I’d call you what you are, but it’s not kind either.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Wake up Kevin, this is the way of the world, has always been, and will hopefully always be.

“Vae Victis” as Livy said, and do you really dispute that?

Marcus Millgate
Marcus Millgate
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

History didn’t start with European expansion. Are you suggesting that children not yet born that shares the same skin colour as those that committed genocide, enslaved & murdered Rohingyas, Yazidis, Tamils, Isaaqs, Bambuti, East Timor, Darfur, Hutus, Rwandan, Cambodian, in recent decades etc be responsible?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

But we are getting the immigrants but not their massive areas of land?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

I think a referendum held at any point in the UK from the late eighties onwards would have resulted in a narrow Leave vote, regardless of what politicians or parties campaigned for, regardless of the economic climate. Even Blair in his pomp during the late nineties would not have been able to change that. There is a reason Brown dodged the referendum he promised, notwithstanding that he prevented, for his own reasons, Blair from railroading the UK into the Euro, as Blair undoubtedly wanted to.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I think the vote would have been to stay any time up to the mid late 00’s.

It took all of the following to turn us against the EU:

Seeing the political establishment deride the idea that lots of people would move to the UK if we opened our borders to Eastern Europe, then seeing millions come in.

Seeing the stagnation in wages and living standards of everyone but the political elite class since 2000, then the complete denial that this was in any way related to the former.

Seeing the political establishment promise repeatedly to hold a referendum on whether we consented to turning the EU from a free- trade block to a superstate, then reneging on those promises and implementing the changes by the back door.

Seeing the political establishment tell us that Britain would be ruined if we failed to join the Euro, then witnessing the Euro crisis and the complete humiliation of Greece by Germany.

Seeing Angela Merkel invite millions of angry young men from Arab countries into the EU, then pretending they were actually “child refugees”.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Blair persuaded Eire to join the Euro..

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Good article. But I would take issue with the idea that the waves of ME and North African immigration into Europe were not totally predictable. It was always in the cards that German leaders would open the EU to vast numbers of refugees escaping various dictators in the Middle East and North Africa. Where else were these refugees supposed to go once their own countries became untenable? Southern Europe was the obvious choice and once Berlin decreed that every EU country was taking enormous numbers, regardless of their ability to integrate or even accommodate the refugees, well, here we are.

Jack Daniels
Jack Daniels
3 years ago

You do know there are pretty safe areas in the Middle East and Africa most of them on the way to europe right?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Daniels

Not sure what that has to do with my comment. If you find Syria untenable do you think it’s unreasonable to head to Europe? Or that it was unpredictable that many would with Germany laying the welcome mat to the EU out?

regnad.kcin.fst
regnad.kcin.fst
3 years ago

Everything I read by D M is a new and perceptive thing. He’s a guy with a clear view of history and a clear understanding of the role of events on big movements.

Teo
Teo
3 years ago

A history slightly clouded by the martyr generator fumes and the kaleidoscopic fog of the palette uprising code. The moral of the article maybe do not get your fingers burnt by picking up the martyr gauntlet or allow the soothing colours of the palette uprising code to fog political reality.

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Teo

Could we have the English version of that, please?

Paul137
Paul137
3 years ago

Anyone who’s that impressed with himself probably has nothing useful to say.

John Kozakiewicz
John Kozakiewicz
3 years ago
Reply to  Teo

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…what on earth does this impenetrable gobbledygook mean, anyway?

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
3 years ago

If we are going to look for single incidents I would suggest the day that a British PM forgot to turn off a microphone and described one of his supporters as a bigoted old woman.

npiarmstrong
npiarmstrong
3 years ago

The UK, by having the influx of younger people from Eastern Europe, as well as from the countries of the Commonwealth, did not have the same issues of an ageing population with fewer people of working age to keep the economy going compared to Germany. The prospect of an influx of young, motivated migrants into Germany was a lifeline for that economy, hence the welcoming by Chancellor Merkel. This was done for selfish economic reasons with little thought to the destabilisation of society, both in Germany as well as the rest of Europe. The rise of the AFD is a consequence of this policy, and other countries in Europe have moved to the right as a consequence.

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
3 years ago
Reply to  npiarmstrong

Well said – the article missed the point. Germany does little historically which may be described as altruistic and Mutti’s welcome to migrants was purely for economic reasons. Odd that the rest of Europe always fail to see this, though, isn’t it?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Well if she really thought there were economic benefits to inviting millions of largely illiterate people into her country, many or most of whom will be on welfare forever (along with their offspring), then she is clearly madder than I realised. Add to that the fact that many of them are criminals, pure and simple, and some of them terrorists, and you have even more disaster.

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

In my estimation Merkel’s welcoming of waves of immigrants is an echo of the guilt that still haunts Germany from causing so many deaths and refugee problems in the 30’s and 40’s. Emotion and guilt overpowered reason.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

Mix a bit of moral preening in there too.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

She didn’t (do it for economic benefits).She underestimated the numbers, the lack of cooperation from other EU countries, the complexity and the hatred stirred up by the right.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

the lack of cooperation from other EU countries

Did Merkel consult other EU countries?

Does the German chancellor have the right to assume that a country like Poland or the Czech Republic, which have recently emerged from the tyranny of communism – and all the social engineering that involves – and are monocultural to an extent that’s hard to imagine in western Europe, would agree to a significant demographic and cultural change being imposed on them from outside?

Should the German chancellor assume that European countries that are much, much poorer than Germany, that have long-standing high rates of unemployment, especially youth unemployment, would welcome tens of thousands of new, largely unskilled immigrants who can’t speak the local language?

Lastly, and because your predictable “hatred” smear is an attempt to bring the predictable virtue/wickedness slant into the discussion: if the poor migrants want to go to Germany (and they clearly do), why should Germany decide they should be packed off against their will to poorer countries which they likely know nothing about and where they’re likely to have much more trouble integrating? Where’s the virtue in that?

chriskew92
chriskew92
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

In 2012, Peter Sutherland, the UN’s rep for migration (and former chairman of Goldman Sachs) told the Lords EU home affairs sub-committee that:

– The EU should “do its best to undermine” the “homogeneity” of its member states (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

I think there’s room for thinking that Merkel probably WAS “doing it for economic benefits”.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

In other words, she made several really big mistakes.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

She did. She put her faith in humanity. She should have spent more time on forums like this one.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Nope, she just made some really big mistakes. Authoritarians sometimes do and then it’s all on them.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

The world is full of people who’d welcome a German passport. War refugees wouldn’t be near the top of the list of top-class candidates. The fact that you can’t understand altruism as a motive likely speaks to your mindset.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Another tiresome attempt to paint your opponents as morally defective.

Doesn’t that halo get heavy after a while?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

They were REFUGEES from a WAR.

The moral high ground is relative. Sometimes all you have to do is not stand in a hole.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Your naivety is truly frightening. But then, so are your arguments for Scotland’s independence.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

So all refugees are entitled to enter the country of their choice?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

Sometimes on here it feels like I’m talking to an alien species. Giving shelter to people whose lives, homes and families have been destroyed in a war is the ‘humanitarian’ thing to do. I know it’s a long word with lots of syllables but you should look it up in the dictionary all the same and understand that lots of humans think it’s a good way to behave.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

So your answer is yes. All refugees are entitled to enter the country of their choice.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Several Germans have been murdered by Islamist terrorists who arrived in Germany as asylum seekers in or around 2015, the year of the “migrant crisis”. (Wurzburg train attack, Berlin truck attack, Ansbach bombing – other plots were also foiled by the German police.)

Are the murders of German citizens an acceptable price to pay for the German state’s altruism to non-German citizens? Isn’t the German state’s primary responsibility towards German citizens?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  npiarmstrong

Good to hear a pro-immigration argument here for a change.

Peter Turner
Peter Turner
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

I’m not sure where you think you heard that.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Turner

“lifeline for that economy”

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

You missed out the bits that came after that…

Ben
Ben
3 years ago

… the case of George Floyd is a case in point – who’d have thought that would lead to a statues in Bristol and Westminster being desecrated..

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben

The outrage over the death of a pregnant woman beating drug abuser knows no national boundaries…

Jules Feldman
Jules Feldman
3 years ago

After the pandemic and the return to normality Europe will once again need hundreds of thousands of workers. Europe can economically absorb twice as many migrants as it has received. However it has lacked the political will to tell migrants to fit in or get out. The turning point was the Salman Rushdie case when instead of jailing religious leaders who called for Rashdie’s murder and deporting those who were not citizens a policy of appeasement was adopted. The appeasement has continued throughout Europe. Because of “politically correct” there has been no open public debate on the issues of migration and absorbtion and the void has been filled by racist and fascist parties throughout Europe.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jules Feldman

I’d agree with most of that. Saying that ‘politically correct’ created the ‘racist and fascist parties’ though is a big oversimplification. It’s a chicken and egg situation, though surely the latter creates most heat in the media (and sells more ads).

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
3 years ago

The vote in the US to put the dullest knife in the drawer in the White House marks an attempt to restore the status quo anti preferred by the war-mongering Democrat Party with its instinct to meddle in every conflict everywhere. History will come to see this as a grievous error by a political class joined at the hip to a dishonest media.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago

The “Arab Spring” was caused by the 2008 crash when the price of commodities (ie food) rose dramatically as no one knew what they ought to invest in and so chose real things, ie commodities.

This put the poor in the Middle East from just about getting by to starvation. The vendor who burned himself has given up trying to survive. When people can’t eat they tend to kick off… This also was a reason for mass escape to the richer North…

Sophie Korten
Sophie Korten
3 years ago

I come out of reading this with two main things:

1.The future is eaxctly that, with an uncountable possiblity of outcomes. Every one of those can be influenced by humanity in ways that are described in Quantum science and more. Still to become common knowledge and understood by everyone in the world.

2. I hope with all my heart, that it doesn’t take someone to set themselves alight to create the repsone we need to create change for the better. Not led by an elite agenda and without the corruption, and one that is about people and nature first, free from the manipulation of all powers whose interest is in wealth and power.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Sophie Korten

Re: #2, when reason, logic, and similar appeals fail, then you’re left with few options. One of them is violence. Another is extreme acts that cannot be ignored, though the question remains of, what happened after that?

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

The article is a bit harsh on Assad. The people he’s fighting would have butchered every single non Sunni muslim in the country if they had the chance.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

Egads – both sides, Sunni & Shia, as I recall, are into ‘butchering each other’.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Well Assad isn’t Shia for starters but the Sunni jihadists who comprise ISIS don’t need your support.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago

The headline does not accord with the content at all. BREXIT was more to do with the influx of European workers overwhelming some British regions and EU intransigence about free movement, than it was to do with Syrian and Middle Eastern migration to Europe. Looks like a case of a sub-editor snatching for a catchy headline without fully understanding the piece he was headlining.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Suggest that people voted Brexit for various reasons, yours being one of them.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
3 years ago

Immigration issues were just one of many drivers behind Brexit, but they were by no means the primary driver, so I think this is a bit of a causal stretch.

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
3 years ago

3 million Eastern Europeans arriving after Blair/Brown’s Freedom Of Movement mistake; next Financial Crash; then Austerity; there were also factors. But the physical presence of millions of recent immigrants cemented the ‘Take Back Control’ mantra with many voters.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago

Immigration was the ‘straw-the-broke-the-camel’s-back. Do recall, that Cameron besieged the EU to give the UK a reprieve on ‘excessive immigration’, ie too many, too fast. The EU declined to do so. Cameron went home and rightfully handed the public a referendum. Yes, it was that simple & clear cut.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

Generally agree with Douglas’s views but not with this: “But the non-intervention in Syria ensured that when that tragic country fell apart the people had no safe havens from the evils of Assad and the Islamic State, and millions understandably fled.” Obama’s incompetent foreign policy bears a huge responsibility for the Syrian tragedy. He pushed hard to remove Assad from office, but when push came to shove, he was unwilling to make the huge military commitment that would have been necessary to remove him from power. Fifty years from now, in the history books, Obama will be remembered as the destroyer of nations: Libya, Syria, Ukraine.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Baldwin

You assume that there will be history book in the future. All the indications are that this will not be the case.

Teo
Teo
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Baldwin

Syria land borders and safe havens: Iraq 605 km, Israel 76 km, Jordan 375 km, Lebanon 375 km, Turkey 822 km

Andy Duncan
Andy Duncan
3 years ago

I am old enough to remember the Brandt Report, published I think as North and South, in which a deal of this was forecast, certainly the strain put on economies and societies by influx into rich northern countries by refugees from poor southern ones.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Duncan

Yes, there has been a total failure to turn the Third World in the First World, despite trillions in aid and loans and all the rest of it. Thus we must turn the First World into the Third World.

Andy Duncan
Andy Duncan
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Is this a serious response?

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
3 years ago

The twin drivers of Brexit were the concern over refuges and free movement especially after the Eastern European States joined. Many blue collar workers some of whom worked for me are not especially racist (whatever that means) but like so many countries around the world they (C2s and lower) feel their economic placement was undermined by the influx’s. These are the people that switched to Thatcher for three terms and no doubt voted for Brexit. Politics is won at the edges. Their is also something much more important in terms of human misery Obama and Cameron left the Arab Spring high and dry. You have to finish what you start or do not do so. Those two led us to Trump and Johnson so the pain has been shared. if you want to avoid populism you need a strong and relatable centre which does not look down at the Blue Collar but rejoices in their contribution, importance and views and does not see them as a necessary evil.. They are literally the Engine room not, to change the subject, the NHS.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

“Today the splits exposed in 2015 have grown ever greater. Only recently,
Hungary and Poland resisted a new emergency budget until it became
clear that their countries would not have their refugee policy dictated
by Brussels. After a terrorist attack in Austria in October the German
and Austrian chancellors were once again in public contestation over
migrant quotas thought up in Berlin.”

Let’s unpack this, as Mr. Murray is using an over-simplified narrative here.

1) While it’s true that Hungary backed off its veto on the budget, the condition of not having to take on any migrants which OrbÃ¥n cited for doing so was basically to save face. Orban drums a lot of attention and domestic political capital by going renegade like this but, fundamentally, both HU and PL are dependent on EU cash and neither national government would survive long if the flow was cut off. Their vetoes were used with the primary aim of being able to continue their assault on their respective institutions of state and the separation of powers and carry on pocketing massive amounts of cash for themselves. By holding the rest of the EU to ransom at a moment where the overriding aim was to prove that the EU is capable of action in times of crisis (and to cement Merkel’s legacy), it was comparatively easy to get the proposed sanction mechanism watered down to more or less uselessness and achieve their core aim. The migrant excuse is a red herring. I could go on about how absurd it is to compromise on the rule of law to get a budget through, but that’s a comment for another day…

2) The stand-off between Germany and Austria about migrants goes way back to the start of the ÖVP-FPÖ government when Sebastian Kurz became Chancellor. Kurz also drummed up (and continues to drum up) plenty of support domestically for this hard line against migration. (Taking a hard line against Germany never hurts in Austrian politics either). The terrorist attack was unrelated to the migration issue. The perpetrator was born and grew up in Austria, had dual Austrian-North Macedonian citizenship and had Albanian roots.

Best wishes from Vienna!

(P.S. Mr. Murray’s article in the Daily Mail earlier this month gets Merkel all wrong).

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

‘The terrorist attack was unrelated to the migration issue.’

But it was related to the Islamisation issue.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It certainly was (the perpetrator was an ISIL sympathiser), but that wasn’t exactly what Murray wrote. In his sentence above, the terrorist attack is connected to the migration issue without explicit mention of the issue of radical Islam. To tie it straight into a broader argument about migration and quotas is strained – almost sloppy.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I am referring to what you wrote. Not what Murray wrote.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Maybe a better wording would have been “the terrorist attack was not directly related to the migration issue” or “the terrorist attack was only tenuously related to the migration issue”. But my criticism of Murray’s sentence remains. It is far too direct.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

How about this for appropriate wording:

‘The terrorist attack was carried out by one of the hundreds of thousands of people – or possibly millions – now living in Europe who wish to destroy European civilisation and turn it into the same type of hell hole that always seems to ensue from their particular culture’

Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

‘How about this ……..’ Answer:
Accurate and quite perfect! Thanks.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I disagree. Murray actually doesn’t go far enough. The truth is that the terrorist attack is directly related to a multi-generational failure to integrate and assimilate.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The perpetrator may have been born in Austria but was unassimilated to Austria/European culture where decapitating teachers over alleged offenses to Islam is unacceptable and that is indeed a migration issue. If anything, you have illustrated that failure to assimilate/integrate into society presents a multi-generational problem.

Pete Rose
Pete Rose
3 years ago

Whilst I agree with Douglas Murray’s sentiments, I believe us leaving the EU was far more complex than refugees from the Arab Spring. In my opinion, the EU’s democratic deficit and the remoteness of its centre of power for ordinary people, while being easily influenced by 30,000 corporate lobbyists already grated with vast swathes of the population. The moving of manufacturing to Eastern Europe and elsewhere to exploit cheaper labour using the EU’s “four freedoms”, often with EU grants and loans, also meant the EU was seen in a negative light by those this practice impacted on negatively. Add to this mix the opening of our borders to hundreds of thousands of Eastern European’s that not only drove down the wages, conditions and aspirations of unskilled and semi skilled workers, but also hollowed out the economies of those poorer nations who have educated and trained their workforce’s at great expense, only for them to disappear abroad. Some apologists for this rampant neoliberalism have argued that these migrants (they never argue in favour of the UK’s working class, who they arrogantly see as beneath them) send some money home, so it’s must be beneficial. A few pounds maybe, but certainly not enough to prop up a nation’s economy. It can be argued that it was the UK government’s decision to allow this, but I would argue that outside of the EU they don’t have that choice and a democratic mandate has forced their hand on that point.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

And there was me thinking all this time that The Arab Spring, such as it was called, was a wholly produced effort by the US State Department to destabilse the region.
The “popular” uprisings were just not that popular, with the US lighting the fuse for revolution that had no other backing from the populations in these countries. That is why they failed.

Look at Egypt, and what happened after their “Spring”.

The US State Dept. tried the same thing in Ukraine a few years later.

voodoopolitics
voodoopolitics
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

No. The State Department didn’t try the “same thing” In Ukraine. That’s a Kremlin excuse for losing Kyiv because Putin is a moron.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  voodoopolitics

Erm…yes they did.

christopher.s.hodder
christopher.s.hodder
3 years ago

As an exercise in journalistic storytelling, this is fascinating; as an exercise in history, not so good.

Peter Turner
Peter Turner
3 years ago

Perhaps it depends on which version of history you prefer, or believe, or even re-write.

James
James
3 years ago

I’m not sure what that street vendor was trying to achieve. The UK is a democracy. Try to sell wares from a cart in the street in the UK without a trading license and see what happens.

Paul137
Paul137
3 years ago
Reply to  James

“I’m not sure what that street vendor was trying to achieve. The UK is a democracy. Try to sell wares from a cart in the street in the UK without a trading license and see what happens.”

What does your third sentence have to do with the second? Or either with the first?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  James

I seem to remember that the street vendor had tried endlessly to get permission to trade. He was refused over and over again. He was merely trying to earn some money in order to live.

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

During this period the foreign policies of the U.K., USA, France were are disaster and precipitated the Arab spring and failed to deal sufficiently quickly with ISIS. The old style leadership was and is needed in 3rd world countries and attempts to export our view of democracy has only lead to chaos.

Janusz Przeniczny
Janusz Przeniczny
3 years ago

Also the point is that Merkel “forced” Hungary to open the border hence break EU law as, by EU “law”, immigrants had to stay at the entry point, she then “forced” Hungary to close the border. No repercussions to Germany/Merkel, not even a yellow card, but Hungary is in Merkels sights as a bad boy.
Now tell me that Germany isn’t Bosscat, and that the EU is not the 4th Reich.

David Waring
David Waring
3 years ago

Now in the Red Wall parliamentary seats of Labour honest and oft forgotten folk have had enough and have rejected the woke folk they were offered.

hiberneander
hiberneander
3 years ago

Another link in the chain:

Halfway down this article: DOMINIC LAWSON: The architects of Project Fear must pay for their shameful lies (27 June 2016 ) there is a section:

Gay marriage and a bitter Brexit divorce where there author states his opinion that ” if it were not for David Cameron’s decision to legalise marriage between people of the same sex … Britain would not now be on her way out of the EU.”

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago

Two more issues that were major issues in the Brexit debate but which have now been forgotten were that of an EU armed forces and the proposed trade deal called T-TIP. Remember Clegg impressing the owners of Facebook with his ability to lie when denying that there plans for an EU Army in the debate with Farage ? Or the supranational court that would sue national governments if the national government introduced a policy that cut corporate profitability? So toxic was the name that Obama couldn’t mention it when invited by Cameron to threaten the British people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

Alex Wilkinson
Alex Wilkinson
3 years ago

When a certain proportion of a countries population has fled to the West to escape some tyranny or violence in their home country, then, can we not say that they have ‘voted with their feet’ for a Western way of life, and does that not then give Western nations the moral right and even obligation to go into those countries and give the people what they want?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Wilkinson

Not really. But it does oblige those who come here to adopt western values, to the extent that we have any. I suppose that living off welfare and crime are values admired and embodied by much of the West so we can’t complain if the incomers do the same thing.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

What is sad, Douglas, is that the Arab Spring did not blow a fresh breeze of renewal and opportunity into the Continent, and then onward to Britannia.
The world is too much with us, late and soon.

James Wilson
James Wilson
3 years ago

Though I greatly respect Douglas Murray for his noble efforts to express the truth on various matters, I fear I must take disagreement here, as I feel he overcomplicates history, though as he rightly says, it is indeed always about cause and effect of one kind or another.

I suspect also that this concept of the butterfly flapping its wings and thereby changing the course of history in any significant way is also somewhat a delusion, suggesting history is accidental, when although some details may be, the big picture is on the whole predictable and indicative of much broader events and forces.

For example, the process of evolution itself, in which various species have come and gone, in fully understandable and at least theoretically predictable ways according to the state of the environment at any one time – e.g. if the world became very hot for any significant period, large creatures, such as the dinosaurs, requiring huge regular intakes of food would quickly die out.

Note therefore how the last remaining dinosaur or dinosaur-like creatures have been on land, the elephants, who survived mainly on vegetable foliage from jungles, and undersea, the whales who fed mainly on the abundant undersea creatures, even as filter feeders, beneath the parched and largely barren surface of the world at such times.

So human history is often equally simple in broad terms, such as if the wealthy technologically more advanced mainly white races over a period of several hundred years invade and dominate the more technologically and economically primitive non-white races, eventually (and the various empires – British, French and even Roman invited this) there will be a “counter-invasion” of all the previously conquered races demanding their share at the tables of the former mainly white European (or latterly American) conquerors.

Likewise, once again, speaking in terms of cause and effect, if the West and Europe shows the example of opulence and riches to the poorer continents in the world, mainly Africa and Asia, then it is totally predictable they will in enormous numbers want to come here to share in that opulence and riches, even if they did not have the historical grievances they do regarding the slave trades and white occupations and so on.

While I personally lack the all seeing eye or crystal ball to know what exactly the Western and European powers have been doing all over the less developed and largely non-white world, the rumours are that the West and Europe has in one way or another continued to interfere in the government and economy of Asia, Africa and South America, having undue influence over the appointment of “tin pot dictators” who would repress their own people in exchange for support (often armament supplies) from the Western powers, by allowing those same Western powers to obtain cheaply their natural resources such as precious metals, gems, crops and other produce.

Of course those in the West and Europe who have been living comfortable lives economically speaking, are loathe to want all these immigrants to come and share in their wealth and lifestyle, as it is a simple truth of economics/arithmetic that the more people trying to share a limited amount of resources/wealth in a limited geographical area, the less there will be to go round, including jobs and homes.

The inescapable solution which the Western powers and people seek to continually escape from, is that the only way to stop these unending million of immigrants coming to the West “for a better life”, is to work very hard at improving the standard of living in those nations they are coming from, so they don’t want to come here in the first place.

This would no doubt require a program of international aid, the likes of which has never been seen in the history of the world before, though hopefully of the kind to “teach how to fish” rather than merely give the fish, to create self-sufficiency and independence thereby to these needy peoples and their nations.

One would presume however there is not enough support for such a program of “foreign aid” in the Western nations as yet, but once they see there is no other way to stop this unending immigration from poorer countries to richer, that attitude will likely change.

Yes, I am sure there are many who think we should just get the gunboats at the ready to repel them all, though with an enormous coastline like ours that would likely be impossible anyway, and is the case for most other Western nations also.

But as shooting people simply trying to come to the West for a better life to escape the poverty and tyranny of where they came from, does not seem like a civilised solution, eventually hopefully it will be agreed that this wider and more fair sharing of global wealth by various aid and economic support programs, is the only way forward to have peace, and to not endlessly be invaded by ever larger numbers of immigrants.

Max Beran
Max Beran
3 years ago

This entire exercise (tracing big events back to causative precursors) is surely totally meaningless. What about all the things that could have happened but didn’t? Is their absence equally ascribable to that same event? To see what a nonsense this all is, consider the future. This article looks backwards treating Brexit as the outcome of the metaphorical flap of the butterfly’s wing. So let’s follow through with Brexit as a start point for the events that might or might not come to pass in future. Brexit may prove to be (a) a disaster or (b) the making of us, or (c) business much as usual. Can we expect some future commentator wisely pronouncing whichever it turns out to be as the outcome that was all written in the runes, the ineluctable consequence of some bifurcation in the grand march of history?

The point of the butterfly metaphor is that you cannot reverse engineer the outcome of a chaotic process. The flap of the wing was as like to be followed by a chain of events that quietened some hurricane in the making as to give rise to one.. ..

dariuszadekoya
dariuszadekoya
3 years ago

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Mr. Murray exemplifies that adage. If his read on Poland and Hungary is indicative of the rest of his article, then woe betide anyone that believes anything he writes.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  dariuszadekoya

Well some of have been reading Mr Murray’s articles and books for many years now. We know him to be possessed of vast knowledge about everything he writes, because he has visited these places and done the research. His first book was published when he was about 20. What have you written?

dariuszadekoya
dariuszadekoya
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

“We know him to be possessed of vast knowledge about everything he writes”
Ă°ĆžÂ€ÂŁĂ°ĆžËœâ€šĂ°ĆžÂ€ÂŁ

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  dariuszadekoya

Devastating use of Emojis. The Trump card in any argument

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago

When nothing else works, ‘use emojis’.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

I was in a commuter train in the Netherland about a year ago. Exasperated, a young woman in a muslim headscarf spoke into her phone:

‘De heel communicate was in emojis!’ (‘The whole communication was in emojis’).

I found this very funny.

regnad.kcin.fst
regnad.kcin.fst
3 years ago
Reply to  dariuszadekoya

You should read some of his work before embarrassing yourself posting a comment which is clearly false. Astonishing at the degree to which completely ignorant people are willing to demonstrate this in public today. Going through life as an SJW is no way to go, my friend.

dariuszadekoya
dariuszadekoya
3 years ago

Ă°ĆžËœâ€šĂ°ĆžÂ€ÂŁĂ°ĆžËœâ€š You actually seem serious!
(Don’t call me your friend, my friend!) Ă°ĆžÂ€ÂŁĂ°ĆžËœâ€šĂ°ĆžÂ€ÂŁ

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  dariuszadekoya

Knob

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  dariuszadekoya

You’re laughing so much you totally forgot to refute any of Douglas Murray’s points. *sad face emoji*

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  dariuszadekoya

when unable to shoot the message, all that is left is the messenger.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  dariuszadekoya

Criticism of Murray isn’t appreciated here. Blessed be the word of Douglas – even 500 words of history-lite

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

I broadly agree with a lot of this article. I’d put more emphasis on the way mass migrations from ME and North Africa were exploited by politicians in UK and US to magnify pre-existing fears of the ‘other’ and the latent racism and xenophobia within those countries for short term political gain rather than there being any genuine risk of either country being over-run by refugees. Dominic Cummings believed that the Vote Leave campaign claims that the UK faced mass immigration from Turkey if it did not leave the EU was a crucial factor in the campaign’s success. And they had a useful idiot unwittingly assisting them in the form of David Cameron with his ‘swarms of migrants’ claim.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

This post is a travesty of the truth. The UK is one of the least racist and xenophobic countries on the planet which is perhaps one reason why it is so popular as a migrant destination. Compared to France, it is positively welcoming to migrant people. Why else are thousands of would be new Brits camping around the Channel ports and now taking to the seas in thoroughly unsuitable craft? Another metric for the lack of racism and xenophobia here is the number of mixed race partnerships and marriages. There are millions of them. So – I deny that this is a nation of racists and xenophobes. We have accepted millions of migrants since 1995 the population has grown by about eight million since that time, mostly by accepting people who arrived here. BREXIT was primarily brought about by the perpetual stream of national insults forced upon our then impotent leaders by EU bureaucracy and dedication to free movement dogma. Many parts of this country were being overwhelmed by population growth which was distorting housing supply, work opportunities and access to public services for the people long established here. When Cameron asked for changes to EU policy, he was arrogantly dismissed. THAT is what led to BREXIT.

Although the left always seeks to characterise the LEAVE Vote in the way you did above, they are completely wrong.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

I didn’t say the UK was a nation of racists and xenophobes. I said that inherent racism and xenophobia exist in this country and that was exploited and magnified by politicians during the Vote Leave campaign.

I’m extremely proud of multicultural Britain and very grateful for all my friends, colleagues and neighbours who were born elsewhere.

chriskew92
chriskew92
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

“Grateful” seems a strange choice of word to describe your feeling towards “friends…born elsewhere.” Do you mind me asking what happened to make you so appreciative of these particular friends?

regnad.kcin.fst
regnad.kcin.fst
3 years ago
Reply to  chriskew92

There’s a particular sexual fetish for foreign women.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

And the prize for “Scumbag Comment of the Week” goes to….

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You use a broad brush when you talk about “inherent racism and xenophobia…”, where exactly is a country that you would describe as being free of these problems as you see them?

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

The fact that you would seem to believe that racist and xenophobic sentiments were at the root of the majority vote for BREXIT and presumably also the landslide victory last December, implies that you DO indeed think this is a country with xenophobic and racist sentiments being very widespread – the majority in fact, since we know how many people voted for what in your opinion was a racist and xenophobic manifesto.

regnad.kcin.fst
regnad.kcin.fst
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

There is no “inherent racism and xenophobia”. When you see an invasion of foreign criminals, it is not “xenophobia” to oppose it. It is simple common sense.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Again we see the arrogant left patronising the mass of ordinary people as easily deluded fools, led astray by the wicked hard right. After all, as we know, the ordinary people of this country will flock to a demagogue who puts a questionable slogan on a bus about EU money and the NHS, and drives it around for a day or two.

The left will believe in ANYTHING which points to an illegitimate referendum result, no matter how many subsequent electoral procedures show that the people made a principled decision about British Sovereignty and showed their loathing of anti-democratic EU politicians.

The fact that the trade deal will fall because the EU is demanding 75% of the fishing quota from UK waters tells all about the EU. The ordinary people can see it, but not you Mark Bridgeford, and not your Lib Dem type friends either. Remember how that lunatic Lib Dem leader woman, lost her own seat by hammering on about how however many times the electorate rejected REMAIN as a position, she would continue to demand it?

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

So we were hood winked again?
Maybe people had a point about mass migration but years of not being allowed to voice any opposing view and you will get what happened.
Ignore the voters at your peril

t.marr123
t.marr123
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

So are you saying that it was never the case that Turkey would be allowed to join the EU, followed by mass migration of relatively poor Turks to the richer West? It was all nonsense? If that is the case, then why did Turkey spend so long in negotiations with the EU to join? Why did Cameron himself boast of wanting to be a ‘bridge between Ankara and London’? Either mass migration from Turkey was a real possibility, or it wasn’t. Which is it?

regnad.kcin.fst
regnad.kcin.fst
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

How completely ignorant. In the USA, we have grown from 225M in 1970 to 330M today. 90% of this is immigrant increases. We have, today, a historical maximum % of foreign-born in the country. This is true in the UK as well. These people steal jobs from native-born, occupy housing, and are about 50% illegal. In the USA today, we have about 30,000,000 illegals.

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago

While it’s true that immigration to the US has been massive, it is not true that people steal jobs from the native-born. Most analyses show that immigration is a net benefit because 1) the younger immigrants (legal) pay into Social Security and Medicare, two Ponzi schemes that depend on new entrants, 2) immigrants are more – not less – supportive of the rule of law, having escaped places that lacked it, 3) increase demand as much as supply of products, boosting the economy, and 4) immigrants fill the lowest rung on the economic ladder, pushing those already on the ladder to higher positions (the native worker becomes the manager of the new, language-challenged immigrant)

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

it is not true that people steal jobs from the native-born.
So, how did those jobs commonly associated with immigrants, often illegal immigrants, get done beforehand? It’s not like there is a shortage of able-bodied but low-skilled natives.

Housekeeping, child care, gardening, restaurant work, and a host of others jobs were actually done long before illegals came onto the scene, and illegals must be emphasized. Too many people ignore the term as if it’s a non-factor. And their presence also carries costs in terms of increased demand for public services, an artificial stifling of wages, and so forth.

Paul137
Paul137
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

You have no idea what you’re talking about. Zip. Zero. Nada.

e.g. “3) increase demand as much as supply of products, boosting the economy, “

That’s no benefit to the native-born population. Once there’s a developed mass-market economy, further influx just makes the place more crowded. And bids up the prices of inherently finite resources (real estate is the best example).

Yes, the economy gets bigger, but as Harvard labor economist George Borjas shows, nearly all the increased output goes to the immigrants themselves. The net benefit to the native population is something like $50 billion per year. And, crucially, that net reflects the ~$500 billion bonanza for capital minus the ~$450 billion hit to labor. So if you care about “inequality,” know that today’s mass immigration helps ramp it up.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

Dream on, pal. Utter guff.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

If millions of immigrants are more supportive of the law than native born Americans why are they breaking US law to get in and stay in? Illegal immigration is most definitely not a net benefit. You can’t work here and pay into social security if you’re here illegally.