Category Archives: Britain

Dalrymple: I met a would-be suicide bomber

What, Dalrymple asked himself, in this man

who had not yet had the chance to put his thanatological daydream into practice could have produced as embittered a mentality—what experience of life, what thoughts, what doctrines? What fathomless depths of self-pity led him to the conclusion that only by killing himself and others could he give a noble and transcendent meaning to his existence?

Dalrymple writes that

no threat (at first sight) might deter someone who is prepared to extinguish himself to advance his cause, and who considers such self-annihilation while killing as many strangers as possible a duty, an honour, and a merit that will win ample rewards in the hereafter.

And Britain has an unknown number of such people in its midst, many of them homegrown.

Why Dalrymple voted for Brexit

Dalrymple spends part of every year in his house in Shropshire

Despite the fact that the European Union is far from being the cause of all the country’s problems, the outcome of the 2016 UK EU membership referendum steers Britain away from a potential monster, Dalrymple tells an interviewer.

Although no sensible person would liken it to the Third Reich or the Soviet Union, the EU nevertheless bears the seeds of an unfree state. It wants to force different peoples together in an artificial union. Dalrymple notes that Belgium is such a union: it holds together, more or less, but to do such a thing on a larger scale is to court major problems.

And the argument that the EU is the only way for Europe to play a role on the world stage can be swept aside. The EU has shown only weakness.

The European project, says Dalrymple, is little but misplaced megalomania.

 

A filthy, degraded country

England, Dalrymple points out to an interviewer, is a corrupt country. Not in the way that, for instance, Italy is corrupt, but morally and intellectually corrupt, which is worse. The educational system has been ruined, there are large social problems (of which public drunkenness is an example), and the country is the dirtiest in Europe — Britishers routinely fling rubbish out of car windows to pollute the beautiful countryside, for instance. There has been a cultural revolution in the country, making it quite the opposite of what it once was.

The loss of a sense of a hierarchy of value

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-22-58-44There is in Britain, says Dalrymple (from 1:01:03),

a very crude materialism, and skewed values. Parents used to ask me why their child was so horrible when they did ‘everything’ for it. I asked what they meant by ‘everything’. The answer was: providing it with the latest tennis shoes, things of no value, rubbish. I’ve known a case of murder over the brand of tennis shoes.

Why is this?

Probably because there’s nothing else. There’s no cultural continuum, no pride in country, no political project, no religion.

There is, Dalrymple points out,

a loss of a sense of a hierarchy of value, as well as of a social hierarchy.

Dalrymple remembers his father, who was born in a poor quarter of London. The education he received there

was better than 99.9% of children today. His teachers — to whom he was always grateful — never took the view that he was poor and couldn’t be expected to learn Latin or appreciate science or art. They aimed to open his eyes to science and art. He told me that they would take children to museums in their spare time.

There is very little sense of that now because

the idea that one thing is higher than another has disappeared, especially from the intellectual class, who are all playing the shepherdess like Marie Antoinette. They don’t really like their own children not to have any sense of hierarchy, but they will propound the theory that there is no higher and lower, and unfortunately this affects everyone.

Superior rationality of the Eurocrats

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-19-45-29Thwarted élites, Dalrymple points out,

are not good losers. They resort to any manœuvre to ensure that they prevail.

Brexit

is by no means a certainty.

But just say that Britain were able to effect the departure from the European Union that most of its citizens want. In that case,

the EU’s hopes for survival would rest on catastrophe for Britain. If it were able to prosper outside the Union, or maintain its level, the value of the Union would be called into question by the peoples of Europe even more than it is today.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-19-47-28Imperative that the British be made

  to suffer for their impertinence,

as Admiral Byng was shot pour encourager les autres. This could not be done

without causing harm to European companies that do a lot of trade with Britain; but when it comes to the EU, politics overrides economics. If it did not, the common currency would not have been created, for there was little justification for its creation; to the contrary, there were many obvious disadvantages for most member countries.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-19-49-44The ‘European project’, Dalrymple explains,

is a political rather than an economic one. A prosperous economy is only desired insofar as it is necessary to produce a strong and powerful polity. The aim of the EU is not peace but power. The driving force of the Union and its so-called project (never spelt out) is megalomania.

The wishes of Europe’s people not only must not be followed,

but should be neither consulted nor even known. This contempt for the opinions of the ruled was inherent in the European ‘project’ from its inception, its founders believing in the incapacity of populations to know what was in their best interest, and that a cadre of the enlightened knew their interest better than they.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-19-52-24‘Democratic oversight’

should be appearance rather than reality,

that the masses might believe

they are ruled by consent. Any pretence of such oversight must not be allowed to interfere with the serious business of benevolent, wise, but bureaucratic or technocratic control of society. Politics is to be abolished in favour of administration: the dream of every utopian from Plato to Marx and anarchists of every stripe.

But Dalrymple notes that

riding roughshod over a population’s opinions and sentiments in the name of a supposedly superior rationality is not a very wise policy.

The British Zeitgeist

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 08.56.56It is one, writes Dalrymple, of

sentimental moralising combined with the utmost cynicism, where the government’s pretended concern for the public welfare coexists with the most elementary dereliction. There is an absence of any kind of idealism that is a necessary precondition of probity, so that bad faith prevails almost everywhere.

The British State

sees itself as an engineer of souls, concerning itself with what people think, feel, and say—as well as with trying to change their freely chosen habits—rather than with performing its inescapable duty: that of preserving the peace and ensuring that citizens may go about their lawful business in confidence and safety. It is more concerned that young men should not smoke cigarettes in prison or make silly jokes to policemen than that they should not attack and permanently maim their elders and betters.

One definition of decadence, he writes, is

the concentration on the gratifyingly imaginary to the disregard of the disconcertingly real.

No one who knows Britain, says Dalrymple, could doubt that it has very serious problems.

  • Its public services—which consume a vast proportion of the national wealth—are not only inefficient but beyond amelioration by the expenditure of yet more money
  • Its population is abysmally educated, to the extent that that there is not even a well-educated élite
  • An often criminally minded population has been indoctrinated with shallow and gimcrack notions—for example, about social justice—that render it unfit to compete in an increasingly competitive world

Dalrymple warns that such

unpleasant realities cannot be indefinitely disguised.

England’s barbaric young people

Friday afternoon. Things get altogether livelier at nightfall

Friday afternoon. Things will have become altogether livelier by nightfall

The youth of Britain, writes Dalrymple, is

among the world’s most unpleasant and potentially violent.

Of course, not all young Britons

are unattractive in appearance and conduct — only a far higher proportion of them than of the young of any other nation. It requires but an overnight stay on a Friday or Saturday in any British city to prove it.

Visiting Russians, for example,

are appalled by what they witness.

The characteristics that are common to all classes of Britons are

  • arrogance
  • a sense of entitlement
  • an unwillingness to moderate behaviour for the convenience of others

The main difference between the classes is that

the rich can pay for what they feel entitled to, while the poor have to wheedle, cajole, swindle and steal it. But the inflamed sense of entitlement is the same.

A service economy without the service

The Britannia Hotel, Coventry

The Britannia Hotel, Coventry

Whenever Dalrymple is in Amsterdam, he stays at

a small, elegant and well-run hotel. The excellent and obliging staff are all Dutch.

Whenever he is in London, he stays at

a small, elegant and well-run hotel. The excellent and obliging staff are all foreign.

This is just as well, writes Dalrymple,

for if they were English the hotel would not be well-run for long. When the English try to run an hotel, they combine pomposity with slovenliness.

Perhaps this would not be so serious a matter

if the British economy were not a so-called service economy. It has been such since Margaret Thatcher solved Britain’s chronic industrial relations problem by the expedient of getting rid of industry. This worked, and perhaps was inevitable, but it was necessary for Britain to find some other way of making its way in the world. This it has not done.

A ruthless incompetent: David Cameron

A ruthless incompetent: David Cameron

In Britain, Dalrymple points out,

incapacity is everywhere.

Incompetence starts at the top. The prime minister, David Cameron, is

a careerist and opportunist in the mould of Tony Blair. Not only was Mr. Cameron’s only pre-political job in public relations, hardly a school for intellectual and moral probity, but he has subscribed to every fashionable policy nostrum from environmentalism to profligate government expenditure. Not truth, but the latest poll, guides him.

Cameron has been

truly representative as prime minister. Like his country, he is without substance.

What’s in it for us?

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 14.23.35Much of the argument about whether to stay in the European Union turns, writes Dalrymple, on whether people

will be better or worse off if their country stays or leaves, and especially whether the country derives more benefit from its membership than it pays for.

This, he says, is undignified, since it implies that

if we get back in subsidies more than we put in, this is an argument for staying.

Perhaps this is not surprising in Western countries, where

social justice has come to mean a large proportion of the population living at the expense of the remainder of the population.

Immigration and British incompetence

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 23.32.20Dalrymple points out that much immigration to the UK, for instance from Poland,

has been good and even necessary for the country.

He draws attention to the fact that the inability or unwillingness

of the British public administration to control the kind of immigration that is most feared, for example from Moslem countries,

is associated with

a generalised administrative incompetence.

He attributes the incompetence to

a culture of frivolity and to careerism in bureaucracies grown too large and convoluted to have any connection with their ostensible purposes.