Category Archives: England

Britain’s polluted culture

For England, the present is bleak and the future desolate

The British, writes Dalrymple, were once fond of their gardens, a reflection of love of the countryside. But in most of England’s streets today, gardens have been concreted over to accommodate cars, which are incomparably more important to Britishers than flowers or grass. This

transforms streets from pleasant locations into slums.

Anyone travelling through the countryside concludes that the British

regard it not with veneration but as a litter bin, into which they throw the wrappings of their vile and incontinent refreshments. (They are the fattest people in Europe as well as the most slovenly.)

Local government

believes it has more important things to do than keep streets clean: not only does it have to use a growing proportion of its income to pay the unfunded pensions of past workers, but it has to develop anti-discrimination policies and rectify the natural consequences of the personal improvidence of so large a proportion of the population.

The corruption of England’s public administration

is very great: public employment is largely divorced from the production of any public good.

Dalrymple points out that the educational level in Britain is

appallingly low: 17% of British children leave school barely able to read and write, though $100,000 each has been spent on their education. How is such a miracle possible?

It is extremely unlikely that any of these problems will ever be tackled, because the obvious measures that are necessary

would have to be carried out by the very cadre which has inflicted such terrible damage and which combines ideological malevolence with practical incompetence in everything except the acquisition of power.

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The condition of England: a hybrid of Augean stable and brothel

Dalrymple writes that the way in which Oxford has prostituted itself to Gulf Arabs is emblematic of the condition of the university’s country as a whole

A short walk down Dalrymple Drive

Dalrymple lives

in a wasteland.

In the slums, known in England as ‘council estates’,

the glass of many of the windows has been replaced by plywood; such gardens as there are have reverted to grey-green scrub, with empty beer and soft drink cans, used condoms and loose sheets of tabloid newspaper in place of flowers; and the people trudge through the desolation as disconsolately as in any communist land.

Everything is

disorientatingly arbitrary, just as bureaucrats like it: compared with the average British public housing estate, the Cretan Labyrinth was a model of classical regularity.

Here, says Dalrymple,

is where the rioting underclass lives and takes its being.

  • Women shuffle along in jumble-sale clothes and fly-paper curlers, prematurely undergoing the physical shrinkage of old age, a cigarette attached by dried saliva to their lower lip.
  • Young men, bodily mature but with the mind and inclinations of juvenile barbarians, eye the world with sullen hostility, which the tattoos on their knuckles, necks and forearms not infrequently express in words. They are unemployed and profoundly unemployable: they are intolerant of any external restraint on their behaviour, and cannot fix their minds upon anything for more than a few moments.

This is a world

in which schools not merely fail to educate, but are anti-educational establishments.

Dalrymple asks his young patients about their experiences at school, and they are depressingly uniform:

  • violence
  • boredom
  • indiscipline
  • insolence
  • intimidation
  • truancy
  • a determination to bring everyone down to the same abysmal level

Any effort to achieve

is treated as treachery, and if persisted in leads to violence. Teachers soon come to have the same outlook as prison governors: to survive a day without serious incident is a success or even a triumph. There is no question of imparting knowledge: schooling is a form of remand in custody.

A teacher tells Dalrymple of a circular from the headmaster of his school reminding staff that physical force is not to be used on pupils, except in self-defence. The same teacher tells him about a recent parent-teacher meeting at his school:

The parents of five out of 110 pupils found time away from their videos to attend. He telephoned the father of one of his pupils whose progress had been particularly poor (or whose regression to barbarity was particularly marked).

‘I’m your son’s class teacher,’ he said.

‘Are you?’ came the reply. ‘Well you can fuck off.’ And the father slammed the receiver down.

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.

Unfit to fly

Dalrymple writes: 'I know of no other country in which such a warning notice at an airport is necessary. It is not unusual in British airports, especially provincial ones, to see rowdy men drinking pint after pint of beer at seven in the morning. There are said to be bars in Europe that display “No English” notices. One can’t blame them. Returning home after their drunken routs abroad, they (and foreigners) are greeted with notices at immigration that abuse of or assaults on immigration officers are taken extremely seriously. Taxis from English provincial airports inform passengers that they will be charged a fee for cleaning up any vomit they leave behind. Welcome to England.'

Dalrymple writes: ‘I know of no other country in which such a warning notice at an airport is necessary. It is not unusual in British airports, especially provincial ones, to see rowdy men drinking pint after pint of beer at seven in the morning. There are said to be bars in Europe that display “No English” notices. One can’t blame them. Returning home after their drunken routs abroad, they (and foreigners) are greeted with notices at immigration that abuse of or assaults on immigration officers are taken extremely seriously. Taxis from English provincial airports inform passengers that they will be charged a fee for cleaning up any vomit they leave behind. Welcome to England.’

Postcards from Walsall

The art gallery was built at vast expense

The art gallery was built at vast expense

Ceaușescu’s Romania with fast food outlets

Walsall in the Black Country is, Dalrymple points out,

the ugliest town in the world.

To the hideousness of 19th-century industrialisation is added

the desolation of 20th-century obsolescence.

Secret police headquarters

Secret police headquarters

The town’s art gallery, built at enormous expense, strikes Dalrymple as

a hybrid of grain silo and secret police headquarters.

Of all Western European countries, England is

the most richly endowed with unutterably dismal towns and cities, in part the heritage of the Industrial Revolution and in part that of modern architects and town planners.

Grain silo

Grain silo

Yet France is not to be outdone. Dalrymple writes:

I was under the impression that nothing quite so awful was to be found in France. Imagine my patriotic joy (for though not a xenophobe, I am a patriot) when I stopped for the night in a French town at least as bad as any in England. I could scarcely believe my eyes; I felt such a relief. The incapacity of others to do better than we is a great, if not the greatest possible, consolation.

Bus station

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The gentle Sikh woman

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 20.32.12She waited outside without demur, reading a book of prayers

In the ward, writes Dalrymple, was a young Englishwoman

of the slut-babymother class, whose jaw was clenched in a habitual expression of world-destroying hatred. Her glittering saurian eyes swivelled mistrustingly, on the qui vive for infringements of her rights. She exuded grievance as a skunk exudes its odour.

She had been admitted to hospital because

she had been out celebrating the night before.

Enlightenment reason turned into psychopathic unreason

In England,

celebration is synonymous with aggression and public nuisance, and she had conformed to type. The police dumped her in the hospital rather than in the slammer, where she belonged.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 20.34.20She

turned the attention of her lip to the admitting doctor, who took down verbatim some of what she said to him.

Her recorded remarks were littered with the word ‘fuck’, which the doctor rendered ‘f***’ in neat handwriting, showing that

in India, at least (where the doctor came from), there is still some sense of dignity, decorum and self-respect.

Putrid fruit borne of the doctrine of rights

The following morning a friend of the patient arrived in the ward before visiting time.

Both patient and friend were what is called in the prison ‘very verbal’. A nurse, acting on the biblical observation that a soft answer turns away wrath, asked them to keep their voices down, only to discover that the Bible has been superseded in modern Britain and that wrath turns away a soft answer.

Superseded: the book of Proverbs

Superseded: the Book of Proverbs

The nurse then told the visitor that she had to leave. Shortly after her departure under foul-mouthed protest,

the wife of another patient came. She was a respectable Sikh woman with a gentle manner, but it was not yet visiting time, and the nurses feared to provoke the slut-babymother by allowing her to stay, when they had told the slut-babymother’s visitor to leave. The nurses could all too well imagine the scene: Why am I not allowed a fucking visitor when that person over there is? In vain would the nurses point out the difference in the conduct of the two visitors; if anyone had a right to a visitor, everyone did, irrespective of the conduct of the visitor.

To avoid a conflict over rights,

the Sikh woman was asked to wait outside, which she did without demur, reading a book of prayers.

The English were constipated: now they’re incontinent

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 21.17.05Dalrymple explains that his account of Britain as a declining, broken society is

ironic in the sense that I don’t think there was a golden age in which society was whole.

But

we have to look at the problems we have. Every age looks at the problems it has, and what I’ve found in England is a refusal to face the problems: they’re just too uncomfortable.

Dalrymple says it is, to a degree, a

puzzle

as to why Britain has become more degraded than all other comparable countries. But he points to

a gestalt switch: what was regarded as good is regarded as bad, and vice-versa. Emotional constipation, once a characteristic of the British, has become emotional incontinence. People regard it as a good thing to express themselves, irrespective of whether they’ve anything to express.

For reasons of hormonal disaffection, young people are disposed to throw themselves into ideological causes. They are susceptible to ideological rot, as they are to criminality,

which is a young man’s game.

With regard to English anti-social life, Dalrymple says:

If you go to entertainment areas, there is always an element of threat in Britain.

He recounts an experience he had in Manchester, where he was staying at an hotel.

There was laughing and screaming outside at 1.30 in the morning. When I went out the next morning, I found that someone had been nearly murdered — he was in hospital, in a coma. You can’t tell the difference in England between people enjoying themselves and someone being murdered.

O círculo vicioso da miséria moral

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 08.54.53

Portuguese-language edition

Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass is, writes Thomas Sowell,

an insightful account of the dire consequences that the welfare state has led to among low-income whites in England. Many will recognise striking similarities to problems among low-income blacks in America — problems often blamed on ‘a legacy of slavery’ but which have followed in the wake of the welfare state in England among whites with no legacy of slavery.

The English then and now

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 09.00.33Once, writes Dalrymple, the qualities of the English population included

  • cool and ironic detachment from its own experience, that permitted it to face adversity with great good humour and modesty rather than by resort to histrionics
  • a polite restraint that was a precondition of depth of character. This restraint seemed to me heroic in an undemonstrative way; it was also the guarantor of an implicit subtlety

Today the chief characteristics of the English, Dalrymple points out, are

  • militant vulgarity
  • lack of restraint
  • arrogant loudness
  • ferocious and determined drunkenness
  • antisocial egotism
  • aggression and quick resort to violence
  • grossness of appetites
  • prideful ugliness of appearance
  • lack of finesse in any department of human existence