Category Archives: oil money

The principal business of Nigerian public life

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.00.57The struggle for control of oil revenues

Nigeria, says Dalrymple, is

cursed by the existence of natural resources, or rather by political inability to take proper advantage of them. What seemed like good fortune was soon turned into ill-fortune.

The country is

a geopolitical expression. It contains within itself a very large number of distinct ethnic and language groups. The oil, which soon became overwhelmingly its most important export, other than people, was concentrated in one small part of the country. Nigerian politics became the struggle for the control of the oil revenues. The foreign exchange receipts from oil meant that Nigeria could import everything cheaper than it could produce it itself, including food. Nigerian agriculture, previously promising, went into decline and a hideous urbanisation ensued.

The oil revenues

were not adequate to ensure a high standard of living for everyone even if they had been distributed equally rather than appropriated by political and military elites who struggled for the control of them. This struggle was the principal business of Nigerian public life.

Dalrymple writes:

I used to visit Nigeria regularly, and knew the writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was hanged by the dictator, Abacha. Saro-Wiwa came from the Niger Delta, where the oil came from, and started a movement to try to obtain oil revenues for his tribe, the Ogoni. Although much of the oil came from Ogoniland, the Ogoni had received almost no financial benefit from it whatsoever. Instead, their native creeks, forests and fishing grounds had been largely destroyed by oil leaks. I took the view that it was bound before long to provoke violence; Saro-Wiwa told me that the situation was so bad that it could get no worse. Alas, I was proved right; and Saro-Wiwa not only lost his life, but violence became endemic in the area.

Oil

proved a blessing to no one in Nigeria who did not get his hands on a large part of the loot.

Evil stupidity of Islamism

Dzhokhar TsarnaevDzhokhar Tsarnaev

A puerile and barbaric canon served by malevolent cunning

One of the most sinister effects of the efforts of Islamist terrorists is that

they have undermined trust. Those under investigation turn out not to be cranks or marginals but people who are well-integrated into society, superficially at least, or who have good prospects. They are not the ignorant and uneducated.

The perpetrators are not of one ethnic or national group only. And they do not kill

because of personal grievance but because they have allowed themselves to be gripped by a stupid ideology.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 09.05.01This means

no one can ever be quite sure whether a Muslim who appears polite and accommodating is not contemplating mass murder. Deceit is one of the terrorists’ deadliest weapons.

Why it is folly to ignore sociological reality

British society

could get by perfectly well without the contribution even of moderate Muslims. The only thing we really want from Muslims is their oil money for bank deposits, to prop up London property prices and to sustain the luxury market; their cheap labor that we imported in the 1960s in a vain effort to bolster the dying textile industry, which could not find local labour, is now redundant.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 09.11.42In other words,

one of the achievements of the bombers and would-be bombers is to make discrimination against most Muslims who wish to enter Britain a perfectly rational policy.

The problem

causes philosophical discomfort to everyone who believes in a tolerant society. On the one hand we believe every individual should be judged on his merits; on the other, we know it would be absurd and dangerous to pretend that the threat of terrorism comes from sections of the population equally.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 09.03.06History is full of examples

of what happens when governments and peoples ascribe undesirable traits to minorities, and no decent person would wish to participate in the crimes to which this ascription can give rise; yet it would be folly to ignore sociological reality.