Don’t be fooled by the pomp and dazzle of the Queen’s royal Diamond Jubilee flotilla easing past the tourists, celebrity-spotters, and pickpockets on the Thames. Britain is a country rotting from the inside, the first nation on earth that elected to destroy its culture with political correctness.
Asks British columnist Rod Liddle, “Who are the people who have made Britain what it is today, the ones who ensured that we became a limp-wristed and decrepit, post-imperial satrapy of incompetence, sanctimony, self-obsession and self-loathing?”
Who indeed? (By limp-wristed, Liddle means lacking in conviction, not gay). The short answer is the new aristocracy, the bien pensant, well-shod, culturally aloof types who watch the BBC, read The Guardian, and vote to nudge the country ever farther along its current trajectory, which has not even slightly been altered by the return of a Conservative to the premiership. Against the wishes of the average citizen, Britain has a government that is simultaneously abdicating its core functions and pretending to take responsibility for other duties for which it is spectacularly ill-suited. It has abandoned a proud, concrete culture in pursuit of a hazy dream of a transnational ideal. The people’s response has been to fume lightly and do nothing, because they’re British and expect things to be bad and get worse.
A few days in London will quickly cure you of any notion that, for instance, New York is a chaotic city. It only barely rated notice in most of the media the other day when five of London’s 11 subway lines went down simultaneously at rush hour due to signal failures and train breakdowns. It was about 80 degrees at the time and most trains have no air conditioning. Subway unions are threatening a strike. And yet a glance at the national news sources, which are obsessed with the massacres in Syria, the Jubilee, the Olympics, and the never-ending Leveson Inquiry that vaguely promises a sinister new truth czar will be empowered to decide in advance which media stories can be published, turns up almost zero outrage at all of this.
The “respectable” media outlets don’t much bother with the latest outrages on the crime front, such as the fatal convenience-store stabbing that resulted in only a ten-year sentence for the assailant, who is expected to be free in four. Unleash a nutty racist tirade on the subway, though, and you stand in contempt of that BBC-transnational ideal of a multiculti wonderland. Judges will express no leniency whatsoever, handing out five month sentences for the crime of… speaking.
So the government can’t make the trains run on time or make people feel safe on the streets. (a friend who lived in New York for many years tells me of how, after moving to London, he witnessed a stabbing, called the police, and waited a number of minutes for them to arrive, by which time the perpetrators were long gone. The nearest police station was about 300 yards away, but the constabulary decided to send representatives from a farther one instead, lest they risk crossing paths with any violent criminals.)
Never let it be said the government is satisfied with this state of affairs; no, instead, it is advancing into brand new areas of incompetence. The prime minister has been boasting of his exciting plan to literally head a nanny state as he sets up, for new parents, an office to send texts, hold classes, and give “tiredness counseling.” (For a play-by-play of Britain’s collapse, consult the blogger-columnist Peter Hitchens, who, ever since writing The Abolition of Britain over a decade ago, invariably takes the most pessimistic imaginable view of things and yet is rarely wrong.)
On the business side of things, a government-commissioned venture capitalist’s report called for some obvious changes in labor regulations that would make it easier to fire workers (and consequently make businesses less leery of hiring in the first place). The left-wing, Liberal Democrat “business minister,” whose relationship with his field is much like that of an “infectious diseases specialist,” called the plan “completely bonkers” and suffered no repercussions from his boss whatsoever. The plan will gather dust. Another government minister, Conservative William Hague, actually gave an interview in which he told business to stop “complaining” and just hire. Currently, when a business wants to fire someone, it often has to justify the decision before a labor tribunal. A proposed reform would substitute a sort of pre-settlement in which the fired worker gets a cash payout instead of the right to endless litigation.
From offshore, Britain finds itself in the absurd version of a V-2 attack, with almost weekly regulatory strafing coming in from the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights. Britain, which voted simply to join a common market in 1973 but never voted to be ruled from the continent, is so used to such indignities as being told that it must not deport al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Qatada and must furnish prisoners with ballots, that even David Cameron’s Conservatives generally respond by being loudly huffy and doing nothing. Cameron’s latest solemn vow is that he will ignore the ECHR directive to give votes to prisoners. We’ll see. If he is going to deny the ECHR the sovereignty it plainly lacks, why doesn’t he go all the way?
Because he’s afraid of the BBC.
We joke about the “state media” in America, but in Britain by far the leading media outlet is the BBC, which operates independently but is effectively funded by a tax (a large one, more than you pay for HBO). Awash in public funding, it does exactly what you’d think it would do: attack competitors and promote a left-liberal worldview, for instance by portraying anyone opposed to the grand European project as eccentric and possibly demented. Now that Europe is imploding and Britons say, by a 51 to 28 margin, that they want to leave the EU, the political-media complex is scrambling to prevent the issue from ever coming to a vote (though if it does, the same complex will move mountains to ensure the vote is the correct, transnational one). George Osborne, the number two man in the Tory party, has actually suggested that the solution to Europe is more Europe — fiscal and policy integration, i.e., a superstate with its capital in Brussels and its biggest source of power in Berlin. Britain would finally relinquish all claim to authority over its own affairs and essentially cease to exist as a political entity. What Hitler and Napoleon couldn’t do, the dull Eurocrats and their silky-voiced, terribly respectable media cheerleaders are intent on doing. But then again, Britain is already dead, it just hasn’t been buried yet.