Monday, 18 October 2021

The Scottish nationalist corpse has Salmondella


Since May everything has gone quiet. I sometimes wonder if the Scottish nationalist body is sleeping or else that it has died from lack of interest. Sturgeon is tired and irritable. She is only 51, but there is increasing speculation about her retirement. It wasn’t so much the Covid virus that did for us as her exposure to Salmondella. The strain was virulent and the strain on Sturgeon’s bowels exhausting. If Scottish independence is the promised land, then Sturgeon is Aaron to Salmond’s Moses and neither will see it.

But the Scottish nationalist corpse still twitches. Angus Robertson grabs you by the ankles as if it is the end of Nightmare on Indyref Street Part 23. The plot is very familiar by now. Perhaps Robertson is merely hamming it up for the Indy Marchers and the other fundamentalists. But no with Kenny MacAskill’s intervention we can shout out like Colin Clive’s Henry Frankenstein “It's alive! It's alive!”

Do Robertson and MacAskill compare notes even though they are now in different parties or is it merely the natural tendency of Scottish nationalism to imitate its green hooped Irish equivalent. But there is a sea separating Glasgow and Belfast and this means contrary to Robertson that the Belfast Agreement does not apply in Scotland and sets no precedents.

If we had known now how the Belfast Agreement would be used by Ireland and the EU, I’m not sure that we would have signed it. The people of Northern Ireland might have been still more reluctant to agree to it. But peace treaties are not always ideal when both sides are capable of continuing to fight. Each side then has to make concessions to the other. The British Government made a concession to the IRA that it could have a border poll if the majority of the people in Northern Ireland wanted one.

We did this to stop IRA terrorism. If there had been no terrorism, there would have been no need for the treaty. Was it worth it? That’s really for the people of Northern Ireland to decide. But it is important to realise that the Belfast Agreement was signed under duress. The implicit threat was if you don’t sign it, we will continue to bomb you. It is for this reason above all that it is distasteful for the Irish Government and the EU to try to leverage this peace treaty for their own ends. They take advantage of what the terrorists did. It is even more distasteful for Robertson to suppose that it applies to Scotland.

Nowhere else in Europe is one state allowed to claim the territory of another. It doesn’t matter that German speakers live in the South Tyrol and that it used to be part of Austria. There would be outrage if Austria had a long-term foreign policy of annexing part of Italy. There is no prospect of a border poll anywhere in Europe, no matter if a majority wants one. There is also no prospect of a part of any EU member state being allowed to secede from another, because it was a kingdom some hundreds of years ago. The boundaries of Europe are everywhere fixed except in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Scotland did not have decades of terrorism. There was no peace treaty between the Scottish Republican Army and the British Government. Alex Salmond and Ian Blackford did not go on hunger strike nor did Kenny MacAskill engage in a dirty protest. The closest Scotland came to the IRA was singing about it and pretending to be involved in the armed struggle at football matches. So contrary to Robertson the Belfast Agreement does not apply to Scotland.

MacAskill is 63. He is one of two Alba MPs. But neither were elected as Alba MPs they merely defecated due to Salmondella. Will Alba stand at the next election and split the nationalist vote? Even if it does, it is unlikely that MacAskill will retain his seat. So, he is seeing his career ending and if there isn’t an independence referendum soon MacAskill will be no better off than Aaron and Moses. There is therefore a hint of desperation in his proposal to imitate Sinn Féin in not sending MPs to Westminster.

There is an obvious problem with imitating Sinn Féin’s strategy. It hasn’t worked for Sinn Féin. The Belfast Agreement did not happen because Sinn Féin refused to send MPs to Westminster, but rather because the IRA murdered people. The only obvious change if the SNP withdrew its MPS would be that there would be a still greater chance of their being a Conservative majority. It would moreover make a mockery of SNP complaints that Scotland is losing two MPs due to boundary changes, it then went on to withdraw all of them.

MacAskill thinks that these withdrawn MPs could vote for Scotland to be independent or failing this that the Scottish Parliament could do so. But 59 MPs meeting in a pub who happen to be from Scotland does not a Parliament make and constitutional matters are outwith the control of the Scottish Parliament.

Of course, independence has sometimes in history been achieved by self-appointed groups, but if you go down the revolutionary route you had better be sure that you have the overwhelming support of the electorate behind you, otherwise you are likely to look foolish at best, end up in jail at worst.

The problem for Scottish nationalism is to achieve Scottish independence in such a way that it does not destroy the Scottish economy. Scots are going to resent anyone who leaves us massively worse off. Some of us may be persuaded to vote for independence if it leaves our life-style intact, but few are fanatical enough to live in a cave like Robert the Bruce with only spiders to eat.

Robertson and MacAskill are impatient, which sees them going down the revolutionary road. But if you succeeded in forcing the British Government to give in to your demands, or if you succeeded somehow in declaring independence in a revolutionary act, all you would do would be to achieve an independent Scotland recognised by no one and with no international agreements or cooperation. MacAskill and Robertson’s impatience would merely turn Scotland in South Ossetia, Abkhazia or Transnistria, places most of us would struggle to find on a map.

Scottish nationalism to succeed depends on friendly relations with the former UK and an amicable divorce. Without that Scotland has zero chance of joining the EU. There is no right to an independence referendum no matter what Scottish nationalists think. So, you cannot batter on the door by pretending that the Belfast Agreement applies. Nor can you suggest that Scottish MPs or the Scottish Parliament can take matters into their own hand to repeal the Act of Union. The UK is a sovereign nation state. It is not a union of independent states, equal or not. It is not a union at all. It was a union in 1707. But to think that it is still is, is to suppose that a child is the same as its mother and father. The UK is not a union. It is the result of a union.

The only route forward for the Scottish nationalist corpse is patience. If when we get back to where we were prior to the pandemic, there comes a point when it becomes clear that the overwhelming majority in Scotland want independence then it may happen because I very much doubt that the British electorate would want Scotland to stay under those circumstances. The same applies to Northern Ireland.  

Rather than plotting rebellion it would make more sense if MacAskill and Robertson applied themselves to making Scotland wealthier, more efficient and productive. If in the future this made us less dependent on Westminster money, we might actually be able to afford independence, which might see support for it increase.

Unfortunately for MacAskill if he succeeded in withdrawing Scottish nationalist MPs, the British Government might decide to withdraw the block grant to Scotland as well as those MPs salaries, which might leave them like members of the tartan army in London who having blown all their money on booze are sleeping off their hangover on a London street smelling of last nights drink. The smell would be still worse if they had caught Salmondella.  

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Only the terrorist is guilty


Whenever there is a terrorist attack in somewhere like Israel, we are told by the BBC that it carried out by militants. It gives the impression that the far left from the 1980s stopped handing out newspapers to blow himself up. Only when a terrorist attack happens here in Britain will the BBC allow itself to describe it as such. IRA militants after all did not try to blow up Margaret Thatcher. If a word is useful then we must use it consistently. If something is terrorism call it terrorism, otherwise you are lying in which case how can you be trusted on anything.

But how do we respond to an incident of terrorism where an MP is stabbed by a British citizen who has been described as a Muslim from Somalia. Firstly, we must think about David Amess and his family and friends. Like every other victim of murder, he didn’t deserve to die. Whatever the motive of the murderer, it did not justify this loss of life.

A short while ago I wrote about how men in general were being condemned for the death of Sarah Everard. The slogan “End male violence” was being used to turn the particular actions of Wayne Couzens into an argument about how men in general were culpable. I argued that this was unjustified. Innocent men who had done nothing to harm anyone were no more to blame than anyone else. Well, the same logic applies in the present case.

It would be equally wrong to have a slogan “End Muslim violence”. Just as only a tiny proportion of men commit murder, so too a tiny proportion of Muslims or people from Somalia commit murder or are involved in terrorism. Muslims or Somalis who have never hurt anyone are no more to blame than anyone else. It is only individuals who commit acts of violence and only they who are guilty. Condemning the group for the actions of the individual is morally wrong.

British citizens must all be treated equally. We are all individuals with our own ideas about everything. There will be British Muslims whose family came from Somalia who are making great contributions to society with their work. They will hold a variety of political opinions and almost all of them will be living lives that harm no one else. We cannot make generalisations about them from the actions of one person.

But one hundred years ago, in Britain there was no problem whatsoever from individuals who were Islamic extremists. Again, let use words that describe a thing rather than hide behind words like “Islamist”. At the beginning of the First World War, you would have struggled to find someone living in Britain who favoured Jihad. Indeed, few British people would even have known what the word meant.

The BBC routinely condemns places like Poland for being less than welcoming to refugees. But the reason is that the Poles have seen what Britain is like and they prefer to keep their country like it was one hundred years ago. That way there is zero chance that a Polish MP will be killed by someone involved in Jihad.

The least that we in Britain can do is to control immigration in such a way that we have the best chance of not letting people come here who hate us, our way of life and are sympathetic to terrorism. The vast majority of migrants will be glad to be here. They will become British citizens who are proud to be British and who value and like our country, because it is their country too. But we can only find those who don’t share these views if we control who can come here rather than it being simply a matter of who can pay the trafficker to get them onto a rubber dinghy.

MPs have a difficult job that is statistically fairly dangerous. Politics is frequently passionate. Often, we massively dislike the views of our political opponents. Scottish independence would be a disaster for me. It would see my country break up. I can think of nothing worse that could happen politically. But I have nothing against Scottish nationalists personally. I don’t want anything bad to happen to any of them. They are my neighbours and people who I interact with in the shops and on the street. I hope Nicola Sturgeon fails politically, but I do not hope anything bad happens to her or her family. I don’t know her personally. Our disagreement is political. It is not personal.

We all have sometimes said things in anger about political opponents that are overly scornful and insulting. I believe in polite reasoned argument, but each of us on Twitter or in an article has said something that might personally wound an opponent. When an MP has just died for doing his job, it is worth reflecting that he was not scum. He was a human being, with a family, who was motivated by what he believed. You may disagree with his views, but don’t try to turn the person into something less than human.

If you believe that Tories are scum or vermin, then you must also think that the world would be a better place if there were none of them. If you don’t mean this then you are merely exaggerating. But if you insist that you really did mean that Tories are scum, then your expressions of regret at the death of a human being look rather insincere.

Tory is used by too many opponents as the worst insult possible. The implication is that Tories are immoral, evil and less virtuous than those of us who oppose them. This is to dehumanise political opponents in a way that is now dangerous.

We don’t know the full story, nor the motivations for the terrorist incident that killed David Amess. But if a future Jo Cox or David Amess is saved just once because we all cease to use language that suggests murder is a matter of pest control, then it would be worth us making the effort to do so.

So too I hope not one Muslim or person of Somali origin feels guilty because of language that suggests he is guilty for something that he didn’t do.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

No independence at any time


Lorna Slater, coleader of the Scottish Greens thinks that Scottish independence is inevitable and if there were a referendum tomorrow Yes would win. What Slater appears to be unaware of is that if there were ever to be a second referendum on independence the question would obviously not have a Yes/No answer. The precedent of the EU referendum makes that clear. While support for independence is around 50% on the 2014 question it falls considerably if the question is reworded as “Should Scotland leave the UK or remain part of the UK”. Would the SNP/Greens win a referendum on that question tomorrow? That would be much less likely.

But we are not going to have a referendum tomorrow. We would only have a referendum after a reasonably long campaign that explored all of the issues involved. The questions that the SNP was unable to answer in 2014 still await a convincing solution. Even so it was much easier to come up with an argument for independence with both the UK and Scotland in the EU. Brexit has changed everything and neither the SNP nor the Greens have an answer to the issue of a hard regulatory border between Scotland and England, nor to Scottish goods having to pay tariffs to enter the English market. Whatever power Scotland generates by wind, unfortunately has to go through England if it is to be sold to anyone else.

We learned in 2014 that a lot of Scots may desire independence with their hearts, but that a majority of us won’t vote for it if we conclude with our heads that it will make us poorer. Everything that has happened since, from the decline in oil, to our dependence on the Treasury to fund furlough, tells us that independence would at least initially make us poorer. The nominal deficit that Scotland runs, would immediately become real if we left the UK.

If Slater and Sturgeon believe that Scotland does not need Treasury money allocated each year according to the Barnett formula, why don’t they give it up and raise all Scottish revenue by means of Scottish taxes? If Scotland can’t give up this money now, how could it sensibly give it up when leaving the UK. The idea that Scotland is merely getting back what we pay in, doesn’t fit with the Scottish Government’s own figures. If you are a GERS denier, you might as well be a climate change denier too.

It may be that Scottish hearts would win over Scottish minds in a referendum campaign. Nationalism appeals to the emotions such that it can cause some people to lose contact with reason. But that was not our experience in 2014. Since then, some older No voters to the delight of the SNP have died, while the SNP has succeeded with its “Curriculum for independence” in turning quite a lot of school children into nationalists. This leads both Sturgeon and Slater to conclude that time is on their side. We’d win tomorrow thinks Slater, but we’d win with even more certainty years from now.

But each of us evolves politically as we grow older, apart that is from Sturgeon who believes exactly what she believed when she was 16. When we start working and having to pay bills, mortgages and bring up children, our ideas change. It doesn’t seem quite such a good idea if the SNP want to increase public spending without limit. We realise that the free things we are supposedly given come from our taxes. We begin to worry that our little boy might come home from school one day as a little girl. Flag waving and separation from our neighbours begins to look less desirable, especially if it would make us poorer.

Most importantly for those concerned about climate change and the world moving away from using fossil fuels, it isn’t at all obvious that Scottish independence would help.

Climate knows no boundaries. It matters very little indeed even if Scotland burned no fossil fuels whatsoever. If the UK burns 1% of the world’s fossil fuels, then Scotland must be burning rather less than 0.1%. Slater says she wants independence to do all the things the UK prevents her from doing. But it is hardly going to make much difference even if she could turn Scotland into a pre industrial society living in crannogs. So long as India and China keep burning coal it will not help if we paint ourselves blue and chew on raw carrots because we have given up cookers.

The only way giving up fossil fuels will make a difference is if everyone in the world does so. But this will require international agreement. Scotland would have very little influence on the world stage after independence. It wouldn’t increase as Slater thinks. We might be one among 28 in the EU with no more say than other small countries like Slovakia. The EU would have a common policy on the environment and Scotland would be expected to agree to it.

Glasgow is going to hold the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference shortly, but it is only being held in Scotland because the UK is a member of the UN and has a fairly important voice internationally. If Scotland had voted Yes in 2014, there is zero chance that COP26 would be taking place here. So how would independence have increased our influence?

Ceasing to use fossil fuels is going to take a vast amount of political energy and money. But if Scotland voted for independence both Scotland and the former UK would need for years to devote most of their political energy to the divorce. Scotland after independence would need to devote its political energy to joining the EU and to finding a way to reduce our deficit. But this would make us less able to afford the very expensive changes such as increasing insulation for homes and building a network suitable for electric cars. People concerned about climate change should vote for anyone but the Scottish Greens or the SNP.

If preserving the environment required secession, we should expect every European Green party to be in favour of breaking up their own country. But German Greens don’t want independence for Saxony and French Greens don’t want independence for Burgundy. So clearly it is not necessary. If Lorna Slater was so in favour of independence movements it is a wonder she did not move to Quebec and campaign for the breakup of Canada. I find it distasteful that she chose to move here in order to break up my country.

No country in the world would allow immigration of people who wished to destroy it. If immigrants from the United States to Canada were trying to make Canada a part of the USA, the Canadians would no doubt stop them coming at all. Well likewise if Canadians typically came to UK to break it up, the Government would reasonably stop them doing so.

Lorna Slater came to Scotland when she was 25 and no doubt liked how it was. If she hadn’t liked it, she could have stayed at home or gone elsewhere. At some point she must have chosen to live here.  She would have been granted leave to remain by the UK. She may even have made pledged her loyalty to the UK. But at any rate she took advantage of the hospitality the UK gives to people who move here. Obviously, everything she has done politically since then is legal. She has the right to do it. But I personally find it rather ungrateful behaviour.

If I had moved to Canada when I was 25 and spent my life campaigning to destroy it, I could imagine Canadians looking at my actions and wondering whether it would not have been better if I had been prevented from coming there. To campaign to break up someone else’s country while leaving your own intact, is the behaviour of a hypocrite. Even if it is legal, it is morally indefensible.

If she loves the EU so much, why didn’t she campaign for the North American Union ruled from Washington? But no one in North America would accept that, would they? Not even Slater.

There won’t be an independence referendum tomorrow. We have just discovered that neither the Greens nor the SNP have a mandate for one, in which case there may never be one. Those people who campaigned for Quebec to be independent must have thought it was inevitable when they came so close in 1995. I wonder which way Slater voted. Someone should ask her. But now there is nothing inevitable about it all about Quebec’s independence. Indeed, it is unlikely.

So too with Scottish independence. Support for it increases and falls, but until and unless people like Slater come up with convincing arguments which address the real problems of separation, then we must be forced to conclude that they are mere opportunists who got on a bandwagon because it pays well, but are making no more contribution to dealing with climate change than a green Canadian moose.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

The SNP have just been badly defeated


Things haven’t been going terribly well for Nicola Sturgeon in recent weeks. Her one-time Covid elimination strategy looks still more foolish now when even New Zealand has had to abandon it. If the saintly Jacinda Arden cannot manage to keep Covid from spreading in a country two and half thousand miles from anywhere else how was Sturgeon supposed to emulate her heroine with Scotland joined to England and reliant on lorries and trains connecting us to the continent. If only we had been independent, we could have been like New Zealand looks even more foolish when both New Zealand and Australia have merely delayed the pandemic, have fewer people vaccinated than the UK and are pretty much where we were in March 2020 at the beginning rather than reaching the end.

There was a little flurry of excitement at the SNP conference as Sturgeon brought on stage a figure who would take the campaign for independence to the next level. Unfortunately, no matter how much she tried to flog it, no one but the most committed were buying and it turned out that the rather comatose new Scottish nationalist hero was Robert the Bruce’s horse, which was not sleeping, but rather dead and it would not rise again no matter how many times Sturgeon hit it.

The same SNP strategy of giving it a good bash as proved less than successful in keeping the engines of Cal Mac ferries going and unfortunately destroyed the computers that were needed for the vaccine passport ap to work. Sturgeon’s determination to do better than England no matter how inconvenient for Scots suffers also from the problem that Covid is spreading freely in Scotland, in schools and in homes and indeed where two and three are gathered together not merely in nightclubs and football stadiums. If vaccine uptake in Scotland had been low, then the SNP could have argued that the vaccine passport was encouraging those who had yet to come forward, but the present rate of vaccination is 93% for the first dose and 84% for the second.  Pretty much anyone who wants a vaccine has had it. Those who don’t want it will do without seeing Cowdenbeath playing Stirling Albion.

Despite Sturgeon being on the TV with her Covid briefings only two things actually made a difference and she was in control of neither. We were able to stay at home because the Chancellor funded furlough and kept businesses going. The rates of death and serious illness came down because the British Government invested in vaccine research and bought enough to vaccine the whole population. Sturgeon wasn’t able to stop Covid spreading. Her decision to send old people back from hospital killed more than any other decision she made. Having a different policy to England on this or that saved no lives, but might instead have cost them owing to confusion.

The bounce in support for independence that she hoped would occur by monopolising the airwaves hasn’t happened. Meanwhile thoughtful Scots have noted how dependent we were during the pandemic on Treasury money and Britain’s ability to borrow at low rates and how it’s rather useful to have the British Army organise things and drive ambulances. It would be rather a pity to destroy something that has from time to time proved so necessary.

But a decision by the Supreme Court may prove to be the worst news of all for Sturgeon. Ever since the SNP came to power, it has been determined to turn the Scottish Parliament into something that it isn’t. Firstly, it renamed itself the Scottish Government, then it decided to have departments and ministers for areas it did not control, in the end we had Sturgeon treating the Prime Minister as a visiting dignitary as she went on her travels trying to develop a separate foreign policy. The SNP kept pushing the boundaries of devolution with Sturgeon acting as if we had voted for independence in 2014, when in fact she lost rather badly.

The latest ruse on the part of the SNP was to attempt to pass two laws that were outside the remit of the Scottish Parliament. These were the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill and the European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill. The Supreme Court has agreed that the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate for areas outside its competence because this is contrary to what the electorate voted for and contrary to the 1998 act that set up the Scottish Parliament in the first place.

This might seem an obscure point of law, but it has an important consequence. If the Scottish Parliament cannot pass a law which is outside its remit, it cannot logically have a mandate to do so. But constitutional matters are reserved, which means a bill for an independence referendum cannot be legally passed by the Scottish Parliament (without permission). But logically this means that the Scottish Parliament cannot have a mandate to pass such a bill. It cannot say the majority of MSPs support this bill therefore we should pass it. The consequence of this is that even if the SNP had all of the MSPs it still could not pass a law regarding constitutional matters (e.g., independence) because to do so would be outside its scope and illegal.

But this has a rather devastating consequence for the SNP. If constitutional matters are reserved, then they have nothing whatsoever to do with the Scottish Parliament. The SNP cannot claim a mandate for an independence referendum based on an election to Holyrood, because Holyrood does not deal with this issue. For the same reason it cannot pass a law to join the United Nations or a law to annex Berwick.  It could claim a mandate for independence in a General Election, but only if it won the majority of seats in Westminster. The arithmetical difficulty for the SNP is that even if it won all of the seats in Scotland it would not have enough to form a government.  Winning even 100% of the vote in Scotland would not give the SNP a mandate for an independence referendum, any more than if the Conservatives won 59 seats in the whole of the UK would give them a mandate.

The only way in which 59 seats gives you a mandate is to treat Scotland as already separate, but this is to assume what you are trying to prove, that Scotland ought to be separate. If on the other hand Scotland is a part of the UK (we voted for this in 2014), then winning 59 seats no more gives you a mandate than winning 59 seats anywhere else in the UK.

The only route to a legal independence referendum is for the SNP to persuade enough MPs in Westminster to vote for an independence referendum. It could do this by forming a coalition with Labour. So long as the SNP wins most of the seats in Scotland, Labour’s only route to power is to have some sort of deal with the SNP. It would be almost impossible given the current parliamentary arithmetic for Labour to form a government by winning enough seats only in England and Wales.

The result of the Supreme Court decision is that a Conservative Government can logically, morally and democratically block the SNP for ever, because the SNP will never have a democratic mandate for independence unless it starts standing in the whole of the UK and wins a majority of the seats. The only danger is if Labour thinking of short-term power decides to risk the future of the UK on a deal with Sturgeon. Labour would of course, because it would have no choice.  

Monday, 4 October 2021

Is Brexit to blame for everything?


I have finally come to my senses. I repent. If only I had a time machine I would go back to June 2016 and vote to Remain. I began to realise what an awful rotter I was when a mysterious new virus began to emerge from China. It was obviously caused by Brexit. If only I’d not voted to Leave then Prince Philip would be alive. I feel guilty about the volcano in La Palma which is showing justifiable wrath at Britain for daring to think it might manage without the EU. Help me Mr Lammy. Help me Baldrick. What can I do to atone? It’s my fault we are queuing for petrol.

It’s now more than five years since we voted to leave the EU. It’s longer than the First World War. Soon it will be longer than the Second World War. Yet out of all the political events in British history, this alone has the power to cause reasonable people to reflect on what might have been and point out I told you so about any and every bad thing that happened afterwards.

If we had not declared war on Germany in 1914 it is reasonable to assume that France would have been defeated quickly. This might have cost France a bit of money and another province, but the upside for the world would have been no Russian Revolution and no rise of fascism in the 1930s. But the calamity of voting for Brexit clearly outweighs all other counterfactuals.

Every election changes history for good or ill. If we hadn’t voted for Thatcher in 1979, we might not have closed down the pits and steel industry, but what other events might have happened. We just don’t know. This is why counterfactual history is more bunk even than normal history. There is a possible world where we wake up to find that Remain won the referendum, David Cameron stayed on as Prime Minister to be succeeded shortly afterwards by Jeremy Corbyn. This was no doubt what Lammy and Baldrick wanted. But would it have led to only wonderful things happening? We will never know. Because it didn’t happen.

But the fault of Baldrick and friends in attributing petrol shortages to Brexit is not so much that it is impossible to know what would have happened if we had voted their way. Maybe under Corbyn there would have been no money to buy petrol. More importantly as the time from an event increases, the multitude of causes becomes so enormous that it becomes ludicrous to attribute this event to that cause. I may speculate that France losing the First World War might have saved us from Communism and Fascism, but this might have meant that a later world war involved extensive use of nuclear weapons. Saying this event wouldn’t have happened if only we had done this, implies knowledge of a possible world that didn’t happen. But there is no such knowledge.

There are certain events in history that are decisive. Whether you regret it or not, the election of Thatcher changed Britain in such a way that there was no going back to how things were in the 1970s. Labour kept losing until it accepted this. So too with Brexit. It has decisively changed the path we were on.

The reason the French were so angry about Australian submarines was because they could see that the Entente Cordiale (1904) that led us to ally with France in 1914 had quietly come to an end. Strategically Britain’s role had changed utterly. Our role of propping up France did not survive Barnier. This leaves France with the dilemma it has had since 1870. France is too small to compete with a united Germany. This is why it has sought to merge with Germany since the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The trick for France is to end up ruling this merger. The danger is that at some point Germany loses its sense of guilt and seeks to rule France. But this is something France will have to work out on its own, because Britain has learned finally that we do not have to be involved as we were in 1914 and 1939. We can leave them to it as in 1870. Bonne chance M. Macron.

When something decisive happens, for good or ill, there is no going back. People who go on about petrol strikes caused by Brexit, don’t get this. It’s like someone on Mao’s Long March complaining about blisters. If only we hadn’t gone down this path instead of staying at home. These people fail to recognise the decisiveness of the event which is precisely why they complain.

The idea that Britain might rejoin the EU is like the idea that Britain after Thatcher would go back to the three-day week and the Winter of Discontent. At the next election no serious political party will propose a referendum to join the EU. Even the SNP which still favours independence in the EU would not allow us to have a referendum on it. The reason is that it is politically impossible to persuade the electorate to rejoin the EU.

The offer in 2016 was between the continuing EU membership with the conditions that were then and leaving. But that offer no longer exists. It is not clear even that the EU would allow Britain to rejoin under any circumstances, given how troublesome we have been since joining. But if it did allow us a second chance, it would make absolutely sure there was no way we could change our minds. The way to do this would be joining the Euro.

If Britain had joined the Euro there would have been no Brexit, because leaving a currency union involves all sorts of risk as we discovered during the Euro crisis involving Greece. So, logically if you set the condition of membership as being joining the Euro you bring stability into the EU. This is why joining the EU from scratch requires that you join the Euro. It also requires that you join Schengen. This means that there would be no need for refugees to sail across the Channel. They could just get on the Eurostar. Once in the EU you would effectively be in Britain, because there would be no checks that could stop you.

The Euro and Schengen would stop even most Remainers from voting to rejoin. This is why no one will campaign for it and why EU membership is a dead issue in British politics.

The only person who does not realise this, of course, is Nicola Sturgeon. She like Baldrick does not realise that 2016 decisively made Scottish independence impossible to achieve without damaging Scotland. Scottish nationalists may pretend that they could obtain opt outs from the Euro and Schengen, which Britain would be unable to get. If they are wrong on this, then Scottish independence looks as unattractive as the UK rejoining the EU. But even if Scotland could obtain such opt outs we would still be in the wrong trading bloc. It’s not just that we trade more with the other parts of the UK than the EU its that almost all of our trade is shipped through England and uses English ports. Any sort of regulatory border between England and Scotland would damage Scottish prosperity and quality of life. Its hard to see how either secession or EU membership could make up for this.

Few Scots are aware of these issues now, for which reason Sturgeon and the SNP remain popular, but it’s also hard to see how this lack of awareness could survive a campaign that concentrated minds. The SNP’s argument is much worse now than it was in 2014. Something decisive happened in the years since, but it’s easier to bang on about Brexit rather than recognise this.

After all if joining the Euro would have stopped Britain leaving the EU, then leaving a currency union with Britain would be equally as challenging for Scotland.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

End feminist prejudice


If there is a terrorist attack committed by a British Muslim, we are not allowed to make generalisations about Muslims. For instance, if I wrote a sign saying “End Muslim violence” this would be considered to be Islamophobic and racist. If there were a murder committed by someone who had arrived in Britain from Turkey, it would likewise be considered xenophobic and racist if I wrote a sign which said “End Turkish violence” or if I linked the murder to immigration. But if a murder is a committed by a man, it is considered perfectly permissible to write a sign saying “End male violence”. Why is it wrong to make generalisations about some groups but not others? All prejudices are wrong except those about men so long as they are white of course.

We get a very false picture about murder in Britain from the way that it is covered by the media. In the last year for which figures are available, 2020, there were 695 victims of homicide in England and Wales. 39 of these suffocated in a lorry which arrived from abroad to Grays, Essex. This is a rate of 11.7 per million. Britain has a murder rate that is one of the lowest in the world. So, while you might have a 1 in 6 chance of dying from a heart attack and a 1 in 13,000 chance of dying from electrocution you have about a 1 in 100,000 chance of being murdered which is slightly less than your chance of dying because you were hit by lightning.

Women are less likely to be murdered than men in Britain. There were 506 male and 188 female murder victims. Very few women indeed are murdered in the street by a random stranger. The risk of this happening to any one of us is so small it could be compared to to the 0.27 fatal accidents per million flights, except considerably fewer women are murdered in the street by strange men than die in plane crashes.

Every few months there is a high-profile case of a woman who is murdered. Most other murder victims are reported in the local press or only get a few mentions on the TV news. Each murder, indeed each death, is a whole world ending for those involved, but news coverage gives a false impression of the actual danger that each of us faces when we walk home. You are far more likely to die from any number of illnesses in the next year than be murdered, you are indeed more likely to drown in the bath, but while we worry about the one and demand something must be done, we happily stand up in a slippery bath tub without a thought. There are no candlelit vigils for those who trip and kill themselves falling down the stairs not even if they were pushed. We barely notice the name of someone knifed in gang related violence. Some murders are more equal than other murders.

Most murderers are caught and sent to prison for a long time. The best way to deter crime is if a person feels that it is likely he will be caught. The police already put huge resources into murder cases and usually they do a good job. Improving the standard of living in Britain might affect the number of people murdered as would improving education and opportunities. Poorer countries tend to have higher murder rates than wealthier ones. But it is not at all obvious what people writing “End male violence” would like to be done that is not being done now. Trying to make men feel guilty for things they didn’t do is unlikely to lower the murder rate.

The vast majority of murderers are men (93%). But this still only means that there are around 600 murders in Britain each year. This amounts to only 1 in 100,000. Imagine if we condemned all Muslims if only 1 in 100,000 was involved with terrorism. This would rightly be considered outrageously unacceptable, wrong and racist. But it is considered to be not merely acceptable, but progressive to condemn all men for the crimes of such a tiny minority that in a city the size of Aberdeen there might be only one of them. If feminists condemned Muslims in the way they condemn men they would be racists.

Why are men so much more likely to be murderers than women? I imagine it has something to do with men being stronger and often more aggressive than women. The traits needed for hunting in ancient times and warfare in the Middle Ages are the same traits that make it more likely that men are physically able to murder. It was the aggression of men that made the “life of Man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short” before civilization and law tamed him and channelled those energies into more useful paths. Men are different from women, but the characteristics which make them different are needed by society and most women are attracted to them, preferring strong men capable of forceful action to wimps.

But even if the nature of men makes them more likely to be murderers (I can think of no other reason) it still remains the case that only a 0.001% actually become murderers. What do those who wish to “end male violence” practically want to do to the 99,099 men out of 100,000 who will never hurt any women. Perhaps they wish to turn them into women, or educate them from childhood to have only female character traits. But do women really want men to be like themselves and for the sake of a risk that is less than dying in a plane crash?

There are certain groups that we are not allowed to criticise no matter the truth. We are not allowed to generalise from black people making up 21% of convicted criminals, but only 3% of the population that black people are more likely to commit crimes. It must all be due to racism.  But somehow, we are allowed to generalise from the tiny number of women who are murdered by strange men and turn this into the responsibility of all men. The word for this is misandry.

Whatever the explanation for the majority of murderers being men, it is not the responsibility of those men who have murdered no one. They have no reason to feel guilty, because they are not guilty. It is mere prejudice to condemn the group as a whole for the actions of a tiny minority. When we do this about people of a different race it is called racism. It is no better when we do it about half of humanity.

Monday, 27 September 2021

How does Keir Starmer know Rosie is a woman?


Keir Starmer disapproves of Rosie Duffield saying that only women have cervices, but declines to describe saying it as transphobic. He equally disapproves of Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner calling Tories pieces of scum, but no doubt would decline to call her Tory phobic. It is not clear how he would respond if someone said Tory women don’t have cervices or even that Tory men do have cervices, but no doubt he would disapprove, but decline to call it phobic.

We are in an immense muddle over language. While almost any insulting language about nearly every group is condemned even when evidence suggests that it is true, there are still certain groups that can be insulted even when the insult is self-evidently false. There are a variety of definitions of scum, some more unpleasant than others, but Tories are not obviously either living on the surface of ponds, nor in the contents of condoms. If they were would it be only the Tory men, or to be inclusive must we allow the Tory women too to be capable of producing scum.

If it is unacceptable to call black people, Hindus or Welsh people scum, why should it be a sign that Angela Rayner is ready to take on the leadership if she judges a whole group (Tories) as lower than pond life. Tory voters make up quite a significant proportion of the population. If it is wrong to condemn Hindus for their religious beliefs, why is it right to condemn Conservatives? It is to hate people because of their thoughts when those thoughts are so widely shared that Conservative Governments are repeatedly elected. Disagree by all means, but to hate people because of what they think is very similar to hating them because of what they are, which is the problem Labour had with anti-Semitism.

It is equally wrong to hate people because they are transgender or to hate the belief that women do not need to have a cervix. But tolerance does not require that we agree with them. Religious tolerance requires that we allow people to follow whichever faith they choose so long as it harms no one else, but it does not follow that we must accept that what they believe is true. Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead. But people who follow other faiths don’t have to agree that he did, they just have to allow Christians to believe this.

Rosie Duffield believes that only women have a cervix. She can point to various long-standing definitions of what it is to be a woman to justify this. She can also point to various medical and scientific studies. She is reflecting what was until relatively recently the common-sense view that everyone accepted. Why would Keir Starmer disapprove of her saying it?

The reason is that Starmer wants to include those transwomen who are physically male as being fully women even though they do not have cervices. While it may or may not be bigoted for Labour politicians to call Tories scum, it might be prejudiced to say people who don’t have cervices are not women.

Why do we have words that describe different things? Why not for instance call both blue and red things “Bled”. That would be more inclusive after all. The reason is that we need words to distinguish different realities. Go in the blue door not the red, becomes meaningless if we use the same word for red and blue.

So too some of the oldest words in all languages are those that make the basic distinctions between man and woman, boy and girl, mother and father. If you study languages, you find that the origins of these words can be traced back thousands of years. They are often similar in families of languages.  The word “transsexual” on the other hand first appeared in English in 1950, while “transgender” was invented in 1965. Through all the thousands of years of human history these words had been unnecessary up until then because they did not reflect any distinction in reality.

But let us accept that there is a distinction between sex and gender, which enables a transwoman to not have a cervix. Should we simply have the word “woman” apply to people with cervices and those without. But it will still be useful to distinguish between them, for example at cervical cancer screenings. Well in that case we could agree that transwomen are women, but point out that transwomen are male.

If we create a distinction between sex and gender, which for thousands of years was considered unnecessary, it follows that we may allow people to change gender without making any physical changes whatsoever and without any medical diagnosis. But it does not follow that we have to accept that they have changed sex. What this means is that we could define transwomen as male women, while women with cervices could be defined as female women.

This solves the problem of having women only spaces. These could be defined as female only spaces. Women’s toilets could be called female toilets. If there were a school camping trip only females would be allowed in this tent, only males in that tent no matter with which gender anyone identifies. The rape crisis centre could only be run by females and male women would have to go to a male prison.

Wherever the word “woman” now applies we could use the word “female”. Women and men might take a while to get used to this, but we would manage. This would mean that Rosie Duffield could now say only female women have cervices and this would be both true and inoffensive.

The problem of course is that it is the equivalent of saying Red Bled and Blue Bled to distinguish between red and blue things. Eventually in such cases we drop the Bled part of these words as serving no purpose. We are then left with “female” and “male” performing the previous function of “woman” and “man”. Male women at this point become “men” again.

The whole debate is playing with words and the reason for this is that we are tragically promising to unhappy people something that is not possible. We say that transwomen are women and this appears to promise not merely that it is possible to change gender, but that it is possible to change sex too. If you define gender in such a way that it is separate from biology then of course it is possible to change it, but only because of your definition. It doesn’t change the reality one little bit. You are what you always were. But because you cannot change biology, the change of gender remains something superficial and ultimately unsatisfying. It is merely a dress that you put on that fools no one least of all yourself.

When you awake from being woke you see that playing with words changed nothing about reality.

Keir Starmer is merely worshiping at the shrine of Humpty Dumpty.

"When I use a word," Sir Keir said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

More sinisterly when Alice goes down a different rabbit hole, she ends up in Room 101 where 2 +2 = 5 and at that point re-education camps can finally and gradually bring about socialism because we will lack the words to object. They tried it in the Soviet Union but there were not enough Gulags. The trick is to create the whole world as a Gulag, just so long as no one knows that he is in one. This happens when we all agree that a man can have a cervix.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Indyref; or, ‘tis seven years since

I used to write something on the anniversary of the independence referendum as a sort of parody of Scott’s “Waverley; or, ‘tis sixty years since”. Indyref; or, ‘tis seven years since. The idea was to compare grieving Jacobites toasting their lost cause and their king oer the water with the Scottish nationalists celebrating the fact that they got 45 (actually 44.7) and their desire to embrace an 18th century rebellion that was about restoring the Stuarts to the throne of the United Kingdom. It merely showed how similar Scots are to other Brits who also celebrate defeats (The Charge of the Light Brigade, Dunkirk etc) more than victories. Losing romantically is what makes us British.

A seventh anniversary has become a tiresome thing however. It is not long enough to signal a change of heart. The point of Scott’s looking back over sixty years was that he could reflect on a Scottish society changed beyond all recognition precisely because of the defeat of the Jacobites. The Scottish Enlightenment brought with it, great minds, intellect, reason and prosperity because we had rejected the Stuart’s divine right of kings, feudalism and Catholicism. Culloden ended the one-hundred-year British civil war with it the final triumph of Parliament and the Protestant work ethic. It was this that created modern Britain and with it modern Scotland.

Sixty years later Scott’s readers could look back romantically on “The 45” precisely because they were content that Scotland and England had formed the Kingdom of Great Britain and that this had given them a constitutional monarch rather than absolutism. Scotland had become industrious, thrifty and hardworking. Jacobitism was such a thing of the past that we could celebrate its heroism and glorify its defeat. No one wanted it to come back again.

When the various peoples of Europe discovered their nationalism in 19th century there was no equivalent in Scotland. Scottish heroes like Bruce and Wallace were celebrated because Scottish history was seen as leading step by step towards our having a united monarchy in 1603 and then a single country called Great Britain in 1707. Bruce was no more a symbol of Scottish nationalism or a desire for secession than Clovis the First is today a symbol of Frankish nationalism or the desire for the independence of northern Gaul.

Scottish nationalism was dead issue in Scotland until approximately 2007. There had been some opportunists prior to that who flirted with fascism in the 1930s and selfishness in the 1970s, but they were no threat to the United Kingdom. Scottish voters did not vote on constitutional lines. Most voters deserted the Conservative Party in the 1980s but it was because they disagreed with their policies rather than because they viewed the Tories as English.

The beginning of nationalism came with Labour. The complaint was that it was unfair to have a Conservative Government in Westminster when Scotland voted Labour. Of course, it is no more unfair if a part of Scotland votes Conservative, but gets a Labour Government in Scotland. It wasn’t the SNP that created Scottish nationalism, it was the whole Scottish establishment and media who began to carve up each General Election into how Scotland voted and the Government that Scotland had imposed on it.

No one in the United States thinks this way, nor does France or Germany. But the anti-Tory grievance in Scotland was gradually transformed into the idea that we were not part of a United Kingdom that had to accept the will of the majority, but a country in our own right that should get a parliament that exactly reflects how we voted.

This change of mindset that began in the 1980s and 1990s was completely different from how we viewed ourselves before. No one complained that Scotland didn’t get what it voted for in elections prior to that, because no one particularly investigated. When we voted to stay in the EC in 1975 no one cared that the Western Isles said No.

It is the viewing of yourself as separate that fuels separatism. This wasn’t created by the SNP but rather by those Scots who could not bear the fact that Labour kept losing elections though they won in Scotland (now they win in neither). In any other country in the world if such an attitude were allowed to form in one of its parts, a desire for separatism would follow.

Even today some people who claim to support the UK still insist on viewing everything through the lens of nationalism. They insist on treating Scotland as separate. They think that it is somehow helpful to treat the UK as a loose grouping of four countries rather than a single nation state.

If we continue to view Scotland as separate, then this justifies the Scottish Parliament being able to vote for an independence referendum whenever it wishes. No part of any other nation state in the world has this right. But in Britain we feel we must concede it because of the nationalism Labour created that did not exist when I was a child. It means that the UK is continually threated. We can form AUKUS and defend the Pacific against the Chinese, but we cannot even defend ourselves and one more SNP electoral victory is more of a threat to AUKUS than any number of Chinese missiles. We far more need a pact to defeat the SNP and a defence budget to be spent on it.

I hope that eventually someone writes Indyref: or ‘tis, sixty years since. That person would be looking back on an odd spasm in British history where it briefly looked as if the whole course of turning a Celtic speaking island into an English-speaking country was overturned because some Scots disliked Tories. But we are not going to get there because Scotland runs a deficit and lacks an economic plan for secession. We are not going to get there because the SNP can’t run an ambulance service. We are only going to get there by a change in our mindset.

Sixty years after the Jacobite rebellion no one in Scotland wanted it to be repeated because they could see the benefits of the Scottish Enlightenment, reason and prosperity. Our task is to make the United Kingdom so prosperous, free and efficient that no one too would think to leave. We must think of ourselves as one people and cease thinking that we live in four separate nations. Only in this way will we defeat separatism.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Scotland is poorer because of Sturgeon not Brexit


Nicola Sturgeon thinks the wicked Tories came up with a cunning plan to stop Scotland becoming independent. They invented Brexit, which was designed to make Scotland poorer and more dependent on the UK. Having done their worst to make Scotland poorer these despicable Tories now dare to say we can’t afford separation.

Sturgeon tries to present herself as the down to earth grown up who runs Scotland with her reasonableness. But anyone who engages with Scottish nationalists realises quickly that there are rather more cranks and conspiracy theorists than at a convention for those who refuse to believe that the Moon landings took place because JFK was not shot and the footage was faked by the CIA. Does she really believe this stuff?

The Conservative Government did not want Brexit. It campaigned against it. The whole British establishment argued against Leave, but the voters didn’t listen. It is true that people like me argued for Brexit as it would make Scottish independence harder to achieve, but this argument was dismissed at the time. The opposite was held to be true by Remainers that Brexit would make Scottish independence more likely. It is only now years after the event when it has become apparent how difficult Brexit makes Scottish independence, that even Sturgeon has come round to this thinking. But it is not for the reasons she suggests.

We voted to leave the EU in 2016. We actually left in January 2020. The transition period ended in December 2020. So, we have had a little over 8 months completely outside of the EU and the transition. How does Sturgeon know that Brexit has made Scotland poorer? The UK growth rate in the second quarter of 2021 was 22%.

The ten-year growth rate of the UK economy is like a flat line until we reach 2020. The vote to leave the EU doesn’t even cause a blip. It’s only when we reach 2020 that there is an enormous dip greater than anything seen in decades. But this had nothing whatsoever to do with leaving the EU.

Whatever David Cameron and George Osborne dreamed up to convince us to vote Remain, it was as nothing compared to the pandemic. Whether we had voted to Leave or Remain we would have had the most enormous economic downturn, because we were all forced to stay at home. Leaving the EU looks like a rounding error compared to us being unable to go to work.

What effect will leaving the EU have on the UK economy in the long term? It’s far too early to tell. The economic argument for staying or leaving is reasonably balanced.

Being a member of the EU gave us access to the EU’s single market. But there was a catch. We had to pay a membership fee and we could not trade freely with anyone the EU did not have a trade deal with. Instead, we had to pay the Common External Tariff. We also had to agree to whatever rules and regulations the EU imposed on our economy.

Being outside the EU means we can in theory trade freely with everyone outside the EU, plus as a consequence of the deal we made with the EU we can still trade more or less freely with EU member states. We no longer pay the EU a fee, nor do we have to pay the Common External Tarriff and we no longer have to follow EU rules though we can do so if we wish.

The balance is between complete free trade with the EU versus the possibility of trading freely with the rest of the world. The EU is geographically nearer to us and it will take time for us to develop free trade deals with the rest of the world. But in the long run there is no reason to suppose that Brexit will make either the UK or Scotland poorer.

Theoretically the UK could become a freer, less regulated economy with more free trade deals than the EU. This would make us more prosperous. Whether it happens is a matter for Government and business.

Sturgeon complains that Brexit has led to a decline in EU migration, which Scotland needs. But net migration has increased sharply to the UK since 2019. Moreover, there is free movement within the UK and Sturgeon could set out to welcome some of the 60 million British citizens who live outside Scotland. For some strange reason she is reluctant to do so.

There were 715,000 migrants to the UK in 2020. How many more does Sturgeon need to fill jobs in Scotland. It would take approximately 7 years for this number of migrants to double the Scottish population, so if Sturgeon is feeling deprived all she has to do is attract them to Scotland or is it that she only wants Europeans?

The truth is that Brexit has not made Scotland poorer. Sturgeon is merely using it because she hopes Remainers in Scotland are still angry about the UK leaving even though Scotland voted to stay.

But unfortunately, this argument can also be applied to a Scottish independence referendum. Why should the Borders or Shetland be dragged out of the UK against it’s will? If Sturgeon would not allow a part of Scotland to have a vote on separation, why should the British Government allow a part of the UK such a vote? If it democratic to disallow a vote in the Borders even if 99% of voters wanted to stay, then it can hardly matter how many vote for the SNP. There is nothing undemocratic about saying No. Sturgeon would do likewise in Scotland.   

The real cause of Scotland’s running a deficit over 20% is that Sturgeon’s Government spends more than it earns. It would be perfectly possible for the SNP Government to live within its means, but this would involve budgeting rather than merely relying on the UK Treasury to send us free money every year.

Sturgeon’s popularity is in part because she gives Scots ever increasing public spending and free things that English people have to pay for. The Scottish electorate thinks that living within your means is something for those wicked Tories. So, if Sturgeon tried to cut spending, she’d be rapidly called a yellow Tory. But it is this and this alone that makes Scotland unable to afford independence. It is this also that makes us poorer economically.

The UK is safe so long as Sturgeon keeps splurging and wasting public money on ships that won’t sail and airports no one wants. The only danger is if Scottish nationalists grow up, accept that we spend more than we earn and resolve to do something about it. But that is as likely as finding JFK alive and well on the Moon.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Turning back the dinghies


It is surprisingly difficult to get to the UK legally. Even a tourist visa requires you to fill in lots of forms and demonstrate that you have enough money to visit here without there being a risk of you staying. To obtain the right to live and work here and especially to obtain a British passport is harder still. You have to pass various tests, pay thousands of pounds and after many years you get your passport. The alternative to all of these legal methods is to get in a rubber dinghy sail here and walk up the beach.

Britain has a policy of making immigration difficult in order to limit it. The legal route for immigrants could hardly be stricter and more expensive if we tried. But it only limits those who wish to come here legally. It does nothing to stop those who don’t.

There is a legitimate debate about immigration. Some people believe we should allow anyone who wishes to come to Britain to do so. We are all human beings. Why should there be borders at all?

We could say that no one requires a visa to come to Britain and we could issue passports to anyone who arrives and says they want one. We could do more than this. We could actively search for people all around the world who wish to come here and send planes to bring them.

The other side of the debate argues that we should take no asylum seekers, do everything we can to stop those who try to arrive here illegally and send back everyone who breaks the rules.  

What would be the result of unlimited immigration? It would radically alter the demographics of Britain. For instance, after the Second World War Polish people migrated into territory where Germans had been living for many centuries. The Germans were forced to leave. Afterwards what had been Germany became Poland. It ceased to be a German speaking place and became Polish speaking. The German culture that had existed there for centuries came to an end. This is an example of unlimited immigration.

Changes in demographics can also happen over a longer period. The Celtic population of Britain that existed before the Romans was gradually replaced with an Anglo-Saxon population with the Celts pushed westwards. Celtic Britain ceased to exist. The Celtic language and culture became a minority.

Britain like most other countries has always had demographic change. The Celts after all were immigrants too and replaced those who made Stonehenge and Scara Brae. But that is not to say that the Celts ought to have rejoiced in being supplanted or delighted in becoming a minority.

Since 1945 we have been experiencing one of the greatest demographic changes in our history. While previous waves of migration were from across the North Sea, now people from all over the world have been coming here in large numbers. Many of these people have made great contributions to our society. They are our friends and neighbours and fellow countrymen. It is foolish to oppose all immigration, not least because each of us has an immigrant in our family tree.

But still we must recognise that Britain has moved from being a monocultural country where 99% of the population were from families who had been here for at least a thousand years to a multicultural country where in some cities the majority have parents born abroad. We must be honest about this and the direction in which we are heading, otherwise we cannot debate the issue at all.

One of the reasons for Britain being successful as a multicultural country is that we have been able to limit migration. This means that those who arrive here have the chance to integrate and mix with everyone else. This would be less likely to happen if migration were unlimited as this would enable linguistic communities to develop who felt no need to learn English rather as the Anglo-Saxons felt no need to learn Celtic. But even limited migration will gradually very radically alter the demographics of Britain.

From the perspective of those living in 1945 the year 2045 a mere hundred years later would present a vision of Britain that many would find shocking and indeed quite unbelievable. They would find it difficult to understand how a Britain that could prevent the Germans invading in 1940 could fail to prevent people arriving here illegally in rubber dinghies. They would walk certain streets and wonder if they were in Britain at all. They would ask if Britain had been invaded by a foreign power.

But is there a way to limit migration still further and is it something we ought to try to do?

Some countries in Europe have very little immigration. Japan, Korea and Taiwan likewise remain overwhelmingly the same as they were in 1945. Poland lost 17% of its population in World War Two, Belarus lost 25%. The United Kingdom by contrast lost 0.94%. But while neither Poland nor Belarus thought it necessary to replace these losses with people from abroad, Britain argued that we required mass immigration to replace our losses.

Football fans in Poland and Hungary rudely boo England players taking the knee and demonstrate racist antipathy to these players, but I think what they are really saying is that we don’t want our country to become like yours even if that means we win fewer football matches.

There are very few non-Poles in Poland and most of these are from neighbouring countries. Polish is a notoriously difficult language. If you move there, you won’t find documents translated into your language. You won’t get much in the way of benefits and anyway the Polish Government does its very best to prevent Poland’s demographics changing.

It would be far easier for those in dinghies coming to Britain to just get on a train to Warsaw, but they are not interested. Britain is attractive partly because we speak English, but perhaps more importantly because there are communities from all over the world waiting to welcome newcomers and help them to get started. We are far less racist than the average Pole and far more friendly to migrants. Much of what ordinary Poles say to each other about immigration would be socially unacceptable here.

It matters little if a few thousand people arrive in dinghies. It matters little if twenty or thirty thousand arrive from Afghanistan. There is a good case for helping them. There is a humanitarian case that can be made for each individual that comes here, simply because he is a human being.

But cumulatively each of these things that matter little matter a lot. For while places like Poland remain as they were we change beyond all recognition from what we were even a short time ago. Some people welcome this. Perhaps they are right to do so. It looks as if the whole of western Europe is going to become much more multicultural in the coming decades just like the United States.

There is a whole ideology dedicated to preventing us from even expressing concern about how Britain has changed and will change still further. It has become the unforgivable sin to object and so the change will continue and indeed accelerate. We can no more stop it than we can stop the dinghies.

To seriously stop or even much limit migration would require a mindset that exists in some countries but does not exist in ours. It would require us to no longer be reliant on workers from abroad but instead have a birth-rate like we did in 1945. Turning back the dinghies is like trying to turn back the tide.