Friday 24 November 2023

This autumn has changed everything.


I hadn’t heard anything at all about Geert Wilders for years. I vaguely remember there was some connection between him, and Pim Fortuyn the Dutch politician murdered in 2002. Wilders made a film that was hostile to immigration in general and Islam in particular. He had a strange hairstyle. Then nothing.

I don’t follow Dutch politics. There is a problem with the British media. We follow every detail about US politics, but we don’t even know the names of the parties in the Netherlands. There might be the odd story about France or Germany or Italy, but who can name the Prime Minister of Belgium?  It means we don’t understand what is going on around us.

Wilders won the Dutch election, but he will have to form a coalition and he only has about a quarter of the seats, so whatever he is planning to do won’t happen. The Quran won’t be banned, nor should it be. It is vital that we all try to understand Islam. Freedom or religion is a crucial right. The Netherlands will continue to accept asylum seekers. To try to ban all asylum seekers is to try to ban Anne Frank and her family from coming to the Netherlands.

Even so the victory of Wilders will change everything about Dutch politics and perhaps in time European politics. This autumn has changed everything.

Most people like to think of themselves as moderate in their politics. Most people try to treat others decently no matter their race or religion. Most people do not oppose moderate levels of migration or helping people who have genuinely been persecuted. I don’t believe that suddenly a quarter of Dutch voters have become far right racist thugs. They are just tired of nothing being done and they are also frightened.

We have had it easy in western Europe since 1945. There are few places in the world as wealthy and as free. It has also made us complacent. So long as I have a decent job can buy what I want and go on holiday once or twice a year why should I pay attention to how my country is changing, why should I complain?

This is still the case in Britain. Most British voters are absolutely horrified by the Pro Palestinian anti-Israel demonstrations. It’s not just what these people are saying that horrifies us it’s their numbers. When they call for Jihad, we begin to hope they don’t mean to carry it out here. Who would stop them? The police?

So too when it is announced that nearly three quarters of a million people arrived in the UK last year and six hundred thousand this year, we can still just about shrug our shoulders. They are mainly in London and other big cities and anyway the overwhelming majority of the British population is the same as it always was.

But then you begin to wonder about the statistics. Last year’s figure was revised up by one hundred and fifty thousand as the method of estimating turned out not to be accurate. They are guessing. They have no idea how many people actually are arriving or staying.

I don’t believe the census figures at all. When I go to a supermarket in Aberdeen the census tells me one thing, but my eyes and ears tell me another.

But still nothing will be done in the UK. It’s not bad enough yet. We have a large population. What does it matter if it is 67 million or 69 million? So, we will go on for a while yet voting for either Conservative or Labour.

But it’s different in the Netherlands, which is a tiny already densely populated country of 17 million. If one and a half million can come to the UK in two years, they could equally well come to the Netherlands. Worse they could equally come to Ireland, which has a population of 5 million.

Ireland has gone from being 86% white Irish in 2006 to 76% in 2022. Far more migrants have been “planted” in Ireland in the past two decades than in the first two decades of the 17th century. The demographics of Ireland is being changed permanently and very, very quickly.

It may be that you rejoice in this. It may be that you welcome it. But you certainly can’t complain about it, or you will be called the equivalent of Geert Wilders.

The problem is what on earth can you do? The UK left the EU in part so that we could control our borders. But it didn’t work. The Conservative Party wanted to increase migration. But let’s say you really wanted to limit migration and illegal migration too. Look at what happened when the Government tried to send illegal migrants to Rwanda. First, we’d have to leave the European Court of Human Rights, then we’d have to break this treaty, then we’d have to break that treaty, then we’d have to disobey the United Nations. It turns out that to send one illegal migrant to Rwanda you have to become a pariah state. To do anything you have to go become Geert Wilders. You have to cease being a moderate. But who wants to be an extremist? No one. So, we do nothing.

It is easier in a large state like Britain to do nothing. For us the real problems are twenty or thirty years away, perhaps more. We can be complacent for a while yet. We can luxuriate in our moderation.

But in Belgium the original Belgian population is down to 65%. Other small European countries could see their demographics changed radically by an extra million here or there and what is going to stop that million?

The EU has free movement and open borders. Once you arrive anywhere in the EU you can travel where you want. In many western European countries there are large communities from everywhere in the world who will help you, tell you the rules and get you a job.

We have low birthrates, because we are comfortable, can’t be bothered and nothing must get in the way of our two holidays. But I think the European population has just noticed the consequences of our complacency and indeed our decadence.

There will be a continent called Europe and countries called the Netherlands, but unless something is done to change the direction of travel, they won’t be remotely like they were in 1945. It’s not even clear that you will hear Dutch in Amsterdam fifty or a hundred years from now.

After all I hardly hear Doric in Aberdeen now.

If you liked this article, then cross my PayPal with silver and soon there will be a new one. See below.