Tavistock: Not the Victory the Right Thinks It Is

Shutting down Tavistock gender clinic is not the victory the Right thinks it is.

When it was announced on Thursday that the NHS will be shutting down a children’s gender identity development service (not a noun I ever thought I would use), the Sophie Corcorans of the world jumped onto Twitter claiming this as a victory in keeping children away from trans ideology. However, what those so keen to jump on the celebratory bandwagon fail to recognise is that the reason that this clinic is being shut down is not because it was over-providing its services, but the fact that it was seen to be under-providing them. 

While there have been some concerns raised about the overdiagnosis of gender dysphoria, the main reason for the service being shut down has been due to concerns of under provision. The number of referrals to gender specialists across the country has increased from around 140 in 2010, to around 2,300 in 2020. Whereas in the past gender dysphoria mostly affected men who believed themselves to be women, the inverse is now true, and much of the additional referrals come from teenage girls; the same group who are targeted by all others who seek to create a groupthink craze. These stretch from the relatively harmless, like One Direction fans back in the day, to the magazines promoting anorexia in the 90’s – and in the true spirit of throwing the baby out with the bathwater – the same publications now using Tess Holloway to promote ‘health at any size’. 

Because of the immense increase in referrals, waiting times to be seen at Tavistock are now five years. According to Hillary Cass, who was tasked with reviewing the service and writing a report which was published this spring, the service was under ‘unsustainable pressure’, with the long wait times causing patients considerable ‘distress’ and ‘declining mental health’. While the right picked up the quote that the clinic was ‘not safe’ for children, they failed to see that the reason this was claimed is that their supposed needs were being ignored, as opposed to being sated. 

What this argument seems to ignore is that long wait times are good and necessary when dealing with children with no medically urgent needs. Given the number of young adults seeking to de-transition (aka reverse the alterations done to their bodies during their adolescence), forcing those seeking such services to have a long wait period to consider the permanence and impact of such a decision is an entirely sensible policy. In accordance with the government’s focus on levelling up, a new network of ‘regional hubs’ is being planned to replace Tavistock, despite the fact that for someone in Birmingham or Manchester seeking such a service, the need to make a trip to London may make them consider whether or not their reasons for doing so are legitimate. 

However, the long wait times that have been tacit government policy for decades (and quite successfully, given the negligible numbers of de-transitions until very recently) are now being undermined by private providers with even fewer scruples than the NHS. Given that upper middle-class children of guardian-reading intellectuals are most likely to want to transition in the first place, there has been an increase in private provision of cross sex hormones and surgery, as well as an increase in people going abroad for cheaper surgeries. In order to gain the Brownie points of ‘supporting their trans child’, the parents will do whatever is necessary to fast-track their child’s transition without giving them the chance to change their mind. 

In conclusion, shutting down Tavistock is not a victory for conservatives but a loss. The ideologically driven medicine that was once contained in London for those determined enough to make the journey will now be spread out across the country in order to reach more and more children. If the government keeps allowing supply to grow to keep up with the supposed demand, we will end up with a generation where fewer and fewer young people have healthy bodies, and even fewer with healthy minds. However, the worst offenders in creating this contagion among young girls is TikTok and an educational culture which defines its role as helping children ‘unlearn’ their biases, as opposed to learning the realities of the world: until this changes, nothing will. 

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The Conservative Party, once my ally, now my enemy

I considered the Conservative Party once as my ally. During the 2019 General Election, I found Boris Johnson’s policies admirable. Who wouldn’t want to see the country ‘level up’? Almost all policies I agreed with – except Net Zero by 2050. However, this appeared a relatively insignificant commitment; I assumed they wouldn’t keep it.

Alas, that Net Zero policy I disregarded has turned out to be one of the most significant debates this country would have in 2021. Much fluster was created for the climate summit in Glasgow. COP26, a gathering of globalists and hypocrites was, in my opinion, rather dull. An over-hyped event. I thought to myself that maybe it was a smoke screen to please the ever-growing environmentalists. Maybe it was just a policy that they didn’t want to pursue wholeheartedly after all.

Then I remembered the last 12 months. Chaos after every policy announcement. Chaos with the government. Chaos with the pandemic. It wasn’t just the chaos which I was concerned about, it was the very fabric of the Conservative Party.

Now a Blairite party, the members of the parliamentary Conservative Party have a choice to make. Do Members of Parliament want to reclaim conservative values through the party machine, or do they split off to pastures new?

In this current state, the Conservative Party is no ally to me. If you are a social and moral conservative reading this, then they are no ally to you either.

Social and moral conservatives are losing, for lack of a better term, the ‘culture war’. Recently, four Black Lives Matters protestors were cleared of all criminal charges for tearing down the Edward Colston statue. While this is fundamentally a legal issue, the acquittal speaks volumes to how we deal with protest. Protest should be about voicing concerns peacefully.

Yet, through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill Ministers are clamping down on protest in completely the wrong way. It seems that while the government loves their opinion polls as direction for policy, they cannot gauge the temperature of the ‘culture war’.

And so, it was with no sadness I ripped up my Conservative Party membership. I cannot support this party. David Cameron once said that he was the “heir to Blair”. These words will ring loudly when the Tories find their membership declining. I hope that the electorate and membership of the Conservative Party will realise that the Tories are no ally to the conservative movement.

But you may be asking, what party do I go to now? Well, if you are searching for my opinion, you will be disappointed. I have been politically homeless for some time now and unless the Conservative Party is destroyed there is no reason that I can see to join any other party. The Conservative Party is too large and established to be challenged from a political party standpoint.

Rather, we should be focusing our attention on the issues that affect our everyday lives, such as Covid restrictions. Fundamentally, we are now in a fight for freedom – you must stand up and be counted.

Quote: Now a Blairite party, the members of the parliamentary Conservative Party have a choice to make. Do Members of Parliament want to reclaim conservative values through the party machine, or do they split off to pastures new?

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Ukraine is the origin of Europe’s next refugee crisis

As Russia is poised to invade Ukraine, with a build-up of as many as 100,000 troops on the border and a concurrent supply of blood banks, commentators are concerned with what this might mean for the rest of the European continent. It may seem selfish to consider the impacts on Western Europe of a ground war in Ukraine, but an inability to think clearly about such ramifications led to a series of ‘forever wars’ in the Middle East, a refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, and the precipitation of homegrown terrorism. 

A recent Spectator article, from Owen Matthews, considered that economic sanctions on Russia would likely be enough to deter any invasion, as Putin does not want or need ‘more chunks of Ukraine – there’s no strategic, political or economic upside in fighting an attritional war over open country’. Perhaps not, and the cost of war would certainly be prohibitive, but this presumes that the gas lines to Europe will be turned off, at any point; Russia would not want that, as it would help to cover any military spending, and Europe cannot even consider it, as Germany closes down her nuclear plants and British energy bills are set to soar. 

But Russia can destabilise Europe in other ways; and the easiest way is to cause a refugee crisis. 

There are three main reasons why this is a likely possibility at this point. First, the Russian style of warfare is one that easily displaces populations: their typical attack plan is to besiege and pummel cities into submission, either with artillery or air support, and concurrently blockade ports until the population submits. The experiences of Russian tactics in Chechnya and Syria are evidence of this: in 2000, before nine years of attritional warfare would see Chechnya reincorporated into the Russian Federation, the Siege of Grozny decimated the city to an extent not seen since the Second World War. An estimated half a million people lived in Grozny by the time of the siege; today, there is just over half that number. 

Syria is the same story, with a few details changed. Rather than commit a ground presence, Russia engaged itself in the Syrian Civil War mostly in the air, with what was ultimately a five-year campaign that targeted anti-government positions, but killed as many as 2,000 civilians within the first six months. The refugee fallout of the Syrian Civil War cannot be laid solely at Putin’s door, but it is undeniable that the Russian style of warfare played a significant role in its creation. 

Then there is the actual population of Ukraine. Any ground war will not be a repeat of 2014, for a number of reasons, but the most important is the lack of support Russia and Putin experience amongst the Ukrainian population. The Annexation of Crimea was justified somewhat on the historical basis of Russia’s connections to the population and the resurgent separatism in the region; in Western Ukraine, there is no such support, and only 17% of the population hold any warm feelings towards Russia. 

Whilst it is never a certainty that a Russian invasion would displace the near-60% of Ukrainians who hold negative attitudes towards Russia, the rules of migration have drastically changed, and populations across the world are much more prepared to leave their homelands if forced to. Moreover, of the 25 million Ukrainians who hold negative attitudes, if only 1% of that number – 250,000 – decided to head West, Eastern European nations would be facing a series of very difficult questions indeed.

Which brings us to the third reason why a refugee crisis is likely; Ukrainians are already heading West, and have done for some time. Economic trends across Europe have seen improved national economies in the Eastern European nations, the Visegrad Group, to the extent that they are actually facing a labour shortage. Consequently, worker flows to Western Europe have slowed, and itinerant workers from Romania and Ukraine have increased in number; so much so, that there are over 300,000 Ukrainians in Poland alone. 

This figure has been manageable because of its gradual growth. The same number turning up on the Polish border would not be met with the same warmth; indeed, we already see this with the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. Accusations that the Belarusian government has been engineering the crisis are credible, but not the whole picture: Lukashenko stands by Putin very closely, and has accused the West of trying to ‘drown the region in blood’. It would not be beyond the bounds of possibility for the Russian regime to be orchestrating the refugee crisis on the Polish border, but even if they are not, who is to say that they will not in future?

Almost no-one is discussing the reality that the next European refugee crisis is brewing in Ukraine, and the hardest truth to face up to is it might not even need Western nations’ involvement to erupt. The hard questions Europe has faced for nearly a decade are about to get harder.

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Win Big, Win Small; Win Everywhere

“We’re going to win so much; we’re going to win at every level…You may even get tired of winning.”

 Donald Trump is not an orator in the traditional sense of an eloquent speaker, but his ability to generate soundbytes that inspired confidence in the conservative movement is great. The above quote highlights a particularly American and entrepreneurial attitude towards any given task, and with the conservative pushback against modern liberalism in the Southern United States one wonders whether the confident rhetoric helps motivate people to produce results. This is especially the case when comparing the energetic American conservative political scene with the dull, soggy and wheezing conservative movement here in Britain.

The conservative right movement in Britain is tired for a number of reasons. With very few significant wins on a national level, there is little to be happy about. Contrast this with the leftist-captured Conservative Party enacting progressive left’s policies for them, such as the recent passing of a section of the Public Order Bill (already an affront to liberty) in which the majority of Conservative MPs supported a clause to establish buffer zones around abortion clinics to ban protests; even the progressive organisation Liberty expressed concerns over how heavy-handed the bill is. In addition, we recently saw Liz Truss’ attempt to have open borders with India, though her resignation may lead to this being shelved – hopefully. Hope is something we are in short supply of, and so I propose a change in strategy.

Here is some context to what I will be proposing: the Mallard’s own Chris Winter graciously drove me to our recent drinks reception in Birmingham earlier in October, joined by Xander West and the notorious Sam Martin. I am sure many of our readers will know that with such a combination of personalities the drive was a great deal of fun. Towards the end of our journey there was a shift in the conversation towards more serious topics – the relevant one being discussing how to refer to our own conservative movement. I proposed a more neutral term – dare I say a more inclusive term to reflect the conservative right’s diversity – on the grounds that especially on the topic of nationhood, many on the conservative right are taking the route of focusing on local politics. This is on the grounds that national politics could very well be too enveloped by the progressive blob to be overthrown, and that there is much that can be done from the parish, borough or even county level to preserve local communities from imposed progressive dogmas and laws, housing illegal immigrants and asylum claimants and better regulating local police forces. This view was not well received; national politics is where it’s at. I propose that we will be in a far better position if we contested for power on both the local and national level.

I may be slightly misrepresenting the views of Mr West, Mr Martin and Mr Winter – the conversation was quite brief in the end as we tried to locate where to drop ourselves off – insofar as they may actually be open to contesting local politics. Consider the above more of a device used to advance the plot; to set the stage, if you will, because the conversation needs to be had over right-wing strategy.

To begin with, we as the conservative right need a goal to work towards. This much is easy; we want to resist and overthrow the progressive blob that dominates the political discourse and once-great institutions. I, alongside some other political innovators, are already putting together a policy paper aimed at tackling the national issue. Most other Mallard writers and Mallard-adjacent activists are dead-set on identifying and finding ways to counter national issues. However, there are clear examples of effective resistance to the progressive blob from the local government.

Linton-on-Ouse became part of the vocabulary of the Twitter right-winger due to the Home Office’s attempts to pack the small town of just 1,200 with asylum claimants. There were fears that asylum claimants would outnumber the local residents, drastically changing the shape of the town’s identity permanently. Thank God that a whopping 300 jobs would have been created – totally worth it. We were rightly up in arms about the whole affair, but I have not seen equivalently intense celebrations over the fact that the local council and community’s efforts to resist the mighty state’s will actually worked. The leader of Hambleton District Council, which covers the town, stated that had the council not resisted the policy that “there would already be asylum seekers on site”.

Guys, why aren’t we motivated by this to replicate this success elsewhere when possible? Why aren’t we trying to win at every level, including the local one? 

The central government does a great deal to destroy traditional communities and families, but so does local government. This is why we should devote some resources, and I deliberately do not say “divert” because too many of us aren’t utilising any of our resources frankly, towards gaining power in local councils. For example, the awful, silly, loony w-word Green council of Brighton and Hove mandated that schools should tell white students that they are inherently not “racially innocent”. On a more disturbing note, it was specifically local councils that held a great deal of the blame for not appropriately protecting children from predominantly Muslim grooming gangs, which is especially important because this abuse is still taking place. Some of these councils gave groomers positions of power, which is all the more reason to make sure that these councillors do not have power. There is a fantastic short documentary on YouTube that goes into great detail about how the hard-left utilised local councils in London to push their agenda. Gentleman, take notes- they won by doing this!

It isn’t just local councils that make a difference. Local Education Authorities, while they are under the Department of Education, hire local people like one would hire for any other job. It’s true, the best long-run solution will be to either disband these institutions or reform them from the top, but until we are in a position to do that it is arguably important to frustrate the blob in their efforts to spread progressive liberalism to our children. Going back to the United States, take inspiration from there; local school boards in North Carolina and other states have banned “Critical Race Theory”. The conservative movement in America is motivated and is doing things with tangible results. 

Donald Trump’s mantra of winning at every level is alive in American conservative politics, and the extent to which their victories are due to simply being motivated to actually do something is greater than I think others realise. The only major conservative figures in the United Kingdom with a near-equivalent level of reach and charisma include Nigel Farage, Reverend Calvin Robinson and Neil O’Brien MP. Nigel, as Samuel Martin and William Yarwood correctly pointed out in a recent Twitter space, is reluctant and exhausted – evident in his recent call for others to join him in leading the next movement against the Conservative Party. Reverend Robinson, a great Anglican Christian which the Church of England bloody-well needs, seems to be making some progress in making progress in political activism, though I would like to see more specific initiatives beyond electoral pacts. Neil O’Brien, a self-professed proponent of national conservatism (mega-based!) is likely constrained by a combination of his workload, the Tory Whip, and party politics in general to coordinate local efforts – though I may be wrong; if you live in his constituency, by all means get in contact with him to get something done.

What I am getting at by bringing these people up is that there aren’t enough energetic leaders in our political movement. There are commentators, politicians and so on, but leaders give out orders and organise people under their command. They have deputies and lieutenants who manage smaller units to coordinate activism in an effective manner. The conservative right in Britain needs leaders, which is a fact not lost on many in the Mallardsphere. Daniel Evans, another writer of ours, is especially a proponent of the idea that we need to be ready to do something when a leader, a commander, appears. In the meantime, I propose that we get to work, and that means you the reader if you’re currently idle, on any of the following projects:

  1. Stand as a council candidate and try to win. If there’s anything the aforementioned short documentary teaches us, it’s that families from all backgrounds tend to disapprove of their children being taught perverse nonsense. Use that to your advantage, and become a moral campaigner that your community can organise around. Lead efforts to oppose the central government’s housing of illegal immigrants. My biases aside as a party member, I really would recommend standing under the Conservative ticket purely because of the resources that would be available to you.
  1. If you do not wish to become an elected politician (I wouldn’t blame you), apply for a job at your Local Education Authority. Infiltration has to start somewhere, and you will be remembered fondly if you are the one brave enough to actually do it. Work competently and be virtuous; oppose progressivism when possible and strategically – there are some battles that can only be won after a great deal of scheming.
  1. Maybe the first two options just aren’t your cup of tea. You have a job already that is too demanding, or you aren’t qualified enough. That’s no problem, go for something less demanding; plain-old, traditional activism. You could apply to be a school governor and wield influence through there; get a group of your local like-minded friends to do so and wield even more influence. Start a community newsletter for parents to inform them of what their children are actually being taught to generate awareness of leftist indoctrination, and start informal parents’ groups as a forum to discuss concerns about what their children are being taught. Become a figure for your community to organise around and go to for opposing indoctrination.

If you are already working on influencing national politics and have a clear role in doing so, by all means continue – that is more or less what I am pursuing, to make it clear. But for those who are idle, or feel that the big state is too mighty to take on, why not take on something smaller, closer to you; the borough council? Our movement can win so much, on every level if we put the work in; win big, win small, win everywhere.

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Considerations on Revolution

The 28th of December of this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Soviet Union was a product of the so-called `Russian October Revolution` which sought to “liberate” workers and establish a communist utopia but in truth resulted in the murdering of the Romanov royal family, government-engineered famines which killed millions in Ukraine, persecution of Christians, a secret police force, and slave labour camps. Inevitably, like most violent political revolutions, the Russian one ended in failure after 75 years.

The Russian Revolution is, however, a product of the nature of revolution itself. According to the Brazilian traditionalist thinker Plinio Correa de Oliveira, revolution is made up of three distinct stages. The first stage consists of a crisis in the tendencies which he describes as “disorderly tendencies [which] by their very nature struggle for realization. No longer conforming to a whole order of things contrary to them, they begin by modifying mentalities, ways of being, artistic expressions, and customs without immediately touching directly – at least habitually – ideas.” The second stage is the revolution of ideas, which means that, from the aforementioned deep tendencies, arise new dogmas. On the revolution of ideas, Plinio states, “they at times seek a modus vivendi with the old doctrines, expressing themselves in such a way as to maintain a semblance of harmony with them. Generally, however, this soon breaks out into open warfare.” Lasty, Plinio mentions the revolution of facts, whereby revolutionary beliefs and ideas are made into physical practice through both violent and non-violent means. It is presented by Plinio as when “the institutions, laws, and customs are transformed both in the religious realm and in temporal society.”   

Violent revolutions survive to the extent that they can hold on to the momentum which put them in power in the first place. This attempt at maintaining momentum while in power most of the time means the removal of enemies of the revolution at all costs which, in some cases, also includes the very same people who initiated it in the first place, for the revolution always eats its own children like Saturn devouring his own offspring, and as the Savoyard counter-revolutionary thinker, Joseph de Maistre says, “it is usually the revolution which leads men, not men lead it.”

Even more dangerous, however, than bloody and violent revolutions are those which are cultural and metaphysical, and concerned with popular thought. This is because the consequences of such revolutions are felt more often than not in the long-term and usually start out as mere harmless reforms.

Two such metaphysical values emerge from metaphysical revolutions: absolute equality and absolute liberty. These two values are typically also accompanied by two parallel vices: pride and sensuality.

The proud man yearns for egalitarianism because he hates all authority but that over himself. Because of this, he hates superiority of any kind, and thus contains within his mind-set and heart, hatred for God. It is this pride which creates what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI calls the “dictatorship of relativism” meaning that man has dethroned God and made himself his own god. This is why we have the issues of, for instance, multiculturalism or gay marriage, which proclaim that we cannot discriminate between different cultures and religions, and that we cannot say that a heterosexual family is the only true family respectively, because in doing so we would be affirming superiority.

Sensuality and absolute liberty, on the other hand, are but mere synonyms for modern liberalism. Man`s intelligence guides his will, and his will ought to guide his sensual appetites. The core dogma of liberalism is to revolutionise this inherent nature and reverse it so that sensual appetites dominate man. As St. Augustine rightfully says, “a man has as many masters as he has vices.” Hence the revolution seeks to justify the worst of passions in the name of individual liberty as a metaphysical value. Because liberalism stands against Christian principles upon which the West was built, such as the maximisation of freedom to do good, and modesty, naturally it becomes the antithesis to Western civilisation itself, for liberalism seeks to maximise freedom for evil and promotes sensuality. Therefore, because of the opposing natures of Christianity and liberalism, they can never coexist.

Both egalitarianism and liberalism produce disordered tendencies or vices. The more these vices are satisfied, the more extreme they become. This is why today we find ourselves in a time of erroneous doctrines and moral crises. These errors tend to lead to new errors and new crises until they succumb to an abysmal disorder. One can say that the West today finds itself at this latter stage of the revolutionary process, id est, in its final death rows.

To sum up, the revolution always has its peak period, the one during which it establishes, on paper, all humans as equal brothers of the world and gives them rights of all kinds. However, once this peak period of the revolution subsides, it spends the rest of its days destroying itself. Therefore the truest enemy of the revolution is not some outside opposing force, but rather the very decadent nature of itself.

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Humber Bridge 2

When the Humber Bridge was completed in 1981, it was the longest single span suspension bridge in the world. 41 years later, it has been reduced to a mere 11th place. The current longest single span suspension bridge in the world, the Akashi Kaikyo bridge in Japan, stands a mere 500 metres longer. This is an unfathomable disgrace for the people of Great Britain and is, quite frankly, a national tragedy and embarrassment. To add to this disgrace, another bridge, the ‘Çanakkale 1915 Bridge’ will soon be completed in Turkey. It will kick the Akashi Kaikyo bridge from its number one spot, and move the Humber Bridge to a measly 12th place.

Therefore, for my submission to The Mallard’s project 22, I would like to make a simple but resoundingly important proposal: build a second Humber Bridge (Humber Bridge 2 some would say) and make it precisely one metre longer than the Çanakkale 1915 Bridge, therefore reclaiming Britain’s rightful place in the world as the country with the world’s longest single span suspension bridge.

This proposal is likely to ruffle some feathers internationally, and I imagine our friends in the East would be quick to try and build another, even longer single span suspension bridge somewhere else. The solution to this possible outrage is, of course, simple: Build a third Humber Bridge.

These proposed projects have a myriad of benefits that I am sure are obvious. I will however go over them in an attempt to convert the non-believers. Not only will these projects drastically increase the infrastructure of the East Riding of Yorkshire and Northern L*ncolnshire, they will also bring desperately needed construction work and employment to an otherwise overlooked region. The construction of perhaps five or six Humber Bridges over the next 50 years would create literally thousands of jobs for engineers, technicians, builders, and labourers.

Coming in with an estimated price tag at just over £2 billion each, I am sure you can see that these bridges would be an absolute steal for the price!

I know what you’re thinking ‘He can’t be serious! This is a joke right?’. No, I am being very serious. As the nation which invented the bridge, I think it is perfectly reasonable that Great Britain goes to great lengths to have the longest one in the world, the lack of one is wounding to our pride. If you do not support the construction of perhaps eight or nine more Humber Bridges in our lifetime, not only are you a coward, but I can only assume that you are also working in favour of foreign governments, which makes you a traitor, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit here and be lectured by some fifth columnist.

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The Tragedy of the Praying Indians

A generation after the first Thanksgiving, colonial Massachusetts experienced the single deadliest per capita war in North American recorded history. Though the famed declaration of friendship between White settlers and Native tribes was within living memory for many of the fighters in this war, it did not in any way soften the animosity nor stay the violent hands of either side. This was King Philip’s War, a turning point for American history, the war that set the precedent for Anglo/Native relations for centuries to come, and yet one that is woefully unknown and underdiscussed even West of the Atlantic. It left all parties involved scarred, traumatised, and for one group even less understood than this forgotten war, a betrayal never to be overcome.

It is 1675, and the titular King Philip, Christian name of the Sachem (chief) of the Wampanoag, Metacomet, has lead a raid on the New England colony town of Swansea in retaliation for the English executing three of his countrymen for the murder of one John Sassamon. Despite his European name, Sassamon was a Harvard-educated Praying Indian, the name given by the Puritan colonists to the groups of Native Americans that had adopted the faith and customs of their new neighbours. He was a respected member of Metacomet’s court and a cultural mediator who had recently informed the Plymouth governor of the Sachem’s intention to gather tribes for war. His murder was seen as revenge for this betrayal by the English, but this perceived overreach of the colonial authorities, in killing his kinfolk without consultation, was the pretext Metacomet was waiting for to being this war he had been so wanting.

The raid on Swansea was a horrible affair. The Wampanoag laid siege to the town before overcoming the militiamen defenders and laid a terrible waist upon the hapless civilians. Many women and children were butchered neath the tomahawk that day, and the other colonies were quick to respond to the massacre. The Praying Indian warriors were keen to come to the assistance of their European allies to meet this aggression, and expected naturally to be accepted as a welcome aid by their dear friends. They were in this, and in much else, utterly and tragically mistaken. Though the Praying folk saw the English as firm allies, this was a decidedly one-sided relationship. That these natives had taken as their own European clothes and custom, and English tongue and English Bibles, mattered little, for to the Europeans the Praying Indian inescapably remained, above all, an Indian. An outsider worthy always of suspicion over trust.

The early stages of King Philip’s war were not good for the English. Despite the common contemporary view of the various North American colonial conflicts as being between technologically advanced musket-wielding Europeans versus bow and hatchet-armed Natives, there were a lot of shared weaponry and tactics between them. This makes sense when considering that by the late 17th Century Natives and colonials had known of and been trading with one other for decades, and many groups had enthusiastically adopted firearms to fight their tribal rivals in wars over fur-trapping land. These years using European technology served the Wampanoag well in the first engagements of the war, and using them they beat the English militias in a number of battles up and down Massachusetts Bay. An opportunity of spiritual warfare was also presented; when a near total eclipse of the moon one night allowed the tribal warband to slip out of the colonial noose tightening on their swampland capital and make for the wilds. Such a freak lunar event at such a crucial time was seen as a divine blessing by the Wampanoag, and an ominous sign of heretical magic by the English, who were thoroughly demoralised by the affair.

Native successes in the war made the situation for the Praying Indians deteriorate rapidly. The English feared uprisings amongst the settled natives, and in a grim turn, dissolved the praying towns that had until then served as a shield for the colonies, and moved thousands of Indian civilians into  internment camps, with over 1,000 being crammed into just one at Deer Island. Conditions in the camp were dreadful, and the families kept there doubled as hostages to ensure the loyalty of the Indian scouts fighting with the English. Many hundreds would die over the cruel winter of 1675-6. Puritan minister John Elliot would fight hard against this policy, but by this time it was dangerous to say anything to the defence of Native Americans, no matter the tribe or custom, and he was powerless to stop it.

As for the success of the Wampanoag and their allies, it would not be the English that finally overcame them, but their own kin. Upon hearing that the Mohawk tribe to the West were moving in force towards Massachusetts Bay, Metacomet and his men eagerly turned to await these new allies in their fight against the White man. He was, however, gravely mistaken. In a single action the Mohawk warriors fell upon the Wampanoag, upon the Narragansett, upon all the troublesome Algonquin Confederation and massacred them almost to a man. Metacomet’s power was in a single night broken, and broken by his own kind. He fled to the wilderness, shattered and alone, and would be later slain by the musket shot of one of those who had been, despite everything, loyal to the end; a Praying Indian called John Alderman. The war continued for a further two years in scattered skirmishes, but hope for victory died with Metacomet, King Philip himself, in the Massachusetts swamplands.

King Philip’s War devastated all involved. It resulted in the deaths of 2,000 Natives and 2,800 colonists, the near total annihilation of the Wampanoag and their allies, and of the English settlements nearly half were attacked with hundreds of civilian deaths. The Praying Indians suffered perhaps more than any; hundreds of their already small population had died, and the discrimination and suspicion they had suffered from the English before the war had metamorphosed into open hostility and hatred. They had considered the Europeans their brothers, in culture and Christ. They had adopted their ways and their God, severing themselves from their Algonquin brothers of Old in favour of the civilised and energetic New.

It did not save them.

The newcomers did not see brothers, they saw Indians.                                                                            They did not see Christians, they saw Indians.                                                                                                      They did not see allies, they saw Indians.

When it came down to it, ingratiating themselves to their new neighbours did not save the Praying Indians. For their efforts and their loyalty, they received only tragedy and betrayal, they died like the rest.

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here.

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So What?

At the end of last month, the first results of the 2021 UK Census were published. As many will recall, the results were simultaneously, although not quite paradoxically, shocking and expected. The information published showed that 1 in 6 UK citizens are born in another country – ten million of the UK’s 69 million; a 33% increase from the 7.5 million a mere decade ago.

The details were shocking insofar that few expected a demographic shift of such extreme proportions, even when compared to the last census in 2011. Nevertheless, they were expected. As anyone with an elementary understanding of British politics knows, the political system has pursued, less-so out of empirical consideration and moreso out of humanitarian (“it’s our moral obligation!”), diveristiarian (“diversity is our strength!”), and utilitarian (“immigration grows the economy!”) dogma(s), a policy of mass immigration since the late 1990s.

Just last week, data from the ONS showed that migration into Britain had reached a new record of 504,000 – a net increase of over 331,000 from the year prior. Keep in mind, all of this has happened despite the public’s clear and consistent opposition to immigration, nevermind the magnitudinous demographic change it has caused.

As soon as the data went public, one could piece together the overarching division of attitudes. Some welcomed the rapid erosion of Britain’s native-born citizenry. By contrast, the murmurs of the moderate-minded indicated a sense of foreboding. If the data on citizenship is this demographically untenable, what on Earth is the data regarding national identity going to look like?

Well, now we know. Reported by the ONS, the UK 2021 Census showed:

“81.7% of residents in England and Wales identified their ethnic group as within the high-level “White” category in 2021. A decrease from 86.0% in 2011.

As part of the “White” ethnic group, 74.4% of the population in England and Wales identified their ethnic group as “English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British.  This is a continued decrease from: 80.5% in 2011 and 87.5% in 2001.”

As with the initial citizenship data, many celebrated this seismic change, suggesting that fewer white British Christians in Britain amounted to a moral improvement.

On the other hand, some deemed the largest demographic shift since late antiquity to be completely ineffectual. Directed at Nigel Farage’s reaction to the census, which underscored the shrinking ethnic British population in London, Conservative MP Sajid Javid tweeted a forthright and mask-off response: “So what?”.

“It’s not happening and that’s why it’s a good thing” as the saying goes.

Nevertheless… So what? Well, for a start, it shows that the 2011 Census wasn’t a one off, but signified the start of an unprecedented trajectory: the continuous decline of the ethnically British population. On its own, this should be alarming, but the fact this demographic shift has occurred within a single generation makes it even moreso.  Needless to say, but worth saying nonetheless, to do so without consultation from or consideration of those implicated is, to put it moderately, extremely irresponsible.

Moreover, what good is talk of “integration”, the oft-proposed silver-bullet to the consequences of immigration, if the historical ethnocultural in-group, the one which immigrants are supposed to integrate, cannot sustain its hegemony? At most, they’ll “integrate into” (perpetuate) a godless ratrace; a demoralising sluggish existence against the world’s richest on the housing market and the world’s poorest on the labour market. As Morrissey says: shelve your Western plans… Life is hard enough when you belong here.

As it stands, numerous communities across England and Wales are majority-minority – where the national majority group constitutes a local minority – a fact which makes panicked rhetoric about rhetorical divisiveness all the more out-of-touch. Mutually-segregating, and often mutually-loathing, communities have been around for decades, the census just reaffirms this reality.

More to the point, who could expect integration? Flimsy abstractions of Britishness aren’t holding British society together. Having a cuppa, forming an orderly queue, and appealing to vague, arbitrary, and contradictory notions of “tolerance” and “inclusion” and so on just doesn’t cut it. What is a nation, especially a democratic one, if it cannot inspire loyalty?

The rate of immigration and concentration of immigrant and immigrant-descended populations diminishes any incentive or expectation of integration, no matter how willing the native population is to water down the criteria of national belonging. If people can choose to associate and live amongst their kind, they shall do so – as has been the case since the dawn of time. Blood is thicker than water, even if the water is boiled, milked, and caffeinated.

But beyond a debate of causation, whether it’s a case of “can’t integrate” or “won’t integrate”, both instances point to the same overarching problem: Britain is fragmenting.

In order to accommodate the contradictory complexities of the world, primarily a consequence of the similarly unwanted reimagination of Britain as a “global” entity, “Britishness” has been reconfigured from a distinct identity – something that people indivisibly are, that their parents are, that their parents’ parents are – into a bureaucratic technicality – something that people can have, should and whenever they be so inclined; from a complex and unique ethnocultural particularity to a two-dimensional universality.

This fact, combined with evidently unmanageable and unpopular immigration numbers, is not a good omen. Rather, it risks gradually wiping Britain from the face of the Earth; from its unique and beautiful place in relation to a global diversity of similarly unique and beautiful ethnocultural organisms to a crude amalgamation of all-else, pathetically bound though an appeal to inoffensive all-inclusive emptiness.

All the more fitting then that the census should also reveal a collapse in religiosity. In a nation where church and state are bound, less than 50% (46.2%) of the population identifies as Christian – down from 59.3% in 2011. Simultaneously, those self-identifying as having “no religion” surged from 25.2% to 37.2%. This is the first time in 1000 years that Christainity is not the majority faith.

Of all the census details, this is perhaps the least surprising. For decades, we’ve barely considered ourselves “Cultural Christians” – those that tick the box, but don’t attend the service. In this regard, the 2021 Census is merely a formal confirmation of long-waning Christainity.

Who could have seen any of this coming? Actually, quite a few people. Back in 2011, then-UKIP leader Nigel Farage, citing statistics published by Migration Watch, said that the UK could expect 50,000 Romanians every year over the course of ten years. 

At the time, these numbers – as well as millions of ordinary people – were lampooned and ridiculed by the media, politicians, comedians, and (most damning of all) the Experts (the Serious People that Know Things), as delusional racists, fruitcakes, loonies, and so on.

Nevertheless, a decade later, that is exactly what has transpired. The census revealed that the number of Romania-born people living in the UK amounted to 539,000 – a 576% increase from 2011.

It’s no secret that Farage’s acknowledgement of immigration-led displacement of white Britons was one of his early selling points. Indeed, it was arguably as important (if not more important) than his euroscepticism. As has been established time and again, the latter is very much a product of the former. As such, it’s rather uncharitable to interpret his aforementioned comments with regard to London as anything but a reiteration.

Additionally, there’s David Coleman, former Professor of Demography at Oxford University, who predicted back in 2013 that, if demographic trends continued, “white Britons could be a minority by 2066” – a prediction which not only remains valid after the 2021 census but, evidently, did not assist him in retaining his then-already under-pressure position.

Granted, these are only notable examples. I cannot begin to imagine the number of normal people that have lost their livelihoods for concurring with such predictions, nevermind articulating the sentiment that they spelt trouble. Not even then does this account for those who have been scared into silence by active legislation and the fear of a vitriolic social death. You can be targeted for far less.

The inability to talk about matters in a frank, open, and civilised manner compounds problems which arise from matters which provoke the desire to discuss them in the first place.

On the religious front, Peter Hitchens has written and spoken about Britain’s post-Christainity on multiple occasions. Ever since WW1, Britain’s religiosity ceased to be sincere, instead being a series of motions undertaken without spiritual, theological, or moral investment. Now that there’s no room for doubt, one can expect the iconoclasts of Diversity and Inclusion to erase whatever hollow secularised traces of Britain’s Christian identity still exist in public life.

Put diplomatically, none of this is sensible. Quite the contrary, all these convergences spell catastrophe. Over the past few years alone, we’ve seen the fledglings of a nihilistic balkanised Britain.

Back in September, the now white British minority city of Leicester – a so-called “model” for a ‘diverse but cohesive’ Britain – fell victim to ethnoreligious rioting between Indian-descent Hindus and Pakistani-descent Muslims. Far from ‘diverse’, the riots were a replication of pre-existing global troubles.

To bare witness to the impotent, ahistorical, buzzword-laden gush of no-name ‘community leaders’, drowned out by an eruption of third-world carnage in Britain’s oldest settlements, as the mainstream press obfuscate the essence of the problem, is to bare witness to the self-deluding and short-sighted nature of Britain’s post-war political establishment.

Throughout various towns and cities across England, South-Asian grooming gangs have targeted white children since the 1980s. The police, more concerned about causing offence than networks of child prostitution, ignored the plight of the victims for several decades. Not even MPs could discuss the matter without facing repercussions.

Along the south-east, the perpetual tide of migrants (legal and illegal) has caused social unrest, so much so that coastal residents have taken to barricading their homes. The rate of immigration has skyrocketed housing costs, led to panicked hotel cramming by the Home Office, as well as an explosion of council-sanctioned homelessness.

Immediately following the release of the ethnicity data, tweets taunting white Britons to “come get your capital back” go viral, along with recorded procolations that Britain “is our country now”. Erstwhile, those of immigrant backgrounds descend on the capital, declaring their undying allegiance to a country that isn’t the one that houses them.

As for the sainted discourse, the goalposts of debate are shifted from “relax, you’re a local majority” to “relax, you’re the largest minority group” and pieces bemoaning “gentrification” are replaced by pieces celebrating “diversification”.

In the case of London, now 36.8% (down from 42.7% in 2011), some have tried to deflect any and all discussion of this matter by appealing to insinuations of white nationalism, forgetting that this entire question is, in essence, an ethnocultural one.

The idea that an unprecedented, unasked for, and potentially irreversible shift in the composition of a major city, nevermind an entire country, would not matter to the people insofar the shift was driven by those identifying “White Other” is obtuse and arrogant. Indeed, even when such a racial commonality exists between ethnically native and foreign-descended populace, there are still longstanding consequences.

As mentioned at the start, all of this boils down to mass immigration. The old and moneyed, addicted like junkies to the coursing streams of cheap foreign labour, are prepared to carve Britain’s youth out of the social contract in order to get their fill. Big business, professional activists, bureaucratic functionaries, and main-party politicians have locked arms and tirelessly marched in lock-step against my generation, their national belonging, and their prospect of a better future.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have demonstrated their indifference towards the problem of large-scale immigration-led demographic change. If anything, they have encouraged it, despite the pleas of their core voters.

Under Blair, Labour pursued a policy of mass-immigration to “rub the right’s nose in diversity”, simultaneously creating a pool of votes on which the party could rely in future elections, and accelerated Britain’s descent into ‘humanitarian’ quangocracy.

By not-so-much contrast, the Conservatives, having promised for decades to reduce immigration, won a landslide majority with the aid of traditional Labour voters (distinctly opposed to immigration) with a pledge to fulfil the spirit of Brexit – retainment of the sovereign control of borders to reduce the mass influx of people – only to do the exact opposite once in power. Don’t attribute to “failure” what is, in every respect, a design choice.

In the media, the Sensible umpires of political discourse, with clear-minded sobriety and transparent neutrality, insist that mass immigration is completely unstoppable and that we should shut up and make-do.

Likewise, in the equally Sensible world of think-tanks, mass immigration is supposedly the magical solution to all of Britain’s economic woes; everything from unprecedented high-tax levels to Britain’s economic  stagnation. Even a general overview of Britain’s economic performance these past few decades is enough to clock that such “expertise” is merely an officialised delusion.

More than mere snark, “So What?” perfectly encapsulates the underlying problem of our entire political system. Everything, from the political media to think-tanks to sitting MPs, pushes depoliticisation. The art of the possible is replaced with the art of the impossible. A decision of indecision, democratic deliberation, and the alternatives it affords, is supplanted by the arbitrary apolitical confines of authoritarian managerialism.

By opening up a multitude of historically unprecedented political fronts (tension between ethnocultural groups) whilst depoliticising the policy areas pertaining to their creation (post-war immigration policy) the British political system has manufactured an increasingly unsustainable ethnocultural divide.

In a scrambled effort to feign unity, schools across the country are mandated to teach the British state’s reinvention of its foundational identity, utilising empty appeals, laden with contradiction and irony, to “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs“.

It does not occur to our leaders that democracy is the conduit by which identity groups will compete against others, that high social trust is prerequisite to liberty, or that mutual respect and tolerance can be hard enough within predominantly monoethnic/monocultural societies, nevermind increasingly multiethnic/cultural ones. In the end, all that is left is the brute force of authority.

Being the only politician with sizable political support that is prepared to deliberate this fundamental matter, Farage’s hour of decision is upon us. If he does re-enter politics, he must do so on the back of these census results. The stalwart indifference of the political class, and all that has transpired as a consequence of their dogmatic recklessness, must not be allowed to continue.

If he does create a new party, there’s every reason to believe he’ll be rewarded handsomely at the ballot box. The Conservatives face electoral annihilation. Javid, fully aware of this fact, is not standing at the next election; presumably why he felt comfortable telling his constituents (96% white British) that their survival, in their own native land, never meant anything to him.

That said, few expect things to improve under a Labour government. Having never promised a precise number on immigration, one could safely bet, if they ever did, that a) it wouldn’t be sufficient or, if it was, b) they’d u-turn on their promise once in power – just like the Tories.

However, should Farage decide against a new party (or leadership of an already existing party), he must stand aside for an alternative to manifest. Whether we like it or not, as Britain’s demographics continue to change, especially at the current rate, ethnicity, identity, and all things in-between will become a far more prevalent part of our politics. We must be prepared to address these matters – for our own good and for the good of others. The only thing worse than an insufficient answer to the demographic question is to never answer it at all.

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What the reaction to the Ukraine conflict reveals about national identity

A country is first and foremost its people.

Despite my best efforts I cannot remember where I came across that phrase, nor will I be so brazen to claim it as my own. Nonetheless, it has always struck me as being axiomatic, and current events in Eastern Europe have given me reason to reflect on it further.

The West, including our own country, has since the end of World War II (and in some circles even before then) eschewed notions of national identity and even the concept of the nation itself. Borders are seen by many as a physical expression of violent exclusion and “othering” of fellow human beings, who should be given immediate and untrammelled access to any society they wish; free at any point to up and leave for another.

Politicians, organisations and members of the public alike, particularly those on the Left, are quick to espouse the idea that migration and asylum are human rights, which sit above the rights and privileges that attach to existing citizens.

A cursory glance through the Guardian’s migration articles tells you everything you need to know about how the Left views borders and the right to self-determination in 99% of cases involving the West. They unceasingly extol the supposed virtues of multiculturalism and appear to truly believe in the idea of open borders, with scant regard to the existing people of a nation.

Yet on one matter, the notions of inviolable borders, the nation, its people and the right to self-determination have come flooding back into consciousness and are being defended vociferously by those who otherwise have spent the last 80 years denigrating them and holding in contempt those who seek to re-establish them as common sense norms.

What is it about the ensuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine that has stoked the fires of righteous indignation in defence of a nation presently undergoing a hostile invasion by another?

Surely the mounting death toll plays its part in this reaction. But I am not convinced that is all.

What we are witnessing, it seems to me, is on some level a tacit realisation and acknowledgement that there is after all such a thing as a nation state, a specified people attached to and belonging in that nation state, and the right of that people to remain distinct, separate, independent and free to maintain their own homeland. It is tacit, not because those who express dismay at the current situation do so silently, but because they do not openly admit the source of their opposition to Putin’s aggression.

Back in July 2021, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin wrote an article, published on the Kremlin’s official website – On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians – in which he outlines the common bonds that ultimately make Russians, Ukrainians and indeed Belarusians one and the same people.

“Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are all descendants of Ancient Rus” he writes, “bound together by one language (which we now refer to as Old Russian), economic ties, the rule of the princes of the Rurik dynasty, and – after the baptism of Rus – the Orthodox faith…[which] still largely determines our affinity today.”

Of the constituent republics of the now defunct USSR, he says “Of course, inside the USSR, borders between republics were never seen as state borders; they were nominal within a single country.”

Mr Putin argues that “some part of a people in the process of its development…can become aware of itself as a separate nation” who should be treated “with respect.” He even goes as far as to suggest that those people should be welcome to establish a state of their own, but only after a satisfactory answer has been proffered to the question “But on what terms?”

It is clear that he does not truly believe the Ukrainians (or Belarusians for that matter) are as distinct from Russians as they like to believe. This he confirms later, essentially repealing his earlier platitudes, when he writes “But the fact is that the situation in Ukraine today is completely different because it involves a forced change of identity.” In other words, whilst some people undergo a change in identity and should be allowed to go their own way, this is not the case in Ukraine who have had such a change imposed upon them; a change it appears Mr Putin feels is incumbent upon him to help them resist.

Leaving aside the moral questions surrounding Mr Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine and whether he is justified in his view of the Ukrainians being fundamentally Russian, let us explore the principles he is applying.

What Putin is suggesting here is that the Russians and Ukrainians, though occupying separate, autonomous territories, comprise the same people, united by a common ancestry, language and heritage. In other words, the lineage of Ancient Rus endures, despite some fragmentation here and there along with the establishment of states independent from one another.

Such a set-up has historical precedent. The Ancient Greek City States were seen as being inhabited by fundamentally the same people – Greeks – yet each with their own independent territories, the citizens of which took on an identity derived therefrom whilst simultaneously maintaining their overarching Greek identity. One could be a Spartan and a Greek, or an Athenian and a Greek. Either way, one was still a Greek.

This shines light on something quite interesting in terms of the conception of a people. For, and I have long been aware of this, one’s citizenship merely denotes one’s rights and status within a state, not one’s membership of a people.

In other words, membership of a people, whilst it could be enshrined in law (and I think there are good arguments it should be – this appears to have been the impetus behind the idea of the nation state to being with, now weakened by lax immigration policy and the doctrine of multiculturalism), ultimately pre-exists that law and the citizenship that might formalise it. As Sir Roger Scruton wrote: “Nations emerged as forms of pre-political order that contain within themselves the principles that would legitimise sovereign government.”

This idea of pre-existence is quite clear in Putin’s understanding of the underlying indivisibility of Russians and Ukrainians. Yes, they occupy different states and maintain distinct citizenship. But, crucially, just like the Greeks, they share an overarching identity and membership otherwise not indicated by co-habitation of the same land.

No doubt millions of Ukrainians would reject this view point. Yet, in doing so, they too would be applying the same principle – namely that their being Ukrainian pre-exists the Ukrainian state. In fact they could reasonably argue, in contradistinction to Putin’s claims, that it is this very pre-existence which endows the Ukrainian state with its right to exist separately from Russia. Their very sense of themselves as a nation acts as the motivation behind their dogged defence of their national territory.

When it is said that a people have the right to self-determination, as many are now saying of the Ukrainians, which “people” do they mean? I think they can only reasonably point to a people who would in the absence of a state to call their own continue to be extant and identifiable.

If, for example, the state of Ukraine underwent a sea-change in its population such that the members of Ukrainian society, Ukrainian citizens, were largely Germans or Somalis or indeed a farrago of peoples of widely varying languages, cultures, customs, religions and historical descent/heritage, they would be Ukrainian in name only, solely by virtue of their citizenship. Assuming those who we presently know and recognise to be Ukrainian people occupy another region of the world, would they not continue to be Ukrainian notwithstanding that the territory of Ukraine would have been abandoned?

In fact it is quite obvious that Ukrainians are considered a people in their own right by the intention of the International Court of Justice to investigate claims of genocide as a result of the conflict.

According to Article II of the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide is defined as specified acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”

I would submit that an awareness of a pre-existing membership of a particular and identifiable people has long been found in those of us who believe in nation states and borders. But I would also argue that that same awareness can be found in those on the Left who are denouncing the Russian invasion. For if Ukrainians are not a people in their own right, why should they have self-determination? If, as Putin holds, they are Russians, does it make sense to say that they are entitled to that determination? It would be tantamount to asserting that Russians are entitled to self-determination from Russians. Applying that logic, there should be no opposition to Surrey declaring a bona fide independence from the rest of England.

If those crying out in defence of Ukraine do not see a people that pre-exists its nation state, but rather a people identified only by the continued existence of that state, they nonetheless do acknowledge that Ukrainians are a distinct and separate people albeit merely by virtue of citizenship, irrespective of background.

Let us assume for a moment that is the correct view. This does not change the fact that Ukrainians, even by admission of the Left, have the right to decide for themselves their own future. Such a freedom must surely be unfettered, meaning that any and all decisions that could affect them within their borders should be within their exercise of control.

I think the notion of a people based on pre-existence to a state, though manifested and formalised by the creation of a state – a homeland – is the better one, without which the nation state is less well-grounded and defensible. Another reason is that if a people are identified by the existence of the state they occupy, what happens if that state ceases to exist?

None of this is to diminish the role that territory plays in the identity of a people. On the contrary, and as alluded to above, that role is of paramount importance.

The occupation of territory, together with the establishment of institutions endowed with a sense of identity and which reflect the culture of its people, is a direct manifestation of that pre-existing status that subsists in the absence of a law that enshrines and protects it.

Scruton put it thus: “National loyalty marginalises loyalties of family, tribe and faith… [placing] before the citizen’s eyes…a country…defined by a territory, and by the history, culture and law that have made that territory ours.” He goes on to say that “Nationality is composed of land, together with the narrative of its possession.”

As such, the nation state of a people – their homeland – becomes as much a part of their identity as their cultural practices. The loss of that homeland does not to my mind destroy them as a people but it is certainly a gross offence against their identity which serves to alienate them from themselves, even if not completely.

In this way, and as now brought to our attention in the most alarming of ways, borders matter. But more than that: the reaction to the invasion of Ukraine proves to us we already knew that, including those who ceaselessly advocate for the right of all and sundry to enter a Western country as if it were more their right to do so than our right to preserve our sense of who we are by exercising full control over our borders.

Russia might be invading Ukraine with tanks; the United Kingdom has been invaded by other means – unwanted mass immigration which has encouraged millions to arrive with their own cultures and sense of who they are in distinction to us who were already here and whose sense of ourselves is intimately bound up in our own homeland, its institutions and its history – now all under assault for being less than perfect and not reflective (rightly so) of peoples whose cultures and identities evolved thousands of miles from our shores.

It is time we recognised that if, as I would agree, Ukraine has a right to exist for the benefit of Ukrainians, detached from Russia and free to determine its own future, we in the West and in particular Great Britain, have that right also. We, too, are a people. Our state, our kingdom, might be the result of a unification of the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish peoples, but each of us retains our own unique character and, importantly, homeland. Although there is some agitation to dissolve the union in Scotland (and in some parts of England), the preservation thereof derives from continuing mutual agreement without impinging on that uniqueness.

The same cannot be said for the results of mass immigration and multiculturalism which, whilst allowing newcomers to preserve their identities, serves to undermine ours whose is expressed in the country we have for a thousand years called home, but is now threatened with having to accommodate increasingly vast differences while losing the benefit of a retreat to somewhere recognisably ours such as was available to Englishmen and Scotsmen alike prior to 1945.

Any student of history can point to numerous examples of the inherent difficulties in establishing territorial dominion over multitudinous peoples who differ so widely in matters of culture and identity that open conflict eventually bursts out and engulfs the region. The situation as we face it in Great Britain, brought about by absurd notions of cultural relativity, is unsustainable.

The circumstances in which Ukraine now finds itself are objectively much more urgent and dire and, admittedly, have come about in a different manner: but the intended outcome is the same. Putin is, after all, making an attempt to reabsorb the Ukrainian people into a Greater Russian family, thereby extinguishing their identity. He will fail to do this absolutely, but if he succeeds in establishing dominion over the territory that otherwise acts as a significant expression of who they are, their identity will be materially reduced.

Such a loss would not necessarily mean a displacement of the Ukrainians to other lands, but the incursion of other peoples’ customs and laws, however similar Putin might hold Ukrainians and Russians to be. In this way, the expression of the Ukrainian people via a country and institutions that becomes less recognisable to them will serve to alienate them and prevent them from self-realisation and determination.

The Left knows this. They know that borders provide a delineation between “us” and “them” – this is of course why they hate borders. Yet in the case of Ukraine that same knowledge prompts them to defend, at least in word if not deed, the rights of the Ukrainian people to maintain a homeland for themselves.

If Putin does manage to subdue Ukraine in the immediate term, the longer term will be much more difficult. The Ukrainian people’s conception of themselves – a conception that pre-exists their own nation state – will likely prompt them to persevere in re-establishing it.

A country is first and foremost its people. But we in the West would do well to remember that if a people lose entitlement and independent jurisdiction over their homeland, whilst they might continue to endure in some form or other, their destiny will no longer be in their hands.

Photo Credit.

We Need a New Edward Watkin

This current period of postmodernity lacks a certain idea of permanence which our forebears once possessed. So much of what this civilisation produces, if one could still deem it such in its hyper-atomisation, is ethereal and consumable in a way that amounts to a sort of permanent revolution. Even those who still build tangible things in this society risk having no legacy. One only needs to think about all the mid-twentieth century modernist and brutalist architecture we destroy, to replace with not too dissimilar glass boxes, when considering the lifespan of today’s skylines or infrastructure.

If civilisation is to thrive once again, we could do worse than looking to a great visionary in our past as inspiration for a better future. I therefore propose Sir Edward Watkin (1819-1901) as an ideal role model for both his repeated proposals of grand projects and the almost surprising feasibility of all of them. I think it is worth first to give a historical account of him, then suggest a grand project based on his ideas.

In short, Watkin was the quintessential Victorian railway baron, yet so much more. The energy he possessed during his life was nothing short of astounding and went far beyond the railways for which he is mainly remembered today, but those achievements remain a good place to start.

From his first position in the industry as Secretary of the Trent Valley Railway in 1845 until the completion of the Great Central Main Line in 1899, Watkin’s presence was felt just about everywhere. ‘The Railway Doctor’ rescued the bankrupt Grand Trunk Railway in British North America and transformed it into the then longest railway in the world. His chairmanship of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway forged a vast network of lines across the industrial North West and North Midlands. He drove the Metropolitan Railway deep into the Middlesex countryside and beyond, ultimately creating swathes of London suburbia and a bevy of other towns. He steered the South Eastern Railway through the Panic of 1866 and further expanded it through that part of England. He became director of the Great Eastern Railway in 1868 and drove it out of bankruptcy, employing the help of fellow MP Viscount Cranbourne, later the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury and Prime Minister. He advised on railways in four continents and built the last main line in Great Britain until High Speed One over a century later. I might add that this list, however impressive it might be, is not exhaustive.

The ever-restless Watkin was not content with merely the above. Whilst saving the Grand Trunk Railway, he was enlisted by the Cabinet to take part in talks to create the Dominion of Canada. This resulted in a buyout of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which he personally negotiated after the British and colonial governments refused to do so. Elsewhere, he pioneered the first public parks in Salford and Manchester, as well as the first footpath in Britain dedicated for public use going up Mount Snowdon. Watkin developed Grimsby into the largest fishing port in the world and neighbouring Cleethorpes into a major Victorian resort. In 1894, he opened a large pleasure garden with a football pitch in a rural parish where the sheep outnumbered the people called Wembley. Readers might have heard of it. Again, this list of achievements is not exhaustive, and I am omitting most of Watkin’s political work in this article for the sake of brevity.

However, Watkin’s life and works were not without their faults, of which he is best known for two. The first was the Channel Tunnel, the only link in his envisioned railway from Manchester to Paris which was not built during his lifetime. He and his French counterpart successfully tunnelled 3.6 miles out of 22 under the English Channel before the British government forbade further work in 1882. This was the point when his contemporary critics pointed and said ‘now he really has gone mad’, but Watkin proved it was entirely possible over a century before the modern tunnel commenced digging. The site under Shakespeare Cliff and his twin tunnel design were both adopted in the 1980s. When the machine drilling the current tunnel broke into Watkin’s forcibly abandoned project, the engineers found it was dry after over a century of sitting abandoned.

The second mark against his reputation was the Metropolitan Tower, intended as London’s answer to the Eiffel Tower and the centrepiece of the aforementioned Wembley Park. The winning design from Watkin’s competition was to be 1,200 feet tall, 150 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower at the time, and the tallest structure in the world until the completion of the Empire State Building in 1931. If it had been completed, it would still be the tallest building in the United Kingdom today. Unfortunately, this would-be monument to heroic materialism was scuppered by a lack of willingness from investors to fund such an extravagant speculation. The first stage was finished in 1895 at a height of 154 feet, but a redesign several years prior to cut costs had already sealed its fate. Only four of the planned eight legs of the tower were built, putting too much pressure on the ground and leading to subsidence. Watkin’s Folly, as it had become known, met its fate via dynamite in 1907. Wembley Stadium now stands on the site, with its arch rising to 436 feet to serve as the constant advertisement Watkin had once hoped for his tower.

It is safe to say that if Watkin were on the parts of Twitter frequented by many readers of this publication today, he would be regarded as a radical Anglofuturist. His manifold ambitions demonstrate an absolute faith in the United Kingdom and its future at the forefront of global civilisation. With knowledge of some of his ideas, energy and determination, one can now imagine a grandiose yet entirely feasible project to strike a course away from national stagnation and decline.

We shall call it the Great Central Railway Company, a fitting revival of a name for what one can foresee as the backbone of a coherent and comprehensive railway system for modern Britain. This cannot be a state venture as most modern railway projects have become, subject as they are to hordes of overpaid bureaucrats and special interests. The GCRC would be a private company naturally responsible for every part of its operations and with the logical aim of out-competing Grant Shapps’s reheated British Rail in every way.

It would first be useful to lay out the technical and aesthetic quirks of this company’s core railways. China has been extremely industrious in its construction of very high-speed lines over the past decade or so, thus Britain can and should do the same. Our trains would be the old British-made InterCity stock on steroids, which one shall call the InterCity 325, with a top speed of 325kmh. It might be pandering, but perhaps we should also incorporate some ideas from the Mallard steam locomotive in these trains; it relates nicely that the refurbishment program for the InterCity 225 carriages was called Project Mallard. Aside from being a rather nice shade of blue, its curved front still maintains a surprisingly modern appearance despite it being over 80 years old.

Infrastructurally, this company would not mess around with glass boxes or minor ventures. GCRC main lines would have four tracks as a minimum to separate the local and freight trains from express services. Stations would be of a two-platform island design, plus as many more platforms as needed for express and branch line services. Smaller stations would be built with a dignified but cosy atmosphere in mind, whilst the larger stations would be designed akin to a palace for the people as the Great Central Railway’s Nottingham Victoria once was. I am quite sure this would actually turn out to be cheaper and more visually appealing than doing something artsy with glass and/or steel for the millionth time.

Now for some actual railway lines, of which I shall discuss two focussed around tunnels once thought of by Watkin. We shall start with what could be called the New Eastern Main Line at Dungeness, which Watkin once wanted to turn into a resort town like Cleethorpes, and strike northwest by ‘borrowing’ a rather straight freight line across the Romney Marsh. We shall carry on until Tenterden, whence it would curve slightly to brush by the east of Headcorn and then go on to Maidstone. There would have to be some urban negotiation by viaduct, as there would be in the Medway conurbation, before emerging into the open countryside of northern Kent around Wainscott. It would then move north, go under the Thames to Canvey Island, and begin its whistlestop tour of eastern English towns. It would travel past Benfleet, Hadleigh and Rayleigh (with interchange for London), then Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford and Great Dunmow before reaching Stansted Airport to its east. Onwards it would go to Royston, Godmanchester and Huntingdon, then Peterborough (with a complete rebuild of its station) before reaching Spalding. In Lincolnshire, it would follow several mostly abandoned lines to Boston, Louth and Grimsby before ‘borrowing’ a couple more lines to reach a tunnel under the Humber at New Holland. We shall stop discussing this line in detail with Hull, with it having achieved Watkin’s plan of connecting Hull with the south, but from there it could easily go deeper into Yorkshire and beyond.

The other line I shall discuss will be the Great Central Main Line, but with a route beyond Watkin’s achievements which shifts this project from being defined by a semi-romanticised past for the sake of the present to defining the very future of this Kingdom. I think a new terminus next door to the original Marylebone but larger is fitting, then ‘borrowing’ the London to Aylesbury line from its current custodians. It would then follow the old railway up through Rugby, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Sheffield and finally Manchester via the Woodhead Tunnels, but from there we must go further north. It would make its way through Salford and Bolton before reaching Blackburn and Preston. Then it would go in a straight a line as practical near the M6 to Lancaster, Kendal, Penrith and Carlisle before reaching the Scottish border at Gretna. The next leg of this line would see a rather straightforward journey through southwest Scotland, the only towns of note on the way being Dumfries and Newton Stewart. However, at Stranraer we must irrevocably change the political and economic trajectory of the British Isles with a tunnel under the Irish Sea to Larne and ultimately Belfast. There may be a large munitions dump in Beaufort’s Dyke which would merit some praying during construction, but the benefits of joining the two main islands of the United Kingdom, even those which are merely symbolic, cannot be understated.

One could envision the natural evolution of dozens of branch lines serving further towns and cities from just these two lines alone. Indeed, the entire national infrastructure network could reorient itself with just a handful of main lines inspired by Watkin’s vision, prompting a new era of construction which merges the functionality of technology with our primordial desire towards the beautiful. These railway lines would also give many counties much-needed economic relevance through the secondary emphasis on freight, a far more prevalent aim of the railways from Victorian times until Beeching, giving eastern counties in particular the opportunity to have purposes other than being London’s barracks or middle-of-nowheres.

All that is needed is the money and willpower to see this project through. With a new Watkin in our midst, I am sure that we can once again find the willpower, wherefrom the money would follow, to reassert our faith in this country by building something remarkable. I hope readers agree.

Photo Credit.

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