Friday, 31 March 2017

Nation Revisited # 126 April 2017

All articles are by Bill Baillie unless otherwise stated. The opinions of guest writers are entirely their own. This blog is protected by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19: "We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people."
The African Personality - Peter Wallis
From Action September 1961

The fate of Africa cannot be a matter of indifference to us in Europe. Interest and morality alike decree our involvement in this vast continent with whose destiny we chose to interfere in our imperial past, and in which large numbers of our fellow-Europeans have settled during several hundred years. It is therefore unwise to close our eyes to any evidence which may throw light on the complex problems facing Africa today.

Among the influences with which we have to contend is the emotional appeal of what is usually, wrongly, called African nationalism. African racialism would be a more accurate term, but racialism is of course a dirty word in the political vocabulary: it is only Europeans who commit that crime. But call it what you will, it exists.

"Today there is a new African in the world, and that new African is ready to fight his own battle and show that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs," declared Dr Nkrumah at Ghana's independence celebrations, and his speeches since have all been full of talk of the "assertion of the African personality."

However much we may doubt whether Dr Nkrumah's actions have justified his proud boast of African capacity for self-government, the question of "the African personality" is certainly an interesting one. Is there in fact any such thing? The phrase occurs again and again in a recent collection of African writings edited by the American negro poet Langston Hughes, "An African Treasury" (Gollance).

In spite of the effusions of the editor there is little of any great literary merit here, though one or two of the poems come across well enough. "African Heaven," by Francis Ernest Kobina Parkes, with its opening lines: "Give me black souls, Let them be black, Or chocolate brown, Or make them the colour of dust" - may not exactly put Eliot or Pound out of business (it does rather remind one of Stephen Spender, though) but it is a forceful reminder of the emotional appeal of his blackness to the rootless African intellectual with no other means of identification with his fellow-negroes.

The political pieces are on the whole rather banal. All of them could easily have been taken from the pages of Encounter or The New Statesman, several of them were. There is nothing very memorable here except Peter Abraham's article "The Blacks" which by illustration sums up the situation of the minority of educated westernised Africans, frustrated by the lack of opportunity for them both in tribal Africa and European society.

Jomo Kenyatta is a case in point. Peter Abrahams' reminiscences show him storming out of a tribal ceremony in his honour muttering "I can't stand any more." Yet shortly afterwards Kenyatta was to be jailed for his part in the Kenya troubles.

So much then for the "African personality." In fact no such thing emerges, only a conflict between the tribal heritage on the one hand and an ersatz Europeanism on the other, as harmful to the African as to the European.

This is not perhaps, a book to comfort the white settler interest. Neither should it bring comfort to the pious sentimentalists of the Left - though so blinded by their own self-righteousness that they are likely to welcome it without seeing its deeper tragic implications.

Lastly a word about apartheid. Throughout the book the word is used as synonymous with the white man's injustice to the black. This travesty has now become a commonplace of English journalism, and its high time that someone pointed out that such injustices as exist  - and he would be both blind and foolish who denied they do exist - are the result of a hangover from old-fashioned colonialism and the lack of genuine apartheid.

In fact only real separate development, leading ultimately to separate nationhood, can allow a true "African personality" to develop, and so resolve the conflict, not just between black and white, but within the negro himself, which this book so clearly describes.

The Age of the Superficial

Presidents, prime ministers, chiefs of staff, and senior executives are surrounded by spokesmen but some of them can't keep their mouths shut.

Clement Attlee, the post-war Labour prime minister, was a man of few words. A BBC reporter once thrust a microphone into his face and asked: "Prime Minister have you anything to say." Attlee looked at him contemptuously and replied; "No." Nowadays we would have been subjected to fatuous phrases, such as; "let me be absolutely clear about this," or; "I think we would all agree." This would be accompanied by beaming smiles and practised gestures designed to sell snake oil.

Dave Cameron was a master of waffle who gave us such meaningless phrases as; "The Big Society" and "The Northern Powerhouse." He was chosen by his party because he was a good looking young man with the gift of the gab, unlike Clem Atlee who was a taciturn old man with a bald head.

The police are just as bad. Every major crime now results in  television appearances by a high ranking officer wearing an 
impeccably tailored uniform. Through perfect teeth they
convince us that their particular police force is doing a magnificent job and remind us how grateful we should be to be protected by such bold gendarmes. The fact that they have no idea who committed the crime is not allowed to spoil the performance. The days of Dixon of Dock Green making a simple statement are long gone.

The courts are another rich source of unnecessary comment. We have come to expect lofty reflections from soberly-suited magistrates and high court judges in their wigs and gowns who dispense judicial waffle together with justice.  

Not to be outdone churchmen of all denominations issue pious pronouncements from the whitewashed chapels of the non-conformists to the sumptuous cathedrals of Catholics and High Anglicans.

The Church and the courts can keep their traditions but we can do without meaningless verbiage from politicians lacking in principles and common sense but brimming with self confidence. We live in the age of the superficial. 


The Chilean mine rescue of October 2010 was achieved with courage and leadership. 33 miners were trapped 700 metres underground for 70 days following a collapse at the Copiapo mine. Led by their shift supervisor, 54-year-old Luis Urzua, the men organised themselves into working parties and arranged food distribution, sanitation, communications and religious services. Thanks to their discipline and team spirit they maintained morale and none of them suffered serious injury. A rescue shaft was drilled and a special capsule was designed and built to carry the men up to the surface, one by one. The last man out was Luis Arzua.

Heroism is common in wartime but leadership and courage is just as important in peacetime. The Officer's Training Corps gives young men and women the chance to develop their leadership skills. In fact, most of them do not pursue army careers but their training and discipline is just as essential in industry. Similar schemes such as The Duke of Edinburgh's Award have equipped thousands of young people with valuable life skills. The Scouting Movement also instils the virtues of patriotism and comradeship.

The young officers who led our armed forces in two world wars were the product of an educational system designed for the purpose. Hopefully, we will never have to repeat their sacrifice but we will always need leaders. We have survived the egalitarian obsession which gave prizes to everyone to avoid disappointment. Determination must be rewarded because nothing can be achieved without effort, and nothing can replace leadership.

As a ten-year-old boy I had the honour to be presented to  Field Marshal Montgomery. He was born in his father's vicarage at St Mark's Kennington and I went to St Mark's School. We were all lined up like soldiers in the playground
when the great man inspected us. To my young eyes he radiated leadership. Years later I read his autobiography and met old soldiers who had served under him. And I found that my boyhood impression was well founded.

Free Speech and State Repression

Theresa May has kept her promise to the Jewish community to stamp out anti-Semitism. Several political activists are serving prison sentences and Jez Turner of the London Forum is facing prosecution. Her government treads carefully when dealing with left-wing organisations but patriotic movements are fair game. This has long been the case. The following editorial is from Action of October 1961:

The Lefty press has been horrified at the Home Secretary's action in banning under the Public Order Act the "Committee of 100" from demonstrating in Parliament Square. Some interesting admissions were also made in the Tory press when the old birds started clucking.

For instance, The Sunday Telegraph (17-9-61) explained "Government hopes of keeping order in Central London are pinned to an Act that was originally designed to deal with Britain's Fascists. The activities of Sir Oswald Mosley's Union Movement led to the passing in 1936 of the Public Order Act."

Leaving aside the obvious error in this statement (Union Movement did not exist in 1936) this is a remarkable admission indeed. It says right out what we have always claimed: the Public Order Act was not so much concerned with keeping order as with supressing the pre-war British Union.

Every trick in the game has been tried - from encouraging Red mobs to attack orderly British Union meetings, down to private prosecution of British Union members - without success. So pre-war Conservative Government, fearful of the mounting success of British Union, tried to smother it under the cover of the Public Order Act. It failed: it had to go to war in 1939 to do that.

The Sunday Pictorial on the same day went one better. You always get even more hypocrisy on the Left. It said the Act should never have been used: "It was originally passed to stop pre-war Fascist rioting." Something is clearly wrong with the Pictorial's memory - has it forgotten already what its old pals from Whitechapel and Aldgate were doing in Cable Street in 1936? - Jack Spot and his fellow-gangsters, the comrades from King Street and the rest of that alien throng?

The Battle of Cable Street - picture FOM

The fact of the 1936 rioting is that Mosley and the Blackshirts proposed to march to four meetings in Bethnal Green, Bow, Limehouse and Shoreditch on October 4, 1936; areas in which they had great popular support, as was shown at the LCC elections the following March when they polled 23 percent of the votes in Bethnal Green, 19 percent in Limehouse and 14 percent in Shoreditch.

To prevent the march and four orderly meetings the Communists and some Jews organised violence. They mingled with the crowd in their usual tactics to make an armed attack on the march. The police banned the march to prevent injury to onlookers; the Reds then proceeded to attack the police with their weapons.

It was left to a weak-kneed Conservative administration to complete what the Communists had started. Alarmed by the success of the New Movement in Britain, they rushed through legislation to ban the Blackshirt movement.

They used Red violence as the excuse for banning the one effective answer to Red violence. As always, their Public Order Act was humbug from start to finish - they had long surrendered public order to the Communists.

The Path to Europe by Lindsay Kent reprinted from Lodestar No 17 Winter 1991

English patriotism has been denigrated and attacked for years. Its revival and the reassertion of national confidence must precede any constructive part in which our people, along with our Welsh and Scottish companions, can play in European development. We need the combination of all the diverse national sentiments across the common continent, not their diminution or conflict with one another. None of us should ever feel smothered by a "foreign" majority or incur the slightest further damage to our individual tradition, but we do need to unite so that we can all again have a decisive impact upon future world history. This balance is difficult for our particular country, but the picture can be clarified with a few thoughts.

During the recent regrettably under-played Battle of Britain celebrations, I was among those who felt the catch in the throat as memories were evoked by the chugging sound and monochrome sight of the Spitfire piloted in Kentish skies, and the history and poetry of this "blessed plot... set in a silver sea" returned to heart and mind. Yet this sentiment is perfectly consistent with the knowledge of the damage done to our country and to our entire civilisation by two Anglo-German wars, an admiration for Teutonic achievements in music and scholarship, and a realisation that our "island race" and the Germans, many centuries earlier, were largely the same people. Much as I acknowledge the virtues of Islam or the genial loyalism of many West Indians I do not feel in the least "foreign" among the Germans or the French, whereas this sadly  is not the case when travelling around the new "ethnic communities" resident in our ancient cities. And it is not a matter of "pigmentation."

What is it about the character of our English villages, market towns and cathedral cities that makes one feel a national patriotism? They are distinctive, of course, but paradoxically  much of their appeal lies in their very European character dating back further than Nelson or Drake to a time when Europeans shared a single faith, while branching out with the languages that derive from the "Aryan" original. Lagos and Delhi, Peking and even Los Angeles, do not feel "ours". With York or Salisbury, Triers and Rouen, there is a sense of belonging. Our "island story" - banned from school libraries by the leftwing censors of "multiracialism" - was one of Britons, Romans, Saxons, Danes and Norman French, a European history.

Our family of peoples made a civilisation still faced with internal and external dangers, whatever the truth about Gorbachev and the American banks that keep him afloat. Differences between Nordic and Mediterranean, or Celt and Slav, have become as irrelevant as the denominational dissentions among Christians. We all face problems of population overspill from the "decolonised" third-world, rampant materialism, the egalitarian ideology that accompanies decadence and runaway technology that can
split atoms and splice genes with horrendous social consequences. Readers should peruse the neo-Spenglarian accounts in such studies as Apocalypse 2000 by Peter Jay and Michael Stewart and Shall We Make the Year 2000 by JG de Beus.

England must re-adapt its politics, along with its immediate neighbours and former "dominions," precisely in order to preserve its essential character, and to recover effective control over "our own affairs." This entails sovereignty over changes inside British boundaries and co-operation, with others likewise threatened by international forces, over external supplies and meeting hostile threats. We should join the French and Germans against redefinition of our homelands as "multicultural societies" re-opened for Afro-Asian immigration on a scale unprecedented since the Mongol and Saracen hordes. Ideological nonsense, unscientific sloganizing and psychological terror used by so-called "antiracists" must be intellectually defeated and politically superseded.

A half way house between the old Europe of Nations and a new Nation of Europe, however, will bring the worst of both worlds. Elected European government should be concerned almost entirely with defence of this geostrategic region, and with credit-control and trade agreements to secure self-sufficiency and a balance between production and consumption, but little more. (The member for Finchley must not return from the Gulf to renew hostilities across the Rhine by the way). If compulsory multiculturalism can be overcome, and British patriotism and competence revived we might, even yet, feel sufficiently on top of events to contribute peacefully and constructively to European development: a role for Charles 111.

"The real Europe has existed for three thousand years, and these shifting barricades which separate us are of more recent and man-made origin. If it had not been for that little muddle after the death of Charlemagne, a united Europe might have been strong enough to prevent the neighbouring island grabbing most of the world. As it is, English experience may now be of some assistance in helping Europe (of which we are a part despite every crime and folly of our present rulers) to preserve nearly everything which still matters in the world.

Let us not think even in terms of 1914, 1939, or of the nineteenth century; let us dare even to think biologically... Much as we love our countries we shall grow to realise that the proudest words spoken on earth since Civis Romanus sum will be I am a European.

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