Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Getting Used to It

By Mark Steyn
June 7, 2017

Roy Larner poses with a Millwall flag as he recovers in hospital

Roy Larner poses with a Millwall flag as he recovers in hospital (News Group Newspapers Ltd/

Programming note: Today, Wednesday, I'll be joining the great John Oakley north of the border on Toronto's AM640live at 5pm Eastern. Afterwards, I'll be south of the border with Tucker Carlson on Fox News coast to coast at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. If you're a Mark Steyn Club member and you have a question you'd like me to answer on this week's Clubland Q&A, you can lay it on me right here.

Britain goes to the polls tomorrow, and Theresa May seems all but certain to be extending her stay in Downing Street - despite having fought a remarkably inept election campaign, in the course of which 29 people have been killed in terrorist attacks by "known wolves" so known that one had been reported to MI5 by at least three foreign governments (the French, Italians and Americans) and the other had starred in a Channel 4 documentary called The Jihadis Next Door.

I joked on Monday morning that the latter was Emmy-nominated for Best Jihadist in a British Extremism Documentary, but these days all the satirical fancies are humdrum reality: It seems the show was nominated for Best Documentary in Britain's prestigious Grierson Awards and Best News and Current Affairs in the Broadcast Awards. We are all supposed to be shocked by the recent poll finding that two-thirds of British Muslims would not notify the police if they knew of a terrorist sympathizer, but really one can hardly blame them given the authorities' lethargic attitude to those who do get reported.

Likewise, there is something of a pro forma quality to Fleet Street's coverage of these latest atrocities. The worst civilian massacre in the United Kingdom between the Second World War and the 7/7 attacks of 2005 was the Birmingham pub bombings of 1974. For good or ill, it convulsed the nation. In contrast to the now traditional response that the worst thing about an Islamic terror attack is that it might lead to a "backlash" against Muslims and the urgent priority is for everyone to pretend that they're "united" in "one love", the pub bombings led to the immediate cancellation of the city's St Patrick's Day parade, the third largest in the world, for the next decade. Twenty-one Birmingham pubgoers died that night. Now 22 people get slaughtered at a pop concert, and the public shrug it off with some candles and flowers. Eleven civilians were killed in the 1987 Enniskillen Remembrance Day massacre (a twelfth died after 13 years in a coma), and public outrage was so fierce that the Dublin parliament passed a fast-track UK extradition bill, the IRA apologized, Sinn Féin's electoral support didn't recover for 15 years, and Bono declared on stage "F**k the revolution" - which on the whole I prefer to Katy Perry saying touch the person next to you and tell her "I love you".

The inertia in today's Britain seems telling. We are, as the French Prime Minister and the London Mayor and other eminences have advised, getting used to it. Terror doesn't appear (from this distance) to have played much part in the election campaign: in a certain sense, the remorseless Islamization of Britain seems to have passed beyond politics. If you still think the major parties can ameliorate the situation, Mrs May is just about preferable to Jeremy Corbyn: In a choice between a dissembler and a dupe, vote for the marginally less unsafe pair of hands. If you feel the need (as they did after Enniskillen) to be outraged and impassioned, direct your outrage and passion wisely and join your fellow Britons in excoriating the President of the United States for Tweeting about the Mayor of London. If you feel the need (like Mrs Thatcher after South Georgia) to "rejoice, rejoice", join the patriotic employees of LBC radio in cheering the defenestration of Katie Hopkins, also for Tweeting. If you feel the need (as Mrs May's COBRA meeting did) for an instant policy prescription, then draw the logical conclusion from the above and blame the Internet. The Prime Minister's plans to lean on Google, Facebook et al will discombobulate the next bombers not a whit, but they'll almost certainly lead to a Robert Spencer or Geert Wilders having his YouTube channel taken down or Twitter account suspended, and that's great news, isn't it?

In similar spirit, the aforesaid mayor has called for the aforesaid president's upcoming state visit to be kiboshed. Given the current levels of vigilance by UK officialdom, it wouldn't entirely surprise me if Trump were to be declared persona non grata but still sailed through British immigration to bang on the door of Windsor Castle asking where his state banquet is. Or perhaps I'm doing the amusingly named "UK Border Force" an injustice: Unable to prevent even the most obvious "Soldier of Allah" from breezing past the desk at Heathrow in his Isis T-shirt, they mysteriously discover hitherto unknown levels of efficiency when faced with such threat priorities as Pamela Geller or Michael Savage. Maybe Mrs May will set up a PREVENT program to prevent Katie Hopkins, or Douglas Murray's book tour.

That's not an idle fancy: the Prime Minister is no friend of free speech, and, as we've seen in the last few days, the biggest obstacle to "getting used to it" is a relatively small number of people who keep harping on about it.

Mayor Khan is a slippery customer, and he used a slippery phrase in reassuring the public after Saturday's carnage: London, he declared, was "one of the safest global cities in the world". "Global city"? What is the difference between a "global city" and a mere city? The latter are more or less ethnically homogeneous places with insufficient vibrancy and diversity for the likes of Mr Khan. A "global city" is a microcosm of the global. Saturday's dead, for example, number four of Her Majesty's subjects (one English, one Canadian, two Australian) and three citizens de la république française. In part because of the socialist sclerosis of that republic, London has become home to one of the largest French populations on the planet. That's a "global city" - where an Aussie can head across London Bridge to a fashionable pub and fall into conversation with a charming demoiselle.

All these Canadians and Australians and Frenchmen were killed by a jihadist born in Pakistan, another born in Morocco, and a third from either Morocco or Libya. In London and the other "safest global cities in the world", a New Zealander can meet a nice Danish girl and be blown up by a Yemeni on the way home. The conceit of the global city is that there is no distinction between a Dane and a Yemeni.

In his new book The Strange Death of Europe, Douglas Murray returns periodically to a vital question: What happens when global cities become "global countries"? By 2011, "white British" were a minority in 23 of London's 33 boroughs. A similar transformation is well advanced in every city down the spine of England from Manchester and Leeds to Birmingham and Bristol, in all of which Islam is the principal source of population growth. For the most part, citizens of the new west accept that as a normal feature of life - while still expecting to find Cornish villages full of Cornishmen or Welsh market towns full of Welshmen. But soon we will have not just global cities but "global villages". Sweden, where most ethnic Swedes now alive will end their days as a minority within their own country, is already trending that way. A few months ago, I passed a pleasant few hours with a young couple who'd moved out of Östersund after a sexual assault by, um, "youths" and settled in a small town about an hour away in order to get away from the aggravation of said "youths". Not as easy as it was. They'd rented a place in a pleasant two-story apartment house only to find, as the chap put it to me, "I've got a f**kin' mosque in my basement." In a municipality of under a thousand people.

There's a funny thing you notice about "global cities". In Camden and Chelsea, the French and the Aussies and the Danes and the Kiwis all jostle along side by side. But in other parts of the metropolis the world city gradually becomes less worldly: in much of the East End, in the neighborhoods where the police were conducting their post-terror raids, the Jews have gone, and the gays, and a lot of the pubs and fish'n'chip shops are closing up. You can detect the same phenomenon in the heavily Muslim neighborhood of Manchester where Salman Abedi grew up. In the new global cities, certain areas are less interested in celebrating diversity than in enforcing homogeneity. There is only, to borrow from Ariana Grande, "one love".

Zachary Gray has a new column looking back to America Alone, with the somewhat depressing (for me) headline: "It Has All Come True: Revisiting Mark Steyn's Predictions." At the time of the book's publication, I was told by British politicians that there was still plenty of time to solve this thing. A decade on, they're now saying, implicitly and sometimes less so, that it's too late to solve it. Neither statement is true. But before there can be action the British people have to rouse themselves to demand action. On Saturday night in Borough Market, when the three knife-wielding jihadists stormed in to the Black & Blue restaurant, they found themselves confronting a 47-year-old football fan. "F**k you," said Roy Larner. "I'm Millwall" - a footie club with supporters of surpassing ferocity. He held the Soldiers of Allah at bay with nothing but his fists, enabling other diners to escape, and is now recovering in hospital with stab wounds to his arms, head and chest.

"F*k* you, I'm Millwall" turned out to be the "Let's roll!" of the night. If you're having trouble keeping your London rail termini straight, the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton; the Battle of London Bridge was won on the playing fields of Millwall. Mr Larner seems disinclined to get used to it - and "F**k you, I'm Millwall" is a more encouraging sign of a societal survival instinct than "one love".

But normality soon reasserts itself. This morning, a woman en route to the nursery school where she works was stabbed by three girls shouting "Allah will get you!" Hey, don't worry, the police say it wasn't terrorism, just ...daily life in "one of the safest global cities in the world". Millwall vs Allah: We are the world.

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