Sunday, 5 May 2019

On or about July 2016 human character changed

“On or about December 1910, human character changed” 
So Virginia Woolf wrote. Sherelle Jacobs quotes her in a good article in yesterday's Daily Telegraph.

She talks of herbivores who worry about climate change and carnivores who worry about immigration. These terms, I believe, were invented by Paul Addison in his magisterial book 'The Road to 1945'. 

In the 1940s the herbivores were sympathetic and mild, lovely in fact. Essentially they were the old Liberals made homeless by the sidelining of their party. They manned the BBC then as now, although modern herbivores would disapprove of the word 'manned'. They are to blame, however, for much of modern England, Thatcherite economics aside.

Virginia Woolf was not talking about lack of servants, as Sherelle Jacobs thinks, but possibly the post-impressionist exhibition in London. Whatever. Human nature does not change but the world we or they construct changes out of recognition and sometimes the rate of change suddenly speeds up dramatically. It did in 1910-1914 and it has in the last few years, due to the effects of the existential threat to Western European countries from mass immigration, the financial crisis of 2008, and the Brexit referendum result. 

We are in a revolutionary moment, like 1910-14, 1962-66 or for Eastern Europe 1989 and its aftermath. Everything has changed, as Charles Moore keeps repeating in his articles. 

Remember, as the continued existence of the Tory party seems in doubt, the words of one of the greatest Tories, Disraeli.
The unexpected always happens.
Sherelle Jacobs says:

Aspiring individualists think in terms of “forwards” and “up” (their personal achievements, or the progress of a society), but the dynamics of the modern world are “inwards” and “outwards”; while life increasingly retreats online, elites extol the virtues of standardised globalisation.

Which is why delivering Brexit – onwards progress without the outwards pan-Europeanism – has become such an electrifyingly symbolic, almost quasi-spiritual act. And why the failure to guide us out of the EU feels like such a deep philosophical and emotional betrayal. Unless the Tories boot May out now and take us out of the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, voters will permanently desert them – not out of blind anger, but lucid realisation that the party is an obstacle to, not a vehicle for, their effective political representation.
Some say: don’t write off a comeback for cautious conservatism. But coming from the calamitously incompetent Tories, the idea of “pragmatism over principle” lacks thrust. Besides, May’s botched Brexit has proved a spectacular study in centrism’s gaping deficiencies.
I know very well how difficult it is for a third party to break through in the British first past the post electoral system. I remember how people thought the SDP would finish off Labour when I was at university. Sir Ian Gilmour, who had recently been sacked from the cabinet, told me at a dinner in Cambridge in 1982 that most Tory seats would be lost to the new party. This was a common view then.

The Tories are not finished if they do not split, but they well might.

But what is the point of voting for them if they do not stand for the nation, for social conservatism or economic liberalism and are not competent at running the economy or the Queen's government? 

The only point is keeping out Jeremy Corbyn. Always keep a-hold of Nurse, for fear of finding something worse.

The majority of academics, journalists and opinion formers do not understand what is happening. This is because they do not understand or sympathise with the reaction of the man in the street to the end of ancient nation states, that are in essence ethnic states, and their replacement with immigrant societies held together by liberal values. 

The same goes for the the end of democracy that is implied by being in the European Union and by the huge amount of international law that now exists. 

International law is, of course, the enemy of democracy.

Each country in the rich world is losing its identity and Europeans will not permit this, whatever the Pope and the bishops say. Even the Germans in the end will not stand for it, though they will be last to change their minds about mass migration, for historical reasons.

This should be obvious but it is not, not to most clever people. Historians will one day explain why it is not obvious now to intellectuals, historians included. I wish I knew what the explanation is. 


  1. 'This should be obvious, but it is not to most clever people.'

    ...too clever by half?

  2. Replies
    1. Can't wait for the 'Quotes' post... Check this out:

      The Sublime, wherever it occurs, consists in a certain loftiness and excellence of language, and that it is by this, and this only, that the greatest poets and prose-writers have gained eminence, and won themselves a lasting place in the Temple of Fame. A lofty passage does not convince the reason of the reader, but takes him out of himself. That which is admirable ever confounds our judgment, and eclipses that which is merely reasonable or agreeable. To believe or not is usually in our own power; but the Sublime, acting with an imperious and irresistible force, sways every reader whether he will or no. Skill in invention, lucid arrangement and disposition of facts, are appreciated not by one passage, or by two, but gradually manifest themselves in the general structure of a work; but a sublime thought, if happily timed, illumines an entire subject with the vividness of a lightning-flash, and exhibits the whole power of the orator in a moment of time.

      It is natural in us to feel our souls lifted up by the true Sublime, and, conceiving a sort of generous exultation, to be filled with joy and pride, as though we had ourselves originated the ideas which we read.

      Treatise on the Sublime