Saturday 19 May 2012

Michael Wharton laments an odious, degraded and conformist England

Michael Wharton, thou shouldst be living at this hour, England hath need of thee! 

Michael Wharton was Peter Simple in the Daily Telegraph, in the days when Peter Simple was almost the only comment column there was in a paper which was almost purely news. The wonderful Mark Steyn wrote this obituary of Wharton when he died in 2006.

Everyone used to say in the early 1980s (by everyone I mean one or two journalists) that he was hilarious but it was a shame about his reactionary views. I liked most of his philosophical world view, which I tried to combine with believing in Keynes and the welfare state and disliking racism, but I didn't find him funny. And still don't.

But we certainly need him badly now. His dark fantasy is our reality....

Even Dr Spacely-Trellis, the go-ahead Bishop of Bevingdon, did not approve of people of the same sex getting married, though I am certain he and Jeremy Cardhouse the progressive Conservative M.P. are vocally in favour of it now, in that alternative universe from which Wharton's death has shut us out.

I suspect that unlike those two, Wharton would have had at least a sneaking admiration for Al Qaeda and the Iranian regime. 

Wharton was Jewish by birth, by the way, and had the outsider's passion for England (I, half-Irish, understand this).

An article Wharton wrote for The Spectator in 2000, headlined 'Alien Nation', is worth reading today. I quote:
`DAMN you, England!' cried John Osborne in one of his well-publicised theatrical outbursts in the Fifties. What he was complaining about, I forget: the shortcomings of dramatic critics, perhaps, or snobbery, or the royal family or some such innocent matter. If it was really about the terrible state of England, his aim was off the mark. In those days, England still existed. Seen from the year 2000, that time when wartime austerity was fading away at last seems one of blameless pleasure and virtuous simplicity.....

We have lost our countryside, disfigured or buried under mean housing estates and factories and enormous road systems, transformed by factory farming. By the end of the Fifties, hedges and wild flowers had already gone from most of lowland England; wild birds were dying out, equally the victims of poison and machines. With them went old quietness and seemliness. And, as people began to notice that loss, the `environment' was invented and, as though by an inexorable 20th-century law, itself became an industry and an instrument of state control.
In the last 50 years we have not only lost our country, we have lost our people, at least in large centres of population; and most of all in London, transformed by mass immigration and the alien manners and customs it has brought, most significantly in the ever-growing barbarism of popular music and entertainment. In 50 years what was a largely homogeneous European Anglo-Celtic nation has been turned into what is officially called a `multiracial society', a thing neither wanted nor asked for.
It is worth bearing in mind if you find this article too depressing that Michael Wharton had adopted his profound reactionary world-view before he went up to Oxford, long before the changes he complains of in this article had come to pass. He was a born reactionary (I am one too) who in the Second World War read the Encyclopaedia Britannica from beginning to end in the 1911 edition. 

Wharton admired Enoch Powell whose views on race and other subjects he shared. It is also worth remembering that Enoch Powell said he would not repeat in his mature years the mistake he made in his youth of thinking his country was finished.

I believe that England has so strong a culture that she will somehow always survive though hideously mutated because of various follies but primarily because of mass immigration, which has been permitted in the same way that the British Empire was acquired, in a fit of absence of mind. 

Wharton is completely wrong to blame immigrants for the horrible music or pop culture we have endured since the 1960s or for the 1960s social revolution. Nevertheless, he is right to mourn the passing of homogeneity and of England herself. Homogeneity can be dull but it has innumerable virtues. This is true of England too. Still, we must look to the future, not backwards. Let us preserve what we have, which is a very great deal, pace Wharton, conserve what can be conserved and build on it. 

To be born English, said Cecil Rhodes, is to have drawn the winning ticket in the lottery of life. I doubt if Rhodes would have liked modern England but England is still the best country, I believe, in the world, which is to say the English are the best people in the world.

1 comment:

  1. "I didnt find him funny and I still don't" ? au contraire, even as a lefty (and indeed member of the International Socialists no less briefly circa 1970/1971) I always went first to his column in my dad's Daily Telegraph for a chortle.