Saturday, 13 October 2018

Cambridge University Students' Union votes against Remembrance Sunday motion

The Cambridge University Student Union (a body most students have no contact with and less important than the Cambridge Union) voted down a motion to promote Remembrance Sunday amid fears that it glorified war. Which is in fact the opposite of what it does.

The news story is confused and feeds the appetite the papers know their readers have for scandals at Oxbridge and public schools. Nor is anything the students' union does of much importance. But it seems a motion put forward by two members of CUCA, the Cambridge University Conservative Association, to "ensure that Remembrance Day becomes a well-established and well-marked event across the university” was rejected and another

motion was passed which, after an amendment proposed and carried by Miss Stella Swain, struck out references to “British war veterans”, “Remembrance Day” and “Poppies”.

She said she wanted to “reflect the status of the University as an international institution” and argued that it was “vital that we recognise all different backgrounds and don’t just focus on British war veterans”.

I am ashamed not of their lack of patriotism or even their stupidity, but their idea that loving their country more than other countries is wrong.

They will lay a wreath in any case at the war memorial.

The noisy minority were stupid and progressive in my day. They all grow up to be lawyers and doctors but they keep a lot of liberal foolishness and thus do great harm. Oxbridge is to blame for modern Britain. Brexit is an anti Oxbridge revolt, though Oxford men Boris Johnson and Michael Gove (not to mention David Cameron) made it happen.

The Remembrance Sunday story puts me in mind of some words by Edward Luttwak, who almost always hits the nail on the head.

The Europe that conquered much of the world from the 15th century onward was empowered by its violent disunity. Its quarreling states large and small were sharpened in war and diplomacy by fighting one another at frequent intervals. Each war brought its share of death and destruction, but each was followed by vigorous procreation and reconstruction, so that Europe kept growing from war to war, in population and in wealth, while advancing in the arts, the sciences, and in technology. That Europe was still Christian except for its Jews, privileged survivors when the pagans were exterminated, but its very un-Christian central ideology was the Iliad’s: men love war, women love warriors. European wars over the centuries were fought by volunteers, whose urge to fight was far more widely admired than deplored, not least by women desirous of virile mates.

Europe’s tragedy is that while the Iliad’s ideology would now be deemed absurdly archaic, the sum total of the ideas that have replaced it does not permit its survival: The average fertility rate is far below the 2.1 replacement rate, so that it is only the aging of the population that prevents its disappearance, with a palpable loss of energy and creative vitality. As to why Europeans are producing so few babies—and they would be fewer still without the high fertility of the small percentage of Muslim mothers—there can be no definite answer, because in each country and each region there seems to be a different prevalence and different mix of refusals: men’s refusal of the responsibilities of fatherhood, women’s refusal of the burdens of motherhood.

As for the post-heroic ideas that have largely displaced the Iliad’s elemental prescriptions, they are varied and changeable and drifting right-ward of late, but among the better-educated anti-racism, feminism, post-colonial guilt, and a pacifist presumption remain the dominant mix, perhaps best exemplified by the Norwegian politician Karsten Nordal Hauken. In both a TV appearance and an April 6, 2016 article, Hauken proclaimed his own strong feelings of guilt and responsibility, because a male Somali asylum-seeker was being deported after serving four-and-a-half years in prison for rape: “I was the reason that he would not be in Norway anymore but rather sent to a dark, uncertain future in Somalia. … I see him mostly as a product of an unfair world, a product of an upbringing marked by war and despair.”'


  1. Stella swain you obnoxious jumped up little shit. These men died so you could live free and in peace with freedom of free speech. Show some respect you haven't got an ounce of decency in you. You really are a piece of work.

    1. Is that supposed to be sarcasm? The war had nothing to do with free speech,and at any rate there is little left of that today. You shouldn't need fake liberal reasons (or even genuine liberal reasons) to commemorate your war dead.

    2. The British fought in both wars for King and country and the Empire. We had freedom including freedom of speech at that time and defending freedom was an important war aim, so no there's no need to beat Unknown up. Why all the anger on the internet? Now there is not so much freedom of speech left if you wish to criticise received ideas, I agree. We also lost a huge amount of national independence thanks to not only the EU but the proliferation of ever more complex international law in general and our role as a US satellite.

  2. History states that when the Oxford Union "resolves that this House will not fight for King and Country" Hitler was encouraged in his nefarious plans. Doug