Friday, May 06, 2016

response to Daniel Finkelstein

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Jim Holloway"
Date: 5 May 2016 16:34
Subject: West-hating left

I would like to disagree with your article in yesterday's Times.
I don't believe that the left in general holds America to be evil; it is rather that American dominance inevitably multiplies the impact of such "evil" as any country may be given to. There is much to admire in America and much to despair of; much the same as Britain in its time of Empire.

I thought that your examples of the let's errors were ill-chosen. Soviet communism achieved nothing?  How to account for Soviet success against the Nazis,  almost unaided, compared with Russia's collapse in 1914-18, facing a Germany being ground down on the Western front by France and Britain?
Who can doubt the misguided idealism within the Russian revolutionaries?
Stalin undoubtedly carried out monstrous atrocities,  yet it remains the case that in both scale and intent they are hard to compare with Hitler's crimes. In only a few years, he accomplished the destruction of millions of Jews and others; his plans for the future of Poland and Russia are terrifying and chilling. Nazism intended to reduce the world to slavery in the service of the master race; communist ambitions were a flawed attempt to create a New Man who would be naturally free. Nazism,  I would claim, was beyond hope of reform; soviet communism did eventually collapse, faced by its own contradictions.

Malcolm X encouraged black people to think they were victims of colonialism? And was he wrong? They were certainly victims of something,  even in his own time and country.

You say Pan-Africanism adopted. ... as if it was a party or individual. You criticise the statement that 9-11 was perhaps the most successful terrorist attack in history: and was it not? Provoking America into disastrous wars, surely exactly bin Laden's intention?

The left, like any such label, covers many tendancies and groups. I do not feel that your article contributes to making a helpful distinction among them.

If you have read thus far, I thank you for your time.

Jim Holloway

Thursday, May 05, 2016

To leave, or not to leave, that is the question.

What are the reasons I want to stay in the EU?

Boring, but important: the economy. There can be no doubt that there will be tremendous disruption to investment for a prolonged period if we vote to leave.

Free movement: we are free to live work and study across Europe thanks to the EU. We may be trapped on our green and pleasant,  but cold and wet island.

The Union with Scotland: the UK will almost certainly come to an end as Scotland will vote to remain.

Northern Ireland: the hard won precarious peace will be destabilised, as the Irish Republic will certainly remain in.

The diehard outers will say in all sincerity that these are risks worth running to preserve or regain our sovereignty.  But I say that instead, without the UK arguing the case for a the EU to be a free association of sovereign state,  it will become a more and more centralised bloc of countries facing us from a position of strength: exactly what 200 years of British foreign policy as sought to avoid.

But what do the outers want, really? To me it seems clear that the real animus for most outers is about immigration and identity: if only we leave we can reclaim our country.  Anti EU comments slide effortlessly toward hostility to migrants generally, and to Muslims.

Many outers want the Poles to leave: and they will be disappointed.  The Poles will not be kicked out,  because then the million and a half Brits living across the EU would be sent home as well.  Or do the outers believe that we can kick the EU,  and like a beaten dog they will simply whimper and walk away, tail between legs? But the days of Empire are gladly gone.

I fear that disappointment, combined with economic turmoil, andthe collapse of the Union with Scotland,  will turn us into a nasty inward looking country. An out vote would be a triumph of resentment. Instead of believing in a Great Britain, at ease in Europe and the world, we would be choosing a Little England, fearful,  isolated,  out in the cold.

We would survive, no doubt. It's not a country I'd want to stay in. But then, if we leave, I may have no choice.  My freedom to relocate to warmer friendlier parts may be terminated.