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Cologne exposes a crisis in our continent, yet parliament is debating Donald Trump

9 January 2016

6:03 PM

9 January 2016

6:03 PM

Europe is going through a period of radical change, but it is facing this with a process of radical self-distraction. Unwilling to face up to our problems we obsess over the responses to those problems. There have been some startling recent examples.

As the whole world now knows, on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, dozens of German women were sexually assaulted, apparently by some of that country’s more recent arrivals. For days the media across Europe declined to even report the story. It was only because of new media that the story began to get out at all. Then when the media did get around to reporting the story they covered it in that now-familiar way which suggests their job is not so much to report the facts as to negotiate between the facts and their fear over how the general public might react to those facts. Perhaps we should be grateful that there is any coverage a week after the attacks. After all, it took more than a decade for 1500 rapes in the north of England to make much news.

Yesterday the Guardian (where any male doing anything is usually a demonstration of ‘rape culture’) finally ran a piece suggesting that perhaps we shouldn’t cover up actual, real rape-culture such as that in Cologne, conceding that it hadn’t helped much with Rotherham. The piece was predictably hailed as brave and controversial  because today it has indeed become brave and controversial to report the facts. Thinking aloud about any of the repercussions of those facts, however, remains the pursuit only of a madman.

This is a shame, because some free thought and discussion about what is going on could have been useful at an earlier stage. Last year, when Angela Merkel flung open Germany’s borders anyone who said, ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’ was shouted down with cries of ‘racist’. Then, after about a million more people had come into the country even Chancellor Merkel started to wonder who they all were and whether they had all the right Germanic ideas. One minister finally said that they weren’t keen on letting many more anti-Semites into Germany. And now in the wake of the New Year’s Eve attack some politicians are saying they don’t really want people who aren’t even up to speed with even last millennia’s views on women. Perhaps it is too late and German women will indeed have to follow the advice of the Mayor of Cologne and take more care when out on the streets (‘No skirts. No trousers. Have you considered this lovely burka madam?’) Or perhaps an intensive period of workshops with new arrivals will settle it all amicably and swiftly. I suppose we will just have to hope so. In the meantime it turns out that the German police have been caught mis-representing the facts about who was doing the New Year’s Eve raping., and so we are now in the far more dangerous place where lies become the preserve not only of the fourth estate, but of the state itself.

Over Christmas I read a new book by Tommy Robinson called ‘Enemy of the State’. This memoir by the founder and former leader of the English Defence League bears out what I wrote about Robinson a couple of years back when I interviewed him for the Spectator after he had left the EDL. In particular it seems clear from Tommy Robinson’s full account of his story that if the British police and others in authority had got a grip on Al-Muhajiroun and other Islamic extremists earlier on then nobody would ever have heard of the EDL or Tommy Robinson. The EDL always were a secondary problem – a reaction to a problem. But instead of dealing with the problem they were objecting to (Islamic fundamentalists having free reign to abuse British soldiers, just for starters) the full might of the state devoted itself to shutting down Tommy Robinson and the EDL: which is like trying to treat a disease-racked body by addressing a skin irritation.

As his memoir makes clear, from the moment that Robinson and the EDL emerged the entire force of the state came down upon their heads. Robinson’s home and the homes of his relatives were repeatedly raided by police. All their private papers and records were gone over repeatedly and eventually Robinson was charged and sent to prison in a mortgage fraud case. It is very clear to me – as I think it would be to anyone else considering his case – that although Robinson was obviously wrong to do what he did in the mortgage case it would never have come up, would never have been charged and would certainly never have gone to prison if he had not set up the EDL.

Now I didn’t agree with the EDL and do not like what they did. But the fact that the police and other authorities could get their leader into prison in such a manner showed a wildly skewed set of priorities. How many dodgy Muslim clerics and welfare-jihadists in the UK have got dodgy financial stuff in their background somewhere? Why can’t they be repeatedly sent in and out of prison on a whole range of trumped-up charges? Why did the police and Crown Prosecution Service not spend years crawling over every piece of paper kept by everyone around Al-Muhajiroun and the like? What seems clear from Robinson’s account of his life over recent years is that the authorities have used every power at their disposal not simply to stop his political activities but to shut him up. The impetus to do the same with the people he is objecting to meanwhile has simply been absent.

And now recent days have seen another example. In his book Robinson recounts an occasion while he was in prison where he was put in alongside a large number of Muslim extremists (including on one occasion a cell who were in prison for trying to kill him and others in the EDL). On pages 305-7 he describes one incident where he says that a Somali Muslim in prison had been persuaded by a Muslim gang leader to attack him. There was a fight. This was during one of Robinson’s last spells in prison. The authorities appear to have assured Robinson and his lawyers that no charges would be pending from this incident, which took place in 2014.

Then last week Robinson announced that he was founding Pegida UK (an offshoot of the German anti-Islamist movement) alongside former Labour candidate Anne-Marie Waters and Paul Weston. Two days later he was arrested on charges relating to the 2014 prison incident. I do not know all the facts here and I am sure there is much still to come out. But it would appear that the British police and others are working very hard to ensure that Robinson is not allowed to express his views on Islam and immigration and that they have pulled out this historical case in order to stop him from doing so. I hope that other journalists who care about the rule of law and free expression also look at this case, because it is extremely worrying. But I mention that case because it is a reminder that instinctive reaction to the Cologne case is symptomatic of a much wider problem. With Pegida protests in German today being fired on by police with water-cannons that problem of attacking the reaction rather than the problem (where were the water cannons on New Year’s Eve?) has rarely seemed starker.

But this is not only a police problem or a government problem: it is also a societal problem. This week saw the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, and one year after the day itself a man was shot dead while trying to storm a police station in Paris. Bad news stories like this from across the continent come in thick-and-fast these days. But what are people to do? Well one option would be to deal with the problem. Another is to partake in the sort of distraction offered by the folks of Twitter. In the wake of the latest Paris death they decided to amuse themselves by pretending that Donald Trump is so dumb that he thinks Paris is in Germany. Immediately after the latest Paris attack Trump sent out a tweet saying: ‘Man shot inside Paris police station. Just announced that terror threat is at highest level. Germany is a total mess – big crime. GET SMART!’

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 17.51.41This was clearly referring to two separate problems. But the hashtag ‘#Paris Is In Germany’ trended all day. How hilarious! We don’t have to worry about all the troubles our continent because we have an American politician to laugh at.

Later this month the House of Commons will discuss the urgent issue of Mr Trump. This is because last month Trump said that he wanted to stop Muslim immigration into the US and added that Britain and Europe have a serious Muslim extremism problem. Because of this more than half a million people signed a petition calling for Trump to be barred from Britain. This now has to be debated in Parliament and doubtless all those MPs who rarely do much about problems they could deal with will grandstand their opposition to a foreign politician who doesn’t care what they think. In the last week we have been reminded that the British government not only doesn’t know who is coming into our country, but doesn’t even know who is leaving either. Still, it’s all fine so long as we divert ourselves by talking Trump. Perhaps this will be the European habit for some time to come. Perhaps it will finally do for us.

Millions of people whose identities and beliefs are unknown have been let into our continent. Many who have been here for a few years continue to present challenges which are by no means minimal. There seems to be a belief that so long as we have got Katie Hopkins, Donald Trump or Tommy Robinson to kick around then we can focus our energies on ignoring the problem.

Of course all one can do is warn. But it seems to me that, if we keep distracting ourselves from the problem and beating up on every response to it, then this continent of ours is going to go very bad, very fast.

Show comments
  • Melody Szabo

    The government is incompetent and must be replaced by revolution. The ruling class must be executed in a working class revolution. Fascism, both corporate and religious (muslim and christian) must be destroyed forever. Occupy your government offices, establish your own citizens militia, or it will be a muslim induced terrorist police state, courtesy of your fascist governments today.

  • David Lea

    Another excellent article by Murray. His theme that the State are all too quick to deal with secondary ‘problems’ (more reasonable responses really) and try and fudge or even cover up primary problems is spot on. I am very pleased he now sees Tommy Robinson as a victim, and a brave guy, instead of a racist thug

  • Hzle

    Didn’t more than 200,000 people sign a petition saying close our borders after Paris? Parliament didn’t discuss that. So why this nonsensical Trump debate?

    We’re going completely crazy – all this because everyone (especially the Germans) is afraid of being called racist?

  • Pat Gunning

    3 Hours debating Donald Trump? Seems the American Left and the British Parliament have the same problem… IGNORANCE… Both countries have serious Public Safety concerns and yet they choose to slam the guy who has some simple common sense answers… both Countries need to clean house in Government….

  • dizzy ringo

    And in order to help their immigrants assimilate, it appears that Sweden is sending them on rifle shooting courses. Not quoted in the MSM of course.

  • Brent

    The vile people who abuse women need to be kept out of all civilized Western nations. Germany and Sweden are lost; the recognition of the source of the problem, delayed too long, is now with us, but not the will to actually do what is necessary to protect our female citizens. Is political correctness so important that we will allow our daughters, sisters, and mothers to be raped? This sounds insane, yet that is precisely what we Westerners are choosing when we fail to even speak about the source of our problem. We have allowed a mass migration into our lands that brought uncivilized muslims who apparently have no social norms against sexual abuse of females. Are we now going to allow them to stay indefinitely? Perhaps their journey should continue. They made it this far, they can go a bit farther. Let them reside in the land of Islam somewhere in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East. Anywhere but the West. To do otherwise is truly the suicide of the nations that have led mankind to a place where technology has allowed us long and relatively happy lives.

  • davejon

    Pegida, and before that the EDL, are a Zionist backed group formed to oppose Islam, financed by US Neocons (Geller, Gaffney etc). I doubt they are at all concerned about UK identity and other immigration.

  • WTF

    Go back to 1945 and German women & girls had no one to protect them against the Red Army gang rapes, move on 70+ years and history repeats itself when German women & girls again have no one to protect them but this time from Muslim men.

    Well done Angela Merkel, you sure didn’t learn anything from history despite living in East Germany
    ! I think you owe these women an apology !

  • Martin Jennerson

    if Robinson was a Muslim that received a similar level of persecution from a foreign government, our system would give him free paid-for accommodation and pay under asylum. That’s not an exaggeration. The hypocrisy is unbearable.

  • Space 1999

    The events of New Year’s Eve in Cologne – and it seems Berlin, and other cities around Europe – might just be the beginning of the end for the left’s multi-culti dream. It’s proof that these poor, innocent people (that the BBC fawned over last summer) aren’t all universally wonderful – and that there are some nasty individuals among them.

    If EU leaders can’t protect their citizenry, and this is becoming increasingly clear, and if our leaders attempt to cover this up, which is apparent what’s going on, then the public will give a clear and concise ‘no thanks’. When they find their refusal doesn’t change things, that’s when they’ll realise what their leaders are up to – and that’s when the brown stuff hits the fan, and change happens.

    Watch and wait…

    • WTF

      The left aren’t dead yet as like cockroaches you have to stomp on them many times to ensure they’re really dead and where there’s one cockroach, you can be sure there are more.

      The scary part is we’ve had two world wars where Germany was center piece due to their leaders actions & policies and another war could spill out of Germany due to Merkels immigration policies. If the first world war can kick off due to some obscure assassination in the Balkans its quite conceivable a civil war could kick off in Germany and spill over into the rest of Europe over immigration.

      The main reason Hitler got away with starting WW II was the state of the country and Merkels policies are fueling a major split in the country. I even hear that one of Merkels ideas is for school kids to either join the armed forces or become “integration enablers” to re-train male migrants into German culture, that will work well, NOT.

  • EnglandLaments

    By the way, Pegida are not “far right”, they are a patriotic self defence movement. Naturally, they are beyond the pale to our traitors in the elite.

  • EnglandLaments

    Excellent article as usual from Mr Murray. It is all a very toxic mix – not only are ungrateful asylum seekers molesting European women, but the authorities try to cover it up and then react violently (as you say) against those who react to the situation.
    So here is the question in all its stark simplicity Mr Murray – why are the elites of Europe self hating traitors and cowards to a man and woman! Why do the peoples of Europe keep putting up with having traitors in high office?
    Angela Merkel for a start should be arrested by the people, have her hair shorn, be stripped naked and made to walk the walk of shame through the streets of Cologne!

    • ArchiePonsonby

      A question I ask time and time again: why do we keep voting for these charlatans who have absolutely NO interest in defending us, our families or our values?

      • EnglandLaments

        A mystery I know. However, I do admit to voting Conservative to keep the other lot out, yet they are just as useless as the other lot when it comes to asylum and immigration. However, we are getting the great Brexit referendum and we all know that it is our last chance to save the nation.

        • ArchiePonsonby

          I’m willing to bet anything you like that the referendum ballots will be given the Thanet South treatment!

  • MedJumper

    The Social Contract is breaking. I no longer have any time or respect for the State. They no longer have authority over me.

  • David Kemball-Cook

    Great article, as usual. Thanks for helping us think. Alarming about Robinson’s arrest. Yes, why have the police not gone through the papers of all the welfare-jihadists (great phrase by the way)?

  • Martin Jennerson

    Robinson will gain recognition for all the persecution he’s undergone in good time. He has to be rewarded.

  • Lann Morgan

    Trump is taking steps to keep his country safe whether politically correct or not..I wonder if the people that criticize him will enlighten the rest of us how they would propose to keep our country safe .

    If anyone agrees that Donald Trump should have freedom of speech please sign the DONT ban Donald Trump from the UK petition by clicking on the link below and sharing with friends

    Petition: Don’t ban Trump from the United Kingdom

  • Johnnymcevoy

    You can do and say as you wish.

    Provided it chimes with the PC Hymn Sheet of the day.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      I’m not so sure. Read the comments here. Such things were completely unprintable ten or even seven years ago! We owe the likes of Tommy Robinson, Nick Griffin (I know, I know!) and yes, Nigel Farage an immense debt of gratitude for pushing back against the politically-correct monoliths of the BBC/Guardian/Independent/Law Society/Teachers Unions nexus!