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What the British never say

I was forced into conversation with two men at the end of the bar, each dressed in comic book t-shirts. I say forced because, when I was in the loo, they turned over the page of my book on the psychology of T.E. Lawrence and lost my place: ego cannot stand to be ignored. One man had his arm in a plaster cast: “What happened to you?” I asked. “I was mugged, like. Over the way.” An old codger, complete with flat cap, who had sat between us in the meantime looked up and said: “Was it an Asian that did it then?” The comic book men went into paroxysms of discomfort; they rolled their eyes and squirmed with coquettish reticence on their seats. “I wouldn’t like to say that it was…in particular…a man of that persuasion...”

The men tittered on in this manner for long seconds; they confirmed by the way they denied. They demonstrated that it is possible to break an Englishman’s arm and—if you are the right race—he will decline to identify you. I wondered, briefly, if he even identified the man’s race to the police; perhaps not, perhaps he was worried that, if he did so, he would be arrested for a hate crime.

I laughed it off and said: “There are too many of them.” At this the comic book fans went pale. “Too many people,” I continued, “altogether—we need to cut down by a few million…in general.” “Oooh,” said the man in the cast, “you’re like Thanos. Isn’t he? He’s just like Thanos. You’re a right Himmler.” Thanos, I am given to understand, is a popular misanthropic character in the comic book movies; he wants to kill many people and is, for the average Englishman, a more significant and resonant figure than Hitler’s security chief.

I should add that, of course, I do not resemble Himmler in the slightest—people who know say I am much more like Rudolf Hess. At this, the conversation turned to death; as it turned out, despite their colourful Marvel t-shirts, the young men had the bleakest view: “You’re just going to a black room forever and ever,” said the man in the cast; and as he said it I could see the fear and emptiness in his eyes. “I don’t think I exist,” I said; but Zen was lost on them, so I left them to their pints—they were the type who always want to have “fun”, lest they reflect too deeply on anything.

Needless to say, the attitude is general and it is general because the latter sentiment—the dark room—is the foundation of the funk, cowardice, and shallow consumerism expressed in the inability of the man to clearly say who exactly had broken his arm, not exactly a trivial injury. The nihilism leads to the cowardice and shallow consumerism. The view is hardly atypical in Britain and it is intimately connected with Islam, a religion whose presence in Britain deeply unsettles the British; although it is quasi-criminal to say so: the fear of the British—not of Islam, but of their own state—is palpable and comedic.

I once attended a dull corporate event held in modernist hotel built around the old Roman walls of London; while I inspected the wall I was cornered by cluster of bores. The conversation turned round to the lead bore’s friend, a Pakistani man who owned a large wholesale food store in North London. “He’s trying to sell it and he has a buyer, but the buyer is Jewish; and he told me that his family is not selling to a Jew, no way, not ever. It’s a religious thing, it’s about Islam. I told him to take the money, you know, it was a great price; but he absolutely refused. He would not sell to a Jew. And he’s been trying to sell for ages…”

The lead bore was completely bemused; he simply could not understand why a Pakistani would not sell to a Jew—the money was good and, after all, life is about… “Does he have a right not to?” chimed in another man. At this, the first man sobered. I could see the fear; his eyes moved left and right, perhaps to see if other people from his company were around. He had walked into a trap, despite his bemused attitude he faced a racial paradox: he was British and it would be career-ending to be heard to say anything—even the slightest discriminatory hint—against the Jews or the Pakistanis.

To take his friend’s side would be anti-Jewish, but to attack the Pakistani was also suspect; he knew it was wrong to make statements against Islam and the Asians. I watched the calculation: it was definitely always wrong to say a word against the Jews, yet Islam…what happened to that Tommy Robinson guy? What did the tabloids say about him? Did Islam override the Jews in this case? It seemed unlikely, and yet people definitely got into trouble when they said they were against Islam…The brain whirred, I watched. He had never bumped up against this situation, discrimination usually meant a white person was involved—and then he would automatically say the white person was wrong, the safe and correct answer. “It’s just beyond me. The money…” he said with a weak smile.

This country is under a dark enchantment; and it is little surprise that young British men sign up to fight for the Islamic State: radical Islam is certain and glorious in its self-affirmation; it makes no apologies for itself. And in cities near me, Muslim parents vomit up the LGBT curriculum that is compulsorily enforced on their children; and so, of course, it will be British men who will be expected to gain their compliance, with force if necessary—yet, in the end, who will want to die for a system that teaches them to hate themselves and uses force to run quite clean against nature?


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