Nucleus of the Matter: the Quark editorial on the migrant crisis

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in” – Matthew 25:35

In 1914, we extended our arms to Belgians fleeing from war-ravaged countryside amidst the might of the imperial German army, tearing up fields and shelling villages for a stalemate. In the 1930s, we welcomed refugees fleeing from the authoritarian shackles of the National Socialists. In 2015, we walk away?

Read the comments under Telegraph articles, or pretty much anything which could possibly be related to immigration or asylum. It’s disgusting. People putting their selfish wants before these people’s needs.

It’s time. If you think it’s time to act, time to stop hiding from the legions of hostile inhospitability and racism, time to come and nail our colours to the mast of history, please sign this petition. You could be saving lives.

Our generation has emerged into the adult world as the vanguard of the future. Let’s not begin by denying other people theirs.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/105991

(Headline image comes from The Independent)

Dark Ages? We’re heading towards a political power-cut

Everything has practically been decided, and there are 26 relieved people waking up to their Weetabix* this morning. Whilst 92.9% of Europe might have voted by proxy for ex-PM of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker to take up the presidency of the EU Commission, the valiancy and determination of the Anglo-Hungarian 7.1% has left rather more of a stain on the whole affair than one might expect.

The German press is a good place to start: ostensibly the powerhouse of the Union, it seems from the nation’s broadsheets that the British opposition has caused quite a stir. Die Zeit‘s Brussels correspondant Matthias Krupa warns that ever-closer union has actually suffered from Juncker’s appointment, by provoking the Brits to action and making Cameron even more ‘deadly serious’ against the ideals Juncker stands for. In another article he repeats the Financial Times‘ labelling of Juncker as “yesterday’s man”, and re-affirms his interpretation that picking such a clearly pro-closer union figure has done wonders for anti-EU sentiment, has increased the chance of the EU losing one of its most important member states and has sown seeds of division and indeed derision amongst the heads of government. Caustically he claims, “There aren’t many who are really convinced by him.”

“Es gibt nicht viele, die wirklich von ihm

überzeugt sind.”

Axel Springer’s Die Welt, more conservative than Die Zeit, emphasises how lonely Cameron now is. Claiming that he’s “lost Merkel”, despite positive noises about the necessity to reform from both the German chancellor and Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt, it goes on to write that he has “no concept, no concrete ideas” and that he is merely “sand in the gearbox” – at least according to top EU diplomats. Read the comments on that article, to a newspaper founded by British occupying forces, and you’ll find 2 particularly interesting statements – “Einsam sein bedeutet aber noch lange nicht, dass seine Argumente falsch sind.” [“To be alone does not, by a long stretch, mean that his argument is wrong”] at 230 positive votes and “Helden kämpfen immer einsam!” [“Heroes always fight alone!”] at 214 positive votes. Hmm.

“Kein Konzept, keine konkreten Ideen zu haben, sondern meistens nur der Sand im Getriebe zu sein –das wirft der Rest Europas Cameron vor.”

When we interviewed Nick Clegg, he attributed up his pro-EU stance not to the fact that he thinks it doesn’t urgently require reform, but to the reasoning that nobody can change an institution from outside. In reality, Cameron’s proposition of an EU-membership referendum is a pressure point on the other EU heads of government – and it seems to be working. Our PM realises that his reforms must go through – without reform, and with the chief pushing the whole institution towards ever-closer union, Europe is going to end up in serious peril of breaking up.

That might sound nonsensical, but think about it. Like Krupa pointed out, the more extreme the push for ever-closer union – united European police, militia, administration – the stronger the opponents of it will grow, and there will come a point when effective diplomatic relations between the institution and its member states will cease. As Juncker and advocates of his school of thought incite the EU to draw the countries closer and closer together, gradually more and more people will oppose this ideal and will draw even further away from each other than is economically and diplomatically sensible.

Juncker won the EU’s Charlemagne Prize in 2006, and if that isn’t clear-cut enough proof of his intentions, then what is? Charlemagne, or Karl the Great as he’s known in Germany, built up and legalised an empire covering most of France, about half of Germany and Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, Lietchenstein, some of the Czech Republic and parts of Hungary. This was meant to revitalise the Western arm of the Roman Empire, and became a sort of proto-Holy Roman Empire – a macrostate.

But it crumbled a few years after Charlemagne’s death. It certainly didn’t do much to help European unity, not in the sense of harmonious relations between the European peoples. The UK was never part of this – wasn’t even a United Kingdom itself – and I doubt Alfred the Great or any other Dark Ages monarch would have wanted to have been.

So we live in this United Kingdom, some of us (around 43% if Die Welt has reliable statistics) backing Cameron’s efforts whilst simultaneously backing his efforts in the No campaign for Scottish independence. That might sound like a contradiction in terms, but for one thing the UK is much longer lasting (1707 for governmental union), has already let Holyrood have some degree of self-government by devolution and has a population much more inextricably linked and intertwined than the variant peoples of Europe. There’s contradiction with Yes too though – Scottish SNP MEP Alyn Smith informed BBC Radio Scotland that the SNP “could do business” with Juncker, with the man who presses for ever-closer union but seems to shine a kindly eye on independence, unlike Barroso. Although probably a canny move by the EPP Spitzenkandidat to align himself with at least some UK party and insure himself in the case of a Yes outcome, the SNP – probably also eager to give more weight to Yes despite obvious contradictions – seem very keen indeed. Maybe it’s simply another way of annoying Cameron and his supporters.

With Juncker more or less certain of getting the Commission presidency, we’re in danger of a political power-cut. Nobody, except Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, has been swayed by the necessity to have a leading figure suitable to the priorities of the EU (reform & modernisation). Relations have been strained between the UK/Hungary partnership and the other member states, and one can expect that to worsen with the appointment of such a hardline ever-closer advocate. The disappointing turnout and protest voting deployed for the European elections in May in this country have backfired – with UKIP now more prominent than the Conservatives in the European Parliament, how do people backing Cameron’s fight against Juncker’s appointment expect that he looks credible when Farage and friends swept past him at the polls? The EPP, the most prominent party in the European Parliament & the party who put forward Juncker for president, are basing the legitimacy of his appointment on the fact that they have the widest support across Europe.

Partially due to the fact that Cameron took the Conservatives out of the EPP in 2009 because they were too backward-looking, thereby losing some support from it, and partially due to the fact that the UK didn’t vote sensibly in the European elections, we’re now facing a power cut.

 

*Quark would like to point out that there are other breakfast brands available.

 

Read more:

http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2014-06/eu-juncker-cameron-kommentar

http://www.zeit.de/2014/25/eu-kommissionspraesident-juncker

http://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article129508440/David-Cameron-der-einsamste-Mann-Europas.html#disqus_thread

Quark interviews…Nigel Farage

Quark: At what point did you personally become resolved that leaving the European Union was the best path for the UK – after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty or earlier?

NF: Let me be clear – I love Europe, it is a great place. I am married to a European, I’ve worked for European companies and I like European cultures. But I’ve always been wary of the European Project, and pretty early on I began to suspect it had gone far beyond a simple trading deal, which is what my parents’ generation thought we’d signed up for in the first place. The Maastricht Treaty was the final straw for me – it established European citizenship and laid down the agenda for the introduction of a European currency.

Quark: UKIP appear to be winning across quite a few voters from the left-wing – former Labour voters – as well as ex-Conservative supporters. Where does that leave you on the political spectrum?

NF: Well, the first and most important aim of UKIP is to return powers from Brussels to Westminster. National sovereignty is an issue that transcends the traditional left-right dynamic of politics, and so of course we are attracting support from across the political spectrum. Some of our greatest by-election results have been in northern Labour heartlands, which proves we aren’t just taking votes from the Conservative party.

Quark: What is your response to the criticism you receive? It has been said that UKIP is inherently racist, that you are not a party for the modern world and that you simply provide an easy alternative for disaffected voters rather than any serious political intention. How do you react to that?

NF: For years, the ‘old three’ parties have tried to create a narrative that UKIP is somehow extreme or xenophobic – and in the run up to the European Elections they did all they could to perpetuate this image. They found a small minority of our candidates who had said offensive or silly things on social media and got their friends in the media to present them as if they were representative of the views of UKIP as a whole. The fact is, we are a growing party, attracting an unprecedented number of new members and candidates – a very small number of inappropriate people have sadly slipped the net and so we are improving our vetting procedures. But on the whole, the British public have seen through the establishment  smear tactics and that’s why they voted for us in such huge numbers, that’s why we came first in these European Elections. The British public know that we are a party that embraces the modern world but has respect for our nation’s traditions, something the modern Conservative party seems to have forgotten.

Quark: In 2010, you received just under 1% of the vote in Scotland, where you hold no seats. UKIP are against Scottish independence. How difficult is it for London-centric parties to carry gravitas in this election, when some polls suggest that their arguments are merely turning more Scots to support Salmond in defiance?

NF: In the European Elections we recently got our first Scottish MEP elected and we got 10.4% of the vote – we think this is [a] foundation we can build on in the future. I believe Britain is better together and I hope that Scotland votes to remain part of the Union – a union that has benefitted us all for centuries. But I believe what Salmond is offering is a form of false independence; ‘freedom’ from being governed by politicians in Westminster but no referendum on Scotland’s membership of the EU. I hope in the near future that Scotland gets the chance to vote to continue to be part of the United Kingdom and also votes for independence from the European Union.

Quark: The deputy prime minister identified one of the 3 key priorities for the EU as action on climate change. In 2008 you were somewhat averse to HRH the Prince of Wales’ calls for the EU to be the engine of action in that respect. Was this more to do with your qualms about strengthening EU bonds or about the position of the monarchy in global politics?

NF: With all due  respect to HRH the Prince of Wales, climate change is a complex issue; with ‘true believers’ on both sides. One camp insists it is the major issue affecting mankind and the other says it is not happening at all. We in UKIP would like to see an impartial, neutral Royal Commission established to examine the entire issue of climate change and report back. Then we can formulate policy based on fact, not bias.

Quark: The UKIP manifesto includes a promise to develop more grammar schools and technical colleges. However today’s youth are ever more pressured to achieve the highest grades they can. Do you think that increasing the divide between academia and practical careers will help to alleviate this or simply worsen it?

NF: In recent years, I think the way we have demeaned in Britain the idea of people learning skills and trades is just stupid. UKIP would like to see young people offered more options – from trades, apprenticeships to higher learning with all being treated as equally valid.

Quark: A few weeks ago, you made an appearance on “Have I Got News For You”. How important is it for you, as a leader, to be able to be the focus of mockery and humour?

NF: I have always been able to take a joke, and I cannot stand to think that I could become one of these pofaced political drones we see so often on television. I firmly believe you can be a serious politician but still enjoy a laugh now and again, even if it is at your own expense.

 

These questions were sent on 12th May, thus accounting for a discrepancy in dates between them and the answers, and were answered 6th/7th June due to Mr Farage’s busy schedule.

Lest we forget

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70 years ago, thousands of British, American, Australian, New Zealander, Indian and Canadian soldiers streamed onto beaches formerly frequented not by troops but by tourists. A patchwork of nationalities, they united in the hope of quashing conclusively the fascist regime which threatened the liberty of humanity.

Along with other units in Italy and on the eastern front, they started the long push to Berlin. By less than a year, that threat had ended, and a new one had emerged.

It is estimated* that 4,000 Allied troops died on this day, and 9,000 of the Wehrmacht (German armed forces) foe, a sacrifice never to be forgotten.

Despite the massive advantage held by the Germans, the success of Operation Fortitude – a deception operation arranged mainly by the British armed and secret services to persuade Nazi high command that the Normandy landings were fake and the real invasion was to come near Calais – helped to keep Allied losses a great deal lower than what they perhaps might have been.

Lancaster bombers of 617 (Dambusters) Squadron dropping thin strips of tin foil to mimic the radar signals of an entire fleet, double agents transmitting a web of false information about a huge ghost army under General Patton poised to invade the Pas de Calais and another in Scotland for Norway and inflatable or wooden tanks, Spitfires and transport trucks – Fortitude was an ingenious solution to the problem of German coastal strength.

Deception was a favourite technique of the British war machine by now. To help the troops invading Italy, MI5 produced an elaborate scheme to convince the Axis that the invasion would come not from Sicily – the obvious point – but from Sardinia, Corsica and Greece. To do this they floated the partially preserved body of a dead tramp into the Mediterranean, clutching a briefcase filled supposedly with documents proving the points of invasion meant for Allied generals in Africa, and identity naming him as a military courier. The Spanish, whose government was also fascist and – despite official neutrality – was inclined more to the Nazis – collected the body and the documents, and passed them onto German agents who photographed them and sent them to Berlin. Operation Mincemeat was swallowed whole & the invasion of Sicily was much easier with few of the enemy present.

You will have heard of the man who claimed to have imagined up the ‘dead tramp’ scheme, Ian Fleming, but you probably won’t have heard of Juan Pujol Garcia. This Spaniard was a dedicated advocate of democracy and freedom and, upon being rejected for espionage work in Madrid by the suspecting British, began to work for the Germans, gained their trust and made up an entire network of sub-agents active in Britain whilst still living on the Iberian peninsula. With the British afraid of this ‘super’ agent detected through German messages decoded at Bletchley Park, they eventually found him to be on their side and brought him to Britain, where he continued his invaluable work until 1945. Not only did his ‘network’ provide the ‘information’ for the Norwegian and Calais landings, but also helped the British to round up every single German agent in the country and feed their enemy with the wrong information.

During the 1942 desert battle El Alamein between the Allies’ Montgomery and the Axis’ Rommel, but on a smaller scale, trucks being disguised as tanks and driven about different parts of Egypt to dupe Axis reconnaissance ‘planes whilst the real tanks moved swiftly round to attack Rommel from where he was least expecting it.

That same Rommel, defeated in northern Africa, now wielded the highest command post in northern France, awaiting an Allied invasion after that of Sicily had meant the capture of Rome a few weeks before. Yet at the most crucial time he was at home, celebrating his wife’s birthday, the Nazis having completely swallowed Fortitude.

By the time he returned and the Nazi high command had realised it was indeed the real invasion, it was much too late. The road to Berlin was begun, and Rommel was forced to commit suicide.

Despite being Germany’s most popular general if not public figure, Rommel was connected to opponents of the regime – the 20th July plotters – and was made to poison himself to prevent negative harm coming to the regime from executing this popular man. Others in the Wehrmacht – Stauffenberg, the bomber, and Schlabrendorff (from whom we know much of the opposition thanks to a bombing raid destroying the courtroom in which he was to be sentenced) – as well as in the secret services – even the head, Canaris – endeavoured to destroy the regime.

They failed, and the implications of their failure on 20th July led to huge repercussions across Germany. But Hitler underwent significant psychological damage, a damaged arm linking him now physically to Wilhelm II, the emperor who brought Europe to war the last time.

On 30th April, newly married Hitler shot himself, and on 8th May, victory in Europe was assured.

The veterans now gathering on the beaches of Normandy did a huge amount to win the Allies the war, but those behind the scenes, the deception plotters of MI5 and MI6 and the military underground to Hitler’s regime, also deserve our recognition.

Lest we forget.

 

It is said that Abwehr (German equivalent of MI5 & MI6) resistance to Hitler, run primarily by Wilhelm Canaris, Hans Oster and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, may have saved a significant number of Jews and of Nazi opponents by hiring them and shipping them into neutral territory to make good their escape, in addition to communicating Nazi plans to the Allies, swallowing deception plans and fiddling troop sighting reports to make the Wehrmacht put the wrong number of troops in the wrong place. This is very hard to investigate or prove. I am currently researching the extent to which the Abwehr harmed the Nazi regime, so if you are an expert on the subject, I welcome your comments on the subject.

 

*(BBC News)