« "Unelectable" | Main | On recommended reading »

February 04, 2016


Deviation From The Mean

I don't want to be seen to peddle the 'they were asking for it' argument. I am just raising questions.

This could also link to the idea that if you are insane you can't recognise the insanity. Or if you are in an insane system then if you are living within it you don't see the problem. For example, no one ever asks why we have so many different varieties of Tea bags, all exactly the same but with different colour boxes. No one stops to think why we spend so much on Christmas presents that will end up unused in cupboards.

This insanity is seen as being perfectly normal, yet for example when the USSR only produced one variety of good, the question of why they only did this was on everybody's lips.

So it takes an external thing to jolt society into looking at itself, though more often than not the conclusion is that the external is the problem and everything we do is fine and dandy.

Linking this to the Cologne issue, we see it and have been instructed to see it as perfectly natural that scantily clad women are not sending out any signals whatsoever and are simply choosing an outfit, nothing more and nothing less. And anyone getting a different signal is a dangerous nuisance.

To a culture outside ours this may seem strange, even if to us it is the high point of human rationality and sophistication.

Enquiring Mind

Are you willing to invite economic migrants to be your neighbors, or perhaps flatmates?

If not, why do you think that so many people are angry about having moralizing politicians commit their communities to degradation?


Does anyone here seriously think that the rapey head-choppy types can be integrated into Western society?

That they'll abandon their ultra-conservative religious views and tribal practices and embrace democracy and secular liberalism instead of poisoning the communities around them?

If so you're a hell of a lot more optimistic than I am.

And where will we house them? Where will they work? Who will teach them English and basic life skills? Where will all the extra doctors and nurses and counsellors and school places come from?

The moral superiority of politicians costs a lot of money, and you can bet they won't be paying for it.


@ Enquiring - I don't have the power to invite economic migrants to be my neighbours, simply because I don't own the neighbouring houses and so have no right to say who should live there.
If you mean would I be content for my neighbours to be migrants, the answer's yes - and in fact, they quite often have been.
My post, though, is not about economic migration but refugees from war-torn areas - though the distinction is not (and should not be) a sharp one.


Millions of extra young, single, job competitors willing to work for much worse pay and conditions, and to live 2-4 to a room paying huge rents, may only slightly depressed wages for everybody else, but they surely boosted rents and property prices and made it much easier for employers to enjoy all the upside of productivity growth.


Dear Chris,

The link "some new research (pdf) from Switzerland." is broken. It says:



Depends if the total amount of violence increases or decreases upon migration. Is exposure to violence that important in future acts - did everyone returning from the war become a violent criminal or is it specifically in early childhood or something? Was the sixties more violent than the 50's perhaps? Maybe it was. Plus it spikes higher right - upon arrival - and then they're arrested and it goes down. This is a curious kind of civil liberties/EMH/dollar bills on the sidewalk/minority report kind of thing - like if we know it's gonna happen then we can stop it, right? Hhmmm, I don't know where this argument goes really - still interesting stuff and thought provoking. I'm just kind of resigned to it not ending well really.

robert weston

Why isn't it justification for required counseling?


@ Bob - sorry about that. Link is now fixed

Clear Thinker

Rarely have I read a piece more redolent of mental illness than this one.

You have essentially attempted to take a mass sexual assault by immigrants and turn it into a reason to allow more immigration.
Your logic is so circular and your reasoning so dizzying that you genuinely sicken me.

Seek help.


More blinkered thinking that economics is all that matters, social/culture is also important.


"But his thesis is clear, as set out in the title: this is London, a godforsaken place made up solely of the exploiters and exploited."

Countries like Sweden who have accepted large numbers of immigrants, and experiencing huge problems including a huge rise in rapes.



"The sinister reality of a society in which the expression of majority opinion is being turned into a crime has already been seen across Europe. Just last week came reports of Dutch citizens being visited by the police and warned about posting anti-mass-immigration sentiments on social media."

I don't share your values or your moral obligations or your conclusions.

Dave Timoney

Social reciprocity has long been theorised in the West as a form of exchange or barter. You can see this today in the arguments of Portes et al in respect of migration: we will get back more than we put in. The problem with this approach is that the trade-off is incommensurable: aggregate GDP vs anxiety.

As a consequence of this focus on debits and credits, altruistic exchange - where we give with no expectation of a return - has been marginalised as either hospitality (with a focus on "aiding travellers" - i.e. a characteristic of business relations) or charity (the purchase of indulgences or peace-of-mind).

There have been attempts in the fields of history and anthropology to highlight the political and social insurance aspects of cultural reciprocity, but this has tended to reinforce the idea that it is bounded by social divisions (tribe, nation, class) and therefore to be seen as an earned "right" (like the figment of NICs).

So long as we continue to talk of "duties" (i.e. obligations) and "trade-offs", then we won't escape the ledger book and there can be no meeting of minds.


"Are you willing to invite economic migrants to be your neighbors, or perhaps flatmates?"

I live in a block of flats where maybe half of all residents are economic migrants, judging by the names on the letterboxes.

Not that this matters to the lynch mob of infuriated middle-aged men swarming like flies in the comments of every post on this blog that touches even remotely upon immigration.


Shades of the Lady Chatterley obscenity trial in 1960: "Is it a book that you would wish your wife or your servants to read?"


There can be no meeting of minds.
You are in favour of immigration or you are not, sure you can argue about the levels.

What kind of society do you wish to live in, is a valid concern of every citizen. One undermined by mass immigration is not my preference, we have already experienced excessive immigration and I do not wish to experience more. A view often held by immigrants themselves.

I am not virtue signalling (the opposite) and your aspersions on my position in society are wrong, certainly with regard to me.


"The atmosphere on Swedish social media is now almost revolutionary. People post videos of themselves accusing the government of murder, of filling Sweden with violent people."

"Gatestone Institute called Sofia Häggmark, a non-partisan official at the Department of Justice unit for migration rights. Here is the Q & A:"

"Do you think it has ever happened at any time in the history of the world that a country cared more for the citizens of other countries than its own?

"I cannot answer that. But there is no rule that sets a limit for how many [asylum seekers] Sweden can accept."

So there is no plan for what to do when the country is full and the citizens are scared?
"No, there is not."

Do you personally think that feels okay?
"I cannot answer that. That is not my job."

If several millions of Muslims come here and implement Sharia law, then the right of asylum has effectively contributed to abolishing the democracy in our country, replacing the Swedish people and annihilating the whole concept of Sweden. Have none of you pondered these fateful issues?

"I understand your thoughts.""

Sweden is a nation of ten million people.

gastro george

Nice group the Gatestone Institute, seems like a hotbed of neocons and islamophobes.

Having actually been a regular visitor to Sweden over the last few years, I can agree that there is some concern there, hence the rise of the Sweden Democrats. But, frankly, the line of questions you quote is hysterical, and the replies are very "Swedish".


Swedish Democrats are number one in the polls. Perhaps you find this news source more acceptable.


"This is an existential social and political crisis for Sweden. While the number of gang members searching for "non-Swedes" to attack in Stockholm a few nights ago was only around 100, their actions reverberated around the country, and the world."

Churm Rincewind

"Cohorts exposed to civil conflicts/mass killings during childhood are on average 40 percent more prone to violent crimes than their co-nationals born after the conflict."

This is a grand statement. But it's not the case in Cologne. The evidence from local police statistics is that in the year to November 2015 only 0.5% of immigrants from war-torn areas - Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan - came to police attention. These immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes than native-born Germans.

The figures are broadly higher for Albanians and Kosovars, and much higher for Algerians and Moroccans where the proportion is not 0.5% but a staggering 40%, and in the case of the Cologne sex attacks they comprise 17 out of 32 of the identified suspects - i.e. 53%.

I merely report the facts.

Matthew Pollock

In the kind of society I would like to live in, inequality would be relatively low and society would help train its people for work. There wouldn't be enormous differences in life-chances, depending on the social position of the parents they were born to.

It seems to me that this kind of politics requires a feeling of community, and conversely generates such communitarian feelings in a positive feedback loop. It is not obvious that it will work if borders are more or less open. People are willing to sacrifice significant parts of their income in tax if they think that they or their children or friends or people like them will eventually reap the benefits, whether directly through education, medical services, housing, policing and the like, or through lower social tension and a generally more agreeable society.

I don't believe they will be so willing to contribute if the borders are open, and anyone, not speaking their language, and of a different religion and/or race, can walk in and claim the benefits (and I don't here mean just social benefits, but all the multiple benefits of the good society, so lacking in most developing countries).

I would suggest that social democracy won't work except on the basis of delimited and defended national borders, and that the more countries become receptive to migration, the more they become neoliberal, every man for himself. The historic home of social democracy is, precisely, countries. Some countries have chosen that path, others not, and to do so requires all sorts of cultural shifts, including a sort of national consensus, always challenged at the fringes, but a consensus nevertheless.

The country which is the basis and home of this choice is of course an "imagined community" but if it is not to be an empty bureaucratic shell it must genuinely be imaginable as "us", which requires a "them", people not part of us.

George Carty

How likely is it that the Cologne sex attackers were actually Da'esh terrorists who wanted European countries to close their borders to Syrian refugees and thus render them unable to escape from their own monstrous rule in Syria? (And perhaps also start mistreating their resident Muslim populations as well, thus making them more susceptible to Da'esh's anti-Western propaganda.)


Is there really a trade-off at all? Assuming that some of these Syrian refugees are predisposed to rape or violence, they will commit such crimes in equal amounts regardless of whether they live in Europe or Syria. Or maybe they won't; maybe there are other factors I'm not considering. (Is sexual assault "easier" in Europe than in Syria? Are they committing these crimes partially to feel powerful over Europeans?)

But if they would commit these crimes regardless, then there is only a trade-off if we believe e.g. the rape of a Syrian woman to be preferable to the rape of a European woman. Again, maybe I'm wrong, maybe there are other reasons why there is a trade-off here.


This post reeks of male privilege. Seriously. Who do you think you are opining that "we" need to put up with mass sexual assault? Is this the royal we, by chance? You sure are not including your dear butt hole, I suspect. Yes, go ahead and censor me. Because this is a personal message. No I am not offended. Rather, as a survivor of attempted rape and sexual harassment, I hate you. HATE YOU. I hope you get what you seem to crave for others you JERK.

gastro george

@aragon - Soul searching for the lost Soc Dem years is also very much a Swedish passion, and recently there has always been a level of violence under the surface - see the history of biker gang murders for example. But I'd like to see a realistic comparison between this 100-person rampage and, say, some of the confrontations between AIK and Hammerby supporters. Certainly you can walk around the centres of Stockholm or Malmo, which I'm familiar with, and you would never get any sense of any loss of Swedishness. Equally, there is a concern about the number of refugees that have been accepted - much much higher than this country - at a time of austerity, when a lot of the certainties of the post-war period are threatened. This has created a climate of fear which has led to the rise of the Sweden Democrats, but my impression that a lot of this is, as usual fear-based, as it is in this country, and that fear is not reduced by doom-laden rantings.


Import third world people, import third world behaviour. It's not rocket science.


What is a non-imagined community? There is surely no such thing, since community is an abstract concept. However, that does not mean that it is not a helpful concept which can produce effects in the real world. A nation state in order to exist must to some degree have the consent of its nationals to a particular set of values, otherwise there will be civil war. Why should we admit others who do not share those values? For example Muslims who might like to persecute me as a gay man, or to remove rights from women.

Your position makes sense only from the perspective of a metropolitan elite who perhaps feel other ties more strongly than those of nationality.


"I wonder: might increased crime be the price we must pay for doing our moral duty?"

Isn't there a moral hazard thing here?
You get the warm glow of satisfaction from doing your duty confident that it is the poor women of Cologne, rather than you, who will suffer the sexual assaults.

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad