Thursday, 25 February 2016

The First Duty of Government - the Defence of the Realm

 An item on Guido got me thinking.

In the last 1000 years (just under) the UK (well alright, England) has been invaded twice. 

Once in 1066 when about 10,000 Normans turned up and shoved a stick in Harold's eye, and second between 2010 and 2015 when 3,300,000 (approx.) various foreigners just walked in. OK, these didn't actually 'invade', as in take over by force, but permitting such numbers in is a de facto assault on the indigenous population's property rights.

So Cameron's argument that being in the EU is better for our security, indicates that he's clearly missing the point.

In any event if he and his government think that we need to surrender sovereignty to be secure then he's admitting that he isn't competent to provide security.  Which in turns means he'd better resign then.  


Anonymous said...

Not sure my 'property rights' have been noticeably impinged by the 'invaders' these last 5 years. I have noticed a decidedly more European flavour to the High St [Barkingside]but then there has also been a bit of an Asian infusion there as well due to many moving northwards from older parts of Ilford. Both of these developments have been net positive in my view but others might take exception. In any case, the real invasion [1066] had momentous ramifications in terms of the language, customs and almost totally new landed class [feudal Lords] who took over from the old Saxon landowners. This latest influx is quite trivial in comparison really.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Speaking as a half foreigner married to a foreigner, I tend to side with PC156 on this. 1066 was a million times worse.

DBC Reed said...

Type into Google: Glorious Revolution really an invasion and you will find many references to Prof Jardine's very strong case that William of Orange invaded the UK and was not invited in some bloodless revolution. One import was Dutch Banking (or Fractional Reserve Banking); another was cheap gin.It is fairly obvious which was long term disastrous : the system that financed the Dutch Tulip mania and London property mania.

Derek said...

Ah, Mr Reed beat me to it. The Glorious Revolution was a bonafide invasion. And a jolly successful one too.

DBC Reed said...

Some scholars dispute the idea that Fractional Reserve Banking fuelled Tulip mania as I has assumed: they say that money was plentiful because Holland attracted and recycled gold and silver bullion rather than paper.

Lola said...

The good bit about my musings - whether they are right or not - is that it is generating comments...

Mark Wadsworth said...

D and DBC, that is one of those things that will be argued forever and never decided. AFAIAC, he was invited in as a figurehead monarch. William himself complained that he'd had more powers as Statthalter of Amsterdam than as King of England.

DBC, tulip mania had bugger all to do with FRB. It was because the government changed the terms of the contract, if you agreed to buy tulips but changed your mind, you only had to pay 3% of the price as a penalty, thus it became a one way bet that got out of hand.

After the event, the Dutch courts sensibly decided that tulip bulb contracts were simply null and void and the Dutch got back to business quite happily.

Bayard said...

"1066 was a million times worse."

The Normans were quite benign compared to the Saxons they took over from. All that happened was that the rulers of the country changed. When the Saxons arrived, they wiped out the indigenous British or chased them into Cornwall and Wales. What we call "ethnic cleansing" today.

paulc156 said...

B. Look up 'the harrowing of the north'

Bayard said...

P, I know about that, but, at bottom, the Normans were simply looking to take over the government of the country. They didn't want to be the hewers of wood and the drawers of water. The Saxons were settlers, not just a bunch of wannabe aristocrats. The Normans were like the British in India, the Saxons like the various European races in North America.

paulc156 said...

Then you know the harrowing was regarded as particularly brutal and cruel ,'even for its time'. So describing them as benign in comparison with the Saxons is bizarre ro say the least. Furthermore the change was revolutionary and overnight with perhaps only the City of London left relatively to its own devices.(plus ca change). When you talk about Saxons and the effect they had on England and comparing it to the Normans you seem to forget, when the Saxons first arrived there was no England and any effects they had were spread over several centuries much of which was spent fighting Viking invaders. No one lived through those changes since many were local in nature and spread over hundreds of years. Not so the Normans,the effects were across the whole of England and over a few short years. In short, the comparison does not really make sense.

DBC Reed said...

Your view of the Glorious Revolution is a throw back to the Whig Interpretation of History by Macaulay etc. If you read a more modern revisionist account (the BBC History Glorious Revolution on Net is typical), you can see that an actual invasion has been airbrushed from British History: William of Orange turned up in an Armada four times the size of the Spanish Armada and after their landing at Torbay, James 11 was organising for a pitched battle in his own defence but was totally unnerved by prominent generals going over to the other side.When William entered London the streets were lined with Dutch soldiers, I believe.
And we complain that the Land Value Tax has been airbrushed from Economic History and that Economic History has been airbrushed from Economics !
If you are wrong, even gloriously wrong, about the Dutch Invasion, I am up the pole about the Tulip Mania and Fractional Reserve Banking, which wasn't being practised at the time in Amsterdam. I took the Austrian view that you couldn't have a bubble in asset prices without some drastic increase to the money supply: but it looks like the Dutch achieved this by drastically increasing the amount of gold and silver coinage (which I wouldn't have believed possible).
Also I have a long deep-seated prejudice (which I have never seriously thought through)that the Tulip Mania was better than House Price mania because the Tulip Maniacs were investing in a productive resource which was capable of reproducing itself and therefore could show a profit over time.Houses cannot reproduce themselves ergo a more inflationary investment??

Bayard said...

P156, however brutal the actions and far reaching the changes instituted by the Normans, they cannot compare with the ethnic cleansing carried out by the Saxons, regardless of timescale. It is a new concept to me that several million deaths over a century or so is somehow preferable to several thousand over a few years. Yes, the Vikings were just as bad, but that doesn't make the Saxons any better.
The main point, which you seem not to be grasping, was that the Saxons were after new land on which to settle, but the Normans were after a new land, complete with people, to rule.

Anonymous said...

B. your main point in the first post was either [there were only two points in total] "The Normans were quite benign compared to the Saxons they took over from. All that happened was that the rulers of the country changed.". or "When the Saxons arrived, they wiped out the indigenous British or chased them into Cornwall and Wales. What we call "ethnic cleansing" today."

In answer to the first, nope they were not benign and no that's not 'all that happened'. ie; apart from the imposition of French Abbots and Bishops on the church, the change to language, law and custom, the itsy bitsy triviality of instituting feudalism etc etc. A hundred thousand [not a 'few thousand'] were said to have been slaughtered or starved to death [directly and deliberately as a result of just one action by the Normans] by the harrying of the north in just a couple of short years. ie; devastating half of England. And unlike your claims we have good verification for all the above. This is how William himslef is recorded on his deathbed:
"I persecuted the native inhabitants of England beyond all reason. Whether nobles OR commons, I cruelly oppressed them; many I unjustly disinherited; innumerable multitudes, especially in the county of York, perished through me by famine and sword…I am stained with the rivers of blood that I have shed."

In answer to your second point. 'When the Saxons arrived' in the context of some kind of invasion comparable to the Normans makes no sense. They came in dribs and drabs over several hundred years along with other Germanic tribes like Angles and Jutes! Talking about what they [Saxons] did to the indigenous British is at best simplistic. Many local battles fought over many generations/centuries even, some 'between' Germanic tribes as well as between Saxons and indigenous Brits and many indigenous would have assimilated, not simply been slaughtered or ensconced in Cornwall or Wales.It's not at all clear among historians as to whether there even was ethnic cleansing on any grand scale and certainly not over such a long period. We know much less than we do about the Norman invasion ['Dark Ages' ring any bells?] since the Normans were so fastidious about recording it.

And when you say "It is a new concept to me that several million deaths over a century or so is somehow preferable to several thousand over a few years." you are going walkabout. Since when does conjecture supplant record? It's hotly contested with little reliable evidence [Dark Ages remember?]. Millions? The population of Britain when the both during and after the Romans is estimated to be no more than about 1.5m, and there was a collapse in population in the 6thC due to 'plague'! So millions is just hyperbole/nonsense unless you insist that death by old age, natural organisms and accidents on the farm over a one hundred year period is also a Saxon crime? :)

H said...

More forgotten invasions - ultimately unsuccessful ones - the French in the early thirteenth century (the future Louis VIII was defeated at the battle of Lincoln) and Charles Stuart made it as far as Derby in 1745. A more successful one was Henry VII in 1485 - substantially more French than Welsh, and with barely a drop of English blood - he defeated Richard III at Bosworth.

Lola said...

H VII seems to have used troops on loan to him

Curmudgeon said...

In "The Safeguard of the Sea" by N.A.M. Rodger, he argues that between 1066 and 1485 there were a number of substantial foreign military invasions, usually by the French, running in to double figures.

1485 and 1745 were arguably more rebellions than invasions, as both Henry Tudor and Charles Edward Stuart only brought a relatively small force with them.

DBC Reed said...

This is all rather assuming that invasion is invariably a bad thing: Napoleon's invasion plans as he described them to Barry O' Meara , his surgeon on St Helena, might have done a lot of good: " I would cautiously have avoided saying anything about annexing England and France, on the contrary I would have declared that we came only as friends to expel a flagitious" (!! Chambers gives "grossly wicked") and tyrannical aristocracy and to restore the rights of the people!"

" the property of the nobles I would have declared to be forfeited and be divided amongst the people, amongst the partisans of the Revolution , a general equality and division of property.."
Rather reminiscent of the moment in televised "War and Peace" when serfs refuse to help their masters escape because invading Napoleon has promised them free land.

As somebody who worked in teaching for a long time I believe that the Napoleonic system, which he devised in his spare time when not invading places, still remains the way forward with all classes timetabled to teach the same thing at the same time so he could look at his watch and know what was going on in all the classes.The British organised chaos system with inexperienced teachers trying to compete with each other to appear "radical" or "traditional" is an educational and social disaster.

Bayard said...

Napoleon the great organiser, simplifier and standardiser does tend to get overshadowed in the history books by Napoleon the great aggressor.

"the property of the nobles I would have declared to be forfeited and be divided amongst the people, amongst the partisans of the Revolution , a general equality and division of property.."

If that's what he was going to do, it's hardly surprising that he gets a bad press in British history. I wouldn't be surprised if all the so-called "bad" kings of Britain were the ones that upset the landowning classes, or pre-renaissance, the Church.

Lola said...

Well, I must say, considering the questioning nature of my post the response has been better than hoped.

But the point I was trying to make, that it's daft for Dave to use the security argument for In, as that is just admitting that he is not competent to ensure the defence of the realm, and therefore he should bugger off.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L: "But the point I was trying to make, that it's daft for Dave to use the security argument for In, as that is just admitting that he is not competent to ensure the defence of the realm, and therefore he should bugger off."

That was an excellent point, and nobody has challenged it so far, not even PC156, DBC or Bayard.

We are a bloody island for God's sake, easily defensible. With European countries, especially the smaller ones, you can see the point that it is nigh impossible for one country to defend its own borders - whether from an invading army or immigrants or rabid foxes - without a lot of co-operation. The UK, Malta, Ireland etc do not have that problem.

Mark Wadsworth said...

or is it "defendable"? Is that different to "defensible"?

Bayard said...

"We are a bloody island for God's sake, easily defensible."

which is supposed to be why William I came here in the first place.

DBC Reed said...

On the narrow point of defence I would have thought a closer union within Europe has proved itself: we are not likely to go to war with
France and Germany as so often before, especially for economic reasons . (And the Russians never had any intention of attacking us, lets face it. The years have proved it.)
We are not being "invaded" by refugees fleeing from the effects of the Americans' Charlie Wilson's War in promoting jihad.The Europeans, particularly the Germans, have absorbed the full shock: should the French stop holding refugees up at Calais etc ( by, in effect, allowing us to have our border posts on the French coast), then we would start moaning when these desperate people set out across the Channel in rubber dighies.The Germans have done us a favour by using the refugees as a cheap well-trained labour source.(BTW why are the Conservatives so scared of hordes of people coming over here to work at their skinflint wage levels?)
Then there is all the Police co-operation. Going back to the days when it took years to serve arrest warrants on criminals and other Tories who went to ground in Europe would hardly make us more secure, especially with all the terrorists that our NO 1 allies, the Americans, have encouraged.
BTW in 1975 I was part of an anti Common Market groupuscule which was in favour of a Commonwealth Free Trade area with full economic infrastructure: common currency, common language, common legal system .
Most of the older guys were Jewish/Communist Empire Loyalists of leftish disposition. Our enemies on the street were the Union Movement who were Oswald's Mosley's Blackshirts made over .In retrospect I now believe we were right all along.