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In The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics (Hurst, £20), Goodhart contrasts the Anywheres, global citizens whose skills are mobile and are at home everywhere and nowhere, with the Somewheres, those who are rooted in a particular nation, community and culture. His argument is that for several decades, policy and politics in the West have favoured the Anywheres to the virtual exclusion of the Somewheres. Yet the Somewheres are usually the majority and they are asserting themselves in various ways, notably in so-called populist movements and in unconventional leaders who present themselves as speaking for the forgotten masses against the elites. The Anywheres have struck back, notably in the recent French elections, and are still very much in charge of most Western democracies even when they lose elections. It is notable that the American defence and foreign policy establishment moved swiftly to reassert a degree of control over the Trump administration, for example.

Yet the shift in power from elites to grass roots is palpable and seismic, with even the proudest achievement of the Anywheres — the European Union — in disarray. Even if the EU is able to present a united front against an external threat — Putin’s Russia or Erdogan’s Turkey — or against an internal dissident — for example, Orban’s Hungary — it has been unable to prevent a series of existential crises. These include the departure of its second-largest contributing economy, the near-bankruptcy of its Mediterranean member states, and the failure either to police its borders or to deal competently with an unprecedented influx of migrants from the Muslim world.

This brings us to the subject matter of Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (Bloomsbury Continuum, £18.99). In a searing indictment of Europe’s civilisational somnambulism, Murray accuses the governments and elites of treating their publics with such contempt as not only to ignore their interests and opinions, but to have deliberately sought to replace them with new, supposedly more congenial populations. Ideological blinkers — based on post-colonial guilt, cultural relativism and a blind faith in secular society’s ability to integrate ever more radical forms of Islam — made it impossible for Europe to change course even if its leaders had wanted to do so.

Murray paints two contrasting outcomes for the continent. He considers how migration might have been more robustly managed, with a serious attempt to reassert an identity based on pride in our past and a wider range of permissible views. But he also weighs the likelihood of any change and finds the forces of inertia still predominant. His conclusion is a stark warning: “An entire political class have failed to appreciate that many of us who live in Europe love the Europe that was ours. We do not want our politicians, through weakness, self-hatred, malice, tiredness or abandonment to change our home into an utterly different place . . . If they do so change it then many of us will regret this quietly. Others will regret it less quietly. Prisoners of the past and of the present, for Europeans there seem finally to be no decent answers to the present. Which is how the fatal blow will finally land.”

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Iddo
August 6th, 2017
11:08 AM
Articulate and compelling. Guarantees to Israel from Europe won't suffice. For every John 23 there is a Pius 12, even today. The ability to be an Anti-smite while occupying the moral high ground is just too attractive to many of today's Christian Europeans. Though they endanger themselves, theirs is the cry of Samson "let me die along with the Philistines". My hope is that reasonable views, such as yours, will prevail in the never ending struggle.

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