Thursday, October 25, 2007

The rape of Europe - one year on

This article was published exactly a year ago in the Brussels Journal...

The Rape of Europe

The German author Henryk M. Broder recently told the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant (12 October) that young Europeans who love freedom, better emigrate. Europe as we know it will no longer exist 20 years from now. Whilst sitting on a terrace in Berlin, Broder pointed to the other customers and the passers-by and said melancholically: “We are watching the world of yesterday.”

Europe is turning Muslim. As Broder is sixty years old he is not going to emigrate himself. “I am too old,” he said. However, he urged young people to get out and “move to Australia or New Zealand. That is the only option they have if they want to avoid the plagues that will turn the old continent uninhabitable.”

Many Germans and Dutch, apparently, did not wait for Broder’s advice. The number of emigrants leaving the Netherlands and Germany has already surpassed the number of immigrants moving in. One does not have to be prophetic to predict, like Henryk Broder, that Europe is becoming Islamic. Just consider the demographics. The number of Muslims in contemporary Europe is estimated to be 50 million. It is expected to double in twenty years. By 2025, one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families. Today Mohammed is already the most popular name for new-born boys in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other major European cities.

Broder is convinced that the Europeans are not willing to oppose islamization. “The dominant ethos,” he told De Volkskrant, “is perfectly voiced by the stupid blonde woman author with whom I recently debated. She said that it is sometimes better to let yourself be raped than to risk serious injuries while resisting. She said it is sometimes better to avoid fighting than run the risk of death.”

In a recent op-ed piece in the Brussels newspaper De Standaard (23 October) the Dutch (gay and self-declared “humanist”) author Oscar Van den Boogaard refers to Broder’s interview. Van den Boogaard says that to him coping with the islamization of Europe is like “a process of mourning.” He is overwhelmed by a “feeling of sadness.” “I am not a warrior,” he says, “but who is? I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.”

As Tom Bethell wrote in this month’s American Spectator: “Just at the most basic level of demography the secular-humanist option is not working.” But there is more to it than the fact that non-religious people tend not to have as many children as religious people, because many of them prefer to “enjoy” freedom rather than renounce it for the sake of children. Secularists, it seems to me, are also less keen on fighting. Since they do not believe in an afterlife, this life is the only thing they have to lose. Hence they will rather accept submission than fight. Like the German feminist Broder referred to, they prefer to be raped than to resist.

“If faith collapses, civilization goes with it,” says Bethell. That is the real cause of the closing of civilization in Europe. Islamization is simply the consequence. The very word Islam means “submission” and the secularists have submitted already. Many Europeans have already become Muslims, though they do not realize it or do not want to admit it.

Some of the people I meet in the U.S. are particularly worried about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. They are correct when they fear that anti-Semitism is also on the rise among non-immigrant Europeans. The latter hate people with a fighting spirit. Contemporary anti-Semitism in Europe (at least when coming from native Europeans) is related to anti-Americanism. People who are not prepared to resist and are eager to submit, hate others who do not want to submit and are prepared to fight. They hate them because they are afraid that the latter will endanger their lives as well. In their view everyone must submit.

This is why they have come to hate Israel and America so much, and the small band of European “islamophobes” who dare to talk about what they see happening around them. West Europeans have to choose between submission (islam) or death. I fear, like Broder, that they have chosen submission – just like in former days when they preferred to be red rather than dead.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

We are all Israel now...

So, you bunch of raving English hypocrites. Last summer, you were "all Hizbollah now". Seems that this autumn, the yellow flags and terrorist chic kheffiyahs which seem to have proliferated recently will all be neatly folded away, and Israel will be called upon to win something.

Of course, this isn't an existential war or anything, so you are allowed to support the Zionists on this occasion. It's just football.

England are in this mess because they failed to beat Macedonia at home, there being no shame in an away draw in Tel Aviv, where nobody beat Israel in the last World Cup campaign and Croatia scraped a 4-3 victory in their tie, and the now-legendary element of farce and bad luck about the loss in Zagreb.

Still, I guess it's a nice situation for the armchair Israel-haters that make up about 70% of this fucking country. Israel get schmeissed or we do you a favour. And yes, I mean WE. After all, I failed Norman Tebbit's "cricket test" - and supported Israel in the recent qualifying games. In part this was because I thought Israel needed the points more and England should have been capable of qualifying by beating all the other sides.

It's also because I despair of the manner in which the country sees its shallow yobbish support of its football team as its national identity rather than just an expression of it. This is best shown in the way that the dreary tune of the national anthem is dragged out several times per match as a strange terrace chant.

I wonder if Ladbrokes will take my bet that if Israel do lose, there will be at least one statement that makes it into the media, blaming them for some kind of "Russian-Jewish-Zionist conspiracy" because of the multiple ties between Abramovich, Zahavi, Gaydamak, Grant and so on...

Anyway, luckily for me, here is a chance for me to get a win-win result too. Israel wins and helps England: jackpot scenario. Israel loses, and I get to rant a bit more about how everyone is always blaming Israel for everything that is wrong in their lives.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Drossrail

As if the Olympics weren't enough to drive Londoners to an early grave (I quote Freedman's grandpa, who exclaimed on hearing that London won the bid - "thank goodness I'll be dead by then!" - though we note that at the current rate of progress, he may be around to eat his words)...

Crossrail today got the green light from El Gordo, so we can look forward to a mere 10 more years of transport misery at a cost of £16 billion (supposing it opens on time and on budget). Okay, let's apply standard British grands projets mathematics and add broadly 25% overruns on both counts, so that brings us to £20bn and an opening in 2020. Even I think Grandpa might not last that long - he'd be 104!

Of course, the whole scheme is a total waste of time and money, compared to the alternatives. Even George Galloway is not entirely in favour of it (perhaps I should therefore support it on principle?!). Let's review some of the reasons being bandied around for building it:

1. Existing lines and stations are really overcrowded. 2. Journey times can be reduced dramatically. 3. This will regenerate big chunks of London. 4. We can spread the range from which commuters get to London much wider and relieve pressure on London house prices. 5. Connection times from Heathrow to the City and Canary Wharf will be massively improved. 6. This will create jobs and attract investment, by making London and the south-east more competitive.

Let's break it down...

1. Existing lines and stations are really overcrowded.

This is true but what has been proven on the roads - and quoted at length by the same tree-huggers who seem to love this project, is that "if you build it, they will come". Add more trains, throw a shedload of subsidy at it, create a captive audience, ramp up prices, and the trains stay full. Not only that, but look at the route - see any new stations along it?

The underlying problem is that people don't live near where they work, and have to commute every day at the same time. Shorter journeys, taken less frequently and/or at more varied times, would provide the best remedy. This could be achieved in part by a pricing system that has more subtlety to it than "loadsamoney before 9.30am". The Oyster system is pretty clever - why not start rush hour prices at 7.30am, and encourage early risers? And the evenings are just as bad - why is there no premium for travel originating in Zone 1 between say 4.30pm and 6.30pm?

Companies would have to be part of the solution. At the moment, the vast majority of commuters pay for their own tickets of course, and may have little say over when they come in to work. Perhaps by adding the employer and place of work to the registration details of Oyster cards, TfL could develop a system of incentives (perhaps in the form of public transport travel credits!) for companies that push a certain percentage of staff away from peak travel. This has to be good for TfL, as the reduction in capital cost by simply using existing capacity better, rather than building more, surely far outweighs any cost of running such a scheme.


2. Journey times can be reduced dramatically.

Actually, this is a bit of a fallacy. The real time-consuming issue on most of the "comparable" journey times quoted by Crossrail fans is the slow crawl of suburban trains across congested tracks into mainline stations, the funnelling through the terminus down to the Tube, and then the brawl to get onto a train and another on arrival.

The wiser transport consultant will tell you that removing these bottlenecks would allow more longer distance trains to be run faster and more punctually, and speed up journeys without actually making the trains go any quicker. In other words, more direct routes need to be opened up that avoid the clogging up of termini and disgorging of crowds from overground services onto already packed underground ones.

If one could amalgamate every suburban service (say the ones that terminate inside the M25) into the Tube network, journey times would reduce on average by 10 minutes for users of those services. This may not be the 20-odd minutes offered by Crossrail, but it can come at a fraction of the time and cost, and brings the same level of comfort. In fact, as you will see below, it applies to a much wider swathe of London than Crossrail's route, so the benefits are shared among more people.

A prime example - to get from Shepperton in deepest south-west London to the City typically takes nearly an hour and a half in rush hour. Of this, 10 minutes is the walk from the terminus platform to the Waterloo & City (Drain) Line, and 10 minutes is the timetabled extra time the identical journey takes in the very heart of the peak period, because it spends longer loading up at stations and then has to crawl pretty much from before Clapham Junction all the way to town.

At the same time, a journey from Alexandra Palace in the leafy northern suburbs all the way through to Blackfriars involves a schlepp down the hill to the WAGN line station, then either a dogleg on the tube to meet the already heaving Thameslink (with a long walk at King's Cross), and a journey time of maybe 75 minutes if all goes well.

Let's go one step further - if they wanted to go and visit each other, it would take maybe 2 1/2 hours...

But what if I told you there was a very big hole just outside Waterloo station, which is used as the service entrance to the Drain, and could be opened into a fully-fledged exit ramp up to the mainline tracks? And what if the Drain ran directly underneath Blackfriars station? And at the other end, the trackbed exists for a line that was pulled up, that ran from Finsbury Park (where our Ali Pali resident will have made his first change of trains) through Highgate and right up the hill to where the palace sits? And what if, at the other end, it turned out that a proposal to extend the original Great Northern Electrics tunnels from Moorgate station to Bank to join the Waterloo & City Line have existed for 100 years? That's a distance of about 1/4 mile.

In other words, for some fairly minimal tinkering, and putting into place a short stretch of tunnel that has long been considered by operators and engineers, these journeys can all be made vastly simpler. This same process can be recreated all over London, as well as some neat alternative uses of peripheral routes so that people can avoid having to go through the centre of town when travelling between suburbs.


3. This will regenerate big chunks of London.

Not really. The route is now largely along existing lines, and the whole point is to make it a non-stop service, so other than disrupting poor people by digging under their houses, it's hard to see this affecting them. Besides, this will come too late for the other great regeneration project of our time (/sarc), the Olympics, and avoids stopping too close to the glorious solution to our housing problem known as the Thames Gateway (aka Thames flood plains).


4. We can spread the range from which commuters get to London much wider and relieve pressure on London house prices.

Again, not an overly compelling argument, as the satellite towns it is going to are already suffering house price inflation. If this is really going to happen, the line needs to stretch out and encompass half the mainline services into Paddington and Liverpool Street, so that towns like Ipswich and Swindon can become realistic commuter territory. But it isn't going to.


5. Connection times from Heathrow to the City and Canary Wharf will be massively improved.

Firstly, the serious businessman from Europe flies into London City Airport, which is tripling its capacity over the next few years, and is actually walkable to Canary Wharf if you have a light briefcase.

Secondly, Stansted is becoming the airport of choice for transatlantic business-only routes, and respectable mainstreamers like American Airlines are now opening up routes there. It has a 40 minute transfer time to Liverpool Street, and the rail line already exists (although there's no service yet - there's a business idea!) to allow the same to Stratford, from which Canary Wharf is 5 minutes away.

In other words, the general geography of Heathrow is more of a problem than the links to it can mitigate against - never mind the well-reported misery of flying through there.

Besides, what if (here we go again) I told you there was a small railway line that ran from Paddington, where the Heathrow Express terminates, through the City and as far as Whitechapel? It also branches out to Euston, runs under Oxford Street, and has a series of its own stations. It's called MailRail, and it was mothballed by the Post Office a few years ago.

Whilst it's too small to run Tube trains through - the two-way tunnel is still only about 9 feet wide - it could be adapted (by adding a second layer to the tunnel a la NY Subway) to run Docklands Light Railway type trains, which could whizz out to Heathrow or at least provide a direct link from one side of town to the other, relieving congestion on the other lines.


6. This will create jobs and attract investment, by making London and the south-east more competitive.

I think most economists will concur that London has achieved a certain critical mass. Unless we simply stagnate, investment and jobs will always be drawn to London, at least relative to other parts of the UK and Europe. Building white elephants creates a certain number of temporary jobs, but also deters investment, especially when you start slapping compulsory tax hikes on companies who happen to be along the route.


So where is this all going? It is time to unveil the Freedmanslife vision of London's Underground!

I think this can be created for roughly the same price as that single Crossrail line, and in the same timeframe. The methodology has been alluded to above - get rid of bottlenecks at termini, use lighter modes of transport that are more physically flexible (they turn tighter corners, climb steeper gradients, can be fully automatic, can run as trams for part of the way like the Metro in Manchester) and make better use of line capacity, revisit old abandoned stations, lines and projects, and take a much more wholesale approach.

It's several hundred miles longer than Crossrail, and despite the fact that I have yet to have the energy to mark in all the stations, you will quickly be able to work out how many more journeys you could hop on a light train for instead of taking the car. Hopefully if you click on it, you should get an expandable version that is legible. Otherwise try clicking here.