Wednesday, 28 January 2009

French strike just a warning shot

The planned national one-day strike in France tomorrow should be a fairly bloodless affair. Teachers, postal workers and state pharmacists are unlikely to riot in an orgy of destruction, unlikely to smash the un-Gallic windows of the US junk food / drink chains. A few anarchists will get beaten by the CRS. The Communists, almost as venerable and revered as Galapagos tortoises, and almost as rare, will have their own sub-strike. Above all, the strike will be French. The unemployed north Africans who crowd the banlieue will not strike for the most part; how can you strike if you don't have a job? But they may take advantage of the chaos to burn a few Citroens.

Tomorrow is a warning shot. If things get really serious, then the differences between France and the UK will start to show. The French can't trust their army not to join the civil protests, let alone trust them to combat the protesters. Neither can the Dutch, Italians, Spanish or Portuguese.

In 2006 these nations formed an integrated EU Gendarmerie, with 900 standing troops and a further 2,300 on call in emergencies. Although technically available to any EU nation needing help to suppress civil disorder, States requiring their services are unlikely to include the UK. Britain has always reserved this role for the army, and indeed the Ceremonial Duties Battalion permanently stationed in London has a lesser known role as the Public Order Battalion.

But how loyal to a Brown government would the British army be? They loathe him, but the suggestion that troops may not act against serious civil disorder in the UK is as repugnant to most serving officers as the suggestion that the Adjutant wears girly's panties and shares with Mark Oaten an interest in glass coffee tables. Brown's ministers must have asked themselves this question. Let's hope it never comes to the test, for Brown would have little reservation I suspect in tasking French and Spanish paramilitaries with shooting English rioters.


JPT said...

Very dark times loom I fear.

Anonymous said...

You're right.

He would have very little reservation, and that would be the match that would set off the tinder-pile.

Remember your Chesterton. We'd speak then, all right.

I suspect in his heart of hearts Broon knows this.

Guthrum said...

I have been posting on the riots from Iceland to Vilnius for two weeks- not a glimmer on the BBC

Anonymous said...

In days gone by, Britain had laws against the deployment of foreign troops on British soil for fear that royal despots would use them to crush parliament and the liberty of the people.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Hanoverians soldiers of the King's German Legion were quartered on the Isle of Wight because that was the closest to the British mainland that armed foreign soldiers were allowed.

It's sad when you think of how our ancestors(*) were so concerned with the defence of their liberty while nowadays we don't seem to care about much except the winner of Celebrity Big Brother.

(Naturally when I say "our ancestors", I'm not referring to the ancestors of the asylum seekers, economic refugees and illegal immigrants who have swarmed to our sceptred - or, indeed, septic - isle. Although I'm sure they're all splendid fellows and we're lucky to have them here.)

Anonymous said...

It seems that G.K Chesterton had something to say for all of us English people. For those that have not read his works, just read this and see how it tells of our times.

The Secret People

Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget,
For we are the people of England, that never has spoken yet.
There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.

The fine French kings came over in a flutter of flags and dames.
We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names.
The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down;
There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown.
And the eyes of the King's Servants turned terribly every way,
And the gold of the King's Servants rose higher every day.
They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind,
Till there was no bed in a monk's house, nor food that man could find.
The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak,
The King's Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak.

And the face of the King's Servants grew greater than the King:
He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring.
The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey's fruits,
And the men of the new religion, with their Bibles in their boots,
We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss,
And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us.
We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;
And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.

A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people's reign:
And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and never scorned us again.
Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
The strange fierce face of the Frenchman who knew for what he fought,
And the man who seemed to be more than man we strained against and broke;
And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.

Our path of glory ended; we never heard guns again.
But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain.
He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew,
He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo.
Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house,
Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse:
We only know the last sad squires ride slowly towards the sea,
And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.

They have given us into the hands of the new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger and honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evenings; and they know no songs.

We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.


JuliaM said...

"I have been posting on the riots from Iceland to Vilnius for two weeks - not a glimmer on the BBC..."

Very true. Though the news that Iceland may appoint the first lesbian PM in the EU briefly made the front page...

Anonymous said...

Iceland may have the world's first lezzer as PM but we have the world's incontinent monocular mentalist cunt as PM.

Another great first for the Yoo-Kay.

Chalcedon said...

This battalion should arrest the traitors in government and grant us an election now. The Prime Minister is mad.

mick said...

we're a patient people. We smile in the face of adversity. We queue politely and open doors for ladies and the elderly.

But foreign riot police on our streets would get our dander up.

And that won't be a pretty sight.

Anonymous said...

It won't be the Army firing on angry mobs - they're too poorly equipped chasing shadows on the other side of the world.

No - you will need the unique qualities of the modern British Bobby to do that - a rarely seen, paramilitary force.

If the semi-literate PCSOs and other useless vegetables can't sort it out, Plod will Taser you.

If you don't pay the ticket given by the PCSO, bailiffs will force there way into your house. Plod will Taser you if you resist - he won't be there to prevent a breach of the peace any more - he's there to help the bailiff (Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007).

Plod is there to maintain the status quo. Always has been, always will be. Plod now has the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to do pretty much as s/he pleases - this means that the likes of Cressida Dick and that arsehole in North Wales - a man almost as mad as the one-eyed sociopath - can kill anyone they like with impunity.

When John Major the Great (and how it seems) left office, he went to a cricket match. Whatever happens - and there won't be an election - mark my words sheeple - this man won't have the option of going to a cricket match, smiling in relief.

GB will be dragged out by men in white coats - probably police doctors as part of an ACPO coup.