Monday, 21 March 2016

Viktor Orbán's Speech

Speaking of Belgium, here's Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's recent speech about resisting Brussels, i.e. the bureaucrats who rule the European Union.

As a patriotic speech, it is a master of rhetorical art, and I don't mean that in a bad way. Rhetoric is an art. As the internet goes, this 13 minute speech in Hungarian certainly grabs the attention.

The speech is interesting because contemporary European Prime Ministers and Presidents tend not to talk this way.  When David Cameron defended the UK from an allegedly Russian slur that "nobody pays any attention to a small island," his 60 second "Small Island" speech was a riff on Hugh Grant's "Britain" speech in Love, Actually, only without the tough talk. (That said, Cameron's was the better and funnier speech.) Of course, if David Cameron got up before the cameras and talked smack about the E.U. forcing us to take in refugees as a part of a plot to destroy the nation-state, there would be shrieking from Land's End to John O'Groats.

Nevertheless, a former Labour speech-writer, Andrew Neather, alleged in 2009 that there had been a deliberate attempt by the last British Labour government to change the demographics of the UK forever and ever through mass migration. Why anyone would want do that is an interesting question, but the answer is more likely to be rooted in some sort of no-borders ideology instead of bloodless cultural genocide.

"Come and share our wonderful way of life" is indeed a generous impulse, but it naively assumes that is what all newcomers would want to do. In extreme cases, newcomers even kill family members who become "too western" or "westernized", which is to say, sharing more fully in our wonderful way of life. (Google "murdered" with "westernized" for examples.)  Other newcomers become deeply disenchanted with our wonderful way of life, dismissing British culture (for example) as greasy chips, drunkenness, sluttishness and "Eastenders" on telly. One grumpy foreign student told me years ago that "Scotland has no culture of its own." (Instead of fainting dead away in shock, I suggested that she leave the multi-culti environs of Edinburgh Uni once in a while.) Speaking as an immigrant who has her own small challenges with integration, despising the majority population (especially young women doing or wearing stuff of which you disapprove) may be a symptom of culture shock or some other malaise brought on by migration.

Anyway, Europe is certainly an interesting place to be, and Hungary and Poland are particularly interesting for their noisy refusal not to have their immigration policies dictated to them by the E.U. Of course, anti-E.U. feeling is not confined to Central Europe: the UK's Brexit Referendum will be on June 23.

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