Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Eurocrats resent the spread of the English language​

Never before has the world had a common language. English is not the first imperial lingua franca: Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, Spanish, French, Dutch and Russian were all spread by conquest and settlement. But none of them continued to expand beyond their old borders after the colonists had departed.

English is different. An Inuit in Indonesia or a Chechen in Chad will use it to communicate. It has been adopted by almost every international association, from APEC to OPEC. It is the official language even of most global bodies that contain no English-speaking countries, such as the European Free Trade Association.

To get a sense of how Anglobalization is spreading, consider the Eurovision Song Contest. If you haven't lived in Europe, you might be lucky enough to have escaped this kitschy monstrosity. Since 1956, European TV companies have run a joint music competition that is broadcast simultaneously to participating nations, whose viewers then vote by phone for the winner. Countries tend to vote at least as much on the basis of national prejudice as of content – Greece and Cyprus always give each other full marks, for example – which is bad news for Britain.

But if the U.K. loses electorally, it wins linguistically. This year's contest, which has just taken place in Kiev, featured 42 songs of which 35 were sung wholly in English, the highest proportion in the contest's history. In 1956, not a single piece was entered in Shakespeare's language, and there was something of a stir in 1965 when the Swedish entrant became the first to discard his native tongue. By 2014, 75 percent of the entries were in English. This year it was 83 percent – or 90 percent if you count songs that were partly in English and partly in another language.

That spread has been commercial, not political. The reason contestants are singing in our tongue is not as some sort of tribute to Churchill and Eisenhower; it's to maximize their chances of being understood.

You can see why the phenomenon annoys Eurocrats. Earlier this month, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, began a speech by saying "English is gradually losing its importance in the EU, so I will speak in French." I suppose it's to Juncker's credit that he has that facility. Like all Luxembourgers, he was educated partly in French (the official language in the Grand Duchy) and partly in German (the language of business and of most newspapers). Counting his native idiom, Luxembourgish, that makes English his fourth language.

Still, what a bizarre thing to say. English, as the Eurovision Song Contest underlined a few days later, is not losing ground in Europe. Au contraire, regardless of Brexit, it is becoming universal. Indeed, it has become so widespread as a medium between nonnative speakers that a new kind of creole, a Euro-English, has evolved in EU institutions.

Euro-English is a meager dialect – functional, short of adverbs and largely present-tense. It has its own peculiar vocabulary and syntax, generally lifted from other European tongues. For example, the Euro-English for "current" or "contemporary" is "actual," borrowed from, among others, the Dutch "actueel" and the French "actuel." Similarly, when a speaker of Euro-English says "foresee," he doesn't mean "predict," he means "plan for" or "anticipate" (again, based on the French "prévoir," the German "vorsehen" and others).

I have heard native English speakers, once they have been in Brussels long enough, dropping into the dialect. Where they might say, in standard English, "Shall we have a coffee?" they will, when speaking Euro-English, say, "We take a coffee, no?"

Brexit will, of course, mean that there are fewer native speakers in the EU institutions. Ireland and Malta are Anglophone, but have small populations. Linguists will no doubt enjoy watching the sparse vernacular draw further away from the language in which you are reading these words.

Still, I can't help feeling that Juncker's petulant outburst was a symbol of something else – a perfect demonstration of what is wrong with Eurocrats' thinking. Juncker's linguistic protectionism, his determination to stand in the way of what people want, is the authentic expression of the Euro-federalist doctrine: illiberal, anti-British, anti-American, backward-looking and ultimately doomed.

It was that ideology, mes amis, that Britain voted to break away from last year. We love Europe, and we love Europeans, but we have had enough of being dictated to by unelected officials whose worldview – whose Weltanschauung, we might say, in the spirit of European linguistic harmony – is stuck in the 1950s.


Time to get angry about Islamist terror

First Islamic terrorists chose to kill Jews in their homeland and beyond. Then they murdered Americans working in New York’s tall buildings. They murdered people travelling on London trains and buses, too, then French journalists and cartoonists.

Islamic terrorists struck Paris again, slaughtering people at a rock concert and in nearby restaurants. Islamic terrorists blew up people at an airport and a train station in Brussels and drove into people strolling along Nice’s promenade, people walking along London’s Westminster Bridge. A Copenhagen street, the Boston Marathon, a Sydney cafe, Berlin’s Christmas markets, a pedestrian mall in Stockholm, Christians, Yazidis and Muslims across the Middle East. Thousands slaughtered by Islamic terrorists with no borders, physical or moral.

On Monday, Islamic terrorists murdered children in Manchester. One image sticks. A little girl with a headband, the kind little girls like. Her leather jacket makes her look older than her tender years. Her eyes are glazed, wide with shock. She’s hand-in-hand with a woman, hopefully her mum.

One voice sticks, too. The raw agony of another mum ringing CNN pleading to hear from her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia, who went to the Ariana Grande concert but hasn’t been seen since. Olivia, along with 21 other children, teenagers, young people and parents, has been murdered by a 22-year-old Islamic terrorist.

Where does this end? How? When? It being Britain, many are saying “keep calm and carry on”. Politicians reach for a formula of pacifying words every time Islamic terrorism strikes. We are united. Terrorists will be defeated. Love conquers hate. Freedom stands up for itself.

Keep calm and carry on? Not this time. Keeping calm has promoted a comatose citizenry. Light a candle or tweet a hashtag, talk of unity, love and strength. Gather at a vigil, then go home. Don’t ask hard questions about why Islamic terrorists are able to keep murdering us. Love did not save the lives of eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos or 18-year-old Georgina Callander. Unity did not save the lives of the two mothers waiting in the foyer of the concert hall for their daughters or teenage sweethearts, Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry.

And unity around what ex­actly? Too many in the West refuse to unite behind the most basic moral clarity about Islamic terrorism. This week, of all weeks, our public broadcaster made light of Islamic terrorism, invited on to its television shows commentators who mocked terrorism and who told us not to jump to conclusions about terrorism. The ABC’s own journalists struggle to mention the Islam element. Our politicians talk about terrorists as marginalised and vulnerable, as if we are to blame for the murders of young children in Manchester. Keep calm about these useful idiots? Not a chance.

In Riyadh this week, US President Donald Trump reminded more than 50 Arab Muslim leaders that “the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them … A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists.”

“Drive. Them. Out,” he said. “Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth.”

Trump offered up the kind of moral clarity that drove the West to defeat Nazis and Soviet communists. What has happened to us in the interim? Paralysed by political correctness, we walk on eggshells so as not to offend. Ask hard questions about immigration? You’re a racist. Talk about Islam and terrorism? You’re an Islamophobe. Keep calm and stay quiet? Not any more. It’s time to get angry.

Examining the causes of terrorism without reference to Islam, the Prophet and the Koran is as intellectually vacuous as looking at the causes of World War II without reference to Nazism, Hitler and Mein Kampf. It’s no coincidence that those who are angry are making the most penetrating observations. Morrissey, the former lead singer of the Smiths, was angry when he posted this: “Sadiq Khan (London’s mayor) says ‘London is united with Manchester’, but he does not condemn Islamic State — who have claimed responsibility for the bomb … Manchester mayor Andy Burnham says the attack is the work of an ‘extremist’. An extreme what? An extreme rabbit?”

Brendan O’Neill from Spiked is angry, too: “The terrorist seeks to weaken our resolve, the powers-that-be want to sedate our emotions, retire our anger, reduce us to wet-eyed performers in their post-terror play. It’s a dual assault on the individual and society.”

British commentator Piers Morgan funnelled his anger into more questions that demand answers. The bomber, Salman Abedi, was someone’s son, friend, brother and neigh­bour. His behaviour changed in recent times. He grew a beard, wore Islamic garb, dropped out of university and retreated from his youthful drinking days. Mohammed Saeed El-Saeiti, a local Manchester imam recalls seeing “the face of hate” on Abedi after a sermon against Islamic State. Abedi’s cousin said Abedi’s parents were concerned their son was turning to violence. “We knew he was going to cause trouble. You could see that something was going to happen, sooner or later,” said the cousin. A family friend told The Times that Abedi had been “radicalised by mosques in south Manchester; there are many people who are suspicious about him”.

Who raised an alarm? Rather than staying calm and carrying on as usual, it’s time to ask Muslim communities to step up some more.

At the Albert Square vigil after Monday’s atrocity, Tony Walsh recited his poem: “This is the place that has helped shape the world, And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride.” That’s nice. But the Manchester suburb is better known as the home of Islamic bombers, Islamic State recruiters and jihadists than the home of a suffragette. Another 16 convicted or dead terrorists lived within 4km of Pankhurst’s birthplace.

Keeping calm and carrying on encourages more sweet-nothings. Where and when will the next terrorist attack happen?

Keep calm and carry on? No. Not again. Evil triumphs when good men and women do nothing more than offer up platitudes, light candles, post hashtags and recite poems.


Why the Free Market Is Diversity’s Best Friend

Walter E. Williams

Millions of people love Apple computers and wouldn’t be caught using a PC. By contrast, there are many millions of PC users who feel the same way about Apple computers.

Many men like double-breasted suits, but I wouldn’t be caught dead in one. Some people swear by Cadillac cars, but my favorite is Mercedes-Benz.

Despite these strongly held preferences, there’s no conflict. We never see Apple computer lovers picketing firms that serve PC lovers. Mercedes-Benz lovers don’t battle Cadillac lovers.

In free markets, people with strong differences in preferences get along and often are good friends. The reason is simple. If you like double-breasted suits and I like single-breasted suits, we get what we want.

Contrast the harmony that emerges when there’s market allocation with the discord when there’s government allocation.

For example, some parents want their children to say a morning prayer in school. Other parents are offended by that idea. Both parents have a right to their tastes, but these parental differences have given rise to conflict.

Why is there conflict? The answer is simple. Schools are run by government. Thus, there are going to be either prayers in school or no prayers in school.

That means parents who want their children to say prayers in school will have to enter into conflict with parents who do not want prayers in school. The stakes are high. If one parent wins, it comes at the expense of another parent.

The losing parents have their preferences ignored. Or they must send their children to a private school that has morning prayers and pay that school’s tuition plus property taxes to support a public school for which they have little use.

The liberty-oriented solution to the school prayer issue is simple. We should acknowledge the fact that though there is public financing of primary and secondary education, it doesn’t follow that there should be public production of education.

Just as there is public financing of M1 Abrams main battle tanks and F/A-18 fighter jets, it in no way follows that there should be government production of those weapons. They are produced privately. There’s no government tank and fighter jet factory.

The same principle should apply to education. If state and local authorities annually spend $15,000 per student, they could simply give each parent a voucher of that amount that could only be used for education. That way, the parent would be free to choose.

If you wanted to send your children to a school that does not have morning prayers, you would be free to do so. And I could send my children to a school that does.

As a result, you and I would not have to fight. We could be friends, play tennis, and have a beer or two together.

Free market allocation is conflict-reducing, whereas government allocation enhances the potential for conflict.

But I’m all too afraid that most Americans want to be able to impose their preferences on others. Their vision doesn’t differ from one that says, “I don’t want my children to say morning prayers, and I’m going to force you to live by my preferences.”

The issue of prayers in school is just a minor example of people’s taste for tyranny.

Think of the conflict that would arise if the government decreed that factories will produce either double-breasted or single-breasted suits or that there will be either Cadillacs or Mercedes-Benzes built or that there will be either Apple computers or PCs built.

Can you imagine how otherwise-peaceable people would be forced into conflict with one another?

Government allocation is mostly a zero-sum game, in which one person’s win necessarily means another person’s loss.

The great ignored and overlooked feature of market allocation is that it is what game theorists call a positive-sum game. In positive-sum games, you get what you want, say an Apple computer, and I get what I want—a PC, in this case.

My win does not come at your expense, and your win doesn’t come at my expense. And just as importantly, we can be friends.


SCOTTISH NASTY PARTY ‘Foodbank’ nurse who exposed Nicola Sturgeon’s shocking record on NHS attacked by nationalist trolls

A nurse who was 'smeared' by the SNP after daring to challenge Nicola Sturgeon over under-funding the NHS has hit out at the trolls who abused her.

Claire Austin tore into the Scottish First Minister for spending her time relentlessly pursuing independence while hospitals are struggling and nurses like her have to survive on foodbank hand-outs.

But she faced a barrage of criticism online and was smeared by SNP frontbencher Joanna Cherry who falsely accusing her of being married to a Scottish Tory councillor.

And some questioned if she really was so hard up as pictures emerged of her sipping champagne and enjoying a holiday in New York.

Miss Austin hit out at the 'abuse' her critics had thrown at her in a post on Facebook.

She wrote: 'I am truly saddened by what has been said about me tonight. 'When I spoke tonight I spoke on behalf of all NHS staff, not just myself but all NHS staff.'

She revealed that she is not married and the man the SNP claimed was her husband was just another audience member on an episode of Question Time.

She said: 'I am sad, although in this climate not surprised, at the verbal attack and abuse I have suffered from other nurses tonight, in my view are they are disgrace to our profession, and we wonder why so many want to leave.'

But some Twitter users questioned whether she really was struggling financially after photographs surfaced of her enjoying dinners in flash restaurants.

Miss Austin insisted these treats were paid for by friends and family.

The A&E nurse from Edinburgh, has a Twitter profile which includes the message: 'They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like, moderately rich just moody?'

Ms Cherry, the SNP candidate for Edinburgh South West and the party justice and home affairs spokesman, was forced to apologise after briefing that Miss Austin was a Tory plant.

She wrote on Twitter: 'Sorry I was wrong about Twitter rumours. Entirely right that your voice is heard.'

She was accused of using 'dirty tricks', but today Miss Sturgeon defended her.

The SNP leader told BBC Scotland: 'She made a mistake, an honest mistake, and she apologised for that.

'In terms of the wider social media reaction, I don't think it's acceptable to make judgements about somebody's background.

'The nurse on the debate last night was absolutely entitled to raise the issue that she did.

'She raised an issue that is one of the biggest issues in this campaign - the level and value of real wages not just in the public sector but in the private sector.'

Scotland's First Minister was left squirming in her seat during the confrontation on a televised Scottish leaders debate last night. 

Confronting the SNP leader, Miss Austin said: 'Do you think your perceived obsession with independence might cost you your seat in this election?

'And the NHS, you say that you have ploughed millions into it, I'm a nurse and I can't manage on the salary I have. 'I have to go to food banks, I am struggling to pay bills. I want you to explain to me, do you know one area where that has gone?  'You tell me, because I can absolutely assure you nurses are seeing none of it on the ground floor.'

The nurse described how hospitals are unable to recruit because wages are so low. She said: 'There's thousands and thousands of nurse positions unfilled and the reason for that is it's such low pay. It's just not a sustainable income, we can't live on it.'

She added: 'You have no idea how demoralising it is to work within the NHS.'

She made a direct plea to the First Minister, saying: 'Don't come on your announced visits, come in in the middle of any day to any ward, to any A&E department and see what we're up against.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.


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