Is Kevin Myers making sense?

Kevin Myers is a man I have read on and off for a number of years now. Reading him today I am increasingly of the belief that he is losing the run of himself. September 11 marked a turning point in his writing, he recently disagreed with Mark Steyn, and was accused of losing his right wing edge.

But his most recently article seems to stand out – I think it’s just total, unadulterated tripe. Why does he feel the constant need for attacks on groups “the reactionary, learn-nothing left” to support his argument? Is that the only way he can make argument? And can they even be defined as arguments?

Here he is at full bluster:

Marvellous, utterly marvellous, to see the present immigration debate – if you can dignify such a festival of mealy-mouthed evasions and vapid pieties with such a term – following the predictable lines of other European societies which experienced immigration a generation ago.

Once again, the reactionary, learn-nothing left has brandished the r-word at people who urge restrictions on immigration into Ireland; for within liberal culture, calling any opponents “racists” instantly wins every argument, regardless of what they are really saying.

Now, finally, life has been good to us. So what kind of Ireland do we want in 50 years? Go back half-a-century and ask the people in Britain what they envisaged for their country. Who in 1954 would have thought that by 2004 places such as Burnley, Bradford, Preston, Huddersfield, would be nearly 50 per cent Muslim, as they now are? No one; indeed, even to have suggested such a possibility then, or over the next 20 years, would have invited the wrath of the ideologically pro-immigration left, with righteous denunciations of scaremongering racism.

Now, this is not (a) funny, or (b) talked about – barely at all in Britain, and absolutely not in Ireland, where we are told to be bewitched by the imminent multicultural splendours ahead. So we don’t discuss the complexities and the consequences of immigration, but instead waffle on (in Irish Times-reading circles especially) about the glorious benefits of immigration.

Are we even on the same planet? Where is he getting this stuff from? Who would have thought these places would nearly 50% Muslim? Who cares? I’ve been to Yorkshire, and Huddersfield, and yes there many Muslims, but does it bother me? Of couse not. Does it bother the other percentage of residents? Not in my experience. What’s the big deal Kevin? Because no one envisaged it does not mean it’s a bad thing.

Yes it is talked about in Britain, and yes more so than it is here. Myers is bemoaning that we don’t discuss the “complexities and the consequences of immigration”. I don’t see Myers discussing it at all, he just seems to think “stop them coming in and we won’t have to think about it”.

He continues:

So, more immigrants, more diversity, will make Ireland a more interesting place. Good. We agree on that. But steady there. Who actually wants Athlone or Portlaoise, 50 years hence, to be what Preston, Bradford, Huddersfield are now? What happens if the children of immigrants insist on retaining the cultural norms of their parents’ homeland? Where stands multiculturalism when an immigrant culture demands the right to slice off teenage girls’ vulvas? Or insists on arranged marriages in childhood? Or the honour-killing of daughters who do not do their fathers’ bidding? Racism! This will never happen here! Will it not?

Weakness, inertia, liberal smugness and abject political cowardice allowed an army of self-styled “asylum-seekers” to drive a coach and four through the dismal charade of our immigration controls. As it happens, most of those who bluffed their way in genuinely seem to want to work – so good luck to them; but such easy-going days must, emphatically, now be over.

For what about the Ireland we bequeath to the unborn? Have we the courage now to discuss the Islamic component in Ireland 2054? No doubt, most Muslims will be what most Muslims are today – hard-working and law-abiding, and will be a cultural and intellectual asset. But what of those jihadistas who in life and limb are loyal to holy war, and who seem to be present on the wilder shores of almost all Islamic societies, yearning for the martyrs’ paradise beyond? What value our liberal immigration policies today if the price for our grandchildren tomorrow is such fine fellows, Irishmen with Irish accents, preaching the virtues of the suicide bomber against the infidel, in a mosque which was once a Catholic church?

Not only is he on another planet, he’s just reached another galaxy. After complaining that some towns in the UK are nearly 50% Muslim (so what?), he asks if we want Athlone or Portlaoise to be akin to them? It wouldn’t bother me at all Kevin. And then he asks all the questions – scaremongering I would say. All of these issues have been fairly expertly handled across the water – where they have 50 years of experience of it, while we on the other hand, are just starting out.

The final paragraph is just balderdash, though I could use stronger words. Kevin, Muslims will be coming to Ireland. They will live, work and worship here. What’s the problem with that? What he doesn’t seem to realise is that he is using the very same language that was common in the UK 50 years ago, but hey, they got over it and moved on. We will have to too, and no amount of immigration policies will stop it – why? Because we aspire to be an open and democratic society. And that means it comes with the territory.

And what’s this about a mosque that was once a Catholic Church? Ohhh, scary! What an image! Please, Mr. Myers, think about it for a moment.






7 responses to “Is Kevin Myers making sense?”

  1. Dick O'Brien avatar

    Funny, what Myers says about Muslims in Ireland could have been said about the Irish in England during the 50s and 60s. We had a different religion, Catholicism, and all of its attendant cultural baggage. What’s more, while most of us could have been classed as “hard-working and law-abiding”, a minority were the “jihadistas” of yesteryear, namely Irish Republicans. Strange that none of this heralded the end of civilisation as we know it.

  2. Bart avatar

    “jihadistas of yesteryear, namely Irish Republicans”, says Dick.
    Well Dick, if it wasn’t for men and women sacrificing themselves, you would still be waving a Union Jack flag for the latest visit of a foreign royal member. Maybe you wish that Ireland was never born. However do not dare equate Irish Nationalism against British aggression in Ireland with the current Holy War in the Middle East and Americas misled response to it.

  3. Shah avatar

    Is Dick really equating Irish Nationalism with Jihad? I don’t think so. He mentions the 60’s, the beginning of the troubles. And of course at that time it is hard to paint the IRA as noble liberators when they were on the brink of starting a brutal terror regime that would target anyone who got in their way. While the current “holy war” has no political aims, it still is using violence to try to alter politics. That’s little different from the ethos of the IRA.

  4. James Miller avatar
    James Miller

    I live in one of those towns and I’ll tell you: it’s not a matter of “So what?” There is already a lot of racial tension and violence and I’m not looking forward to the day that figure gets to 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%. Muslims are not self-effacing and tolerant people, and Ireland would be very wise not to go down the same road, because there’s no way back.

  5. Martin avatar

    Sadly, James is right. Same story goes for many big cities in my country (Germany) these days. There is a section of the the Muslim community that doesn’t want to integrate. While part of the blame must go to the natives as well who make it difficult for newcomers to integrate, ther’s simply a sizebale element of people who don’t want to adapt and while Kevin Myers isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I’d be sorry, too, to see Athlone going down that road – or any place, not even Maynooth.

  6. irish bob avatar
    irish bob

    ireland needs to have a complete rethink in relation to its immigartion laws
    specefically in relation to muslims coming here
    the harsh reality is that islam and 21st century liberal democrocy are incompatable
    as many have said , islam needs its own reformation
    muslims are always itiching to be offended by other communities but are themselves not in the least bit respectfull of ther faiths
    this is not racist as islam is not a race, you cannot help the skin colour u were born with
    u can however change your belief system

  7. LonDubShire avatar

    You 'need' to be concerned!

    I was born in London, lived in Dublin for a few years, spent my youth in Huddersfield, and am between homes, and deciding on location, simply because of wildfire immigration. I can, it seems, claim non-racist intent until the cows come home…. I won't be believed. I no longer care. I have no agenda, and my integrity remain intact!

    I appreciate your perspective, and your motives are genuine(I hope?), but hindsight is a terrible approach, for the communities of which you write, warnings, which were blatantly avoided due to fear of that awful label, 'racist'… and conceit!

    You have…. 'been to Yorkshire, and Huddersfield, and yes there many Muslims, but does it bother me? Of couse not. Does it bother the other percentage of residents? Not in my experience.'

    Well thank you, firstly, for gracing us with your presence! Did it bother you? No… of course not… you don't live in ghettoised areas, and I say that from three different points of view!) There are FOUR communities in Yorkshire. White(UK & Eire)), white(Other, primarily Eastern European), black(UK), and asian(muslim). Black and white communities are, in many instances, lessening tensions. I say 'lessening' because that is exactly what is happening! There are immense social, communial, and basic differences to overcome, STILL! Asian influx in Huddersfield alone is diabolical. There is no such thing as integration, and multi-cultural liaison? It is segregation by proxy. The north/south divide is evergrowing. The south of England is swamped… a horrific term to apply to human beings, but the only applicable one!

    My father is Irish and the stories he tells me of when he first came to England, in the 1960's, repulse me. Signs on guesthouses read, 'NO DOGS, IRISH OR BLACKS'. Police harrassment was prolific, and being the youngest of 10 children, he was LUCKY to have had forewarning and prior knowledge of the expected social atmosphere. The same experienced from Dubliners, when he first moved there from Cork! It happens! Basic instinct can not and will never be swayed. 'Local prominance', 'National pride', 'Racial bias', and 'Religious denomination', will always prevail.

    I moved to Dublin in 1979, and lived in the north of the City until 1982. Yep… the roughest areas there! Ballyfermot, and Ballymun. Ballymun was an experiment in human endurance. Sean McDermott Tower, one of 7, surrounded by thousands of lower flats, was a hovel. (I understand they pulled them down, but drug culture is rife? Drugs weren't the problem then! It was trying to hold onto what little dignity the living conditions allowed, but if you treat a person like an animal… they will bite back! ) Being English, on those estates, at a time when Bobby Sands was fighting his cause, made life slightly uneasy, but I'm here to tell the tale, but I do understand 'hatred', and true friendship, due to those times. It was, at first, 'them and me', but after acceptance, 'them and us'. I read from time to time about the trouble that the kids in 'fermot, and 'mun, cause. It is distressing as they have never had it better! I am an architect, and my thesis in my masters, was social conditions, and the effect of Le Corbusier's visionary 'cities in the skies'… he was wrong. They became, throughout the world, pillars of condemption.

    I state the above for the sole reason as to why spontaneous communities, arising from immigration, and the wholescale movement, from south to north, of newly arrived migrants, with little or no, desire to integrate…. 'scares' people. Not just the locals, but the immigrants too. Fear leads to a 'fight or flight' situation, and a stand-off is the result. Tykes(Yorks residents) will never back down, it's against the very fabric of their nature, and immigrants, have often come from wartorn, crime-ridden, and lawless situations.

    The government, today said that it was an out of control plight, that they inherited from the Tories. The Tories claim that when they broached the subject, they were hung out to dry… and they were! Sept 11th was a milestone, which was 'lockjawed' by the Americans. They naturally overreacted. A cause of more immigrants. Blair and co. did all things for all people, he was a messiah in his own mind. When it hit the fan, he'd feathered his bed, and had his suitcases packed. Europe does less. The result…

    …IS an explosive concoction. It will combust!

    Romanian, Czech, Lithuanian, and to a much greater extent, Poles, are flowing into an already volatile dilemma. Yet we still dilly and dally over whose fault it is that we have got to this stage? And whether it's 'racist' to say that 'Yes, there are too many immigrants congregating in very small towns'. The 'Rivers of blood' speech…. was wrong only in the fact it was a premonition, not a statement of possible outcome.