‘Tommy Robinson”s ex-Muslim friend attacks Scottish “racism”

Maajid Nawaz (above left) with onetime ally ‘Tommy Robinson’

Maajid Nawaz is the political establishment’s favourite ex-Muslim. Co-founder of the ‘anti-extremist’ Quilliam Foundation, Nawaz had been a member of the Islamic fundamentalist faction Hizb ut-Tahrir during his years as a student in London, but he later became a high-profile defector and critic of HUT and of what he portrays as a broader Islamist movement.

During 2013 Nawaz forged a curious political alliance with Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, alias ‘Tommy Robinson’, founder of the English Defence League, and promoted ‘Robinson’ across the mainstream media following the latter’s split from the EDL. ‘Robinson’ later claimed that he had been on the Quilliam Foundation’s payroll for about six months.

Both Nawaz and ‘Robinson’ are enthusiastic supporters of Israel, and Nawaz became a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate. During 2016-2018 there was a legal dispute between Nawaz and the American ‘anti-racist’ organisation Southern Poverty Law Center, after the SPLC labelled Nawaz and his Quilliam group “anti-Muslim extremists”. The SPLC eventually apologised and paid Quilliam more than $3m.

Maajid Nawaz speaking at a Zionist rally in London.

However Nawaz continues to be a controversial character, with some critics doubting the veracity of his stories about the reasons for his embrace and rejection of Islamism. H&D readers can judge for themselves – all we can state for certain is that Nawaz’s account of having been persecuted by rampaging Combat 18 gangs during his youth in Southend is obvious nonsense. As with so much ‘expert’ commentary on the ‘far right’, it is self-evident fantasy, as many H&D readers who actually know the history of C18 etc. will instantly realise.

Now Nawaz has launched an attack on the “racism” of Scottish nationalists, including some within the impeccably liberal, multi-racialist SNP. He writes:

“Violent hostility to outsiders and critics is in the DNA of nationalists, whether on the Left and Right, as anyone who has debated with SNP can testify to. When that outsider has different colour skin the rage seems to be heighted [sic].”

While H&D is no friend of the SNP, it is obvious that what Nawaz really objects to here is not so much Scottish independence (which many of our readers would oppose equally passionately). What Nawaz really hates is the politics of national identity, cultural identity, and racial identity. With one exception of course. He absolutely loves Israel.

Non-European immigration at record level

Newly released statistics show that net immigration to the UK from outside the European Union hit its highest level on record last year.

During 2019, 282,000 more non-EU citizens arrived in the UK than left. This was the highest such figure since this statistic began to be collected in 1975.

By contrast net immigration from EU countries declined to 49,000 – less than a quarter of the peak figure four years ago.

These statistics pre-date the Covid-19 pandemic, which will reduce both immigration and emigration for an indefinite period, though it’s worth pointing out that at least 20,000 people arrived in the UK infected with the virus before UK authorities got round to imposing restrictions.

Some commentators have explained the astonishingly high 2019 immigration figure in terms of increased numbers of students arriving from China and India, in particular.

What isn’t explained is whether all of these students go back home at the end of their courses: experience would suggest that many stay in the UK (legally or not).

One of the questions to be answered by any eventual inquiry into Covid-19 is the extent to which London’s massive overcrowding contributed to the virus’s spread. What’s already clear is that post-virus our bloated higher education system is no longer financially viable. Post-Covid reconstruction will depend on putting the British people first and ignoring the usual calls from the business community for a continued flow of immigrants.

Many of those who voted for Brexit believed (wrongly) that they were voting to turn off the immigration tap, when in fact the pro-Brexit lobby (from Nigel Farage down) were openly in favour of increasing non-EU immigration.

The government’s bungling of Covid-19 lockdown has already compromised the future of the next UK generation. It seems clear that a generation will grow up significantly poorer than their parents. It would be unforgivable if they also had to live in a country that was no longer either British or European.

Rolf Hochhuth – ally of David Irving and target of secret British propagandists – dies aged 89

Rolf Hochhuth (above right) who has died aged 89, seen here in London in 1966 with the British historian David Irving.

Provocative German playwright Rolf Hochhuth died on May 13th at his home in Berlin, aged 89.

His death came just as the latest edition of Heritage and Destiny was going to press, featuring a two-part exposé of the conspiracy by secret British agencies at the end of the 1960s to smear Mr Hochhuth and the British historian David Irving.

This full extraordinary story is based on very recently released documents from the Information Research Department, a secret Cold War propaganda unit that was dissolved in 1977 and whose records remained highly classified until earlier this year. The IRD files were read by H&D‘s assistant editor days before the UK’s National Archives closed down due to Covid-19.

Hochhuth had made himself a target of IRD and associated agencies including MI5 and MI6 because of a play in which he alleged official British complicity in the death of Poland’s wartime leader Gen. Sikorski, in what was officially declared an accidental plane crash off Gibraltar in July 1943.

David Irving carried out extensive research to assist Hochhuth in writing this play Soldaten (‘Soldiers’). It was commissioned by London’s National Theatre but banned by the theatre’s board (and later by the Lord Chamberlain) in 1967 at the instigation of prominent establishment figures.

Soldiers also explored the morality of RAF area bombing strategy and the culpability of Winston Churchill and his scientific adviser Frederick Lindemann (Lord Cherwell).

Hochhuth in 2005

Rolf Hochhuth’s death has been widely reported in the German press, though so far only by the Daily Telegraph in the UK.

Despite his friendship with Irving, which dated back to 1965, Hochhuth was very much a man of the left. His best-known play The Representative (Der Stellvertreter) dealt with the Vatican’s alleged knowledge of the presumed wartime murder of six million Jews in the ‘Holocaust’. It is presumably for this service to ‘Holocaust history’ that the German government paid tribute to the “iconoclastic” playwright, saying he had “never ducked a confrontation” while “loving provocations and remaining true to himself”.

Similarly the Central Council of German Jews called Hochhuth a “courageous taboo-breaker” who had “touched off an overdue debate in Germany” about the Vatican’s role. Notably the AFP press agency report on Hochhuth’s death avoids all mention of the Sikorski saga.

Poland’s wartime leader Gen. Sikorski, seen here (second left) at a tank demonstration in Surrey, February 1941 with (centre) Winston Churchill, (second right) Gen. Charles de Gaulle, (far left) Royal Armoured Corps commander Lt. Gen. Giffard Le Quesne Martel, and (far right) Gen. Andrew Thorne (GOC Scottish Command).

These official German and Jewish spokesmen might change their tune once they get to see H&D‘s new two-part series about Hochhuth and Irving. Will official spokesmen – Jewish or Gentile – welcome re-examination of Sikorski’s death; the various associated issues of murderous rivalries and official lies concerning Poland’s exile government; its military, intelligence and propaganda forces; and the Faustian pact with Stalin?

And who was the Hungarian Jewish journalist who began his propaganda career inventing stories about Adolf Hitler as early as 1932, then worked for IRD in their campaign against Hochhuth and Irving in the late ’60s and early ’70s?

The first episode of this stranger-than-fiction tale, based on top secret documents many of which have never been reported before, is in the May edition of Heritage and Destiny, available now.

Brexit Party AM declares Masonic membership

Brexit Party Welsh Assembly member
David Rowlands

David Rowlands, a Brexit Party member of the Welsh Assembly (now officially known as the Senedd), and Robin Swann, former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and now a Stormont MLA and Health Minister of Northern Ireland, are the only two parliamentarians in the UK to declare their membership of Freemasonry.

The new grand secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England has recently given numerous press interviews, indicating plans “to take the organisation into the 21st century”.

On its inception the Welsh Assembly not only insisted that members had to declare any Masonic affiliation – they even made it a criminal offence to fail to do so.

A senior Welsh Freemason complained at the time: “We had the ridiculous situation that, as a freemason, if I wanted to become an AM, I would have to declare my membership. But a member of the Ku Klux Klan or Meibion Glyndwr would be all right.”

The original regulations were changed after a Human Rights Act challenge, and failure to comply is no longer a criminal offence, but the Welsh Assembly (unlike the House of Commons) still requires members to register membership of any “private societies”.

Robin Swann MLA

David Rowlands was elected for UKIP in 2016 as an Assembly member for South Wales East: he later defected to the Brexit Party.

Robin Swann was leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from 2017 to 2019 and is MLA for Antrim North. He is the only Stormont member to declare himself a Freemason and is a prominent member of the Orange Order and Royal Black Preceptory.

Mosley’s Irish home for sale

The 12-acre postwar home of Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley has been put on the market by its present owners.

Ileclash is close to Fermoy, Co Cork. It was the second Irish property that the Mosleys owned, having first purchased Clonfert Palace, a 17th century house in East Galway, in 1951.

Lady Mosley’s sister and brother-in-law had already moved to Ireland, and by 1951 it had become clear for various reasons that Mosley’s postwar political revival was running out of steam. A second Mosley revival began at the end of the ’50s, but for the rest of his life (from 1951 to 1980) he and Diana lived in Ireland or France, with occasional visits to London.

Clonfert was severely damaged in a fire at the end of 1953, and at the start of 1955 Mosley bought Ileclash, a 19th century mansion near the River Blackwater, 25 miles north of Cork. It became the Mosleys’ summer home for several years.

Several controversial European political figures settled in Ireland after the war, though recently released Irish government documents show that (despite having remained neutral during the Second World War and having maintained diplomatic relations throughout with National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy) Ireland’s prime minister Eamon de Valera discouraged prominent national socialist immigrants.

In October 1945 and April 1946 de Valera twice rejected applications by dissident, anti-Hitler national socialist Otto Strasser to take up Irish residency, writing “in present circumstances, it is not possible to accede to your request”. Similar rejection letters were sent to Léon Degrelle, former leader of the Belgian national socialist Rexist Party, who had led an SS Division on the Eastern Front.

Degrelle later settled in Spain, while after a decade in Canadian exile, Otto Strasser eventually returned to Germany.

As British citizens, the Mosleys could not be denied the right of residence in Ireland.

Ileclash is being marketed by Colliers International for €2.75m. The agents describe the property as “one of Ireland’s finest country houses”.

Unlike the vast majority of British nationalist leaders, Sir Oswald Mosley always had significant support among Irishmen, reflected in this postwar Union Movement pamphlet.

VE Day – victory for whom?

Tomorrow – Friday 8th May – the United Kingdom ‘celebrates’ a bank holiday to mark the 75th anniversary of ‘Victory in Europe’, the surrender of German forces on the Western Front. (On the Eastern Front German commanders waited an extra day before surrendering – this was deliberate, so as to allow as many troops as possible to surrender to Anglo-Americans rather than ‘our’ murderous communist allies.)

In 2020 the usual suspects are rushing to claim political capital from this anniversary, even though celebrations will inevitably be muted – no pubs, no street parties, enforced ‘social distancing’.

A typical example is Cllr Sean Fielding, Labour leader of Oldham Borough Council, who proudly told the press:
“VE Day was a victory over the far-right in Europe that was only achieved with huge sacrifice.

“Even in these unusual circumstances it is therefore important to mark the 75th anniversary to both remember this sacrifice and reflect on what it was that our ancestors were fighting against.

“The values of freedom, democracy, tolerance and respect that triumphed 75 years ago are not a given, and so celebrating VE Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of these values, reaffirm our commitment to upholding them and have the confidence to call out those who do not.”

Did Oldham’s wartime generation fight and die for this? Four ‘local’ teenagers (above) convicted of a horrific kidnap and torture. One of the gang, Ahsan Khan (bottom right) was stabbed to death in February this year.

In Cllr Fielding’s looking-glass world, the 450,000 UK and colonial dead (military and civilian) during the Second World War gave their lives so as to create his politically-correct multiracial dream. In fact, Britons believed they were fighting that war against Germany (and its Axis partners), not against the ‘far right’. In British political terms at that time, Churchill himself was on the ‘far right’ of the Conservative Party!

Would Oldhamers who died in that war even recognise their home town today? And if they could, might they not think that the 1945 ‘victory’ had produced a nightmare world?

Fortunately even in the ‘mainstream’ there are a few voices of sanity.

For example the London solicitor Alastair Meeks, writing at politicalbetting.com, criticises what he rightly describes as “mawkish nursery games” that dominate our national discourse concerning the war years, and suggests “it’s time to leave the Second World War in the history books”.

Who knows what the eventual impact of Covid-19 will be? One possibility is that we finally abandon toxic ‘multiculturalism’ and accept the need not only for short-term ‘social distancing’ but (as the National Alliance Bulletin recently recommended) long-term “racial distancing”.

If so, that might at long last produce a Britain worth fighting for.

National Alliance recommends “racial distancing”.

St George’s Day – Celebrate the Spirit of St George!

The editor and deputy editor would like to wish all H&D readers a very happy St George’s Day.

While St George’s Day – April 23rd – is mainly forgotten, ignored or even ridiculed by the liberal / left establishment, who by the way have no qualms about promoting everybody else’s national day, culture and heritage, apart from ours – we nationalists remember and celebrate it.

As Sir Oswald Mosley said on St George’s Day 1937:

“In the lives of great nations there comes the moment of decision, there comes the moment of destiny. And this great nation, again and again in the great hours of its fate, has swept aside convention, has swept aside the little men of talk and of delay, and has decided to follow men and movements who say, ‘we go forward to action, let those who dare follow us in this hour’.”

While many English (and British) nationalists feel a fierce national pride for the St George’s cross and the patron saint’s day, England in fact shares St George with a host of other countries and places. Each has its own unusual customs surrounding his feast day, including;

Catalonia, Spain – St George (Sant Jordi) is associated with several places in Spain but one of the most colourful is the Catalan capital. A public holiday is held in the area and has several similarities with Valentine’s Day, with roses and books being exchanged by lovers. Barcelona’s most popular street Las Ramblas becomes awash with flower and book sellers. Catalonia has managed to export the tradition as UNESCO adopted the date as World Book Day. And of course FC Barcelona have the St George cross in the club’s badge.

Russia – The Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian Calendar so St George’s Day is celebrated on the same day, but it is 6th May, not 23rd April. As well as this date Russians also mark the consecration of the Church of St George on 26th November. This was traditionally the time of year when peasants were permitted to move to a different landowner. While this tradition has died out the Ribbon of St George is still one of the most respected Russian military honours. The black and orange striped ribbon is also used by civilians as a patriotic symbol. It has been seen again recently displayed by separatists in Ukraine as a Russian symbol.

Albania – Albanians celebrate St George’s day by going out and lighting a large bonfire and playing around it as a sign of joy.

Bulgaria – Roasting a whole lamb is traditional on St George’s Day in Bulgaria as he is the patron saint of shepherds. It is seen as a day when evil enchantments can be broken and a blessed day when the saint blesses the crop and morning dew, so many walk in the early morning to wash their face in the fresh dew.

Croatia – Croats also use fire to mark St George’s Day which is considered the first day of Spring. In the Slavic tradition girls are dressed as goddesses in leaves and sing for locals.

An H&D event celebrating St George’s Day

Back in England, normally many local pubs in White working class area (and even a few in the middle class suburbs) would organise events to celebrate St George’s Day, but most would be content with just putting out a few England flags (then taking them down the next day – so as not to offend!)

This year, with the Covid 19 reaching its peak, pubs are still closed (although our borders are still open!), so there will be no St George’s Day celebrations – official or unofficial (to the delight of the politically correct / do-gooder / snowflake brigade etc.).

However, St George’s Day and the spirit of St George will still be celebrated at H&D Towers (where England flags fly proudly all the year round) where the editor and assistant webmaster will raise a glass a two to our patron saint, to England and to the English, while there’s still a few of us left!

And finally, to quote from William Shakespeare’s Henry V (1598):

KING HENRY V:

…And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Coronavirus predicted by nationalist science writer 14 years ago

As we all struggle to comprehend the scale and nature of the coronavirus crisis, it is interesting to look back at an article published fourteen years ago by the nationalist journal Scorpion.

This was written by a well-known nationalist activist who had a regular column in Scorpion under the pen-name ‘Loki’, and who presently contributes regularly to H&D under a different name.

Aside from formatting, we reproduce this article here unchanged – with thanks and acknowledgments to Scorpion – as our contribution to continuing discussions about the social/political implications of the present crisis.

Click here to read Loki on Health.

Loki on Health

reproduced with acknowledgments to The Scorpion, where this prescient article appeared in 2006

One advantage of submitting one’s copy to the Scorpion at (or beyond!) the ragged edge of the Editor’s forbearance with deadlines is that it does enable a certain topicality. So that I can open my remarks on the threat to the health of humanity posed by our present socio-economic system with the Dead Swan of Fife.

This is not the title of a sombre tone poem by some Scottish Sibelius, nor a dolorous ballad from the repertoire of Anne Lorne Gillies or Andy Stewart, but a deceased, and indeed somewhat decomposed, specimen of Cygnus cygnus found on a beach in the former Scots Kingdom of Fife a few days ago as I write. Although actually a whooper, it ended up as a very mute swan nevertheless bearing tidings of doom and despondency to be trumpeted throughout the media even unto the very gates of DEFRA (the British bureaucrats responsible for those relicts of our countryside not yet built over by the myrmidons of the sinisterly-named Office of the Deputy Prime Minister).  

The Dead Swan owed its unhappy state to an avian influenza virus, H5N1, which, having despatched a few dozen hapless Vietnamese and Turks who had evidently become overt-intimately attached to its principal host, wildfowl and poultry,  had been borne on migrating wings ever closer to our sceptred isle. Amid mounting media hype, usually of the form – page 1: NO NEED TO PANIC AS DEADLY BIRD FLU GETS NEARER (see pages 2-9 for further sundry scare stories and panicky reportage of the issue). 

This is of course the latest of a steady series of similar pandemic scares in recent years, from SARS to AIDS. Your author still has a London Sunday Times magazine issued in 1986 purporting to contain reportage from the AIDS-ravaged Britain of the mid-1990’s: millions dead, not a family in the land untouched etc etc. Sadly for such Government-sponsored prognostications, AIDS stubbornly refused to behave in the predicted Politically-Correct equal opportunity manner. Retreating into a bigoted epidemiology characterised by racism, sexism and homophobia. Disproportionately afflicting Africans, male homosexuals and women, even sinking to prey on disadvantaged drug-injectors. Shocking! Still, what can one expect of a mere virus…?

All, thus far, have proved specious. After the headlines and the hype departed, humanity carried on much as usual. So, nothing to worry about then? 

Sadly, not quite. Indeed, not at all. Regardless of how often or how speciously the media little boy cries “wolf!” there really is a big, dangerous beast out there. One we are pretty certain, sooner or later, to unleash on ourselves with apocalyptic consequences retroactively justifying every lurid headline and purple passage. As with almost every pestilence and plague throughout history, it will be in a sense self-inflicted, the price of the way we live. But not, this time, the unavoidable price, if we are prepared to change the way we live just a little. If we don’t, we will collectively deserve all we shall, sooner or later, get. 

First, it’s time to get to know Pestilence, the fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. His colleague Death is several hundred million years old, introduced to our ancestors when they ended the arithmetically confusing practice of multiplying by division (binary cell-splitting or metazoan vegetative budding) and subcontracted reproducing to a minority of germ cells, leaving the rest to perish in an ageing body. Famine is probably an even more venerable fellow, manifesting himself to the first primitive mote of life to run out of primordial soup. War in the sense of battles between rather than within social groups of the same species introduced himself to our apish ancestors some millions of years ago. Ants and termites made his acquaintance much earlier. But, although he has been about since the first phage viruses began to afflict bacteria possibly billions of years ago, and pressed his unwelcome attentions doubtless upon our ancestors for much of the time since, Pestilence pretty much left our own personal ancestors alone for the past few million years, until relatively very recently.

The reason is that our ancestors, from perhaps 2 million to around ten thousand years ago, followed a lifestyle Pestilence found decidedly unconducive to his activities.  We were not herd animals, on and amongst whom pestilential pathogens could themselves graze, assured of finding another host when they used up the current one, either by rendering it deceased or immune. Our hominid, and Palaeolithic human, ancestors were thinly spread across the land. Living in bands of at most 200 individuals, each defending a tribal hunting and gathering territory and meeting in larger numbers only infrequently. A situation not conducive to plagues. If disease did break out in one band, it might well infect all its members quite quickly. But such an infection would have run its course, killing or rendering immune and pathogen-free those infected, before they were likely to have met anyone else to infect. In fact, extreme isolation is not necessary – if conditions were such that each person whilst infectious on average infected less than one other, any disease would, sooner or later, die out even if it managed to spread amongst more than one band. 

As was doubtless the sad (if one can spend sympathy on bacteria and viruses) fate of whatever disease organisms managed from time to time to jump the triple barrier that guards one species from the diseases of another. A barrier comprised firstly of the need to physically get from one host of one species to one of another. Not easy in the millions of years when humans generally only got close to other animals immediately before and during killing, cooking and eating them (which incidentally is why you won’t get bird flu from eating cooked chicken!). Secondly the disease has to actually survive and reproduce in the new host, without being simply swatted by the immune system that stops us being eaten, for example, by our own gut bacteria and the countless others that land on and in us constantly. This is especially difficult for viruses – bacteria basically just divide and multiply given a suitable food source, and we are quite suitable to many. But viruses, thousands of times smaller than bacteria, have to hijack a host cell, subverting it into making copies of the virus, before they can breed. Subversion which is highly selective in terms of whose cells can hear, and whose are deaf, to its genetic siren song. So the new disease has actually to succeed in making us ill. Thirdly – and this is the Third Barrier the H5N1 viral Bane of the Dead Swan of Fife has yet to cross – it has to be able to spread from one human to another before the first human is dead or all the germs invading him and her have been slain by the body’s very effective defences.  Having got that far, almost all diseases to afflict our pre-agricultural ancestors simply died out after a brief local epidemic when they ran out of new hosts having the dual desiderata of being both still alive and not already immune.  

To survive as a disease of human or humanlike hunter-gatherers, a pathogen had to gang exceeding warily. Being quite infectious, but not virulent, nor provoking a strong immune response. Subtly lurking in its hosts for decades, and killing, even debilitating most of them slowly or not at all. 

The result is that, as genetic evidence has revealed, only one major affliction of historic humanity ever managed to inflict itself on us lastingly before we started writing our first histories. Tuberculosis. Human TB, alone of all ills to which mankind is heir, is most closely related to its counterpart in our nearest nonhuman relatives, chimpanzees. And its genetic clock shows human and chimp TB diverged when humans and chimps themselves did. It was a disease of our common ancestors, several million years ago. Its practice of lurking, latent, in infected victims for years, even decades, before becoming active and infectious when their immune systems weakens for any reason means it can become endemic even amongst hunter-gatherers. The same genetic clock, the accumulation of random mutations in non-critical genetic material ticking away in lineages of life after they have divided, that shows TB is the one major indigenous human disease shows that pretty much every other human disease is little if at all older than recorded human history. Many are much younger. 

The reason is that both epidemic disease and recording history sprang from the same source. The “Neolithic Revolution”, the adoption of agriculture, the replacement of hunter/gatherers over wider and wider areas by farmers, leading in turn to towns, cities, civilizations, literacy and recording history. .  Pestilence likes farmers. 

There are a lot more of them to prey on, for a start. Even Neolithic-level farming can support tens of times, up to a hundred times, more people per square mile/kilometre than hunting and gathering.  People living cheek-by-jowl in villages, and soon towns and cities, in herds hundreds and even thousands strong. Amongst whom even the most virulent plague can spread quickly enough to be likely to find a fresh host before the current one has died or defeated it. Whilst an endless supply of interesting new diseases is assured by people living in close association and proximity, over long periods, with other species whose herding or flocking behaviour long enabled endemic diseases to evolve for them. Early farmers shared their homes with pigs and cattle (often housed at the other end of their houses or in a ground-floor byre under the living floor) with ducks and chickens underfoot (much as in those areas of SE Asia in the news lately for deaths from SARS and avian flu, by no coincidence whatsoever).

The result was that disease after disease crossed the species barrier from domestic livestock to man. Smallpox was originally the cowpox of cattle. The same species’ rinderpest mutated into human measles. Jumping the species barrier a second time to become canine distemper. Pigs contributed whooping cough – again passed on in turn to poor old Fido, who has got the short end of the stick medically speaking from being Man’s Best Friend.  Falciparum malaria was originally a disease of birds. The human form evolved from that found in ducks and chickens. Different strains of influenza have repeatedly crossed the species barrier to man from their original hosts in pigs and ducks. Southern China and Vietnam, where both pigs and ducks are kept in intimate proximity with impoverished peasants in unhygienic huts, has for this reason repeatedly contributed flu pandemics to the sum of human happiness. To help them make this contribution to mankind, said peasants have cultivated a taste for delicacies made from uncooked duck blood and similar suitably infectious tit-bits.

Agriculture, and the urbanisation it enabled, also allowed species we didn’t intend to share our space with to make themselves at home amongst us anyway and share their exciting diseases. Bubonic plague, for example, was in origin a disease of rats.     

Throughout the last few thousand years, disease after disease has crossed the species barrier and sparked pandemic after pandemic. In each case, the story is the same. Animal diseases were repeatedly exposed to potential human hosts living in intimate and insanitary conditions with their original hosts. Given the very short generation times of germs – some bacteria go through one generation every nine minutes – they evolve rapidly. Mutant strains arise all the time. In situations of frequent opportunities to infect humans, any mutant able to take advantage would prosper. At first, again and again, they would find themselves trapped in a human host, able to multiply and exploit him or her, but with no way of spreading out of the body they were in should it die on them or become able to kill them off. The only escape was a lucky mutation that could escape into another human. With populations in each infected hosts in the high millions and generation times in minutes, such mutations were generally not long in coming. And another new plague was unleashed on humanity…

With, in general, initially devastating effects on populations with little or no natural immunity or resistance. Mortality rates frequently of 25-75% in the first epidemic. Effects mitigated over time in the interests of the disease rather than humanity. Because the disease organism’s best long-term interests lie in farming rather than exterminating its food supply – us! Killing the host before he has time to infect anyone else is clearly a bad career move, which has spared us so far from the likes of the Ebola virus which do this. But even slaughtering the human host herd to the extent that the population drops below the minimum necessary to maintain the disease as endemic amongst it is also inefficient. Although it’s also inefficient to fail to harvest the maximum sustainable yield of germs from the bipedal food supply. On the other side of the evolutionary battle, a virulent disease is actually breeding, and socially selecting, its hosts for resistance to it – it is only the survivors of its attacks, or those who avoided infection, who survive to carry on their kind and/or their healthier way of life. 

The result is that, over time, evolution causes a gradual reduction in the virulence of each disease. And a progress away from devastating but intermittent plagues thereof to a permanent low-level endemic presence. Rinderpest, for example, is widely thought to have crossed the species barrier to become human measles in the 2nd Century AD, causing the devastating plague that caused over 25% mortality in the Roman Empire in the late 160’s AD, in the process ending the relatively idyllic Antonine apogee of Rome. After which it became endemic, with new mutations able to overcome immunity to earlier variants breaking out in a series of plagues of steadily decreasing virulence until, within a few centuries, it became what it was until the recent MMR vaccine came on the scene – a harmless (with the odd tragic exception) disease contracted by virtually every child in the host population, who thereafter became immune, and surviving at a stable level on that basis.  

Such human-adapted diseases can still wreak havoc on populations that have co-evolved with them. When Europeans reached the Americas and then the Pacific Islands, they inflicted a string of new diseases on the natives. Some, like smallpox, were still pretty dangerous even to Europeans, with mortality rates approaching 50%. Among the urbanised Neolithic populations of Mesoamerica those rates hit 95%. The 5% survivors of course passed their higher (though not total) degree of resistance to their descendants. But their society had been destroyed, easy meat for the Conquistadores. Even diseases fairly harmless to Europeans, like measles, could cause significant mortality in populations that had never been exposed to them. Lower mortality, demonstrating that the relative harmlessness of the disease in long-exposed populations was due not only to the hosts evolving resistance but to the pathogen evolving to be less lethal. An example of coevolution in action fascinating unless you happen to be a 19th Century Hawaiian!         

So the Dead Swan of Fife is not mere media hype. The fear that a new disease – or in this case a new variant of an old disease – will cross the species barrier from its non-human host and become an initially very deadly disease of people is well-founded. It is, as we have seen, the way we got pretty much every other disease to which humanity is now heir. From smallpox – first recorded in scabs on an Egyptian mummy from the 17th Century BC – to polio – the first epidemic of which was as recent as 1840, although it’s not yet clear which animal species we got that one from – and including wave after wave of New Improved Flus. Sooner or later – and more likely sooner than later – it will certainly happen again.     

The trouble is that next time, or at least one of the times in the next decade or two, this happens it will be a disaster on an unprecedented scale. Because of the way we live now. 

Disastrous disease epidemics, as we have seen, are already a result of changed human socioeconomics. Before we invented agriculture, they just didn’t happen. Now we have invented globalisation, they are about to get worse. A lot worse. 

Why? The simple answer is that there are more people than ever before, they move around more and faster than ever before, and the short-sighted selfish greed that is the ruling ethos of globalisation has made it much more difficult in a number of ways for us to defend ourselves against new diseases (and indeed made them more likely to arise).     

The unprecedented swarming mass of humanity, which has more doubled in number in the last 50 years to over 6,000 million, provides a feast for new pathogens as never before. Every year there are 74 million more juicy humans to prey on, an entire large European nation full – although the additional arrivals are not Europeans, of course. This seething biomass bred by Western medical and agricultural technology the prevailing ideology of the West caused to be sold, and sometimes given, to the rest of the World without thought of the consequences, beyond short term profit.   

Now they seethe like maggots, eating up the rest of the living world. Living in swarming squalor in their sewer-free shanty towns and favelas, sitting ducks for the next major pandemic and an ideal breeding ground for such a new human pathogen. The epidemiological antithesis of their ancestral scattered bands of Palaeolithic hunters.

Their sheer numbers also mean people are pushing ever deeper into formerly thinly peopled wildernesses, some of which, such as African rainforests, are rich reservoirs of potential pathogens, currently preying on species such as chimps genetically very similar (98%) to us, making the species barrier the germs have to jump temptingly low. To help the germs even more, the African rainforests are now being raided on an ever growing scale for “bushmeat” to be sold and eaten in the vast squatter camps around the continent’s cities. Chimp meat is, apparently, a particular – if 98% cannibalistic! – delicacy, as is that of various monkey species. From one of whom has already come AIDS. So as to enhance our experience of potential disease diversity here in Britain, recent Court cases reveal that Africans have been smuggling chimp and other bushmeat into Britain, where it is apparently a prized delicacy at a number of African restaurants in London. 

However, were any such diners to go down with some exotic germ here, they could be assured of swift and professional medical care. Not so in the teeming slums back home where most such prime cuts are more usually consumed. There any alien pathogens will be given every chance to try again and again to cross the species barrier to infect humanity in a medicine- and hygiene-free germ-friendly environment. Swarming with potential prey, their immune systems weakened by poor nutrition and in many cases in Africa AIDS. Welcoming any initially diffident bacterium or virus anxious to seek asylum from a rainforest animal host being hunted to extinction as its habitat is destroyed in the welcoming and abundant pastures provided by Homo sapiens – overwhelmingly Africa’s commonest large mammal. Though it would be churlish to pass over the peasantry of East and South-East Asia, living cheek-by-jowl with their pigs and ducks, in their efforts to help Mr Pestilence mount his horse for another good gallop through humanity.   

In fact, he has got his foot in the stirrup a few times already of late. Lassa, Ebola and Marburg viruses have all managed to evolve strains capable of infecting humans and spreading from one human to another. However, so far every outbreak has aborted itself because the viruses turn their human hosts into a bag of goo too quickly to allow effective transmission to a wider public. Any mutation of these viruses that makes them just slightly less deadly and they will be in business.  They don’t have to be any less deadly – and so far few have survived infection with Ebola or Marburg. They just have to be deadly a little more slowly, to take a few hours more to kill. And once these delightful creatures do manage mutate to epidemiological effectiveness (or maybe it will be something else not yet heard of, but we can count on  ex Africa semper aliquod something rather nasty  in the coming years) our delightful global Free Market economy will be there to waft Pestilence wherever he wants to go.

For not only is the vast human population swarming through the last wild refuges of exotic viruses and bacteria unprecedented. So is the speed and volume of human movement around the world. Fleets of jumbo jets roaring hither and yon in the service of the free movement of labour in the global economy.  So that a germ that was caught in a village in Gabon or a shanty town around Lagos or a street in Shanghai in the morning can be coughed out into a crowded London Tube, Paris metro or New York subway carriage the same evening. 

When the last big killer hit Europe, the Black Death in 1347, it took some years, and many thousands of germ generations, to spread West from its origin in China, giving the germ and its new host some chance to adapt to each other. Even then, one European in three perished. Now a germ can be in the heart of Europe and North America only a few tens of cell divisions, or in the case of a virus copyings by host cells of its genetic code from its first deadly incursion into our species. 

No-one is going to stop the carrier if the next Black Death from walking through Passport Control at Heathrow if his papers are in order even if he is looking a little peaky. Any suggestion of thorough medical checks or even quarantine periods on people entering the West from Third World plague danger zones would be howled down. 

Ostensibly, but doubtless effectively, with the parrot squawk of “racism” – though such controls would, to work, have to be applied with the same indifference to race, nationality and ethnic origin that most (though as AIDS shows not all) plagues themselves show.  But actually because they would interfere with the vast profits to be made by the multinational combines who own the West from shipping people quickly and freely around the world. Third World labourers to the West to be exploited in dirty, dangerous and low-paid jobs that no Western worker would do – unless they were made cleaner, safer and better-paid, and where’s the profit in that? And Western managers to run “offshoring” operations in the Third World, milking the low-paid labour at source. But if they carry on, one day they will get something very different from profit from the Third World.

The BBC recently released on DVD its chilling 1975 series Survivors, showing exactly the sort of pandemic plague this article is talking about in action. Then it was portrayed as an escaped Chinese germ warfare agent. But very likely Nature can still show human folly a trick or two here. But the opening sequence, showing the Death spreading around the World in days in a mix of footage of jumbo jets overhead and passport stamps at airports, is even more apposite today, when air travel is vastly greater than it was thirty years ago. Nor is the sequel depicted, of the swift collapse of government and civilization as all but one in ten thousand perished in weeks, dated in the least either. That mortality rate would be unprecedented in the history of humanity. But so is our current social situation, in ways that make such a killer plague far likelier than it was in the past. 

In fact, before the present day, Survivors’ plague, The Death, was, ironically, too deadly to spread around a world in which travellers were slower, better controlled, and fewer in number. More than a few decades ago, and Western Governments would have the time and the will to close their borders effectively as the Death rolled closer, to slam the gates in the face of onrushing Pestilence. With peoples who, as the patient endurance of the privations of the last World War by the ordinary people on both sides showed, were capable of reserves of discipline, dedication to the common cause and courage in crisis one suspects would be sought in vain amongst the consumerist hordes of their descendents, brainwashed into the selfish short-sighted greed that is the underlying ethic of 21st Century Western “civilization”.

Indeed, a few decades ago, not only would the next great plague of mankind be less likely to get into Western nations, there is a much greater chance it could have been beaten back even if it had done so. For the ingenuity and technological brilliance that is one of the better aspects of our civilization had, by the early 1940’s, come up with antibiotic “magic bullets”,  stunningly effective against bacteria if sadly not viruses. But being able to beat bacteria alone secures us against the Black Death, and leprosy, and even the ancient human killer tuberculosis. Combined with widespread vaccination, which does work against viruses, this lead the US Surgeon-General in 1962 to proclaim that humanity had won its war against Pestilence. 

Sadly, he reckoned without Pestilence’s good pal, Greed. And a socioeconomic system built on the mobilization of greed, and Greed’s ally Selfishness. The antibiotics, as everyone knew from the start, would eventually lose their effectiveness if they were used carelessly and promiscuously. So long as they were only deployed to save lives actually under threat and in controlled circumstances where the patient could be compelled to take the full course so there were no bacterial survivors of the attack, they would keep their effectiveness. Let them be used indiscriminately in doses not high enough or continued long enough to stamp out all the attacking germs, and some more antibiotic resistant germs would survive to pass on their resistance. Evolution by natural selection works if the best adapted organisms to a new environmental challenge – even if not yet fully adapted – get a chance to survive and breed. And, each generation, even better adaptation to the challenge was rewarded with better breeding success. With generation times in minutes rather than years, microbes can evolve fast and far – if they are given the chance.    

Capitalist greed gave them that chance. The antibiotics were soon the preserve of giant multinational pharmaceutical companies. Who saw there was no profit in hoarding them and using them sparingly so as to preserve their effectiveness. The more widely they were used, the more they sold. Helped by the fact that it was discovered that putting antibiotics into animal feed in the burgeoning factory farms enhanced yields of eggs, milk and meat. To the point that today 70% of all antibiotics made are not used to treat disease but are used in agricultural food production – fed to battery hens and pigs and the like. Much of the rest is wasted in, for example, bactericidal washing-up liquid and tissues. This was combined with the deliberate fostering of selfishness in the interests of profit, under the guise of “human rights” serving “freedom”. So that compelling tubercular drug addicts and Haitian illegal immigrants in New York to complete their courses of antibiotics was deemed an “infringement of their human rights”. 

The upshot was that bacteria were allowed to accustom themselves to antibiotics, constantly and widely exposed to dosages enough to favour resistant strains but not enough to kill them before their resistance had evolved to be complete. Thus Capitalism created MRSA – a strain of the ubiquitous bacterium of boils and zits, and wound infection and septicaemia, Staphylococcus aureus immune not just to methicillin but, in time, to every known antibiotic. Whilst tubercular trash of society exercising their “human right” to stop bothering to take their medication any more once it had cured their symptoms but before it had killed off the last most antibiotic resistant holdouts of TB germs in their bodies has bred a TB which is now almost as resistant to treatment as it was a century ago.    

Compulsory universal vaccination exterminated viral scourges such as smallpox altogether by the late 1970’s (apart from inside sinister secret US and Soviet Government labs). But again the pervading social spirit of selfishness promoted to create profitable consumer populations insidiously undermined the eradication of other viral plagues. 

To work, vaccination has to cover at least 95% of the host population, so the virus cannot find enough vulnerable hosts to sustain itself in the population. But it is not itself without a cost. Sadly, a very small proportion of those immunised are seriously harmed or even killed by the vaccine. Fewer than the disease used to maim and kill. But in today’s self-centred society the “rights” of the individual prevail against the good of the people as a whole. So, for example, a scare – later found to be unfounded anyway – alleging a link with autism caused British parents to opt their children out of the MMR vaccine. Which they were allowed, selfishly, to do. The result is that measles was not eradicated but broke out anew, and recently the first British child for decades died of the disease, whilst others were blinded or brain damaged because social selfishness backed by the courts allowed the eradication campaign to fail. In a different society – or our own a couple of generations ago – parents would have ensured their children’s vaccination out of social duty. Those few children who did die from the vaccine would be seen in the same light as soldiers who perished in battle or firemen who died on duty, as having given their lives nobly for the greater good of  the whole, by their sacrifice saving the lives of the far more children who would have perished had the populace not been protected by vaccination.      

One might think that, with antibiotics growing less and less effective and vaccination less and less universal, and with a general awareness, as the Dead Swan showed, of the danger of a new pandemic plague, those responsible for finding new drugs would be concentrating their efforts on better antibiotics to fight bacteria and cheaper antiviral drugs to fight viruses. But the big profits for the pharmaceutical companies to whom such research has largely, in the privatised market-run world of today, been abandoned do not lie in pills taken briefly to defeat a deadly germ. They lie in those taken lifelong to stave off a lesser chronic ill – a gyppy stomach or a creaky joint. Or mood-altering drugs to help people cope with their crazy world. Or perhaps really expensive and profitable pills to save a few from cancer rather than cheap and unprofitable ones to save many from germs.  So antibiotic research languishes and  resistant strains rampage through homes and hospitals. Necrotising fasciitis anyone?

So we are right to fear the message the Swan of Fife died to bring us. Modern, cosmopolitan, global market society is making the worst pandemic disaster in human history much more likely, and making it much harder to resist it when it comes. The global market is playing a game of Russian roulette with Pestilence. He pulls the trigger on the revolver’s chamber loaded with AIDS. Click! Spin the magazine. Pull the chamber loaded with SARS. Click! Ebola virus. Click! H5N1 flu. Who knows? The hammer is still falling on the chamber. But sooner or later- BANG!     

The last great pandemic, that caused by a new flu train in 1918, killed more people  in four months than perished in the four years of  the First World War. 80% of the United States soldiers who did not come back from serving in World War One died of this flu after the Armistice rather than in battle before it.   The next, spreading much faster amongst a much more closely connected world with lots more people in it, will doubtless kill many more people. Perhaps most people. Though almost certainly not all people. But quite possibly civilized society, which will collapse if enough of its productive people perish. We do not know how many individuals comprising a society need to die to bring down civilization with them. 50%? 75%? 90%? We may be about to find out…

Yet the predicament humanity has got itself into in the first decades of the 21st Century is so grim that such a pandemic is not the worst thing that could – and probably will – happen to us. Our teeming population eating the Earth like locusts has started a race to get us by all the Four Horsemen. Pestilence, as we have seen, is currently a few lengths in the lead. But, as we turn farmland into desert ever faster each year, partly from exhaustion of the soil in the Third World but increasingly in coming decades due to climate change brought on by our greed and filth, Famine is coming up strongly on the stand side. As rising sea levels force entire nations such as the Bangladeshis to pour inland seeking new land for their hundred millions and drought in a warming world displaces billions in Volkerwanderungen to dwarf those which flooded over and drowned the Roman West , War is beginning to spur on his steed strongly. Add the wider spectre of top tier biosphere collapse brought on by the mass extinction of other species at the hands of the spreading plague of excess humanity on a scale already surpassing that when the dinosaurs departed, and Death, currently hanging back and saving his mount’s wind in the certainty that he will get us all in the end individually anyway, must be the bookies’ favourite to sweep ahead in the final furlong and claim our entire species as his prize. 

Unless Pestilence rides a clever race and claims enough of us now to deny his fellow Horsemen their prey later. We are in such a plight by now, caused at root by far too many people, that a pandemic that killed enough people now might save us from worse to come. 

Not too many people, everywhere, though to collapse that Western technological civilization which, once it has sloughed off its Capitalist carapace, still offers the last best hope for the long term future of our species.  Indeed, resolute, determined and disciplined action in the face of pandemic might save one or a few Western nations more or less intact, whilst the rest of humanity perished. The survival of that part of human civilization which has stabilized its population already, freed from the certainty of being swept away in a tide of the desperate rest of humanity as it dragged us all down to disaster, might well be the last best hope of mankind. 

The tragedy of our current plight is that, for humanity as a species to survive the next thousand years, most humans must die as soon as possible in the next hundred. If he can do that for us, without reducing the survivors to savagery, perhaps Pestilence is our friend after all, and the Dead Swan’s message is one of hope in the hour of our coming desperation.       

Slovak national-socialists gain seats

Slovak national socialist leader Marian Kotleba, whose party L’SNS gained seats in yesterday’s general election

The Slovak national socialist party People’s Party – Our Slovakia (L’SNS) led by Marian Kotleba gained three extra MPs in yesterday’s general election and is now the joint-third largest party in the Slovak Parliament with 17 seats.

Meanwhile the more ‘moderate’ Slovak National Party, which at the previous election in 2016 was slightly larger than L’SNS, was wiped out yesterday, falling from 8.6% to 3.2% and losing all of its 15 seats.

L’SNS polled exactly the same vote as four years ago, 8.0%, but it seems likely that a large slice of the former Slovak National Party vote went to a populist conservative party called ‘Ordinary People’, who were the big winners yesterday on an anti-corruption platform.

‘Ordinary People’ seems to be somewhere between the populist nationalism of Victor Orban and the more amorphous protest vote party typified by Italy’s Five Star Movement. Its leader has already said he will be prepared to enter coalition talks with any party except for the defeated government party – the corrupt socialists – and the beyond-the-pale ‘nazis’ of L’SNS.

In practice this means some sort of deal with the anti-immigration party ‘We are Family’, who have 17 seats, and with a libertarian, eurosceptic party ‘Freedom and Solidarity’ with 13 seats. The pro-EU liberal alliance ‘For the People’ backed by Slovakia’s president Zuzana Čaputová (who won a resounding victory hailed by the world’s liberal media as recently as 2019) was in sixth place with 12 seats, so would not be able to reach a working majority in alliance with ‘Ordinary People’.

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