February 26, 2020
Author: Ralph Berry

Nature has given assistance to Europe.  Douglas Murray’s brilliant The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (2017) was well if controversially received.  It is still on the index of banned books by The Economist and The Guardian, those beacons of the Liberal Enlightenment.  Murray saw a continent and culture bent on suicide through mass immigration.  He treats at length Raspail’s dystopian novel, Le Camp des saints (1973), which with prophetic accuracy describes the sea-borne invasion of France by Third World refugees.  After early denunciations of the book as racist, it returned to the bestseller list in 2011.  It was followed by Michel Houellebecq’s best-selling novel Soumission (2015), which imagines a Muslim party taking over the government of France in 2022.  And that was before Angela Merkel’s historic blunder (2015) in inviting a million Third World inhabitants to her country, and to Europe.  The liberal-left opposition to Raspail’s vision rests politically on the European Union’s doctrine of the free movement of peoples.  This doctrine, now abandoned by Britain, opens the door to continued immigration by those drawn by the vast attractions of the West.

But now a startling new development has occurred.  The SARS epidemic of 2002-3, coming out of Hong Kong, was well contained and appears to have died out.  Ebola, a killing viral disease, was of West African origin and very largely confined to the African continent.  People died before they could spread it.  Coronavirus, scheduled shortly to be classified as a pandemic, is different.  Coming from China, it spares the young and kills the old: TV announcers have to restrain themselves from prefixing “only” to “those who are over 62.”  The elderly of Europe have strong views regarding the danger to their lives, and are now surfeited with dramatic details of the viral spread.  The country worst affected is Italy, where the outbreaks occurred first in “the waveless plain of Lombardy” and then spread towards the Mezzorgiono.  Sicily now has its first case, in Palermo.  Britain has a handful of cases from returned travellers, all quarantined and under control.  Mass testing is in hand.  But many schools have been closed, and the economic costs are frightening.  For a vivid example of the virus in action, consider the TV showing of a press conference in Iran where the minister for health, visibly distressed, kept mopping his face.  I’d judge him to be in his middle forties, so he should survive.  But the primary explanation for the spread of the disease is simply the extent of air travel between the globalized societies of today.

Which takes us to the European Union’s dedication to its ideal, the free movement of people.  It is obvious that this ideal cannot stand now.  What was purely a cause of political controversy a few months ago, debated on its demographic implications by Right and Left on approximately equal terms, now takes on the aspect of a huge public health issue which will dominate the political scene.  Coronavirus is Nature’s back-stop to what many already fear: the invasion of Europe by non-European people in le grand remplacement.  They are now joined as a threat by non-European diseases whose origins lie in Africa and Asia, and which threaten all of us.  There can be no real questioning of the need for Western countries to guard their borders with ever-greater vigilance and effectiveness.  The Schwengen Agreement no longer works for the EU.  “How long will the EU prioritise open borders over disease prevention?” asks the London Daily Telegraph (25 February).  The great debate has tipped decisively one way, and migration, both legal and illegal, will be stringently monitored.  Europe will move towards being an armed and defended camp; Britain will realize its identity, its destiny as an island.