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~Following the usual outbreaks of vehicular jihad a couple of Christmases back, I recalled in The Herald Sun of Melbourne a conversation I'd had a few months earlier with a delightful German lady who had "found herself on the receiving end of some vibrant multicultural outreach from one of Mutti Merkel's boy charmers":
As a result, she no longer goes out after dark. She had also decided - with reluctance, because she enjoyed it - to cancel her participation in a local Christmas market, where she'd sung carols every year - in broad daylight.
'Why would you do that?' I asked.
'Because it's Christmas,' she said, 'and I'm worried Christmas will be a target.'
Two years later, Europeans largely accept that Christmas is a target, and thus ancient traditions have to be fortified against attack. In the picture above, from Berlin's Breitscheidplatz, the tops of the Christmas trees are still just about visible above the perimeter fence, at least until some excitable Mohammedan figures out how to combine his suicide belt with a jet pack. Other than that, aside from the customary mulled wine and marzipan, what's new at the Christmas market this year? Well, there's Terrablocks:
The steel baskets, called Terrablocks by experts, are part of a pilot project by the Berlin Senate, reported the Berliner Zeitung.
The Senate is investing ÔéČ2.6 million in the new blocking elements, which will later become the property of the police.
In addition to the 160 wire baskets, which are connected together and when finished will stand along the side of the Christmas market, 13 heavy steel pedestals will be erected at another part of the square near Hardenbergstra├če.
Meanwhile, 70 mobile bollards, so-called truck blocks, will be installed at the pedestrian entrances, leaving space for pedestrians - but none for vehicles.
The Senate assures that the barriers will be able to withstand a 40-ton truck. What is being tested here could surround Christmas markets in the coming years, the Berliner Zeitung reported.
Nothing says Christmas like a ring of Terrablocks able to withstand a 40-ton truck. The locals call it Fort Gl├╝hwein, which is somewhat of a tame jest. Perhaps they could remake The Great Escape about a group of anglophone tourists trapped inside a Berlin Christmas market, with Steve McQueen roaring around on his motorbike revving up to see if he can jump the fence.
It is not a small loss when ancient community traditions can only take place behind ugly barriers of concrete and steel. What measures will be necessary to enable a Christmas market to proceed in the Germany of 2030? Or will the public communal celebration of Christmas have thrown in the towel by then?
I think we know the answer to that.
~We must find good news where we can. In a fortnight's time, the leaders of the world will assemble in Morocco to sign the UN's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which, as its title suggests, is intended to make "migration" a human right and oblige the functioning nations of our planet to facilitate and fund it. The idea of "migration" being administered by a transnational body beyond the democratic accountability of supposedly sovereign nations is, of course, obnoxious. Were the logic of this agreement to be followed, it would, in fact, ruin the world.
President Trump was the first to tell the UN to take a hike. Israel followed. So too did the EU's awkward squad - Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria. More surprising was Australia's post-Turnbull ministry, which declined to support the compact on the grounds that it failed to distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. That's not a bug but a feature: The purpose of the agreement is to abolish such niceties, because after all, if a nation no longer has jurisdiction over who crosses its borders, how can it possibly presume to determine which crossings are lawful or not?
So that's the good news: seven naysayers.
It remains nevertheless a fact that the overwhelming majority of developed nations remain willing to sign this thing. Which in itself tells you how fearful their leaders are of countering the multiculti pieties. As I've said for years, government-enforced diversity is where nations go to die. Globally-mandated diversity is intended to make it a fait accompli.
~For at least one member of the UN's Big Five, it makes little difference either way. If Theresa May's Brexit "deal" goes through, the United Kingdom will cease to exist in any meaningful sense as a sovereign state: it will be neither a kingdom nor united, given that under the "Irish backstop" Brussels rather than London will have administrative and legal primacy explicitly over at least part of the realm, and implicitly over the rest. Martin Howe, a London QC who specializes in EU "law", has a withering analysis in the current Spectator. This is as telling a sample of the "agreement" as any:
Annex 2 Art. 3(4) states that the UK shall be 'informed' of any decision by the EU to amend the Common Customs Tariff 'in sufficient time for it to align itself with that decision'.
That's awfully sporting of them, isn't it? On this, the worthless Mrs May and her ministry have spent two years "negotiating"? Was there any other UK official in the room for these "negotiations" other than a competent stenographer?
Britain's Remainers, not least at the BBC, profess to fret that Brexit will be a disaster. Au contraire, they, like Brussels, are terrified that it will succeed, and thus encourage les autres. So the "deal" is designed to ensure that it will fail. And, even though it will fail because it is a non-Brexit, that will still enable the Remoaners to say, "We told you so."
And, if the jelly-spined Tories rouse themselves to stand with the manifesto on which they were elected, that will only confirm the need for a second referendum that, unlike the first vote, "would be for real". Tony Blair:
Both the Remain campaign, and the Leave... campaign should jointly agree that this vote is final, doesn't matter how marginal it is, it's final. Once this is resolved then that's it for a generation.
That's what they said last time, but the masses gave the wrong answer. Decent of Tone to give them a second chance.
By the way, the Tory bogeyman of the Corbyn Terror is a bit of a damp squib, in my opinion. Nothing Corbyn has in mind would inflict the long-term damage of what Mr Howe calls the "true vassalage" of the UK's new status under the EU's in-out-in-out-shaken-all-about Hokey-Cokey. That's aside from the broader deligitimization of self-government and democratic accountability.
In 1990, after the Prime Minister's blithe dismissal of a single Euro-currency so offended the Tory Europhiles, Mrs Thatcher was gone - within a month. Why is Theresa May still there? In such circumstances, conservatives are fond of Belloc:
Always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse.
But what could be worse than Mrs May's Hokey-Cokey purgatory? Or a worse betrayal of the people?
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline starting with my thoughts on a sinister Saudi and a great BBC survivor. Our Saturday movie date considered the new Freddie Mercury biotuner, Bohemian Rhapsody, and our Sunday song selection celebrated an irrepressible pick-me-up, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah". SteynOnline's marquee presentation was our continuing Tale for Our Time, Baroness Orczy's thrilling adventure set during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror - The Scarlet Pimpernel: Click for Part Fifteen, Part Sixteen and Part Seventeen - or, if you want to start at the very beginning, settle in for a good old binge-listen here. If you were too busy taking dictation from Jean-Claude Juncker all weekend long, I hope you'll want to catch up with one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.
Tales for Our Time is made possible thanks to members of The Mark Steyn Club, for which we are profoundly grateful. You can find more details about the Steyn Club here. And don't forget our special Gift Membership, which makes a fine Christmas present, and this holiday season comes with a special personalized Christmas card from yours truly and a handsomely-engraved gift-boxed USB stick with three of our most popular Tales for Our Time for your pal or relative to listen to in the car or perambulating through the wilderness or almost anywhere else. (The trio of tales is The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Time Machine and The Thirty-Nine Steps.) For more on our Christmas Gift Membership, see here.
Catch you on the telly with Tucker live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, and just before that for Part Eighteen of The Scarlet Pimpernel.