In May, a group of conservative intellectuals from across Europe, including British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, met in Paris.
They were brought together by their concern about the ‘false Europe’ currently promoted by the continent’s governing class, arrogant liberals, virtue-signalling progressives and faceless eurocrats who stalk the corridors of power in Brussels and elsewhere; and by a desire to defend and promote the ‘true Europe’, our “precious and irreplaceable civilisation… a community of nations… that is marked by Christianity… and draws inspiration from the Classical tradition of ancient Greece and Rome”.
The result of their deliberations was published on 7th October in ‘The Paris Statement: A Europe We Can Believe In’. Although often couched in scholarly language, the Statement is a blockbuster and a gold mine – a blockbuster of analysis as it blows open the hollow pretensions of the ‘false Europe’ also known as the EU, and a goldmine of right thinking as it provides many intellectual riches within the tight argumentation of its mere 36 paragraphs.
For instance, in the third paragraph they write this precise, searing, illuminating condemnation of the continent’s political leaders:
- The patrons of the false Europe are bewitched by superstitions of inevitable progress. They believe that History is on their side, and this faith makes them haughty and disdainful, unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing. Moreover, they are ignorant of the true sources of the humane decencies they themselves hold dear—as do we. They ignore, even repudiate the Christian roots of Europe. At the same time they take great care not to offend Muslims, who they imagine will cheerfully adopt their secular, multicultural outlook. Sunk in prejudice, superstition and ignorance, and blinded by vain, self-congratulating visions of a utopian future, the false Europe reflexively stifles dissent. This is done, of course, in the name of freedom and tolerance.
The Statement argues strikingly too, that shrinking freedoms and growing restrictions mean that European citizens are being straitjacketed into an Orwellian underclass of voiceless conformity and homogeneity:
- At the same time that we hear boasts of unprecedented liberty, European life is more and more comprehensively regulated. Rules—often confected by faceless technocrats in league with powerful interests—govern our work relationships, our business decisions, our educational qualifications, our news and entertainment media. And Europe now seeks to tighten existing regulations on freedom of speech, an aboriginal European freedom—freedom of conscience made manifest. The targets of these restrictions are not obscenity or other assaults on decency in public life. Instead, Europe’s governing classes wish to restrict manifestly political speech. Political leaders who give voice to inconvenient truths about Islam and immigration are hauled before judges. Political correctness enforces strong taboos that deem challenges to the status quo beyond the pale. The false Europe does not really encourage a culture of freedom. It promotes a culture of market-driven homogeneity and politically enforced conformity.
And, further, the Statement exposes the EU as a paralysing dystopian pseudo-religious empire from which we may be saved only by re-secularising and re-invigorating Europe (or, of course, with Brexit):
- The work of renewal begins with theological self-knowledge.The universalist and universalizing pretensions of the false Europe reveal it to be an ersatz religious enterprise, complete with strong creedal commitments—and anathemas. This is the potent opiate that paralyzes Europe as a political body. We must insist that religious aspirations are properly the province of religion, not politics, much less bureaucratic administration. In order to recover our political and historical agency, it is imperative that we re-secularize European public life.
It’s brilliant stuff and provides many sticks with which to beat wearisome Remoaners and Eurofanatics. But as a member of the Support 4 the Family group (S4tF) in UKIP, I was also forcibly struck by the Statement’s memorable declaration about marriage and the traditional family:
- Marriage is the foundation of civil society and the basis for harmony between men and women. It is the intimate bond organized around sustaining a household and raising children. We affirm that our most fundamental roles in society and as human beings are as fathers and mothers. Marriage and children are integral to any vision of human flourishing. Children require sacrifice from those who bring them into the world. This sacrifice is noble and must be honoured. We endorse prudent social policies to encourage and strengthen marriage, childbearing, and childrearing. A society that fails to welcome children has no future.
It also contends (para 10), “The bond of marriage allows both men and women to flourish in communion. Most of the sacrifices we make are for the sake of our spouses and children.”
So for Europe and the UK to flourish once more we must throw off the selfish anti-family individualism of the political mainstream, and instead develop “social policies to encourage and strengthen marriage, childbearing and childrearing”. This, of course, would be radical, politically-incorrect and subversive. In other words, it is exactly UKIP territory.
At the Torquay party conference in September, a motion was proposed by S4tF chair Alan Williams and seconded by S4tF committee member Dr. Deborah Pitt that called for the appointment of a UKIP Spokesperson for Families and Children. It was passed by members virtually unanimously. The Spokesperson’s task is to develop marriage and family policies in time for the next general election manifesto. The membership has spoken. The conference resolution is now for the NEC and Henry Bolton as our new leader to implement.
In 2012 UKIP alone had the courage to oppose the redefinition and downgrading of marriage against vicious hostility and opposition. In 2018 we should grab this socially conservative territory once more, set the political agenda once again, and deliver party policies that will help children and families thrive and flourish.