Tag Archives: UK

BRITISH EMPIRE WAS A BLESSING

It has been suggested that citizens of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms be given their own “fast lane” at UK Points of Entry.   This will be good news for citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the smaller realms.   If the idea is approved, it will be a first step toward restoring closer Commonwealth ties that ended when Britain joined the EU.

While Britain has been a member of the European Union, EU citizens were able to go through the fast lane, while the rest of us waited for up to two hours, slowly inching forward in the “Aliens” line.

Post-Brexit, it will certainly be in Britain’s best interests to enter into closer trade and defense ties with the countries that share Britain’s parliamentary system and all have the same Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II.   Other Commonwealth countries have opted for a republican form of government, recognizing the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth but not retaining her services as their own sovereign.

It will also mean that, for the first time, the United Kingdom is reversing five decades of history and turning its attention again to its former Empire.

The word “Empire” has been a pejorative for two generations.   Before World War One, there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the British Empire around the world in territories that constituted the “empire upon which the sun never set.”   Over a quarter of the world’s people lived under the British flag.   Imperialism was in vogue and inspired millions of people to help develop other nations.

Today, people forget what a blessing the Empire was.  Let’s take a look at a few of those blessings.

1.  The Bible and religious freedom.

The fourteenth century philosopher and theologian, John Wycliffe, was the first man to translate all the scriptures into English.   His favorite verse was Philippians 2:12: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”   He struck the first blow for religious freedom and democracy by encouraging people to study for themselves and make up their own minds.

Two centuries later, the English Queen Elizabeth I, secured the Protestant Reformation by bravely sending her smaller fleet against the Spanish Armada.   England defeated the Spaniards, thereby thwarting an attempt by the pope to force the country back into the Catholic Church.

In the nineteenth century, the British and Foreign Bible Society, took the Bible into dozens of different countries.   The Wycliffe Bible Translation Society still exists, sending volunteers into poor and backward countries to develop a written language and then translate the Bible so that all may read it.

The most famous British missionary, David Livingstone, took the Bible with him into central Africa, to “bring light into darkness.”  He was also motivated by a desire to see the end of slavery, perpetrated by Arab slave traders, who were seizing black Africans as slaves.

2.  Britain was the first major country to abolish slavery.

Slavery was universal and had not been questioned until the eighteenth century.   It wasn’t just Africans who were taken as slaves.   One million white people were being held by Muslim slave traders at this time.   (“White Gold”, Giles Milton, 2004.)

In 1772, the Somerset decision by an English court, ruled that British people could not hold slaves, that all people in Britain were free. It took another 35 years before the slave trade was abolished and a further 27 years before slavery itself was ended throughout the British Empire.  (Denmark banned the slave trade in its territories a few years before Britain.)

One year after the abolition of the slave trade, the British government authorized the Royal Navy to stop ships on the high seas and free all the slaves.   Wikipedia has this to say about the West Africa Squadron:

“The Royal Navy established the West Africa Squadron (or Preventative Squadron) at substantial expense in 1808 after Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807.   The squadron’s task was to suppress the Atlantic slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa.   With a home base at Portsmouth, it began with two small ships, the 32-gun fifth-rate frigate HMS Solebay and the Cruizer-class brig-sloop HMS Derwent. At the height of its operations, the squadron employed a sixth of the Royal Navy fleet and marines.

“Between 1808 and 1860 the West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans.[“1]

Because of its role in fighting slavery, Britain was seen as a Liberator around the world.  Many tribes in Africa asked to be annexed into the British Empire, seeking protection from slave traders.  At one point, so many African tribes were asking to join the Empire that the British were overwhelmed. “The Dualla chiefs of the Cameroon repeatedly asked to be annexed, but the British either declined or took no notice at all.”  (Pax Britannica, James Morris, 1968, page 43)

In the last three decades of the nineteenth century, Victorians were caught up in an enthusiastic desire to see slavery ended in Africa, and the Bible, Protestant Christianity, democracy and the rule of law introduced (“Africa and the Victorians,” Robinson and Gallagher, 1961)

Sadly, in the sixty years since the end of the British Empire, slavery is back in every single African country, according to UNESCO.   The former Ghanaian President, John Kufour, condemned slavery in Ghana a few years ago on the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade throughout the British Empire; he also apologized for the role Ghana’s own chiefs had played in promoting slavery by selling their own people and members of other tribes.

3.  British capital developed many nations.

The definitive books on British investment around the world are the two volume “British Imperialism” by Cain and Hopkins.  The books highlight “London’s role as the chief provider of economic services during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries” (back cover, volume one).   London remains the world’s number one financial center (New York has the world’s biggest stock exchange).   Not only did British capital develop every country in the Empire, it was also responsible for developing the United States, Argentina, Brazil,Chile, the Ottoman Empire and China.

Interestingly, one reason that members of the European Union are upset over Brexit, is that Britain has been a net contributor to the EU, helping to finance development in other member nations.  When the UK leaves, where is the money going to come from?

4.   Another blessing of British rule was its governmental system and the administration of its various colonies.

Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its constitutional monarchy is the most stable political system in the world.   It was successfully exported to all its colonies and dominions.  Sixteen of those countries have retained the same system since independence, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of majority black countries in the Caribbean.  Queen Elizabeth remains as Head of State in all of these countries.

38 other countries, former colonies of Great Britain, did not retain the Queen as Head of State but still look to her as the Head of the Commonwealth.  Many of these nations have suffered through coups and counter-coups and periods of military rule.  In many, corruption is rife and the people are worse off than they were when colonies.

Interestingly, it was recently suggested that the United States join the Commonwealth, as an Associate member.  The Royal Commonwealth Society is opening a branch in New York City.

5.   The free world’s first line of defense.

For two centuries Great Britain was the “policeman of the world.”  The country brought down Napoleon, after which she was the undisputed leader of the world.  A century later, with her dominions and colonies, she brought down the Kaiser.  In World War Two, the British Empire was the only power that was in the war from beginning to end.   With later help from the Soviet Union and the United States, the Empire defeated Hitler and his monstrous Third Reich that was the most racist regime in modern history.  The Empire’s forces also kept the peace on the North-West frontier of India, in what are now Pakistan and Afghanistan and in other trouble spots around the world.

America’s pre-eminent historian, James Truslow Adams, wrote his history of “The British Empire 1784-1939” in the year that World War Two started, 1939.   This is the final paragraph in his book:   “In this world crisis, we in America have a great stake.  We know that stability is impossible without respect for law and order, for the honesty of the written and spoken word.  Without liberty of thought, speech and press, progress is impossible.  What these things mean to the world of today and tomorrow has been amply demonstrated by the negation of them in certain great nations during the past few years.   Different peoples may have different ideals of government but for those who have been accustomed to freedom of person and of spirit, the possible overthrow of the British Empire would be a catastrophe scarcely thinkable.  Not only would it leave a vacuum over a quarter of the globe into which all the wild winds of anarchy, despotism and spiritual oppression could rush, but the strongest bulwark outside ourselves for our own safety and freedom would have been destroyed.”  (page 358)

The Empire has indeed been replaced by “the wild winds of anarchy, despotism and spiritual oppression.”

It’s no wonder that, at the height of the Empire, during Queen Victoria’s reign and the first few years of the twentieth century, many people in Britain and its overseas territories, believed the Empire was a fulfillment of biblical promises made to Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Israel.  In Genesis, chapter 48, we read of howJoseph’s descendants were to become a great “multitude of nations” and a “great (single) nation,” the British Empire and Commonwealth and the United States.  They were to be a physical blessing to the world (Genesis 12:3).  In the late Victorian period, believers published a weekly newspaper called “The Banner of Israel”  — they enthusiastically tracked the daily growth of the British Empire and the United States at the time.

This belief was widely held in the trenches of World War One.  It’s ironic that those same trenches shattered the religious convictions of many, who witnessed the carnage first-hand.

No empire was perfect.  Britain made mistakes.  Often listed by anti-imperialists is the Amritsar massacre of 1919.  This was not deliberate government policy, but rather the misjudgment of the commanding officer.  The 1943 Bengal famine is also often mentioned; overlooked is the fact that this was in the middle of World War II when other nations also experienced famine. Historical mistakes were made in Ireland, which caused problems to this day.

Imperialism had been in vogue before 1914; after two world wars, there was great disillusionment.   Additionally, the colonial powers had serious financial problems.  Decolonization followed.  It was the end of the European empires.

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RUSSIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

putin

While US media has been focussed on alleged Russian hacking of the US electoral process, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has strengthened its role in the Middle East.

The morning that America suffered a major setback in the Middle East, American news networks led on two deaths – those of actresses Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.   Tragic though these deaths were, developments in the Middle East put America where Great Britain was exactly six decades ago.

Before World War Two, the British Empire was the dominant power in the region.   Britain withdrew from Israel in May of 1948. Immediately, the Jewish nation was invaded by five neighboring Arab nations.   Miraculously, Israel survived. In those early days, it was not helped by the United States.

In 1952, as a direct consequence of defeat against Israel, Egypt’s King Farouk was overthrown by the military.   The new leaders soon seized the Anglo-French Suez Canal.   Together with Israel, these countries invaded Egypt but were soon stopped by US President Eisenhower.   This single event led directly to the dismantling of the British Empire.   In 1958 the pro-British King of Iraq was overthrown.   Britain was losing its remaining influence in the area. The country fought a war against rebels in Aden, withdrawing from the protectorate in 1967.

It was a gradual decline, with one setback after another.   Now, the UK does not play any major role in the Middle East.

Since Britain, America has been the dominant power in the region. During the time of the Soviet Union, the US and the USSR were rivals in the area, with Moscow backing Egypt and Syria.   Later, Egypt switched sides and allied itself with the United States, but Moscow retained its influence in Syria.   Iran was in the US sphere of influence until the Shah was overthrown in 1979.

The region has seen never-ending turmoil since the fall of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire after World War One.   That turmoil shows no sign of ending.

The recent war in Iraq has left a big mess in the region.   At its root is the almost 1,400 year sectarian conflict between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam. Until the US invasion of Iraq, the country was dominated by Sunni Muslims, even though the majority of people were Shia Muslims (the reverse is the case in Syria).   Following the US backed election in Iraq, the majority Shia now rule the country. This development has altered the religious balance in the region and is causing repercussions everywhere.   ISIS was formed to protect Sunni Muslims from the now dominant Shia.

In Syria, Sunnis have been trying to overthrow the Alawite (Shia) minority regime of President Assad for five years.   Enter Moscow. Russia’s backing of the Syrian president has enabled Assad to win. The US showed a great deal of weakness, refusing to get involved even when the Syrian government crossed the line and used chemical weapons on its own citizens.   Now, after months of fighting in Aleppo, the biggest city of the country, Assad is firmly in power and Russia is sponsoring “peace talks” with the rebel factions in the country.   The US is not invited to the peace talks. Russia now controls Syria.   To accomplish this, the country needs Turkey’s help. The two are pushing for peace in the country. Turkey, the second most powerful military power in NATO, is now working with the Russians to bring peace to the Middle East.

That’s two set-backs for Washington in just a few days.

A third set-back is in Israel.   The outgoing administration in Washington did not veto the latest UN vote against Israel, condemning the country for building new settlements for Jewish settlers in the West Bank.   Friction between the US and the only western style democracy in the region is unsettling, to say the least. This set-back may only be temporary as a new President takes over in the US in just three weeks, but that gives a few days for further negative developments.   Even the British have criticized America’s condemnation of Israel.   The State Department seems set on causing rifts with US allies in the final days of the current Administration.

Keep in mind, too, that Syria borders Israel on the Golan Heights.   What happens in Syria may affect Israel.   Perhaps that’s why Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Moscow in June, the fourth time in a year that he sat down with President Putin to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

The tables have been turned once again in the region.   Over sixty years ago, the UK was the dominant power in the region; since then, it’s been the US.   But now Russia is arguably the dominant power in the area.   The Russians are in alliance with the Shi-ite Muslims in Iran and Syria; they are also working with Sunni Turkey, which ruled the whole area prior to 1919.   At the same time, it seems that Israel’s prime minister is more comfortable with Putin than with Obama, with whom he’s had a serious exchange of heated words in recent days.

There’s even a fourth development that puts Russia ahead. Following the hacking scandal, President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the US; President Putin made it clear that he will not expel any Americans. This is a triumph for Putin in the propaganda war with America.

What lies ahead?   Remember that the Middle East is the primary focus of Bible prophecy with Jerusalem at the epicenter.

In the nineteenth century, there was no indication that the Jews were about to become an independent nation again.  Their period of self-rule ended with the Romans before the time of Christ.  Their rebellion against the Romans in the first century AD led to the Diaspora, a dispersion that scattered the Jewish people throughout the Roman Empire and left them scattered until fairly recently.   Bible prophecy showed that the Jewish nation would be restored and that happened in 1948.

Exactly a century ago, British and Australian forces entered Jerusalem in the continuing war with the Ottoman Turks.   At this point in time, a Jewish nation became possible.   The British were given a mandate to administer Palestine by the League of Nations.   This was an impossible task as Palestinians and Jews clashed repeatedly.   Eventually, the League’s successor, the United Nations, divided the territory up between Jews and Palestinians, the latter never accepting their loss of land.

 

 

WHAT’S ALEPPO?

gary-johnson-what-is-aleppo-00002011-full-169

Gary Johnson is the leader of the Libertarian Party, a third party in the United States.   Polls showed the party had 9% support a few days ago – before Mr. Johnson made a big boo-boo on nationwide television.   When asked what he would do about Aleppo, he looked bewildered and asked the anchor:  “What’s Aleppo?”  Aleppo, you will remember, is Syria’s second biggest city and has been devastated in the country’s never-ending civil war.   Tens of thousands of refugees have been fleeing the city and the country, heading mostly for Europe.

It’s been big news – and Mr. Johnson was unaware of it!

Sadly, there will be many others in the country who are just as ignorant of the rest of the world.

I’m often amazed at how many people do not want to know what’s going on in the world.   Even Christians have a problem in this regard, despite what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24:42:  “Watch therefore for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”  The chapter answers the question from the disciples:  “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be?  And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (verse 3)

From other scriptures we know that the Middle East and Europe play a key role in world events.   Christians especially should be aware of what is happening in these two areas of the world, but too often they are not.   Sadly, some just do not want to know.

“. . . and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”  (Mark 4:19)

Mr. Johnson’s comment (or lack of comment) may have ended his presidential ambitions, which did not have much hope in the first place; but he’s not the only candidate aspiring to the presidency who is ignorant of international affairs.

Donald Trump’s comments on NATO could mean the end of an alliance that has guaranteed peace for the West since World War II; while Mrs. Clinton’s assurance that America is the “indispensable” nation overlooks the fact that America’s preeminence did not begin until after World War II.   Before that the world got along fine without the US and could do so again if the country pursued an isolationist course.

Next week, Jean Claude Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg and now President of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, lays out his plan for a European military.   The British were very much against this, seeing it as a threat to NATO.   But the British are no longer members of the EU. The remaining 27 members of the Union are now free to pursue their own combined military force, which has the potential to rival America’s.   The EU remains, even without the UK, the world’s biggest economy and, through trade, has greater economic power around the world than the US does.

Inevitably, an EU military force will be led by Germany, the most powerful economy in Europe.

While Americans remain preoccupied with their election, they may not have noticed a significant victory for the extreme right in last Sunday’s state election in Angela Merkel’s home state.   Her party came in third after the socialists and the fairly new anti-immigrant party known as the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), which some claim is “neo-Nazi.”

“A nationalist, anti-immigration party performed strongly in a state election Sunday in the region where German Chancellor Angela Merkel has her political base, overtaking her conservatives to take second place amid discontent with her migrant policies.

The three-year-old Alternative for Germany, or AfD, won 20.8 percent of votes in the election for the state legislature in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Merkel’s Christian Democrats polled 19 percent, their worst result yet in the state.

The center-left Social Democrats, who led the outgoing state government in a coalition with the conservatives, remained the strongest party with 30.6 percent support.” (ABC News website, 9th September)

The successful vote for Brexit in the UK in June was motivated partly by anti-immigrant feeling.   AfD’s success in Germany is due to the same problem.   Next year’s federal elections in Germany are likely to reinforce the trend. In France next year a victory is predicted for their anti-immigrant party.   The US may see the same in November.

Voters throughout the western world are waking up to the twin threats from globalization and immigration, which together threaten their way of life.

At the same time there are increasing fears of further terrorism from radical Islamists.   Europe is being invaded by hundreds of thousands of potential terrorists, mostly from ISIS areas of influence.  Could this be the push by the king of the South as described in Daniel 11?   The only way to stop this invasion may be for the new European Army to invade the Middle East and stabilize the failed states of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, as the King of the North hits back.

The changes in Europe will affect the Middle East, the home countries of many of the recent refugees arriving at European borders.

The Visegrad Group is made up of four eastern European countries, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  These four are against the massive immigration that has been favored by Angela Merkel.  The four are working together to prevent further invasion from the Mideast by Islamic “refugees,” many of whom, it turns out, are actually from west Africa.   Could these four countries be the nucleus of the eastern leg of the revived Roman Empire prophesied by the prophet Daniel in chapter two of the Book of Daniel?

The developments listed above all have two things in common – I have heard nothing about any of them on the main American television news programs.   They are not considered important.  The US election gets priority.  Secondly, they are all of significance when it comes to biblical prophesies relating to Europe.  Christians can be forgiven for being ignorant of them.

Having said that, Aleppo has received some attention on national news programs.   Clearly, not everyone wants to watch!

EUROPE UNDER ATTACK

Brussels attack
Daily Star

Today’s triple bombings in Brussels, Belgium, are the latest ISIS attacks.   They follow an attack in Istanbul only three days ago.

Shortly after the Brussels attacks, I watched President Obama, supposedly “the Leader of the free world,” speaking to the people of Cuba.   He began his speech with a brief reference to the Brussels bombings, extending his condolences to the families of those killed. He then continued with the pre-set program, including attending a baseball game.

Once again, I was struck by how the President of the United States is living in the past, rather than the more complex present.   He’s not the only one, of course.   Aspiring presidents are mostly just the same.

It’s a sixties generation thing.

Remember the sixties, when the western world was turning to the left, immediately prior to the birth of multiculturalism, which has been the official religion of western countries ever since?

Liberal thinking has created a very different world from what we had over 50 years ago. Both Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Labour, have all wanted the same things, working toward the same goals.

Now, it’s all falling apart and we’re seeing a return to some of the old values, including patriotism, ethnic identity, nationalism, Trump in America, AfD in Germany and UKIP in the UK. Other parties want the same things in Sweden, Finland, Poland, The Netherlands, Italy and elsewhere.

The world is, once again, on the cusp of significant change.

Note the following comment made on the Fox Business Network Monday, prior to the Brussels attack. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (Retired), said:  “Not all cultures are equal . . . the Middle East and Islam as currently practiced is currently not compatible with western civilization.”

Following the comment, Englishman Stuart Varney wondered aloud what the implications would be of the EU’s new agreement with Turkey.  While the Middle Eastern country is willing to take back the migrants who do not qualify to stay in Europe, 78 million Turkish citizens will have the right of visa-free travel to all EU member countries.   Many are not likely to return home.

More Muslims = more terrorism!  That’s because a certain percentage will be extremists.  And, as Lt. Col. Ralph Peters observed, the religion as practiced is not compatible with western civilization.

Dealing with the problem requires a major change in immigration policies.  That’s not going to come from most western politicians, who are still influenced by liberal 1960’s thinking that says all peoples are the same and can all mix together peaceably.

Just a few days before the latest terror attacks in Brussels, the European Union signed the agreement with Turkey.  Again, like American politicians, the EU’s top leaders are still living in the sixties – they haven’t woken up yet to the threat from Islam nor have they even begun to figure out how to deal with it.

That will come.  Today’s attacks may be a turning point – the attackers were attacking the European Union ‘s capital, Brussels. One bomb hit the railway station close by the headquarters of the European Commission.  Europe itself was under attack – not just Brussels or Belgium.

Another interesting development today is how quickly the bombers were identified as ISIS by the Belgian authorities.  ISIS later claimed responsibility.  Normally, following an attack in the US or the UK, we are told not to blame Islamists, or that there is no evidence this was terrorism.   Some are still in denial, but others are waking up!   Speaking in Havana, Cuba, President Obama could not bring himself to use the term “Islamic terrorism”.

Daniel 11 is a prophecy about the Middle East, written more than five centuries before the time of Jesus Christ.  It’s amazingly detailed from Alexander the Great until Roman times.  Then it leaps 2,000 years until the present era.  The reason for the leap is that there was no Jewish nation in the Holy Land during that time period. Jerusalem is the epicenter of Bible prophecy, which focuses primarily on the Middle East and Europe.

The two play a central role in end-time events.

“The king of the south” is set to “push” against “the king of the north”, unleashing the military power and wrath of the latter, the prophesied Beast-power of Revelation 17, a revived Roman Empire.   What happened Tuesday in Brussels is likely part of this “push”, following on from Paris and other lesser attacks on Europe.

More attacks will follow.  It will take Europe some time to fully wake up.  But it will come.  It’s either that or we will witness the fall of western civilization!

 

 

ISTANBUL SUICIDE BOMBING

Turkey bomb

In my last post, I wrote about the fall of Constantinople.  In 1453 the city fell to the Muslim Turks and was soon renamed Istanbul.

This post begins with mention of Istanbul, one of the most interesting cities that I have ever visited.   Not only was it founded by Constantine the Great in 330, it was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium, for a thousand years.

When you walk around the old part of the city, you are walking on 1700 years of history.

No wonder so many tourists visit Istanbul.  Ten of them were killed this morning, eight of them Germans, when an ISIS suicide bomber from Syria blew himself up.   In a statement, ISIS said there would be more and bigger bombs.  This was the fourth ISIS attack in Turkey in six months.

Whether or not ISIS was deliberately targeting Germans is not known.  The attack was deliberately perpetrated in the tourist area of the old city, close to the Blue Mosque and not far from the Hagia Sophia, a 1500-year-old church built by the Eastern Emperor Justinian in the sixth century.   The church has survived a number of earthquakes and the fall of Justinian’s Empire – whether it will survive ISIS remains to be seen. Turkey is likely to see many more terror attacks.

Germany is also likely to suffer at the hands of terrorists, made more probable by Chancellor Merkel’s “open door” policy to Syrian refugees.   One million refugees arrived last year.   Things are not going well.

On New Year’s Eve, about a thousand Middle Eastern and North African men descended on the area around Cologne Cathedral. During the course of the evening, dozens of German women were sexually assaulted and a few were raped.   It turns out that, contrary to claims that almost all the refugees were women and children, in fact 80% were young men!

This has naturally led to greater demands for the refugees to be deported.   A big demonstration in Leipzig yesterday got out of hand, adding to Chancellor Merkel’s woes.   With more refugees set to arrive, the problem is set to get worse.

Meanwhile, Germany is dealing with foreign policy challenges that threaten the coherence of the European Union, of which Germany was a founder member and is the biggest economy.

German Foreign Policy reports:  “High-ranking German politicians are calling for punitive measures against Poland.   The Polish government’s measures neutralizing the country’s constitutional court as well as its new media laws are “in violation of European values,” according to Volker Kauder, Chair of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group.    The EU member states must now “have the courage to impose sanctions.” “

With the above problems, there may be little time to give any attention to Britain’s campaign for changes to the EU Treaty that would alleviate some of the financial burdens on the UK from its EU membership.

A report in the Guardian newspaper yesterday claimed the EU would play “hardball” with London, as they have nothing to lose.   If the UK leaves the EU, it could face punitive measures that would make it harder for the country to trade with its European neighbors.

The same article also pointed out that the Scots are not as keen on leaving the EU as their southern neighbors in England.

A withdrawal from the EU may be a setback for the project of European unity, but it could also lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom.

QUEEN ELIZABETH LONGEST REIGNING MONARCH

Westminster Abbey's bells will peal, a flotilla will sail down the River Thames and a gun salute will ring out on Wednesday as Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest-serving monarch in British history.
Westminster Abbey’s bells will peal, a flotilla will sail down the River Thames and a gun salute will ring out on Wednesday as Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest-serving monarch in British history.

Today at 5.30pm British Summer Time, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in British history, overtaking the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

She still has some way to go to pass the longest reigning European monarchs,   Austrian Emperor Franz Josef (1848-1916) and France’s Louis XIV (1643-1715).   However, the latter doesn’t really count as he was only five when he became “king,” meaning that his mother and Cardinal Mazarin ruled in his place.

Thailand’s current king was crowned in May 1950 so he’s been around even longer than the British monarch.

A PBS documentary on the queen aired last week.   The one-hour documentary is available on DVD.   It’s part of the “In their own words” occasional series.   There was one mistake in the program when a BBC broadcast announcing that “the king’s life draws peacefully to a close” was applied to her father, King George VI, who died in 1952.   The recording dates to January 1936 when his father, George V, was dying.   The queen’s father was found dead in bed on February 6th, 1952.   He had been out hunting the previous day. Elizabeth and her husband were in Kenya, on a tour of the empire, when he died.

The monarchy goes back over one thousand years.  It has evolved through the centuries into today’s constitutional monarchy.   The system has worked very well, giving Britain and the other Commonwealth realms (which include Canada, Australia and New Zealand) an unparalleled period of political stability, without which economic progress is difficult to achieve.

The very complimentary documentary highlighted Elizabeth’s role as constitutional monarch, using her influence rather than authority in chaperoning the country for over sixty years.   It’s been a time of unprecedented change, as was Victoria’s in the nineteenth century.

The program began with then Princess Elizabeth’s 21st birthday broadcast from Cape Town, South Africa.   In her own words she pledged herself to serve “the great imperial family to which we all belong,” a reference to the Empire and Commonwealth, which included South Africa.

Immediately after these words were shown on the documentary, a royal expert then added a comment about her lifelong service to Britain.

There’s a blind spot here, which obscures Britain’s incredible decline during her reign.   As she is a constitutional monarch, the blame for this decline rests with the politicians, especially the twelve British prime ministers who have served under her.   Her Canadian, Australian and New Zealand prime ministers can also share some of that responsibility.

The fact is that the British Empire has gone and its successor, the Commonwealth (the “British” was dropped 50 years ago) is no more than a shadow of what it was.   It may not even survive the queen’s passing.   The queen remains Head of State of 16 countries and has 138 million subjects.   She is also titular Head of the Commonwealth, an organization of 54 former colonies.   It remains to be seen if Prince Charles will be able to hold it all together after he succeeds his mother.

Sir John Major, her ninth British prime minister, said in the documentary that throughout all the changes of the last six decades, the queen has been the one “constant” in the country, giving a sense of continuity and stability during monumental and significant changes.   This is true, but it hides some painful realities.

The loss of empire saw a rapid decline in global power.   The country’s military capability is about one-twelfth of what it was at the beginning of her reign – and continues to decline even under a Conservative administration.   The queen’s international role remains at the core of British “soft power,” along with the BBC World Service and British aid.   This soft power has replaced the strong military power it used to have.

With the empire gone, Britain entered the European Common Market (now the European Union), which has progressively taken away the UK’s independence.   Under the EU’s freedom of movement rules, millions of people from other European countries have been able to move to Britain, changing the composition of the nation’s population.

Added to this has been mass immigration from Commonwealth countries like India and Pakistan.

The changes are so significant, it’s fair to say that the Great Britain she inherited in 1952 and the Great Britain of today are two very different countries.   It’s amusing to remember that in 1949, when she was Princess Elizabeth, she spoke out against the evils of divorce.   The nation would not take kindly to such comments today and the queen would not be qualified to speak on the subject anyway as her own family has seen a few divorces.

None of this detracts from the great accomplishments of Elizabeth II.   She has set an incredible example of service.   Her sense of duty is unsurpassed by anybody in any field.   In her own personal private life she has set a fine example, never putting a foot wrong.

In many ways, the world was a better place when the Queen ascended the throne on February 6th, 1952 (the Coronation was in June the following year).   At that time, she presided over the greatest empire in history.   As countries were given independence, all too often they were taken over by self-serving bad leaders who destroyed much of what Britain had accomplished, enriching themselves by stealing from their own people.   They were often from the lowest echelons of society, suddenly receiving absolute power, which they abused in every way.

I remember an incident 35 years ago at a time when Ghana, in West Africa, was going through a long period of political instability and economic chaos, I stopped to buy some food at the side of the road. When I opened my wallet, the lady who was selling me the items, saw a British bank note with the portrait of the queen on it.   The lady sighed and said:   “Ah, Queen Elizabeth.   She used to be our queen.   Now we have so many presidents, we cannot count them all. And we are in such a mess.   And England still has the queen.”   Stability is so important.

Two verses in the Book of Ecclesiastes illustrate this so well:

“Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
And your princes feast in the morning!
Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,
And your princes feast at the proper time —
For strength and not for drunkenness!”   (Eccl. 10:16-17.)

Britain has been greatly blessed with Elizabeth II as Queen.

As many are saying today:    “Long may she reign!”

REFUGEE CRISIS OR A HIJRAH?

Refugees arrive at the main station in Saalfeld, eastern Germany, on 5 September by train from Austria. Photo: AFP
Refugees arrive at the main station in Saalfeld, eastern Germany, on 5 September by train from Austria. Photo: AFP

In July 1683, troops of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire attacked Vienna.  The number of troops was estimated to be between 90,000 – 300,000.   Catholic forces from Austria, Poland and other countries fought them and kept Vienna a major city of Christendom. They had stopped the advance of Islam at the very heart of Europe.

Last week, roughly three times as many Muslims entered Austria and Germany, enthusiastically welcomed by the descendants of those Catholic forces over three centuries earlier.

This is the triumph of multiculturalism.   People in the West no longer differentiate between the peoples of different nations, religions or cultures.  We are all the same.  Every life must be saved, even when it means taxpayers feeding and clothing them, with the state providing education and medical care.

Germany is at the heart of this mission of mercy.   It’s ironic, but the last time this number of people was being transported by trains from one part of Europe to another was during the Holocaust, when Jews were shipped to extermination camps.   In taking in 800,000 migrants this year, adding 1% to its population of 80 million, Germany is redeeming itself. The country has gone from being a pariah seven decades ago, to being the perceived savior of much of mankind.

Closer to home, in Europe itself, just a few weeks ago Germany was seen as very harsh toward Greece and other debtor nations, but is now extolled for its generosity.   All thanks to Chancellor Angela Merkel!

But, will it last?

The Times of Israel today has a number of front-page articles on Jews being attacked in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and elsewhere.   A special report highlights increased anti-semitism and Islamophobia in London.   A major article explains why Syrians flee to the West and not to other Arab countries where they are hated and treated very badly.

Ethnic conflict is a major problem everywhere.   History shows that Islam and Christianity are not going to peacefully co-exist.   The Syrians and others joyfully arriving in Munich and Berlin are not likely to assimilate, though they will give a boost to Germany’s economy and help fill the half a million job vacancies in the country. Germany has a low unemployment figure of 4.6% — that’s a real unemployment figure, not to be compared to the US figure, which is calculated very differently.

Already, there are signs of a negative reaction on the part of ethnic Germans.   There was another incident today, of accommodation intended for immigrants burned down by extremists.   According to CNN, “as the number of immigrants increases, so does the number of attacks.   There have been 340 so far this year.”  (“Quest on Business”, CNN International.)   CNN’s Richard Quest warned that the massive influx of new and younger workers could have a depressing effect on German wages.

In the euphoria of the past week’s events, no thought has been given to national security.   Is the migrant surge composed of genuine refugees or is this a hijrah, a mass migration of Muslims to spread Islam to other countries?   This has happened a number of times in history.

From World Net Daily (WND), comes the following:

“To emigrate in the cause of Allah – that is, to move to a new land in order to bring Islam there, is considered in Islam to be a highly meritorious act,” author Robert Spencer wrote.   He cited the following Quranic text:

“And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance,” says the Quran. “ And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him, his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah.   And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful” (Quran 4:100).

And now, looking at Europe and America, a migration invasion of a much greater magnitude is underway.

Evidence of that invasion came in February when an ISIS operative confirmed what many already suspected – the Islamic State is using the refugee crisis to form a fifth column of Muslim fighters inside Western nations.”

The western world has reacted emotionally to the photographs of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi who drowned, along with his 5-year-old brother and mother when their small boat capsized while trying to flee to Europe from Syria.   Voters have put a lot of pressure on leaders to take in more Syrian refugees.   Little thought has been given to the implications of this.

ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.   The strength of this most extreme of all Islamic militants lies in Syria and Iraq.   Just a few months ago, ISIS said it would send 500,000 of their fighters to Western Europe.   It’s quite likely that many of those terrorists are in the midst of those now being resettled in Europe.   The security implications are dire.

Arabs believe that they are descended from Abraham through Ishmael, the son born of Sarah’s handmaid, Hagar.   The book of Genesis predicted that Ishmael’s descendants would live amongst other descendants of Abraham and pose a major security risk to them.   Note Genesis 16:12:

“He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”