Some snapshots of where Europe’s headed:
Following my post about Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Caine is now threatening to quit Britain over its tax rates. I last ran into him a year or two back at Spiaggia in Chicago (Barack Obama’s favorite restaurant apparently) when I was dining with my old boss Conrad Black, and Sir Michael, who was in town filming his Alfred the Butler turn for The Dark Knight, and his lovely wife Shakira came over to say hello. Anyway, enough of the social notes. Caine works hard for his nights out at Spiaggia, which is more than can be said for a lot of his compatriots:
“The Government has taken tax up to 50 per cent, and if it goes to 51 I will be back in America,” he said at the weekend. “We’ve got 3.5 million layabouts on benefits, and I’m 76, getting up at 6am to go to work to keep them.”
Indeed. It turns out Sir Michael is getting up at 6am to keep radical imams in their Middle East apartments:
Radical Islamist preacher, Omar Bakri Mohammed, has boasted that he used thousands of pounds of British cash to set himself up in a luxury Lebanese apartment.
The Muslim cleric, who lived in the UK for 20 years before being banned for preaching hate, used backdated incapacity benefits to buy his plush flat in Beirut. Speaking to the Daily Star at his latest Lebanon home in Tripoli, Bakri insists that he and fellow radicals including Anjem Choudary were justified in taking their state handouts because Britain has ‘plundered’ and ‘colonised’ Muslim countries around the world.
Oh, well, that’s okay, then. But can even a Britain riddled with colonial guilt afford the upkeep of welfare imams in an economic downturn? Bruce Bawer notes the shifting priorities of Europe’s social-democratic big spenders:
The largest immigrant group, Muslims, has become such a burden that governments have made extensive cutbacks in public services in order to keep up with welfare payments—closing clinics and emergency rooms, reducing staff in hospitals, cutting police and military spending, eliminating course offerings at public universities, and so on…. Social-democratic welfare systems work best, to the extent they do work, in ethnically and culturally homogeneous (and preferably small) nations whose citizens, viewing one another as members of an extended family, are loath to exploit government provisions for the needy. Second, the best way to destroy such welfare systems is to take in large numbers of immigrants from poor, oppressive, and corruption-ridden societies, whose rule of the road is to grab everything you can get your hands on. And third, the system will be wiped out even faster if many of those immigrants are fundamentalist Muslims who view bankrupting the West as a contribution to jihad.
Tell that to Moderate Muslim of the Month Ghufoor Butt, the leader of Norway’s new Independent Labour Party, whose platform includes public-spending items like “separate nursing homes for Norwegian nationals and immigrants.” Europe was already facing the perfect storm of deathbed demographics, unaffordable entitlements, and unprecedented levels of immigration even before the economic downturn. Now add in new neo-segregationist Muslim political parties with demands the establishment is too craven to resist, and tax hikes that add even more numbers to the net emigration of the best and brightest. You’d have to have a lot of confidence in a notably inept political class to think they could square this circle.
Which is to say I think Spiaggia will be seeing a lot more of Michael Caine.