I reviewed Douglas Murray's The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, for Chronicles (September 2017). I thought it the book of the year, and it stayed on the Sunday Times top 10 non-fiction best-seller lists for almost 20 weeks. There was a precursor, Hasta la Vista Europe! by Col. Walter T. Richmond, which I had also reviewed or Chronicles (September 2016). That book ends with a remarkable quotation from one of Donald Trump's campaign speeches: "I used to think that Angela Merkel was some sort of strong leader. What Merkel has done in Europe is insane."
That was the coming future as Trump saw it. Today we learn of another piece of evidence that he had discerned the direction of politics. It is announced in France's New Year's Honours list that Michel Houellebecq has been awarded the Legion of Honour for his writings. The State, which in France is especially powerful, has acknowledged the impact of his novels, above all the most recent one: Submission (2015). In it a France is imagined which through political convulsions elects a Muslim government. Since the French population contains 5 million Muslims, this is not an outrageously wild cast into the future, and the book was a controversial bestseller. Murray deals at length with Houellebeq in The Strange Death of Europe, and makes this significant point after the Charlie Hebdo shootings: "Yet although the French state is helping to protect him [Houellebecq], it has by no means thrown itself behind him." I think we can say that after the Legion of Honour for Houellebecq France has moved, officially.
A late word from England. The traditional New Year atrocity took place on December 31st at Manchester's Victoria Railway Station. A man stabbed three people before being overcome by security. He was heard to shout "Alluha Akbar!" and the police not unnaturally took this as a terrorist incident. He has now been retained under the Mental Health Act. So he was not really a proper Muslim, merely a nutter.
Ralph Berry writes from England.