Guest post from Chris.B

Nigeria has been facing a recent surge of violence which has been encapsulated most clearly by the Christmas Day Bombings of 2011, the attacks of 5-6th January 2012 against Christian churches and businesses, and attacks last Friday against Police stations in the city of Kano, that were followed by seemingly random shootings around the city that resulted in almost 180 deaths and approximately 50 further woundings. We’re going to take just a brief look at this and how it could be of interest to the UK.


Nigeria is the third largest economy on the African continent (by GDP), has the highest population on the continent (7th largest in the world), and is considered by the investment bank Goldman Sachs to be one of its “Next Eleven” – countries that hold the promise of becoming economic powerhouses in the 21st century.

Much of this stems from Nigeria’s ties to the United States. According to the US Energy Information Administration, as of October 2011 Nigeria was just slightly ahead of Russia as one of the top five exporters of Oil and Petroleum products to the United States (1. Canada, 2. Mexico, 3. Saudi Arabia, 4. Venezuela, 5. Nigeria).

Inward investment into the country has been reasonably significant (including Bedford motors) and it has experienced rapid growth over the years of its financial, legal, transportation, infrastructure, and tourist sectors. It also has significant mineral resources, which currently are massively underexploited.

The problem as far as Nigeria is concerned is that much of its wealth is concentrated in the south of the country. The Niger Delta is the focus of the countries hydrocarbon industry, while its financial, legal and corporate sectors are naturally centered on the largest city, Lagos (population; almost 8 million). By comparison the north of the country is relatively poor.

It’s at this point that we introduce the “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, who are more commonly known by their Hausa name “Boko Haram” (“Western education is forbidden/sinful”). Boko Haram is a Salafist Jihadist group that has its roots in Northeastern Nigeria, but is by no means confined to this region, and indeed the group itself is divided into a few sub-factions.

While it’s official history only really began in 2002 with Mohammed Yusuf (who was killed by Nigerian security forces in 2009), underlying tensions in northeastern Nigeria that stem from the days of British Colonial rule have served as a backdrop that led to the rise of men like Yusuf, and there has been plenty of prior dissent in the region regarding issues such as religion and education.

Boko Haram is opposed to the secular style of government that currently serves Nigeria and seeks to replace it with an Islamic state that uses the Sharia system of governance. Generally speaking its ideology is roundly rejected and even mocked by most Muslims. Like many extreme groups – including ones here in the UK – their actions and opinions are considered non-representative of true Islam and detrimental to the wider image of Islam among those of other faiths and beliefs.

The key to Boko Haram’s recruitment is the subtle blending of Jihadist rhetoric with anti-government sentiment. Preying on the genuinely tough economic conditions of the north, including high levels of unemployment among young males as well as the acknowledged issues regarding corruption in the Nigerian government (sound familiar?), Boko Haram is able to create a narrative that demonizes the government and blames it for the hardships suffered by the people, while promising a better, more morally upright future for the country.

While at first the group was relatively quiet, increasing government suspicion eventually led to clashes with security forces starting in 2009, around which time Yusuf was killed. Early in the following year Boko Haram began conducting terrorist attacks which progressively became bolder, more complex, and more frequent with time, ranging from simple shootings to bombings and coordinated attacks on multiple targets, expanding their influence and notoriety further west and south.

And it’s here that Nigeria finds itself in 2012 with a new year bringing a fresh round of violence, just as the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan presses ahead with the widely condemned removal of the state fuel subsidy, an action that prompted massive, nationwide strikes between the 9th and 13th of January.

The president himself is aptly named, being that he originally came to power (from the position of Vice President) when his predecessor died of complications related to Pericarditis. Last April President Jonathan did win a democratic election, but in the aftermath there was significant violence in the north of the country among accusations of vote rigging.

All of this tension and trouble provides a potentially explosive mix that could cause serious problems for Nigeria in the year ahead and as result disrupt supplies of hydrocarbons out of the country (an OPEC member), with resulting knock on effects to the US and indeed the global economy.


As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Nigeria retains reasonably strong diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom. We all know that the Foreign Office has a hard won reputation for the quality of its diplomatic work and I think Nigeria poses an interesting chance to test many of the governments ideas regarding “soft power”.

With a situation brewing in the north of the country that could potentially descend into a counter-insurgency campaign, the UK is poised with plenty of experience and support that it can offer the Nigerian government, doubtless in exchange for something further down the line, even if that just means a close friendship with one of the countries that could potentially be sitting at the table of a future G8 summit in the place of the UK.

Obviously there is the economic aspect, whereby the UK can assist Nigeria in funding projects targeted at the north of the country in those regions where Boko Haram has the most current influence. Of course, if the situation in Afghanistan has taught UK forces anything then it has to be that security is a key component of any bid to bring stability and growth to a distant province.

Thus there is also a military aspect with which the UK can lend a hand. Overt use of a large scale force – especially with operations in Afghanistan ongoing – is basically off the table, so a more subtle application of UK forces must be considered.

Naturally there are many avenues that this approach could take. From cooperation with Nigerian security forces in areas such as policing, to training and assistance in the more “traditional” military tasks such as intelligence gathering, offensive operations, hearts and minds work, logistics, engineering and maintenance.

A small, select task force made up of UK specialists in these areas could go a long way to helping the Nigerian government nip in the bud any chance of Boko Haram spreading to become a populist group. By aiding the Nigerians to control this Jihadist group and to ensure the ongoing security and stability of the country, a lasting alliance can be formed with one of Africa’s most promising nations.

There is also a wider view that needs to be considered here. Although current intelligence is sketchy and tenuous, there is a suggestion that Boko Haram has links to other terrorist groups on the continent such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia) and Al Shabab in Somalia, and then through them links to the wider Al Qaeda network.

Thus any operations against Boko Haram can also potentially yield results elsewhere, through intelligence gathered that leads back to members of other groups. It also brings to attention the risk that members of Boko Haram could be deployed abroad to conduct terrorist activities, or that Boko Haram could themselves become future hosts of terrorist training facilities, an attractive prospect to Al Qaeda given how vigorously the United States has pursed higher level members of its organization in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula.


All in all Nigeria poses some interesting if not always obvious problems for the future of the global commons. It at once has the potential for quite significant further economic growth over the course of the 21st century – growth which will naturally eat away at the strength and prestige of traditional powers – and yet at the same time it also has a sinister under current that threatens to undermine one of the worlds’ largest exporters of oil and provide a haven for Jihadist groups that seek to export terror across the globe.

To what extent the UK will lend a hand to the Nigerian government remains to be seen, but the potential to secure a very useful ally in both the near term and the future, as well as the opportunity to test and validate (or refute) future COIN concepts derived from the experience in Afghanistan is certainly a very tempting prospect and one that should promote considerable debate among the corridors of power in Whitehall.

And hopefully here at Think Defence.



Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 25, 2012 11:19 am

“Like many extreme groups – including ones here in the UK – their actions and opinions are considered non-representative of true Islam and detrimental to the wider image of Islam among those of other faiths and beliefs.”

That’s your opinion. Given the Koranic principle of abrogation, in which Mo’s more violent Medina suras invalidate the earlier, more peaceful pronouncements made in Mecca, Boko Haram can argue quite reasonably that they are the true face of Islam.

Not sure about the hardliners being a tiny minority in the UK, either. A Yougov poll conducted in the wake of the London bombings found that six percent of UK Muslims felt the bombings were fully justified. That’s 100,000 individuals, as of 2005. 32 per cent believed that “Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end”. 53% would NOT go to the police if they believed an imam or other religious person was trying to radicalise young Muslims by preaching hatred against the West.

The last stat is most significant. As the hardliner’s punishment for apostacy can be death, such a charge against “moderate” Muslims can be very persuasive in forcing the moderates to accede to the demands of the fundamentalists. So in the end, it matters little how many are Muslims are moderate and how many fundamentalist. Something the UK will be finding out as the indigenous population heads towards minority status in fifty year’s time.

Sorry to get so political on an (excellent) defence website, but the whole religion of peace mantra needs to be challenged, wherever it is found.

As for the UK’s role in Nigeria: stay out, and use the money saved from entering what would undoubtedly be another quagmire, on building nuclear power stations in the UK. Any Western military involvement would be another huge magnet for jihadists the world over, and as “overt use of a large-scale force” is off the menu, a small force would be vunerable. Humanitarian intervention would also be counterproductive, as the UK Gov’t would not be able leave it’s politically correct baggage at the airport, and would once again inflame and alienate moderate Muslim opinion via stunts like women-only amusement parks.

Stay out.

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 25, 2012 1:13 pm

Nigeria is a significant player in Africa and the African Union, and the primary power in that region. An unstable Nigeria, or a Nigeria that falls under an extremist regime, has implications for the whole of the continent.

Our approach to Nigeria and its problems… no idea. As mentioned above, clumsy interference can make things a whole lot worse.

January 25, 2012 1:59 pm

To further ADB’s point. Human societies coalesce around leaders. A defining characteristic of a leader is having strong beliefs. Most of us are quite moderate and though we do have views on all sorts of issues they tend to be more plastic. In fact we like leaders because they give us direction without us having to think too hard. Therefore in a given population the higher instance of extremists who can direct the views of the more moderate the greater the chance that population will itself become extremist. Even if this is at a superficial level; moderates like quiet lives. One of the few things I understand about society is that groups that shout the loudest tend to get what they ask for. And that perceived power can often outweigh real power as the majority tend not to look too closely at problems in depth. Muslim Extremism is a real problem in the UK. Actually I would go as far to say it is a true danger to society. Not perhaps for itself so much as to what would happen if the majority of society saw it is something to be aggressively addressed. The “cure” could be just as worse as the “problem”.

January 25, 2012 2:19 pm

Let’s not forget that USSOCOM has a ‘training’ mission in Nigeria, which can easily morph into a more ‘direct’ mission. I wouldn’t be surprised if UKSF as well has a small contingent in theatre already.

Something somewhat related, is that Nigeria sends many of its army officers to Pakistan for training. Particularly, to institutions such as the Pakistan Military Academy, Command and Staff College in Quetta (…) and to the National Defence University, Islamabad.

With Pakistan’s relations with the West somewhat ‘fluid’ (coup/no coup) it may have an influence on the long term – though I’m the first to admit that Nigeria is the ‘superior’ in this equation thanks to its oil and general international standing.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
January 25, 2012 7:06 pm

An excellent post Chris B. I have been worried about the Nigerian situation as well, and I too believe this would be an excellent “Trial” of TD’s concept(s) of Foward Presence and training.

Your argument about using the hard won lessons concerning COIN in Iraq and Afghanistan are interesting, as I’ve never been very comfortable with the argument that we can pick and choose future conflicts; if its in our interests to support the Nigerian government then its in our interests and we have to intervene.

However, just like the tactics of Ulster are not suitable for Afghanistan, the tactics of Afghanistan will not be suitable for Nigeria; and I believe your right about a large force being difficult and probably counter-productive.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
January 25, 2012 7:51 pm

TD’s SIMMS concept or something similar could perform a “African Partnership station/Global Fleet Station” type role off the coast of Nigeria, and support any mission inland.

January 26, 2012 12:39 pm


“I’m sorry but I hate comments like this because there is zero evidence to support them.”

That comment was based on ONS projections, and the comments of a leading Oxford don demographer.

I assume that you are implying that the difference in breeding rates will flatten out as immigrant populations settle. Just because that has happened in the past is no guarantee it will happen in the future. The Afro-American population numbers have not reached 75% because their numbers have not been added to each year by hundreds of thousands of further immigrants, which bolsters numbers and also deters any form of assimilation – including having less kids.

Afro-Americans have also not been urged by religious leaders to have children as a form of “jihad via the womb”.

January 26, 2012 2:12 pm

The percentage of Muslims to Christians in Turkey says otherwise….

January 27, 2012 9:21 am

Re: Muslim extremism and terrorism in this country.

Now, I qualify this as a thought exercise. I have not researched it. I suppose it’s an hypothesis.

I read that the IRA detonated 18,000 or so IEDs during its campaign. An extraordinary number. They also carried out countless shootings, murders, attacks and propaganda campaigns on the mainland and in Ulster.

Islamic terrorists in Britain have detonated 4 IEDs in 10 years.

Why the difference? Why were the IRA so damn succesful in detonating bombs, even when the states security apparatus was peering down its neck and it was riddled with informers and agents?

To me the answer lies in community support. The IRA had real sympathy from large sections of Northern Ireland, a great depth of understanding and a great convergence of opinion. The IRA was successful because it had a very great depth of support, even out to the United States. In a lot of cases, entire communities were complicit in IRA operations even if it was just keeping quiet.

The fact that Islamic terrorists have detonated four SIEDs tells me that despite the noise and the drama and the hyperbole of some, actual wider, in-depth support for this shit is completely lacking in the Muslim population. Indeed, the 4 London Bombers made the bombs in great secrecy and indeed adopted more western dress and attitudes so they would not stand out.

Muslims are the bogeymen. Constructed by people with an agenda against them. Protestant and Catholic terrorists have killed more British in a few months than the Islamic “terrorist campaign” has so far.

January 27, 2012 9:45 am

Its partly a numbers game.
Wide spread support amongst 3% of the total population is a lot less valuable than amongst 30% of the population.

Its partly a results game.
They’ve already won.
They’ve already driven out “the others” from their statelets, the police dont go there, tax collectors dont go, they are functionaly autonomous, there are women only days at pools, with islamic dress code for all on mixed days, Halal meat is served in schools for everyone, if only a few ask for it, and it remains served when the majority complain.

Its partly a statistics game
If three drunk catholics/protestants in NI beat up a protestant/catholic whilst shouting “kill the Protestant/Catholic bitch” it’d be recorded as such.

Three muslims beat up a white girl whilst screaming “kill the white bitch”, well, they were just unused to alcohol….

People are “driven out of town”, I know this, because I went to college with a guy who was, him and his siblings were routinely beaten up if they were caught outside, his parents routinely verbaly abused, bricks were thrown through windows, cars were set on fire.
Eventualy they sold their house for a fraction of what it was worth and moved on.

Its not entire neighbourhoods being bombed out, yet, but different cultures never coexist peacefully.

January 27, 2012 11:37 am

Regarding Nigeria, let’s not forget that they had an honest-to-god Christian insurgency down south a couple of years ago, with rebels draped with bandoliers of 7.62 link tear-arsing around in 300hp outboards setting fire to oil platforms and watching the oil market on their mobes to know when it was unusually tight and would freak out if they blew something up.

I think Nigeria is pretty typical of the, ah, contemporary operating environment. It’s not so much a failed state as a “contested” state – nobody really expects that in 20 years there won’t be a space on the map marked Nigeria or a Nigerian government, and there is a real Nigerian national identity, and the economy is growing fast, but you can be confident that it’s going to be rather chaotic most of the time, and political leaders who are considered respectable and part of the system tend to consider insurgency to be an option, in the same way as the army considers a coup to be an option.

Pakistan is a lot like that, too. Foreigners tend to expect it to fall apart real-soon-now, but it never happens, partly because someone like the old Baluch leader whose name I forget can always be re-integrated if the political class wants to.

In a sense, these places have more stability than we think, in the real meaning of the word stability – a stable ship isn’t one that doesn’t roll, it’s one that rolls back onto an even keel after it gets knocked down.

Of course, the big big issue in Nigeria is the share-out of the oil revenue. MEND was at its most violent while the oil price was on the way up towards 2008 – when it was at its highest, the government was awash with money and could both buy off their supporters and afford to wage war.

(When it was at rock bottom, it didn’t matter much what you blew up because the oil market didn’t react. And the government had to basically tolerate them because it couldn’t afford to bribe them or to fight them, so peace prevailed.)

When the price fell, the government had to pick who it’s more afraid of and until now they picked the southerners. They have more leverage because the oil infrastructure is in their territory, and the president is a southerner anyway and has clients to look after.

The northerners can’t impact the oil market directly (and it’s not as tight as it was in 2006-2008) due to the permanently operating factors of geography, so when they turn to violence, they have to choose a form of violence that compensates for this. I would argue that terrorism fits the bill because it’s a form of shock action.

Further, they may calculate that “al-Qa’ida” today is like “communists” in the cold war. If you want to scare people into taking notice of you, that’s what you put on your flag, and the real thing tends to hand out subsidies to anyone who’s willing to parrot a bit of the jargon.

The oil price is currently in the range where I expect conflict in Nigeria to intensify, although if it rises much more the government will be in a position to buy off the northerners, in which case I would expect politicians associated with Boko Haram to be reintegrated into government very quickly but without necessarily changing much on the ground expect, of course, for delivering oil money to their clients.

January 27, 2012 11:53 am

Regarding the fuel subsidy, the energy economy is highly dysfunctional in a way which is typical of contested states.

Refined products are sold at highly subsidised prices via a partly nationalised refining industry. This system loses money on a permanent basis and unsurprisingly tends to under-supply the market. On the other hand, nearly free fuel means that there is no incentive to use it efficiently. The result is the typical paradox of giant cars and petrol queues in an oil-producing country. Another problem is that substantial quantities of subsidised fuel are smuggled out of the country and sold at market prices.

The under-supply of refined fuel means that a lot of oil is exported, refined, and re-imported, a structural loss of foreign exchange.

Underlying this situation is a fundamental political problem – the revenue from oil exports is easily appropriated by the elite, and therefore the public distrusts any effort to make use of the resource except for cheap petrol, which they can see and carry off physically. Distributing cash would be better, but would require the public to trust the Nigerian civil service:-0) Similarly, stealing fuel is considered a victimless crime by the public (as after all, it’s the boss who benefits) and therefore a large quantity of it simply goes missing.

The situation with regard to electricity is much the same, with the detail that much of the supply is generated, wastefully, from oil but the power grid doesn’t have any money to replace the power stations (because it has to practically give it away).

January 27, 2012 1:22 pm
January 27, 2012 3:23 pm

Dom that’s a lot of Daily Mail shite.

Where there are tensions both sides are equally to blame. Nobody can have it both ways all their own ways. That tension does not need to translate into violence and in the overwhelmingly vast majority of cases it does not.

There is no widespread support for Islamic terrorism in this country. There’s barely any even at the “yeah they deserved it” answers in a poll let alone actually truly believing it and then putting that into action.

The vast majority of the people in this country get along just fine with their daily lives. And I don’t know what century you are posting from, I don’t think tax collectors go anywhere anymore.

January 27, 2012 3:34 pm

What exactly is “a lot of Daily Mail shite”?

Are you telling me I imagined the guy who was forced from his home?

“Where there are tensions both sides are equally to blame.”
Where have I “blamed” anyone?

“That tension does not need to translate into violence and in the overwhelmingly vast majority of cases it does not.”
Can you give examples of these cases where it doesnt?
Because from what I read, Yugoslavia went tits up in a big way.

“There is no widespread support for Islamic terrorism in this country. ”
Again, strawman, where did I say there was?

“And I don’t know what century you are posting from, I don’t think tax collectors go anywhere anymore.”
Stop paying your council tax and see how long it takes for someone to turn up for it.
Not to mention businesses that dont pay national insurance, people who dont pay income tax.

January 27, 2012 3:55 pm

“Can you give examples of these cases where it doesnt?”

I saw several Somali’s today and both them and I resisted taking a tyre iron to each other. Yugoslavia is an ENTIRELY different problem, more akin to Northern Ireland than anything over here.

“Are you telling me I imagined the guy who was forced from his home?”

No Dom I’m saying there are no systematic no-go areas for Police etc, and if there are, it will be down more to Police spinelessness (their leadership, not the coppers) like in the London Riots (a true scene of racial harmony).

Stop paying your council tax and bailiffs come around or you get a summons. Bailiffs aren’t the tax man.

All this nonsense about the Muslim trying to take over the country, institute Shariah law, it’s all exaggerated bollocks.

Intolerance of culture is the problem, not religion.

It’s why RE should be compulsory right up to GCSE. Along with Media Studies and Sociology.

January 27, 2012 4:03 pm

“I saw several Somali’s today and both them and I resisted taking a tyre iron to each other. Yugoslavia is an ENTIRELY different problem, more akin to Northern Ireland than anything over here.”

Again, strawman, not what I said.
My point was, we are heading towards Northern Ireland, not that we are there right now.

“Stop paying your council tax and bailiffs come around or you get a summons. Bailiffs aren’t the tax man.”
Except they wont go to certain areas.

“All this nonsense about the Muslim trying to take over the country, institute Shariah law, it’s all exaggerated bollocks.”

Tell that to the Copts and the Persians.

January 27, 2012 4:14 pm

@ Phil

Though I very much doubt in Bradford there is jihadi council meeting every other Thursday in Bradford and organising terror training camps on the last weekend of each month doesn’t mean good sized minority of the English believe that such things are going on. As somebody who puts so much store in sociology you will be familiar with the ideas of fold devils and moral panics. I don’t know you so I don’t know what circles you move in. But when I am out and about I am slightly disconcerted by the health of anti-Islamic undercurrents that flow through sections of UK society.

January 27, 2012 4:25 pm


I agree with you. Believe it or not. I don’t believe these things are going on, but with the amplification through the media it is very easy to believe that such things are going on.

Which is why it is so CRITICAL to teach kids critical bloody thinking. Just because the Mail runs another story about some mad bloody Imam using invective and hate to quite often make legitimate concerns heard doesn’t mean it is happening, but unfortunately, as we both know people can and do believe it.

Cultures clash, not religions particularly. People don’t like other people not so much because of the colour of their skin, or their religion, its because they do things differently – they have different cultures.

There will always be friction between two such cultures because one is so alien to another but that friction is amplified into a moral panic by the media. It’s human nature to be suspicious of strangers and strange ways, but that doesn’t translate into widespread Islamic support for a terrorist campaign against the House of War.

Sorry Dom but your opinions are a stereotype of what I am talking about.

January 27, 2012 5:16 pm

dear dear dear dear
field marshall phil and his army of strawmen strikes again.
Where exactly did i say there for was a conclave of imans?
Next you will be saying i said they publish protocalls, and are elders, of zion.

January 28, 2012 12:14 am

Poor Boko Harum, they never were quite able to match the success of ‘a whiter shade of pale.

January 29, 2012 3:52 am


NO. it’s not the UK, but I just thought I’d throw this in from an article entitled “Eurabian Nights”. Might open your eyes a bit.

“In the southern city of Malmö, the authorities are no longer able to deal with the problem of crime among Muslim immigrants, 90 percent of whom are on welfare. “If we park our car it will be smashed—so we have to go very often in two vehicles, one just to protect the other,” says policeman Rolf Landgren. Both vehicles are needed to escort Swedish ambulance drivers into certain neighborhoods.

Robberies of all sorts increased by 50 percent in 2004 alone, with gangs of young Muslims specializing in mugging old people visiting the graves of relatives. Thomas Anderberg, head of statistics for the Malmö police, reported a doubling of “rapes by ambush” in 2004. Almost all of the increase is attributable to Muslim men raping Swedish women.

Swedish men don’t get off lightly, either: “The wave of robberies the city of Malmö has witnessed is part of “war against the Swedes”. This is the explanation given by young robbers from immigrant background in interviews with Petra Åkesson. “When we are in the city and robbing we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes.” This argument was repeated several times. “Power for me means that the Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet.”

Houston, we gave a problem.

January 29, 2012 10:23 am

One article from an unknown source about a place in Sweden isn’t going to “open” my eyes I’m afraid.

The fact it’s called Eurabian Nights strongly suggests to me it’s an American article and my experience is that very often the closest such author’s has ever come to Scandinavia is watching the US remake of The Killing – obviously not the original because they’d have to read subtitles.

January 29, 2012 10:26 am


Why would I asked the Coptics or the Persians: I don’t believe they are indigenous to this sceptred isle which is clearly under siege from brown men who dress differently and worship the same but different God.

January 29, 2012 11:14 am

why is the uk different?

Why not ask the tasmanians what happened when the aboriginal aussies showed up? Or ask them what happened when europeans showed up.

Whats changed in the uk since 1066 that means different cultures magicaly get along? Well, i suppose the scouring of the north is the last cultural genocide, you can count the highland clearances, and the welsh language laws too really.

But quick, shout racist and insist we’re just mailite islamophobes…

January 29, 2012 11:20 am

So what do you actually think is happening in this country Dom?

January 29, 2012 11:34 am

i’ve said several things
historical evidence is that minority cultures dont follow the same population dynamics as the host culture, nor do islamic cultures.
that two cultures cannot peacefully coexist being the two that seem to have annoyed your dogma the most

January 29, 2012 12:04 pm

(a)What happens when the minority culture’s offspring become more and more integrated with a wider culture which tends to happen in most cases?

(b)In an anarchic situation, I am sure two cultures would be involved in perpetual conflict if the context meant they had to constantly interact or needed access to the same resources. But that is not the model in this country. We do not live in an anarchic political unit, resource allocation is not yet on a zero sum basis (ie I have to defeat someone to eat that day) so there is no need for two cultures to be forced into conflict and there are a whole host of other institutions and processes to allow pressure and tensions to dissipate.

We are not pre-history Tasmania. How on earth can you compare one to another when the social and economic and political contexts are literally worlds apart? It’s like saying because humans live on Earth they can obviously live on Mars.

You completely ignore the wider social and cultural contexts.

January 29, 2012 12:24 pm

Dom…*Cough*… where do I come from? :P

January 29, 2012 1:18 pm

that would be the host culture wiping out the invading culture…..

Its not solved by enough because there never is ‘enough’
the recent riots were over plasma screen tellies not clean water

January 29, 2012 1:31 pm

Dominic, where I’m from, we have 3 minority races making a fair percentage of the population along with the majority Chinese. So according to your theory, my country should be a hotbed of insurrection and 4 way fighting between racial cultures. However, the last racial fighting we had was 40 years ago, before independence, and even that was instigated by external sources.

Phil, though he did irritate me earlier on, is right on this one. Given time, host and guest cultures WILL intergrate, I’m a case in point, Chinese, but Grandma on mother’s side was British. What really doesn’t help ironically, is consistantly harping on “different cultures” or “different races”. The more you bring it up, even if you’re pro-intergration, the more you imply there is a difference. Just leave it alone and it will homogenise. Like sand in a glass of water, the more you disturb it, the less it will settle.

January 29, 2012 1:34 pm

The recent riots were a very egalitarian and diverse event where the unifying factor was avarice and opportunism.

Don’t you think that the world is a bit more nuanced than your black and white outlook Dom?

How does your thinking explain for example, an English enclave in Wales? Why isn’t there any violent conflict there? Why can large numbers of English people live in mid Wales perfectly happily and without prejudice and certainly without violence? How does your thinking explain that? They are two different cultures, they even speak different languages and have different traditions, history, artefacts, values and myths.

January 29, 2012 1:38 pm


I irritate most people on here I suspect. I give out a definite vibe because I am silent on the things I agree with or don’t know anything about but vocal on things I feel I have some knowledge on.

Which makes me look very contrarian since I tend to only strike up on things I have strong opinions on.

January 29, 2012 1:44 pm

: The article was from a European, Srdja Trivfkovic.

As for “(a)What happens when the minority culture’s offspring become more and more integrated with a wider culture which tends to happen in most cases?”

When you import immigrants to the point where they will eventually outnumber the hosts, there is no need to integrate.

As for (b), you seem to be saying that different races and ethnicities on the same territory can only be held together by prosperity and “institutions and processes to allow pressure and tensions to dissipate” (like what? – the McPherson Report, curbs on free speech and shouting down anyone who objects to mass immigration as racist?).

If that’s what it takes, it’s a very bad idea.

January 29, 2012 1:50 pm

Ah, got it.

Ironically, I found the greatest stumbling block to racial or cultural intergration are those “pro-intergration” zealots. I’ve friends who went to the States for work and studies and they found the constant “all races equal” crowd incredibly irritatingly strident. To us, we grew up from young in mixed races schools and neighbourhoods, so much so that we don’t really “think” in that mindset, so when people keep pointing out “there shouldn’t be two races!!” all it does to us is to keep highlighting that there ARE two races.

It’s something similar to the Chinese tale of a guy set upon by a burgler who broke into his home, who immediately pointed to the garden and told the criminal: “There isn’t 300 pieces of silver hidden there!!”

In football terms… Own goal.

January 29, 2012 1:53 pm

ADB, you’d rather race riots, rebel groups, bombings and all these little nice things that scare investors away and ruin livelihoods of people just trying to get by?

January 29, 2012 2:07 pm

: The recent riots were not an egalitarian and diverse event. Blacks were disproportionately represented by a large margin. Not that the media wanted you to know that. If you want to get a handle on the bias of the media, Google “Big JIm London riots” to see how a London shop owner was howled down whene he suggested all the rioters he saw were black.

As for “Why can large numbers of English people live in mid Wales perfectly happily and without prejudice and certainly without violence?

Probably because they are not a drain on resources, do not commit disproportionate levels of violent crime, and do not wnat to impose an alien and hostile religion upon the locals.

@Observer: Two questions for you. What is Singapore’s immigration policy? Does it allow large numbers of immigrants in who are from backwoods villages in Africa and the Sub-continent, or does it have a more selective intake? I ask this because the latter are a hell of a lot more capable of integrating than the former.

2. If it all went tits up in Singapore in fifty years, you could presumably flee to China, a relatively homogenous homeland with a shared sense of history, culture and tradition. Your Indian neighbour could return to an India that was still recognisably Indian. Yet your British neighbour would not have a stable and relatively homogenous homeland to return to. Do you think this is fair?

January 29, 2012 2:10 pm


It is human nature to think that the social group they belong to is superior to another. It is also human instinct to be weary of strangers. There are many different social groups and cultures around the world and the environment determines the culture. Remove that culture from the environment that forged it and it starts to disintegrate since the compulsions to live in a certain fashion dissolve. Western society represents the liberation of humans from a huge and fundamental swathe of environmental and economic limitations thus allowing us to feel much more liberated and acquire artefacts, power and have sex and take drugs – all instinctual human desires and evidenced by most societies. By and large the minority culture will diffuse and succumb to the saturating culture that happens to also represent human emancipation.

I saw a Somali woman today. Full rig. But her kids were dressed in western clothes with a spiderman rucksack.

Think Defence
January 29, 2012 2:10 pm
Reply to  ADB

Guys, are we steering into non defence related waters here, cant you talk about calibres or ration packs, tinned sausages in sauce, vaseline, were always my favourites

January 29, 2012 2:14 pm

@ Observer: “ADB, you’d rather race riots, rebel groups, bombings and all these little nice things that scare investors away and ruin livelihoods of people just trying to get by?”

No. I don’t prefer, but you have just succinctly desribed the future of Britain thanks to mass Third World immigration.

January 29, 2012 2:17 pm

: The recent riots were not an egalitarian and diverse event. Blacks were disproportionately represented by a large margin. Not that the media wanted you to know that. If you want to get a handle on the bias of the media, Google “Big JIm London riots” to see how a London shop owner was howled down whene he suggested all the rioters he saw were black.”

Thanks mucker but I have a good handle on media bias and thinking critically.

If black people were disproprtionately represented (which I have seen no evidence for or against) then I would seriously suggest that it is due to factors other than the colour of their skin or even their culture.

What unifies most of those involved in the riots except for the opportunistic middle class idiots who got caught a lot more, was a lack of aspiration and a dependence on welfare.

“do not wnat to impose an alien and hostile religion upon the locals”

Which is precisely what you advocate! But I guess because we are Caucasian they should just realise the way we do things is always better?


Ration packs. Another geeky interest of mine.

January 29, 2012 2:24 pm

: I used to think the same as you, believe it or not. We’ll just have to agree to disagree and leave it there. If you are right, I’m just misguided and wrong. If I’m right, it’s the end of British (and European) civilisation. Time will tell.

@TD: My apologies. I will stop now. I really enjoy your blog by the way. Went through the archives last year. Must have read dozens of articles and thousands of comments.

Alan Garner
Alan Garner
January 29, 2012 2:29 pm

Britain’s history is one of immigration, it’s been happening since the Romans. Unfortunately, almost every wave has been detrimental to either the immigrants or the incumbents. Romans, Saxons, Vikings, and Normans all killed or enslaved the population, while the slave trade that brought sub Saharan Africans to port areas of Britain as well as the plantations of America was clearly detrimental to those immigrants.

Worldwide, three of the most recent large scale emigrations led to some of the worst treatments of indigenous populations in history, the colonizations of America and Australia and the establishment of the state of Israel.

The most recent influxes of immigrants to Britain, while motivated by the chance of a better life by the immigrants themselves, were motivated purely by economic reasons by those that instigated them. Economic reasons that were not designed to benefit the immigrants themselves, lower inflation, lower wages, more competition at the bottom end of the labour market, and so on.

The revolutionary welfare state idea after WW2 never envisaged a British population of 70m+, and as such, with a city the size of Nottingham coming to Britain every year, cannot survive. That means, in future, no free health care, no free education, no social security, because GDP is simply not rising at the same rate as immigration.

In a century our successors may well be discussing large scale emigration from Britain due to more attractive conditions for immigrants elsewhere. Cold comfort for immigrants and non-immigrants alike who will have to live through the disassembly of institutions under the weight of uncontrolled population growth.

Think Defence
January 29, 2012 2:34 pm
Reply to  ADB

ADB, but did you enjoy any of them :)

January 29, 2012 3:06 pm

@ Phil – “Why isn’t there any violent conflict there? Why can large numbers of English people live in mid Wales perfectly happily and without prejudice and certainly without violence? How does your thinking explain that?”

There is a reason why i work in the private sector where I live! ;)

Alan Garner
Alan Garner
January 29, 2012 3:24 pm


History suggests people do integrate over time but that may take decades, maybe centuries, sometimes never. In the meantime there is turmoil, division, suspicion, hatred and sometimes genocide. Eventual integration doesn’t help those, immigrant or indigenous, who have to suffer what happens in the meantime.

Requesting the niche skills of small numbers of educated individuals to augment your own workforce is beneficial for everyone, and it’s been proved to work. Large movements of people imposed on a population without it’s consent has been proved to only benefit those that impose it.

January 29, 2012 3:24 pm

ADB, think you may be a victim of the martyr mentality. And honestly the policy in Singapore was free immigration, and ironically, yes, all the same complaints I hear in Britain are being repeated here too, hardly unique.

And you obviously don’t know much about the Malayan Emergency if you think Singaporean Chinese would want to go back to China. Nothing like a little war to sour relations.

January 29, 2012 3:36 pm

AG, yes intergration has different rates, but there are steps that can speed up the process massively.

1) An external enemy helps :)
2) Cross cultural exposure at a very young age, like mixed schooling, cultural history studies.
3) Economic development for all.
4) A national identity to subsume racial identity.
5) A national direction and goals. This one is more important than most people realise. Best look in the inverse for contrast-without it, an aimless country and aimless people.

6) Shared troubles. I know some people here have a dislike for national service, but it is a very bonding experience. After all, it doesn’t matter who screwed up the exercise or who forgot to clear the trash, the whole section gets it. You learn to pull together like that or you’ll continue to suffer. Great incentive to ignore things like race. Mixed feelings though. Waste of time, yes. Screws up studies, yes. Fun? Hell yes. :)

January 29, 2012 4:02 pm

Come to think of it, there are no countries that can boast of a “pure” racial stock, immigration patterns way before our current political structure have already insured a massive mixing of populations. In this case, doesn’t that mean that countries with no or low racial troubles are the ones with sucessful intergration policies? That would mean sucessful intergration is the norm and not the exception considering that the countries that have massive racial problems are only a small fraction of the whole world.

January 29, 2012 5:44 pm

LOL, if your worried about what might become of Britain, move to Canada, it’s great :-)

Alan Garner
Alan Garner
January 30, 2012 1:49 am


The reason why no country has “pure racial stock” (a horrible phrase) is because of thousands of years of war, empires, and colonization, not something, in my opinion, which advertises man’s ability to live alongside his fellow man. Race is irrelevant in the case of the UK because it’s problem is numbers, and simple geographic ability to sustain those numbers. If a city of Americans sprang up every year there would still be big a problem.


Again, as I was saying to Observer, if we had a small, skilled, Afro-Caribbean population those numbers could be absorbed and, indeed, would help the economy. The problem occurs when you add that immigrant group to the Indian subcontinent group, the Eastern European group, the North African, Chinese, South American, Middle Eastern and indeed American, Australian etc…A land mass smaller than France simply cannot sustain twice it’s population.

January 30, 2012 12:08 pm

“That said, our country (despite the outrage of the Sun newspaper) is handling the extra numbers just fine. Society goes about its business as normal.”

The country as a whole, for sure, but uncontrolled immigration has pooled lots of immigrants in the poorest of neighbourhoods, the residents of which are usually those most in need of the strong social cohesion that is diluted by concentrations of migrants.

The rising, and public, popularity of the EDL tells me that all is not alright, even if things are fine from my telegraph/guardian reading perspective.

January 30, 2012 12:27 pm

That’s not the problem of immigration then but of segregation and pooling. This is also why upward mobility and economic prosperity is important in breaking up enclaves. Most people don’t live in slums because they want to but because they have no choice (some Shylocks excepting). Give them a way out, break up the clusters and you won’t get racial neighbourhoods.

January 30, 2012 1:00 pm

“The notion that Muslims, or for that matter any other minority group are somehow going to take over the UK in the next 25 years is just baseless scare mongoring.”

The next 100? 200?
Nor did I suggest such a conquest, although that is frequently the result, but the just as likely descent into violent tribalism

January 30, 2012 1:14 pm

@ Observer – “That’s not the problem of immigration then but of segregation and pooling. This is also why upward mobility and economic prosperity is important in breaking up enclaves.”

That might be a politically acceptable goal in Singapore, to order society and its movement to such a degree, and it might even be a realisable goal in such a small and cohesive country, but that level of government interference in private affairs is neither acceptable nor realisable in my opinion.

If you have large numbers of immigrants entering largely without control, which was the experience of the early noughties then they will tend to be the unskilled poor and will pool in deprived areas.

The answer, if there is one, is to revert to controlled immigration with caps and skill requiements outside of the EU, where we cannot and do not need to do so.

January 30, 2012 1:45 pm

Upward mobility and economic growth are not due to governments but businesses and companies and the biggest four letter word “JOBS”.

The government hiring everyone is called COMMUNISM. Or “Pending Bankrupcy”.

January 30, 2012 3:18 pm

I think you’ll find that all representative government everywhere are trying their damnedest to increase upward mobility via economic growth and an increase in jobs, i am merely trying to point out the following:

1. a society such as britain would not tolerate the interference/management necessary to import the SINGAPORE model:

2. even were it tolerable a country of 60m independent ingrates, competing with the rest of europe and facing similar demographic pressures, is not a ship that can be just ‘turned-around’ on a six-pence.

The future must be and will be managed and reduced immigration.

Alan Garner
Alan Garner
January 30, 2012 3:44 pm

Even if immigration was to fall, many immigrant groups are from backgrounds of large, and in some cases, very large families and birth rates.

Britain’s population levels are not under control and the more it increases the less it will be able to get it under control. Eventually the situation will reach critical mass and a period of emigration will, more than likely, follow. The questions then will be, what kind of shape will the institutions of state be in to manage that scenario after a period of unsustainable, uncontrolled population growth, and how much will the population have had to put up with until we reach that point?

January 30, 2012 4:00 pm

jedi, never said anything about any model, just pointed out that growth and mobility are key in defeating clustering, regardless of which system is used. As you said, all governments try to do this, and it is a step in the correct direction.

One thing I know, never try to paste someone else’s political system onto another country. Countries, like people, are individuals with their own circumstances, and promoting one size fits all solutions is more likely to end up with a one size fits none solution.

February 1, 2012 3:12 am

Well done Chris B, Nigeria certainly needs to be highlighted far more.

I don’t think you realise though, the amount of focus and support given by HM Gov. to Nigeria since their independence from the Empire(it was British Commonwealth or something like that back in the 60s, right?).

We have done just as much as the US and probably more in supporting Nigeria, militarily, financially (investment, capital etc.), civic matters, the training and skill provision given to thousands of Nigerian (or Nigerian Brit Commonwealth) passport holders in the UK since their independence, and aid, and remember the UK has a massive part to play in many institutions which help provide systems of stability and help the rise of free-market capitalst economies, ie. Commonwealth, Lloyds (not the banking people), UN Security Council, UKHO, NATO, IMF, UK universities (which have been invaluable to the world the last 50years, but will not be so from now on). Yes that’s a poor list to go with my statement, but I hope you can appreciate my point.

You could say that the UK (England esp.) altogether helps the rest of the world more than it does itself, hence the continuing decreasing value, quality, and prosperity of many, many things here.

I’m not a down-talker btw, you know like how the Coalition often referred to Labour last year. I haven’t actually aired what I’ve stated here before really.

It’s a dying shame the UK didn’t hop on the Sci and Tech opportunities that were arising the last five years, that have very high prospects internationally, and the UK was highly suited to be world-leading in. That’s one thing which I think you all here can see as being good is the massive focus and energies and money etc. given to Sci and Tech by this new government and by many others, or could I say our new executive branch, our new Parliament, our new era in this country.

February 1, 2012 4:44 am

To clarify so you don’t think I’m silly regarding this particularly thing. I don’t think the Universities reform of last year is bad, it’s actually increasing investment, which was very much needed as the last two decades saw the no. of course sitters go up, and the proportional investment per course to go down. The reform has also reduced application no.s from a inappropriately high amount, and improved the overall quality of the entrants. Also the fees are better in many ways for the payer and great for those who never achieve a 27k + job. One massive problem the Coalition have is communication, PR, our current media. But of course the depth of the cuts and lack of action taken on the upper class is their main undoing. What should’ve have happened was far far less redundancies and pay cuts across the whole country, as well as an intervention to freeze all rises in government payments that aren’t dictated by contracts, ie. benefits. heavier fines for all lawbreaking, obviously a fair bit of reform, I’d change everything but reform is the disregarding of investment and service development capital (for want of a better phrase) etc… Defence wise I believe they should have clearly stated and planned to sell at least 2 type 22s and an auxilliary to Brazil, sold or leased Ocean to Australia or maybe some other country, still if possibly part with other vessels like a Bay class (to Australia), keep both all the newer Fort class, as they’re great vessels right? The sale of another MCMV or two.

Slight pay cuts for all. A massively reduced recruitment of civvies, and the re-rolling of service men and women, and initiatives and many efforts to retain personnel, perhaps even an extension so many could serve beyond the maximum year no. with obviously attractions and real purpose for these personnel. The signing of a delayed construction of the seventh Astute or perhaps the slight slowing down of the Astute production line. The selling of defence estate land, and only perhaps a couple facility sites, perhaps vacate School of REME and Bordon Camp itself in Bordon sooner than the planned 2014/15, the site is the most viable prospective ecotown in the whole country, seriously I know, that’s part of my real field of study. Perhaps mothball a Type 23 or two, so that Joint Force Harrier is kept and so Illustrious and Ark Royal obviously as well. And perhaps all the Type 22s could be sold within a couple years or two are retained and the loss is provided for by reduced activity of type 23s, mothballing, and another sale.

Obviously put a big dent in the Tornado GR4 force, or perhaps a very considerable dent.

The disposal of perhaps a dozen surplus to requirement Hawk T1s to countries that could do with them, perhaps to boost their fleets (replacements or like the Harrier sale to the USMC). Or even give them to Afghanistan for future use as fast jet trainers, and perhaps payload platforms as well, give BAE a contract somehow you’d expect as would be quite dictated by UK gov.

Persever with Nimrod, just reduce running costs of project immediately but keep things of value like employees, facilities. Think of the unemployemtn caused by the downturn experienced by BAE, and how that is the opposite of productivity and wealth making.

Stop the dialogue with Boeing and others about a Chinook purchase, and continue with Puma upgrade at whatever no, as long as decisions are of good economics. And perhaps plan to pruchase NH90s that have much supply, manufacture and perhaps even the majority of assembly at the Yeovil plant. Or maybe plan to procure an AgustaWestland tactical transport helo for initial contracts before the end of this parliament and a 2018-2020+ delivery start. Perhaps do the six UKSF Wildcat contract, or maybe something else to all this (perhaps definitely apart the UKSF Wildcats) ie. V-22 Osprey, more Merlins, a CSAR merlin.

We need to get value out of old or surplus to requirement equipment, like give the Afghan Air Force some CHF Sea Kings sooner rather than later, if their Merlin replacement is speeded up.

Keep the BAE 146’s, as we’ve recently learnt should’ve happened. Can’t remember which gov sold them but wasn’t long ago.

Mothballing! so yes pretty mucch the same thing, with the Challenger 2 and the AS90. Actually perhaps stopping UOR armoured vehicle contracts for Afghanistan and send some of these over. There are Leopard MBTs there and the USMC deployed Abraams last year. Warthog wasn’t as effective as we thought it would be so..

Reduce the Camp Bastion contingent perhaps slightly. Sort out the air bridge issue, all this sending back of broken components for new(often refurb’d) which could be fixed by mechanics at Bastion.

Send another Sea King to Mount Pleasant and obviously the personnel and increase the associated support. SAR helos are a great military tool. Why not send some armour or weapon systems there as well and change the set-up but only increase deployed personnel no.s a little.

Sell the Invincible to be reused somehow which would be better for UK armed forces image, and I’m sure more money could be made with a less “need quick cash” state of affairs at her HM Gov.

I could go on for a very, very long time, and I’m not thinking like a stupid armchair general, I really do make much effort to learn about all the complexities involved.. (forget explaining my learning experience!)

Sorry it’s very late (couldn’t sleep earlier btw).

P.S. I started this comment to try to substantiate the tone that I use, but ended up attempting to express all my views, which needs far more effort and length than I’ve given here.

February 1, 2012 4:54 am

^Try harder, I don’t gratify myself or speak in a satisfactory manner for many or all of you, do I?

Often best to make no response if you don’t want to hear any more from someone on internet discussion board, forum etc…

February 1, 2012 6:02 am

“Stop the dialogue with Boeing and others about a Chinook purchase, and continue with Puma upgrade at whatever no, as long as decisions are of good economics. And perhaps plan to pruchase NH90s that have much supply, manufacture and perhaps even the majority of assembly at the Yeovil plant. Or maybe plan to procure an AgustaWestland tactical transport helo for initial contracts before the end of this parliament and a 2018-2020+ delivery start.”

Doing R&D is more expensive and much riskier than buying off the shelf. You might just get a lemon. Not to mention the CH-47 is pretty much in a class by itself. The cargo capacity and speed of the -47 is much larger than the Puma. Getting 12 people on board a Puma is cramped. The Chinook has 32 seats and the central cargo bay gave a lot of room to chuck your equipment.

“Mothballing! so yes pretty mucch the same thing, with the Challenger 2 and the AS90. Actually perhaps stopping UOR armoured vehicle contracts for Afghanistan and send some of these over. There are Leopard MBTs there and the USMC deployed Abraams last year. Warthog wasn’t as effective as we thought it would be so.. ”

What was wrong with it? I’ve been tracking casualty reports regarding it and no one’s died yet, though the turret seems to be contributing to a lot of injuries. BTW a Challenger got gutted by an IED strike a few years back too. Driver lost a leg I think.

Selling of commercial land.. good idea, but once gone, you can’t get it back. Might want to try renting it out instead?

One main worry I have on equipment firesales is that sales are a 2 way street, just because you want to sell, it does not mean you will get a buyer. Everyone’s feeling the pinch these days, and new purchases can be hard to justify to voters.

joe88, you’re a bit “all over the place” ain’t you. :)