I do not know Sweden well. But I have visited Malmo twice. What struck me most forcibly on both visits was the great degree of social equality. The social division between rich and poor which are part of everyday life elsewhere are simply absent in Sweden. For good or ill high taxes have done their work. Consequently I was astonished to read that the riots which have recently spread across Sweden are being seriously attributed to inequality. Fiddlesticks! If the riots in Sweden are due to inequality then why for heavens sake are there not more riots in countries which have a far higher degree of inequality than Sweden? I do not know what has caused the rioting in Sweden. But I know for a certainty that it is not the supposed gap between rich and poor which is to blame!.
The suicide of the French historian Dominique Venner inside Notre Dame Cathedral in protest against the introduction of Gay marriage in France, has, alas, given a new and sad relevance to the our piece that we published here recently about suicide. None of us can possibly understand the personal anguish felt by M.Venner; and consequenly we are hardly in a position to condemn him too harshly. (M. Venner was 78, and perhaps the years had started to tell?) In any event our thoughts must be with his family. But it has been claimed on his behalf that his decision to kill himself was a “political act.” If so it is likely to have been a singularly ineffective one, if only because modern western societies have an extraordinary capacity to forget what they find inconvenient to remember. Tunisia is likely in this respect to prove a very special case. The commentary on M. Venner’s death has also claimed that his action was undertaken in emulation of the suicide of the Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima in 1970. But who now remembers Mishima? It is also being asserted that M. Venner’s last work was to be his contribution to a collection of essays (here though the facts are less than clear) entitled “A Samurai of the West, The Beviary of the unsubdued.” But in acting in the way he has M. Venner has done nothing to promote the rich traditional civilisation of France. His was act not so much one of defiance, as of surrender- closer to Vichy than to Verdun. He has joined the ranks of those who have allowed themselves to be silenced.