Saturday’s Daily Mail contained a special report by Paul Bracchi detailing the activities of a dangerous and sinister new extremist group. Members of the group are typically young, white, middle class, well-educated, well-dressed and well-mannered. They don’t go on marches, shout abuse or espouse violence, preferring instead to engage in ‘study circles’. They are the members of Generation Identity (GI UK), the most active far-Right organisation in Britain.
According to the Mail, members of GI believe that that we are being ‘swamped’ by immigrants, ‘our ethnocultural identity’ is under threat, that a ‘great replacement’ is going on in which white people in Britain’s cities are being replaced by people of other ethnicities, that ‘Islamisation’ must be stopped, that the English will soon be ‘nothing more than a footnote in the history books’, and that we need ‘a revival to our culture and our way of life’.
Of course, many will find these views deeply offensive. But there are many others, including, I suspect, a great many Mail readers, who will, judging from the comment section of their website, concur wholeheartedly – at least in private.
Two things cannot be disputed. First, there is a demographic change going on in Britain’s cities (not yet in the towns and villages) which is changing the face of Britain. Second, the change is happening at such a pace that many people are ‘unsettled’ – a phenomenon all parties now recognise; and, therefore, immigration must be better managed. Yet this recognition even among liberals that some people are being ‘unsettled’ masks the central issue. The euphemism ‘unsettled’ is carefully chosen. While a diverse multicultural society is still to be welcomed, immigration must be managed so that ordinary people (the unenlightened folk) can handle the change better – i.e. their irrational fears can be overcome and the transition to a diverse multicultural society, which is superior to a homogeneous monocultural society, effected more smoothly. But do people want to live in a diverse multicultural society? In what sense is a diverse multicultural society superior to a homogenous monocultural society? These questions are forbidden – forbidden by the mainstream political parties and the mainstream media, including the Daily Mail.
Perhaps there are good reasons for this censorship, for to discuss these questions openly is to put at risk the very foundations of the diverse multicultural society our political establishment is trying to fashion. But should we be surprised that ordinary people – these people who are ‘unsettled’ – want to discuss the issues?
There are, I think, two specific aspects of GI’s ‘alt-right’ worldview that need challenging.
First, GI’s association of the English and Englishness with a specific racial or ethnic type, as if culture were a genotype, is both misguided and offensive to those who love England and are not white – as in the case of the Windrush generation, whose attachment to England and its culture ran deep. This justifies their vilification as ‘racists’. As GK Chesterton once remarked, ‘Nationality exists, and has nothing in the world to do with race … it is a product of the human soul … a spiritual product’. Chesterton memorably encapsulated the stupidity of confounding race and nationality: ‘I certainly should not like to have been the officer of Nelson who suddenly discovered his French blood on the eve of Trafalgar’.
Second, GI’s support for ‘remigration’ – to preserve the national and cultural identity of the English – is reminiscent of the ‘voluntary repatriation’ once advocated by the National Front, an openly racist party; and conjures ugly images of people being loaded onto cattle wagons for deportation, or worse. This justifies their vilification as extremists.
Yet aren’t these proponents of a ‘white’ ethnic identity, of ‘racial separatism’ (as their critics would have it), merely the counterparts of those who propose a ‘black’ ethnic identity, of those proponents of multi-culture who would divide us up into minorities – except that these right-wing extremists have perversely arrogated to the indigenous majority a ‘white’ identity? The politics of ‘identitarianism’, then, is an inevitable reaction on the part of members of the excluded majority to the dogma of multiculturalism, inclusion, diversity and minority ‘LGBT’ identity politics. Moreover, is it that far-fetched to imagine a government one day being confronted with a group of British citizens who insist on the right to live separate lives in a closed community, who reject the wider national culture in its entirety, who actively discourage or prevent fraternisation with outsiders, who refuse military service, and so on? Would the government then not be justified insisting on reasonable integration – and offer the alternative of relocation to a more convivial environment? Or conversely, what if a homogeneous community – it might be English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish or Cornish, but it could also be Pakistani, Somali, Sikh or Romanian – elected a council that insisted all newcomers integrate fully into the host community? Would diversification be forced on them? Is compulsory social and ethnic mixing justified?
There is, in other words, a fundamental contradiction at the heart of the official dogma of multiculturalism: how can diverse cultures and ‘ethnicities’ flourish alongside each other without there being a significant element of separate development? Without the cultivation of ‘difference’, there cannot be ‘diversity’. But then, what is there to hold communities and societies together? A shared love of diversity? The great Canadian experiment in multi-culture, or state-sponsored cultural apartheid, is currently unravelling for precisely these reasons, as Neil Bissoondath has eloquently documented in Selling Illusions.
Yet the Mail seems content to vilify these misguided patriots as dangerous extremists without analysing why these young people have been led astray, and without proposing an alternative. It is not as if the Mail had been at the forefront of promoting the fashionable orthodoxies of multi-culture, diversity and inclusion. On the contrary, it has ceaselessly mocked them – for which efforts it has earned the loathing and contempt of liberals, and the grateful appreciation of everyone else. But could it not be that it is the Mail, with its endless parade of thuggish looking migrants, East-European criminals and gang-masters, its stirring tales of Spitfire pilots and World War veterans, its exposés of illegal immigration (by land, air and sea), demographic change, child-beating madrassas, closed Muslim ghettos, political correctness and great English traditions under threat, that has stoked the sentiments that have prompted these young people to join GI in the first place?
GI, it would seem, is merely following on where the Mail has left off and does not dare to tread. Since the mainstream political parties and the media are wedded to the orthodoxy, and no mainstream politician dares publicly question it for fear of being branded ‘racist’, it is left to those outside the mainstream to fill the vacuum. If not multi-culture and diversity, then what? Or, indeed, if multi-culture and diversity, then what? The Mail leaves us none the wiser.