Once class identity comes to be seen as a cultural attribute, then those regarded as culturally different have come to be viewed as threats. Hence the growing hostility to immigration. The forces of globalisation or the internal wranglings of the Labour party are difficult to conceptualise.
By contrast, the Polish builder or your Bangladeshi neighbour are easy to see. So immigration has become the means through which many sections of the electorate perceive their sense of loss of social status. It has become both a catch-all explanation for unacceptable social change and a symbol of the failure of the liberal elite to understand the views of voters.
Most politicians today defend multiculturalism and sneer at Ukip policies, while assiduously fostering fears about immigration. What we actually need to do is the opposite – defend diversity and immigration while challenging multicultural policies. And we need to engage with the concerns of Ukip voters while also challenging prejudices about Muslims and immigration. Will any politician have the courage and vision to do this? I’m not holding my breath. [403 Comments]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 82 votes] “Over the past three decades, a host of economic and social changes – the decline of manufacturing industry, the crumbling of the welfare state, the coming of austerity, the growth of inequality, …”
The thing omitted from the list is numbers, specifically the growth of the Muslim population, from 553,000 in 1981 to 2,706,000 in 2011. It became 4.89 times larger in thirty years.
At this rate Britain would be a Muslim country in 60 years. This is politically significant. Farage did not mention a “white working class”. I don’t think he ever does. The implication that UKIP is about “whiteness” is one made by UKIP’s enemies. However, Farage has said, “My country is a Judeo Christian country, so we have got to stand up for our values”. What I deduce from this is that Farage is against Islamisation, the only politician who is.
[2ND 77] What on earth is the concept of ‘community of communities’? I’m afraid that multiculturalism is an experiment carried out mainly on the working class of this country. It seems to have failed. No matter which way you hang it the muslim community does not do integration.
[3RD 71] The problem is that the mainstream media blatantly and continually refuse to discuss or even acknowledge the enormous,unasked for changes wrought on our society by mass immigration , lack of integration, and multiculturalism, and how we deal with them going forward.
Meanwhile, anyone with a pair of eyes can see for themselves that the Balkanisation of this country continues apace,just go to Dewsbury , or Luton , and a myriad other towns, and see the lack of integration, and parallel societies.
Its the Emperors clothes writ large for all to see , but still we dont have a proper discussion about immigration and its effects,just a lot of chivvying round the edges, lest the Gods of PC and Multiculturalism are offended.
Nobody could blame anyone for wanting a better life and coming to Britain , but the infrastructures of Health and Education cannot cope , and as the handwringing continues , so does the immigration.
[4TH 64] This has little to do with immigration and everything to do with British born Muslim’s increasingly dangerous fascination with an ancient text.
[5TH 60] There is some truth in what the author states, but also half-truths and a lot of distortion to fit in with his rose-tinted beliefs. He speaks as though the white working class are suffering from a mass illusion of being dispossessed of their culture, and that he of course, as an academic, knows better than they do.
With a little more openness and humility he might acknowledge that they have indeed suffered a massive breakdown of community and cohesion, and that their dispossession is no illusion. It’s not a case of those regarded as culturally different simply ‘coming to be viewed’ as a threat; in large numbers they actually are a threat to the indigenous culture.
Although it is true that economic and political changes have played their part, these formerly strong communities going back many generations can see the injustice in losing out in housing and work opportunities to people who have no connection with their own area.
They can see the disintegration of their own culture when large numbers of people who live among them, in many areas now forming a majority, cannot identify with the host society in terms of language and dialect, humour, attitudes, history, and all the indefinable ties which make up a sense of shared culture.
In very many cases it is the new arrivals who shut themselves off for their own cultural and religious reasons, and the clear outward signifiers of separation can be seen in the mosques, Urdu shop signs, and distinctive Asian dress that are now a part of many urban areas.
In small doses, these differences can be absorbed and add an interesting dimension to a society, but when, by sheer weight of numbers, the incomers break up and largely replace the indigenous population, we can say goodbye to any sense of shared culture and nationhood.
I can’t think of any western society that has changed as rapidly as Britain in the last twenty years. Defending diversity and immigration, as the author suggests we do, is to simply exacerbate the problem. What is needed is a total end to unskilled immigration and a huge effort to integrate the cultures we have already taken in.
[6TH 58] Diversity and immigration is the problem. Political courage is severely lacking in even talking about it.
[7TH 56] British Muslims certainly tend to be highly conservative in their social attitudes, being far less liberal on issues such as homosexuality and abortion than the general public.
You left out the male supremacy and the anti-semitism, but let that pass. Any other group that exhibited such “conservative” attitudes would be vilified as fascist by the left. Just recall how opponents of same-sex marriage were attacked last year.
But despite the burquas, the homophobic hate-preaching, the stream of ISIS recruits, and the blaming of everyone and everything in sight except Islam the Muslim community is deemed to be the victim of a wicked non-Muslim world.
It’s time for a reality check against Enlightenment values and an end to excuses.
[8TH 56] “The growing numbers of young Britons drawn to jihadism”. Meanwhile, rising support for Ukip has drawn both fear and contempt”
To any reasonable person, the former deserves infinitely more fear and contempt than the latter.
There is NO equivalence between the two.
[9TH 56] An interesting article.
“The result has been the creation of what many commentators now call the “left behind” working class, who feel politically abandoned and voiceless. The “left behind” have been left behind largely because of economic and political changes. “
This is not the only possible interpretation of this. It would be nearer the truth to say that the white working class was abandoned by the left in the 1980s when the white working class refused to take on the role of the “revolutionary class” assigned to it by the middle class left.
The great turning point came in the election of 1983 when the marxist-infiltrated Labour Party was routed by Margaret Thatcher. The left’s response was to decide to replace the non-compliant white working class with one which would be compliant.
Hence the left’s devotion to mass immigration regardless of the social consequences. (The world is faced with an ecological catastrophe of the gravest kind but the British left advocates unlimited population growth for Britain.) And as for “multi-culturalism” – we’re way beyond the acceptable limits of that now.
“And we need to engage with the concerns of Ukip voters while also challenging prejudices about Muslims and immigration.”
It’s not prejudiced to be revolted by islamofascism (or to be shocked by the appeaser-left’s failure to take issue with it genuinely and seriously), because the essential need now is to bring mass immigration into Britain to an end. Of course this will mean that the British left loses the chance of destroying the Britain it hates. But this is a small price to pay. [Guardian Cif] Read more