Was old Britain really so bad?

school photo

1950’s school photo. With a male, maybe even conservative, teacher! Damn, I’ve just spotted a thoughtful-looking Indian girl in the second row. And is the girl next to her Jewish? I wanted this to be a picture of ‘monocultural Britain’. Still, it’s a nice photo so I’ll keep it.

I have never heard anyone convincingly explain why Britain had to be transformed from a mono-racial, mono-cultural nation into a multiracial, multicultural one. As far as I can tell most British people liked things the way they were.

It could be argued that though there was nothing actually wrong with old Britain, new multicultural Britain is even better. After all, just look at the restaurants! I wouldn’t disagree with the claim that there is now a far greater variety of restaurants, something immigration enthusiasts never fail to mention. Yet was there really no other way of varying our food than importing several million Third World immigrants?

Having registered food as a plus for the new dispensation multiculturalists are often left gazing at the ceiling and sucking their pens when asked for more pluses. ‘To broaden the mind’ is sometimes proffered as a positive, meaning that rubbing shoulders with people who think differently because of their different cultures and life experiences is good for us. Is it really? In my experience people generally go out of their way to avoid talking to people whose opinions that contradict our own. Just look at how Clinton supporters dislike Trump supporters and try to shut them up. Look at how Britain’s leftists detest the Tories and conservatives in turn aren’t wild about Progressive liberals. I myself have to turn off the TV when either Laurie Penny, Diane Abbott or Yasmin Alibhai-Brown are on.

Those immigrants who have integrated well into Britain generally don’t see the world differently to us natives anyway. After all, adopting our view of the world is largely what ‘integration’ means. The immigrants who do talk about such things as ‘my experience as a black woman’, as my American colleague did a few weeks ago, are precisely the kind I try to distance myself from because I can’t stand whiners. Why would I want to have ‘my mind broadened’ by a resentful person full of self-pity? No, I would prefer most people to stay in their own countries it wasn’t necessary to have dishonest discussions about, for example, ‘the disgraceful race gap in education’. The most likely answer, namely that black people are on average less intelligent than whites and have little interest in school is not even entertained as a possible explanation.

In that last paragraph I said I wanted ‘most people’ to stay where they are and the truth is I have nothing against immigration in reasonable numbers. Like the photo at the top of this page shows, Britain has never been 100% racially homogeneous, whatever that might mean. It’s just that I feel countries like Japan have struck a better racial balance than us. So sure, let Brits marry foreigners and bring them to live in Britain; let’s take in people from abroad that we genuinely need, like engineers and scientists; let the Ugandan and Kenyan Asians who were booted out of African countries by thuggish dictators come to Britain. After all, their fate and ours had been closely intertwined long before their expulsion. I am only against unselective mass immigration.

So what else have you got for me on your list? Immigrants are nice, hard-working people. Well, some are and some aren’t. I’m sure they are a mixed bag just like the rest of us. But what’s wrong with them being nice, hard-working people in their own countries? If they really are so nice and hard-working, why don’t they stay in Pakistan and Jamaica and try to improve them? That surely is what good, unselfish people would do.

As to whether they are nicer than native Brits I really couldn’t say. Nor can I conform that they are any more hard-working than native Brits. Again, some are, some aren’t. The figures seem however to suggest that non-EU immigrants and their children have lower employment rates than native Brits and are over-represented as welfare recipients so they are probably not, on the whole, any more hard-working than the natives.

As an aside, I believe it is the increase in the number of ‘people of colour’ rather than EU migrants that worries most Brexiteers, though they often don’t like to admit this since it sounds irrational to want to leave the EU because we have too many Pakistanis and Bangladeshis! However, this is not as moronically illogical as it sounds. The EU was clearly not serious about protecting its borders and people saw how Angela Merkel, after inviting a million Muslims and sub-Saharan Africans into Germany, wanted to spread ‘her’ migrants around the various EU countries through a system of quotas. It was only when individual countries took things into their own hands, against EU regulations, and erected border fences that a sense of relative order prevailed. I felt this was a ‘tragedy of the commons’ situation: because no individual country was in charge of immigration then they all left it to everyone else to deal with.

No doubt at some point in the future Merkel’s migrants will gain European citizenship, at which point they will be able to settle anywhere they like in the EU country. The fact that Britain will soon be out of the EU and no longer bound by its freedom of movement laws means we won’t have to take in any more Muslims or sub-Saharan Africans. This is good news because most British people feel we already have more than enough of both.

Anything else on your list? Ah, Colonialisation. After a couple of centuries colonising the rest of the world, some people feel that the British deserve a taste of their own medicine.

This strikes me as reasonable though I would take issue with a couple of things. Firstly, I’m not sure that colonialism did any long term damage to the countries that were colonised. In fact many historians believe that those countries benefited from colonisation. One academic even argued recently that colonialism might be implemented again as a way of helping struggling Third World countries. You can imagine how that suggestion went down with the Left! Yet the period of British colonialism in India, for example, was when living standards improved for most Indians. It was only after the British left that standards fell back again.

Secondly, most British people are descended not from colonizers but from people who stayed in Britain. Should they then have their country flooded with immigrants because some compatriots of their ancestors emigrated out into the world? What lessons would you draw from that? That you get punished if you do and punished if you don’t so you might as well become a colonizer yourself.

Arguing that British people deserve to have mass immigration foisted upon them as recompense for their country’s history of colonisation rather lets the cat out of the bag; clearly the person who thinks this way must see multiculturalism, not as a blessing, but as a punishment.

Other less vengeful people might say that while the native inhabitants of Britain might not be collectively guilty for past crimes, it still wouldn’t hurt them to take in a few million immigrants from poorer countries. It’s probably true that letting in a few million immigrants probably doesn’t make many people much poorer, though it might affect some people’s chances of getting a low-skilled job. Yet whether Britain can financially afford such magnanimous gestures is beside the point. Most of us are worried about our identities and our communities, not our pay packets. I for one would gladly return to a 1950’s standard of living if I could have old Britain back.

Okay, so that’s your list of positives. My list of negatives would start with the leftist social scientist Robert Putnam’s findings that the more diversity there is in a society, the less social capital (trust) there is, both between groups and within groups. People stay indoors more and take part in fewer communal activities. So, no more dancing round the maypole at the summer fete.

Second on my list is the fact that the racial make-up of Britain will change even more in the future, partly due to continued mass immigration and partly because some immigrant groups have higher fertility rates. We are thus bequeathing to our children and grandchildren an inherently unstable country with whites in decline and non-whites in the ascendancy. Some may ask what is wrong with that. After all, what does it matter if future Brits are white, black, brown, yellow, Muslim, Rastafarian or any combination thereof? I think these people need to ask themselves why immigrants chose to come here in the first place. Generally it was to escape countries that they and their compatriots had built. So what’s to say that West Indians will be any better at forming functional communities in England than they were in Bridgetown? Or Muslims in Karachi? Why should the characteristics that made them fail in their home countries suddenly drop away once they set foot in Britain? It seems just as likely to me that they will change us for the worse than that we will change them for the better.

ship of

In his book The Strange Death of Europe Douglas Murray likens Europe to the Ship of Theseus. Once all the planks and nails of Theseus’s original ship have been replaced by new ones, in what sense is the ship the same one that set sail from Athens years before? The same question can be asked of Britain. Does Britain still remain Britain after a large part of the native population have been replaced by a ragtag band of people from around the world? Probably as long as the change to your country is not too drastic or rapid then you can still identify a thread of continuity running through it and your country will still feel like your own. If on the other hand the change is too great and too sudden then some inhabitants will feel that something has been stretched to breaking point. They might then feel like strangers in a strange land.

Of course, once we oldies are all dead then Britain will be populated by those who have only ever known multiculturalism and may actually prefer it. In fact, after 11-16 years of multicultural indoctrination in the schools and universities, as well as through the BBC, I find this outcome quite likely. Even so, countries that have a longer history of multiculturalism than Britain don’t give us many grounds for complacency. Look at the awful relations between Whites, blacks and Hispanics in the USA. And they have been living together for several centuries? I know some blacks, Hispanics and progressive white liberals feel that if only white people would stop being such Trump-supporting racist jerks – or just die – then things would be just fine. However, things don’t look any better in multicultural countries where whites are not involved. Look at the relations between Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs in India and Pakistan. Okay, you think that problem was caused by the Brits. So how about Malaysia? How are relations between the native Malaysians, the Chinese and Indians? And here is my post on the top 10 multicultural countries in the world. Show me a multicultural country where things are actually improved by having racial, ethnic, religious, political, cultural or any other kind of diversity. To me these all look like fault lines that have to be carefully managed if submerged resentments aren’t to break out into open hostility.

Having written all the above, honesty dictates that I put it into perspective a little. I know one or two British Indians and like them. British Indians in general often seem to me more civilised than the native Brits, who tend to get drunk and make a big show of their loutishness. I like the fact that Indians don’t have tattoos, are family oriented and often have well-behaved children. And if I were asked if I would rather live in multicultural Britain or have one of my fingers chopped off I would probably choose the former. Therefore multiculturalism can’t bother me that much. It’s something I can close my door to when I want (which was precisely what Professor Putnam’s found most people do).