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Sunday, 19 April 2009

A Note on Terminology and National Identity

One topic that in recent years has never been far from the headlines has been a preoccupation with Britishness and the question of what it means to be British today. This debate of course has nothing to do with a putative “crisis of national identity”, for we native Britons do not possess an identity crisis, as we are perfectly well aware of who we are. No. It is only those who are UK passport holders but self-consciously not native British who are experiencing anything resembling a crisis of identity, together with our political leaders who claim not to understand the nature of the British and Britishness.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones, a religious affairs correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, last Friday penned a short piece entitled “How does Britain solve its identity crisis? ” The occasion for its writing was prompted by this week’s forthcoming debate on British identity being held by the Islamic Quilliam Foundation. As has become standard practice in the mainstream media when mentioning Islamism, Wynne-Jones attempted to stigmatise patriotic Britons and accord them a pariah status equivalent to that of the Islamists by stating: “It could not come at a more opportune time - right-wing extremism is on the rise and the threat posed by Islamic radicals is persistent and real .” [1]

The numerous comments left in reply to his piece made clear the preponderant opinion of his readers: multiculturalism and mass immigration are to blame for this mess. Correct.

However, this understanding of the situation is not permitted to be articulated by mainstream political and media figures. Gordon Brown himself stated in a Radio 4 programme entitled “Britishness” on 31 March this year that in the past too much emphasis had been placed upon institutions, race and ethnicity. For him, “tolerance, liberty and fairness” are the vagaries upon which modern British identity should be constructed. If we were to define ourselves by “race and ethnicity" he claims, "this would be a disaster” because of the multiethnic composition of the country [2]. Surely, by Brown’s own measures of “tolerance, liberty and fairness” he has sorely failed to live up to his own definition of Britishness?

A standard argument of relatively recent provenance employed by advocates of multiculturalism and mass immigration has been that there is no such thing as the British or the English because “we are a nation of immigrants.” This specious assertion is based on the fact that the country has experienced multiple waves of immigration over millennia. What the proponents of this argument conveniently overlook is that these separate streams of people have become organically fused into a set of indigenous national communities: the English, the Welsh, the Scots, the Cornish and the Irish.

Although Daniel Defoe rightly noted that the English are "a mongrel race", one salient fact about this "mongrelism" is always overlooked by the exponents of multiculturalism: the native English (excepting a few scions of the Norman aristocracy) know not whether their forebears were Angles, Saxons, Danes, Jutes, ancient British tribes or Romans etc, because all of these intermarried and fused to produce a common culture. The peoples who contributed to this fusion shared a number of civilisational and genetic commonalities, so to equate this native organic national development with the politically-directed demographic change that we are experiencing today is fundamentally flawed and dangerous. It is unlikely that these isles have ever undergone such a rapid transformation of their cultural and genetic stock since they were repopulated by humans at the end of the last glaciation.

Ask a Pakistani UK passport holder what they are and they’ll tell you that they’re a Pakistani. They like the UK passport though, because it gives them access to a better standard of living than they'd be able to access back in their true homeland. They, like many of the immigrant groups that have surged into the UK over the past 60 years, have been encouraged to retain their separate identities both from without (by British politicians and state agencies), and from within (by religious and social norms regulating exogamy and attitudes to people of other belief systems and races). Although there has been some intermixing between the indigenous population and the incomers, generally speaking we have witnessed the growth of de facto colonial outposts of external cultures and national groups. Those who have successfully assimilated have been from closely related peoples and cultures such as the Poles, Serbs, Ukrainians, Hungarians, etc who fled from Communism and Nazism.

As can be seen from the above, the traditional "mongrel nation" is something completely separate and distinct from the multicultural ersatz Britishness for which the Labour Party, the BBC and their ilk are constantly questing. Given that we are forever being force-fed multicultural Newspeak by the mainstream media and politicians, we need to be able to articulate a clear and unambiguous position that refutes the pseudo-concepts through which they wish to refashion public consciousness. The following are therefore some suggestions as to objective terminology that can be used in their stead:

A native inhabitant of Britain and its associated smaller isles, or one who has become fully assimilated culturally and biologically through intermarriage. A native inhabitant is a member of one of the native peoples of Britain, these being: the English, the Welsh, the Scots and the Cornish. Britons may also be resident overseas temporarily or permanently.

That which is characteristic of native Britons and their territory, i.e. cultural, genetic and geographical

British Stock
This is defined through descent: the Britons and their direct descendants elsewhere in the world such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The island of Britain, excluding the island of Ireland.

The United Kingdom
The legally defined political union of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The British Isles
Britain, Ireland and the associated small islands comprising this archipelago.

UK Citizen
Anyone who is entitled to hold a UK passport.

Colony instead of “Minority Community
The preferred term for so-called “minority communities” that are geographically concentrated outposts of peoples and associated social and ideological structures not traditionally found amongst Britons, e.g. Pakistani colonies in Bradford, Dewsbury and elsewhere. Colonies seek to recreate the external national homeland or an idealised version of it in the UK. To this end, chain migration encourages the genetic expansion of established colonies and the displacement of Britons.

Population instead of “Community
In the case of immigrant populations such as the recently arrived Poles and Lithuanians who do not wish to create colonies, the term ethnic minority population should be used instead of community, because “community” carries implications of permanence and group membership, leaving the way open for the articulation of group specific rights. Members of immigrant populations should possess individual rights, but not rights as legally recognised lobby groups.

Ethnic Minority instead of “BME – Black and Minority Ethnic
This term is preferable to that of BME (black and minority ethnic), as it is the one employed in more objective scholarly literature dealing with such matters. BME is a New Labour neologism freighted with baggage, as it has emerged from the activities and ideology of ethnic minority political agitators. Ethnic minority can also be legitimately employed in those areas or cities (such as Leicester) where Britons are being threatened with ethnic minority status. In Leicester we will therefore shortly be able to speak of the English as an ethnic minority.

Familial Homeland
For Britons, this would be Britain. For UK passport holders descended from immigrant populations who have not fully integrated and assimilated as described in the definition of “Briton”, this would be whichever country their family had originally inhabited, e.g. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, etc.

Asylum Claimant instead of “Asylum Seeker
Not all of those who claim asylum are actually seeking asylum, thus the suggested change in terminology to provide an objective appraisal of all who state that they are “asylum seekers” before the veracity of their claim can be ascertained.

Sectarian Affiliation rather than “Faith Community
The former individualises a person’s choice about which faith or none they choose to affiliate to. The latter, containing as it does the term “community”, like the instances of this term mentioned above, carries within it the assumption that by dint of its existence its members should be accorded certain recognition. Take away the term “community” and we are left with a group of people agitating (e.g. Muslims) for special treatment, which can then be dismissed more readily as we will not have accorded them the dignity of a collective personality.

[1] How does Britain solve its identity crisis? -

[2] Gordon Brown in “Britishness”, Episode 1, Radio 4, 31 March 2009 -

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