Sunday, February 27, 2011

Searchlight, The Guardian, Cruddas see the problem, but struggle for a solution?

From yesterday's Guardian:
Huge numbers of Britons would support an anti-immigration English nationalist party if it was not associated with violence and fascist imagery, according to the largest survey into identity and extremism conducted in the UK.

A Populus poll found that 48% of the population would consider supporting a new anti-immigration party committed to challenging Islamist extremism, and would support policies to make it statutory for all public buildings to fly the flag of St George or the union flag.
Anti-racism campaigners said the findings suggested Britain's mainstream parties were losing touch with public opinion on issues of identity and race
That first sentence should probably read "Huge numbers of English would support an anti-immigration English nationalist party..." but apart from that, "anti-immigration", "challenging Islamist extremism" and "statutory" flying the flag- I'm not sure that outlook can be described as "far-right" unless you'd also describe the views held by a large proportion of the Conservative (and Labour Party for that matter) as also fascist. Also the removal of violence and "fascist imagery" ( I do hope Searchlight are not referring to the national flag here) are set as a pre-condition for the support of such a party, which must be at least an optimistic sign surely? Whether it's Searchlight's intention or not, it comes across to me as if they would rather the violence and fascist imagery remained rather than have such a democratic party, along the lines of those seen in mainland western Europe, emerging into the electoral system.
Couple of more points from the  poll
According to the survey, 39% of Asian Britons, 34% of white Britons and 21% of black Britons wanted all immigration into the UK to be stopped permanently, or at least until the economy improved. And 43% of Asian Britons, 63% of white Britons and 17% of black Britons agreed with the statement that "immigration into Britain has been a bad thing for the country".
So, immigration (or, at least, the perception of the problems it might cause) is an issue and not just one concerning the white working-class.
Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP who fought a successful campaign against the British National party in his Dagenham and Rainham constituency in east London, said that the findings pointed to a "very real threat of a new potent political constituency built around an assertive English nationalism". The report identified a resurgence of English identity, with 39% preferring to call themselves English rather than British. Just 5% labelled themselves European.
An "assertive English nationalism" is undoubtedly not (tied in with that second last sentence) good news for Unionism but I think Cruddas has the equation the wrong way round. English nationalism may certainly be part of that potential political constituency but I doubt at its centre; in other words if "assertive" Scottish and (to a lesser extent) Welsh nationalism has developed largely along civic lines, then why would their English big brother necessarily be different?
The poll also identified a majority keen to be allowed to openly criticise religion, with 60% believing they "should be allowed to say whatever they believe about religion". By contrast, fewer than half – 42% – said "people should be allowed to say whatever they believe about race
A tricky one. I'm an atheist and a secularist who is much more comfortable criticising elements of Christianity than other religions, simply because I have a lot closer personal experience of the damage its adherents have caused. There are parts of the Islamic faith I'd also have problems with but I leave public criticism well alone for a number of reasons.
Maybe that makes me a hypocritical coward?
Should I also have the freedom to criticise elements of how other religions may be practised?
Yes, as long as it remains an objective criticism of its elements as opposed to a criticism of people merely because they are Muslim/Jewish/Hindu/Buddhist/Free Presbyterians or whatever.
With regards race, then in any civilised society the rules must be much tighter because you are no longer dealing with objective criticisms in 99.9% of cases, you are simply trying to justify your own irrational prejudices.

In the end, returning to the report, what we need much more than just the reporting of perceived attitudes is suggestions as to how we address the issues raised and here, as per usual, the likes of Searchlight, the Guardian and John Cruddas are rather more quiet.


Andy said...

And the governments reaction to this survey will be to do nothing.

The recession we are now in is the result of mass immigration, too many people living in England to financially support.

Our national debt is also the result of this mass immigration, due to the government having to borrow money to provide the services these immigrants expect.

The government wont reduce mass immigration because it is cheap labour for short sighted businessmen, out to make a profit without seeing or ignoring the fact that reduced wages = reduced spending/buying the goods they sell.
How many food businesses are struggling because the europeans use English money to buy European foods sold in European shops?

However I will bet money that as this country slips deeper into recession and immigrants begin to leave England due to the country being financially broke, the liars in Westminster will boast that it is their policies which is reducing mass immigration. Not the fact that these parasites have picked Englands carcass clean.

When the English lose jobs, businesses and houses, the public will look more and more towards right wing parties prepared to use violence.

O'Neill said...

"The recession we are now in is the result of mass immigration, too many people living in England to financially support"

And if countries without mass immigration, are also suffering recession how can it be the cause?