David Cameron’s definition of Britishness contains within it the three central tenets of political correctness: racial equality, gay rights and sexual equality. That means anyone, indigenous or immigrant, who does not agree with political correctness is, in NuTory Boy’s eyes,not British.
This is decidedly sinister. It means that the official Government position now makes illegitimate those who, for example, wish to object to mass immigration on the grounds that it is a surreptitious form of conquest, anyone who refuses to accept that civil partnership is equal to marriage or those who reject the idea that sexual equality means there must be women in equal numbers to men in every form of employment.
Cameron is also being disingenuous. Just before the last general election the Equalities Act 2010 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/4) was passed with all-party support. The Act has jurisdiction over what are termed “protected characteristics” . These are: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation
The key characteristics are “race” and “religion or belief”. The whole apparatus of UK public service (including schools) are required to “protect” all the categories. “Protecting” race and religion or belief means in practise that multiculturalism will be preserved. To take one example, it will be impossible to teach British history honestly because it would be deemed either insulting or excluding to ethnic minorities. Disability and marriage also offer opportunities for the reinforcement of multiculturalism.
The cultural fragmentation of the UK also has the devolution dimension. Where do ethnic minorities actually stand in a devolved UK? German-born Labour MP Gisela Stuart writing in online magazine openDemocracy.net in December 2005 described the problem, whilst also gaily insulting the English: “It has only been in the last five years or so that I have heard people in my constituency telling me ‘I am not British – I am English’. That worries me.
“British identity is based on and anchored in its political and legal institutions and this enables it to take in new entrants more easily than it would be if being a member of a nation were to be defined by blood.
“But a democratic polity will only work if citizens’ identification is with the community as a whole, or at least with the shared process, which overrides their loyalty to a segment.” (Quoted in Birmingham Mail 18 11 2005)
The problem for people such as Ms Stuart is that Britishness was destroyed by devolution. There is no longer a comfortable overarching label of British under which everyone can be placed. All that is left for the people of Britain to cling to are emotional ethnicities.
The situation is most acute in England because that is where the majority of ethnic minorities in the UK live. There is hard evidence that ethnic minorities in England routinely do not think of themselves as English. In 2005, the CRE commissioned from the research firm Ethnos a poll designed to discover how Britons identify themselves (http://www.cre.gov.uk/downloads/what_is_britishness.pdf). A couple of passages are particularly telling:
“In England, white English participants identified themselves as English first and British second, while ethnic minority participants perceived themselves as British. None identified as English, which they saw as meaning exclusively white people.”
“Britishness was associated with great historical and political achievements, but only amongst white participants (whether from England, Scotland or Wales), not those from ethnic minority backgrounds”.
This tells us two things: ethnic minorities in England routinely reject the idea of Englishness and ethnic minorities everywhere in the UK have no identification with Britain’s past. So much for Britishness.