THE Conservatives’ civil war over Brexit is indicative of a deeper malaise within the party. Its attachment to markets, laissez-faire and individualism is impeccably liberal but exists in theory only. Its espousal of the fashionable orthodoxies of cultural Marxism – multiculturalism, diversity, inclusion, equality of outcomes and the deconstruction of the dominant culture (Western, Eurocentric, white, male etc) so that oppressed minorities might be liberated – signals its New Age cosmopolitan virtue and addiction to State interference. What Conservative politicians have long ceased to stand for are recognisably conservative principles in any shape or form.
Even the Brexit debate, largely framed as it is in economic terms, reduces to little more than a clash between two versions of liberalism: free movement of goods and labour within the single market versus free movement of goods and labour without. No conservative worthy of the name could contemplate remaining in the EU in its current form, hell-bent on the destruction of nation states in the name of a new utopia presided over by an elite caste of bureaucrats. But the globalists’ failure to define the nation in any substantive sense other than by appeal to vacuous ‘British values’, or to acknowledge the existence of a national culture, renders sovereignty a hollow shell. ‘Global Britain’, that multicultural microcosm of the wider world, an economic black hole into which migrant labour and foreign capital flow freely, an international business park in which people count only as factors of production to be shunted around, is devoid of meaning or sense to true conservatives.
Here are the sorts of question to which conservatives ought to have answers: Deprived of any substantive notion of ‘the nation’, is there anything to distinguish conservatives from liberals? Do the English people have a distinctive national culture? Does ‘English civilisation’ exist? If it does exist, is it worth preserving and transmitting to future generations? Should it be transmitted to newcomers, who would thereby be assimilated? Is there anything to distinguish mass immigration, or immigration without assimilation, from colonisation? Is Britain still ‘a Christian country’? Are ‘multiculture’, ‘diversity’, ‘inclusivity’ and ‘tolerance’ necessarily goods to be encouraged and celebrated – or is ‘multiculturalism’ simply a recipe for segregation? Is the ‘white flight’ of the English from the cities and suburbs to the counties, which Ed West described in The Diversity Illusion as ‘perhaps the biggest shift westwards since the Anglo-Saxon invasion’, a cause for concern?
These are awkward questions to raise in a multicultural society where ‘diversity’ has been elevated to the status of a moral imperative. For modern-day conservatives belonging to the political and media class, it seems they can be passed over in silence. So long as newcomers whose culture and way of life is alien to our own sign up to concocted ‘British values’ (‘diversity’, ‘inclusivity’ and ‘tolerance’), we can rest assured that they will play their full part in a vibrant diverse multicultural society. Those who question the value of ‘diversity’, or mass immigration, are populists, nationalists, xenophobes, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and racists – ‘Little Englanders’ who lack our cosmopolitan culture and university education. Their inflammatory views and sentiments lie beyond the pale of decent conservative politics and polite discourse.
But the problem remains: in a multicultural society, it is the indigenous English who are deprived of their identity. One need only consider the outrage that would greet plans to establish a school for English children transmitting English culture, beliefs and traditions. For the dominant majority, whose culture has been condemned as colonialist, oppressive and constitutionally racist, the only remedy is immersion in multiculture, through which their crimes, their white guilt, can be purged. Throw in the perverse paraphernalia of identity politics (the natural accompaniment to multiculture) – ‘hate crime’, the censorship of free speech, ‘no platforming’, ‘safe spaces’, ‘micro-aggression’, diversity quotas, ‘cultural appropriation’, ‘Islamophobia’, ‘transphobia’ and so forth – and the destruction of the old culture is complete.
The establishment elite and the professional middle classes who live in the leafy outer suburbs, the towns and villages of rural England, do not live – yet – with the reality of multiculture. Like conservative Muslims, they live apart in their enclaves and educate their children privately, or ‘sharp elbow’ their way into the best Church state schools. But for the predominantly white English of the cities and northern towns, who increasingly feel they are strangers in their own land, who would rather share their culture, their ways, their memories with old or new neighbours, the celebration of ‘diversity’ is not an option. To them, what is going on seems more like cultural suicide.
Their anger is growing. But who will speak for them?