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The Curious Case of being British

Jon Twigge

I am thrilled to be able to publish another contribution by Jon Twigge, an ardent Spiral Dynamics Integral enthusiast and supporter of the Centre of Human Emergence – UK. Jon wrote the piece for his own blog and has graciously consented to it being published here as well.

Unusually for me this post contains a little bit of my personal history…


What exactly does it mean to be British?
Well, for most of my life I lived without really knowing what it meant at all.  At least, not consciously.

I have been brought up in a rather sterile environment from the point of race and the world.  I lived most of my young life until I was 18 in a small village in rural Derbyshire in England.  The local village school, that I attended until I was 11, was a Church of England school, nominally at least, and I don’t particularly remember any overt racial, cultural or religious content to my first years at school.

I have to admit to having a terrible memory for facts but I don’t recall a single non-white face from my years at infant and junior school.  Perhaps that is not too surprising as the population of the whole village was only around 300 people and the school had a total of about 50 children covering the ages of 5 to 11 years.

My next brave step in the world was to attend a senior school at the age of 11, a giant step which involved a coach trip every day of over 3 miles each way and attending a school of over 1,000 people.  A big, and indeed unnerving, step for a hugely shy and quiet young boy.  But, still I didn’t get to see a lot of non-white faces.  I vaguely remember there may have been one or two in the school over the years but they were certainly not common.

Race was simply not an issue for me at an early age.  I suppose the only exposure to different ethnic groups during these early years was via the great number of TV channels available in Britain at the time (there were 3!).  TV almost certainly did have coloured people on the screen. (Please forgive me if I use the wrong labels, it is people that matter to me, not what colour they are and I am almost certainly not up to date with the latest politically correct names for people of non white origins).  But, if you are familiar with British TV from 25 and more years ago, race was not often talked about.

So, there I was with very little knowledge of race and ethnicity right up until the age of 18.  And yet funnily enough, or perhaps not so, depending on how you look at it, I was, I suppose, against racism.  I do wonder if perhaps this started when my mother commented one day how terrible it was that 2 people of 2 different colours, black and white, were going to get married.  I was quite surprised by this statement not having heard anything quite like it before.  My immediate reaction was that I thought the best way forward would be that as many people as possible should have mixed marriages so that people would get used to it and so that the cultures should be mixed up so that it would stop mattering any more.

To this day, I can’t see a reason why I should change my beliefs on mixed marriages; but, of course, I should add that i would certainly not be in favour of any compulsion or coercion for mixed marriages but rather that there should be no deliberate obstacles to it.   With my much more recent knowledge of how human values are generally derived from life circumstances and how people behave to protect their individuality and social groups, I would of, course, understand why so many people are racist or uncomfortable with the idea of mixed marriages but that does not mean that I approve or support racism.

A lack of identity
But, anyway, other than to illustrate how little awareness of race I had as a child, I have rather wandered off the topic of this post.  What I wanted to do is show how I personally didn’t really have an idea of ‘Britishness’ because i simply had almost no knowledge of other countries or race to define Britishness against. Culturally, I was of, course; very British with a healthy appetite for fish & chips as well as steak & kidney pies; but that is another story that I will almost certainly save for another day sometime in the distant future.

Being a rather introverted child, I suppose i must have spent a lot of time thinking.  Various life circumstances must have conspired to leave me without any particular reason to think of myself as British.  And so, and I really cannot recall how or why it might have happened, I came to the conclusion that I would quite like to be a member of the global human race rather than being British.  It’s not like this was a huge passion or anything; but some years ago I did go so far as to register with one of the groups around the world as a world citizen. I even got a little card back proclaiming my world citizenship.  It was not the most professional certificate in the world and I would not like to have tried getting through immigration with it; but it was something that I identified with.

Perhaps contributing to my personal lack of awareness of Britishness was that both my parents, for differing reasons, did not speak much of the past.  And also, I had only one remaining grandmother when I was born and she died when I was, I think, about 10 years old.  Perhaps all of these circumstances conspired to hide memories of a Great British history of empire and war from me as well. All in all I had a very limited exposure to the past.

A common state of affairs
And I woudn’t like to imply that everyone in Britain was so globally minded as I was thinking myself to be.  It was simply that I had hardly anything to hang a sense of Britishness on.  Perhaps my case was somewhat extreme but i think the circumstances that I encountered in my early years must have, in parts, been experienced by others and that, to some extent or other, that they too must have been somewhat lacking in an upbringing into British identity.

I am not alone.  I suspect that many people perhaps under 50 and definitely under 40 share this lack of historical Britishness.  Perhaps Britain collectively avoided discussion of its past of empire and greatness unless you deliberately sought it out in history lessons.

So, my argument is that we have a great number of British citizens alive today who don’t have much sense of a British identity.  If we attempt to define Britishness we will immediately run into this, for many people but certainly not all, a vacuum of historical identity.

So what is Britishness?
What we do find if we look for Britishness is something rather limited to what we find in many other countries.  What many people, of the younger generations at least, might define as their Britishness is a cultural identity with British values but without a historical and geographical belongingness.

If I was to try to list a few words that might give an indication of Britishness, I might use a collection of words something like ‘proud’, ‘strong’, ‘eccentric’, ‘open’, ‘honest’, ‘hard working’, ‘ethical’, ‘judicial’, ‘fair’, ‘successful’, ‘enterprising’ and ‘free’.  I am sure you could add a few words for me as well and please do if you want to comment.

So, for me, I guess that my British identity rests on my being British-like rather than being British geographically.  But, as I have said, that identity has not been very overtly conscious for me.  And that makes me wonder, if many others might agree with my analysis, that that may be why we British have traditionally been so accepting of other cultures, so long as they play fair of course, both in the historical empire and subsequent commonwealth, and in terms of immigration.

So, to lay it out in simple terms, I suspect that Britishness is no longer so dependent on a nationalistic geographic identity with this land but on the values that we British hold dear.

A worrying trend
But, at this point, I want to note what is a relatively recent and rather worrying trend.  Britain is a leading exponent of human rights and equality for everyone.  So far, so good.  Our fairness and sense of justice has been combined with a modern global political correctness that means that everyone is equal and has equal rights.

The trouble is, and I better say this rather quietly in case anyone with too strong a sense of justice is listening, this modern PC equality is becoming dominant to the point that it is applied so that everyone is given rights regardless of whether they exhibit modern traditional Britishness.  We are effectively rejecting our own culture and values and inviting in others to replace it.  I would very quickly remind you, before I get into trouble, that I mean Britishness in terms of being fair and upstanding rather than having the right colour skin.

Losing a Sense of British values
What this means, all rather frighteningly now I think about it like this, is that British culture is now gradually losing its sense of British values on top of already having lost its geographic identity.  And that does not leave much apart from a politically correct idea of equalness for all.

Now I am getting worried.  We are deliberately giving up our sense of identity and we are creating a new wave of British citizens, both born here and through immigration, who lack a thorough sense of, and identification with, Britishness.  This leaves us somewhat open to minority groups and views of other cultures or disaffected groups to provide stronger senses of identity than we have natively.  These new power bases of identity probably don’t see a strong native Britain to hold them at bay and there is a sense of an ever widening open door to our country.

Maybe that last part sounds suspiciously racist.  It really wasn’t meant to.  I see a need for a once again strong British identity so that we, Britain, can be a strong member of an ever more global world in the years to come.  The alternative may well be a fractious British community with growing tensions and problems.

An inspiring talk
Early last year I attended a talk by Don Beck, who co-authored the early definitive book on Spiral Dynamics, in which he suggested that Britain may well stand closer to a great change, towards a new kind of society, than anywhere else in the world.  The basis of this claim is that change happens, in individuals and societies, when their life circumstances change and develop causing new problems in their lives that their current value systems are not good at dealing with.

I left that talk with a new sense of being British. And of the importance of being British for both Britain and the world.

A new way
I would politely suggest, in my best English manner, that the decline in identification with traditional British values brought about by an overly politically correct society is indeed bringing about the circumstances and need for a new kind of change right here in Britain.  And I would suggest that the change that is required is the rise of a new kind of British values that respects and upholds a strong combination of, and respect for, individual expression, social structure and responsibilty, opportunity to succeed and equal rights for all rather than a continual struggle between them.

It is time that we once again become proud to live on this island and to uphold a (new and updated) British way of life so that we can once again stand tall in the world and lead by example.



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  1. Michael Gove says

    WHAT IS – IS …
    and sure ain’t NO ISer …

    falling leaves
    to their roots

    so don’t BE EVIL

  2. jtwigge says

    I have to say i am amazed at the quality and depth of the discussion that my simple post has inspired.

    Nick , it is wonderful how closely we seem to be aligned and quite humbling that you were saying these things seven years ago, especially when i think who you were saying it to.

    Thank you everyone for your contributions and Albert – I am tuned and waiting

  3. Albert Klamt says


    this a great exposition for British -German dialogue and new lenses, new perspectives and emerging potential.

    Russ Volckmann wrote in LEADING COMMENT of current issue of Integral leadership Review:

    “For anyone who notices, this issue of Integral Leadership Review is a bit late. We had intended a special issue on German-speaking cultures and integral leadership. This has been delayed. I am assured by the guest editors that it will be forthcoming this year. Stay tuned.”

    In fact, to co-create such an issue, already lots of collaborative al-chemy is needed:)

    I have been adressing questions of national identities for over 10 years. Sometimes I thought I am a pervert as nobody (or nearly nobody) showed signs of engaging in it.

    So in August the ILR Germany Special will cover a big range of questions. Dorothea Zimmer, a leader in German Spiral Dynamaics constellation and I will co-edite and write in length about this theme.

    Dorotheas has already an article in January Issue.

    Some questions about Europe

    Its necessary to go back in German history at least for 300 years. As the dynamic, rich and diverse roots of German cultural history -included Jewish German intellectual , entrepreneurial and cultural history- and the developing life conditions were never up to now explored in light of integral perspectives.

    The streams of idealistic, romantic, dialectical thnking and even begining sof evolutionary philosophy were interrrupted in WW 2 and after it.

    Science, music, arts, film and much more suffered a brain drain. What may be seen from outside Germany as arrogance is part of the disruption of ratio and collective emotion, passsion. A fear in the depth of the magmatic fire below the thin and bloodless ratio. A contraction of flatland thinking and feeling.

    Heinrich Heine, C.G. Jung, Sri Aurobindo , Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and lots of others grasped this essence. The last German who spoke without broken tenor about boldness, was Goethe.

    I only mention “Rat eines Träumers” and “The Wotan Complex”- Writings from Heine and Jung. Jung wrote his essay in 1936. Heine 1835.

    All these dimensions need however fullest coverage. And -like the Jewish people- the mere memory reflexes to WW2 are not sufficient anymore.

    The patina of poltical correctmess needs to be removed for these endevors.

    And GEIST, as psychoactive force and potential re-loaded in Germany. Tom Steininger, editor-in-chief of German EnlightenNext Magazine wrote some great articles in German about this nexus.

    A full spiral approach which makes good use of the understanding of the process of concretion, as Jean Gebser puts it, will be essential.

    Stay tuned:):)


  4. Nicholas Beecroft says

    In response to Albert…….

    Germany and Britain have a strong and deep relationship. They share much in common, including values, culture and interests. There is clearly a great deal for both to gain from having as positive and effective a relationship as possible.

    The problem in German-British Relations

    In spite of these positive factors, there do seem to be certain persistent problems which hold both countries back from having as close and positive a relationship as would be desirable. The British have a tendency to view Germany as a competitor, a threat and a problem rather than as friends and like-minded colleagues. Their view is still coloured by memories of the Nazi period and World War 2 and fails to take account of Germany as it really is today. On a personal level, the British stereotype of Germans is as rather arrogant, serious and technical. The British press regularly features anti-German articles full of negative stereotypes about Nazis and Mediterranean beach towel conflicts. Satellite TV provides a constant diet of Third Reich history and virtually nothing about positive aspects of modern Germany.

    Previous and current strategies to overcome relationship problems

    Both countries’ Diplomatic Services and cultural organisations have tried hard to overcome the problems in the relationship with some degree of success. Many polls and research have been carried out. There have been many attempts at correcting misconceptions and getting to know one another better through education, public diplomacy, exchanges and engagement of key opinion leaders. Despite this good work, there seem to be certain frustrating blocks in the relationship which just won’t shift and are limiting the potential of both countries to work together for mutual benefit.

    We believe that previous attempts to overcome the relationship problems have been limited by being too superficial and failing to tackle the underlying psychology of the relationship. If it were simply a matter of correcting misunderstandings or getting to know one another better through exposure, then the relationship would have normalised many years ago.

    A therapeutic psychological intervention is the key to unlock the potential of the German-British relationship.

    International relations are fundamentally about the relationships between people and groups of people. This may sound obvious, but you only need to pick up a journal on the subject or read the prospectus for an International Relations Degree to see that practical psychology is usually conspicuous by its absence. Traditional models tend to focus upon economics, politics, culture, security and military matters. These are valid and essential. However, they have not provided the solution to the persistent problems in the German-British relationship. In order to improve the German-British relationship, we need to understand the underlying psychology of it.

    An example hypothesis

    Here is an example of how a psychological insight may get to the bottom of the problems the German-British relationship and give a lead to the strategy to improve it.

    Interpersonal relationships are affected by the identities and self-esteem of the people involved. Poor self-esteem or problems in the identities of either party can adversely affect the relationship. Countries also have identities and self-esteem. Just as for individuals, it is desirable for a country to have positive self-esteem and identity (patriotism) and undesirable to base its identity upon arrogance, hatred or exclusion (nationalism).

    The UK and Germany have problems with both self-esteem and identity which contribute to the dysfunction in the relationship. Germany is still profoundly affected by the shadow of the Nazis and the Second World War. In part, this is a positive thing, since it is good to learn from past mistakes to be a better country. However, it is negative in that Germany finds it hard to really feel a confident, modern patriotism without fear of arousing an ugly nationalism.

    Britain has a very similar problem. Before 1945, British identity was very simple and confident. Britain was the leading global power with a global empire. Britain had started the industrial revolution and had played a major role in spreading commerce, freedom, the rule of law, capitalism, technology, education, British values and the English language all over the world. The British were confident in who they were. In short, Britain was best and was the centre of the world.

    Clearly, in the decades since 1945, this identity was bound to unravel as it was no longer true. The Empire was lost, the global role was taken by the USA and USSR. Industry and infra-structure were outdated and the economy was bankrupt. Society at home was changed profoundly by the economic and social forces affecting all developed countries and by mass immigration which completely changed the dynamics of national consciousness.

    Ever since, British identity has been dysfunctional. Some have tried to cling to the past glories. Others have imagined a new Cool Britannia, a second lieutenant to the USA, a leading player in Europe or a multicultural melting pot. Many have just felt depressed about the state of the nation; alienated and unsettled. Like in Germany, patriotism is seen as suspect. At best, it is considered rather naive, quaint or outdated. At worst it is associated with violence, racism, war, slavery and exploitation.

    Several dysfunctional factors in the British psyche exaggerate hostility to the Germans and the use of the Germans as a scapegoat or bogeyman. The last time that the group dynamic of Britain was truly united, certain, strong, confident and alive was during World War 2 when fighting Germany and Japan. Keeping alive memories of the war, the Nazis, the Blitz etc. rekindles that distant flicker of good feelings which temporarily helps to raise the spirits of a country which otherwise is divided, unhappy and lacks a shared story, vision and mission.

    Political correctness has made it illegal or taboo for the British to openly criticise other social groups or to express their fears about immigration. The Germans, the French and the Americans are the last people who it is still legal to insult. Thus they take the full force of the underlying discontent and malaise in the British national psyche.

  5. Michael Gove says

    This VERY PARTICULAR discussion is absolutely where IT IS AT – IF our species, as a whole, IS to come to terms with the need for a radical and holistic, all-inclusive solution to the set of global problems with which our space-ship planet is faced.

    IF as Jon has suggested …

    ” the change that is required is the rise of a new kind of British values that respects and upholds a strong combination of and respect for individual expression, social structure and responsibilty, opportunity to succeed and equal rights for all rather than a continual struggle between them ”

    IS NOT established …

    there IS little hope that IT WILL indeed BE ESTABLISHED, anywhere else on earth, before James Lovelock’s prediction of final gaia calamity BECOMES A REALITY.

  6. Albert Klamt says


    this personal take is really triggering me. Its profound. And, of course, evoking my own personal assoications in my bio in Germany.

    Last week DAILY STAR started with its first Germany Bashing this year.

    Title was “Return of ze Black Shirts”. showing Miachel Ballack on the same page as Adolf Hitler. My sense of humor created a balanced feeling. As my father participated a soldier at various frontieres in WW2 my personal feeling were and are very close to this chapter of collective shipwreck of German history.

    As we have 2010 once again FIFA Worldcup I will be happy when atmosphere in South Africa is a cheerful as in 2006 in Germany.

    I grew up in the German Ruhr Area with lots of multicultural experiences. Korean friends and teachers. I practiced Taekwon Do. A first girl friend who was a nurse from the Phillipines. The parents of my mother has immigrated from Slovenia before WW1.

    Workers in the Ruhr Area came from Poland, Italy as much as Greece, Turkey and former Yugoslavia. Black people from Africa worked in the hospitals.

    Several times I visited the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Lucembourg.

    When I visited the Ruhr Kolleg in the city of Essen I met Americans and people from Canada too. And, astonishingly.):) I never was impressed by Anti americanism or America bashing.

    So before I was 25 the regional roots and a multicultural feeling were very strong.

    To make it short at this moment:

    Only after fall of the wall and the summer fairy tale in 2006 I sensed a new postive we feeling. Well, the beginning of it.

    In ALL generations. And East AND West. Men AND women. People from the street AND intellectuals. Very comprehensive.

    Thanks for sharing this personal story.


  7. Nicholas Beecroft says

    Jon, this is fascinating, thank you. It is interesting to me that we have come to the same conclusions about the positive future vision for the country and world, although we came from very different backgrounds and had a very different experience of identity in our younger years.

    I participated in many off the record debates on this subject just 7 years ago when it was all still too taboo to talk about for the media and establishment.

    I wrote the following introduction as part of a proposal to the government which at the time was controversial, but which has become mainstream. Indeed, they embraced the ideas, at least on some levels.

    Finally Britain is on track to evolve to be a leading, exciting, dynamic node in the emergent global consciousness.


    Britain needs to have an open, honest debate about national identity, multi-culturalism, immigration and asylum. This requires leadership, facilitated dialogue, tolerance and common sense.

    There are problems in Britain relating to immigration, asylum and national identity.
    The current atmosphere inhibits the proper debate required to find solutions.
    Debate is polarised by the excesses of political correctness which prevent reasonable and decent people from discussing legitimate issues relating to immigration, asylum and national identity. Such people are afraid to common sense matters


    It would be a good thing if the people living in Britain
    Felt secure
    Were tolerant of each other
    Benefit from a society open and connected to the world
    Felt comfortable with their identity
    Shared in common some basic values
    Shared in common a thread of shared identity
    Live in a cohesive, co-operative society
    Treated people equally and fairly, irrespective of race and origin
    Were welcoming and tolerant to asylum seekers

    Current position

    Much of the population feel that immigration is out of control
    There is increasing hostility to asylum seekers
    There is an increase in support for the far right
    In many areas, there is little cohesion, shared values or identity
    In spite of all efforts to the contrary, racism continues to exist
    The majority British identity is an object of derision and ridicule

    Political Correctness- the false consensus

    At present, we still largely have the false-consensus which has prevailed for 30-40 years- that immigration is purely good; that multi-culturalism is both possible and desirable and that anyone who raises any doubts about this must be a racist and represents the slippery slope to genocide.

    Despite having the force of the state, law, liberal middle classes and media behind it, this politically-correct consensus has failed to deliver the harmony, tolerance and new Britain it promised.

    Racism is still an ugly part of life. There is unprecedented hostility to asylum seekers in the media. Daily, they are vilified and made to appear as scroungers, criminals and as a security threat. The BNP has been gaining votes and members. Politicians report that on the doorstep, they detect a great deal racism and hostility to ethnic minorities.

    One response to this is to feel morally superior, to condemn the racists, to spend more money on diversity education, positive discrimination and to censor the tabloids. But, it’s no good putting your head in the sand, that won’t work.

    If we really want to make thing better, we should understand WHY?

    Discussion issues of national identity and immigration is sensitive, on the one hand, because of the anti-immigration hysteria. On the other, it is a very risky path for anyone in public life because of the risk of being branded a racist and losing their reputation and livelihood. This process is a modern form of witch burning.

    What is needed is a good dose of honesty, openness and tolerance…..

    There are broadly three clusters of views about nationality and immigration into the UK.

    A. The liberal, optimistic, idealist view

    Immigration brings labour, ideas, dynamism, diversity, openness, flexibility etc. It is a moral responsibility to be open to the world and to take in those who seek asylum and those who seek to come to build a better life. There is nothing permanent or sacred about the nation-state, borders and cultural identities. It is a natural part of globalisation that there will be increasing numbers of people moving all over the world for a variety of reasons. This is a process that should be managed effectively.

    This view is very logical, moral, apparently fair and high-minded. It is maintained in public by most politicians, officials and supported by government policy, anti-discrimination laws and by peer pressure which brands anyone who raises doubts as a supporter of position B.

    B. The Far-right view

    a) The nasty side of human nature

    Each of us has the potential to be prejudiced and to feel threatened by others who are different in anyway, including race, accent, habits, dress etc. In certain subcultures, combined with group processes operating against outsiders, this can take on quite a sinister form leading to racism, segregation, discrimination, violence and even genocide.

    These views are only publicly expressed by the BNP in the UK. However, such feelings are much more common than people care to admit as people naturally try to suppress the dark parts of themselves of which they are ashamed or find socially unacceptable.

    b) Specifically: race-based nationalism

    The far right believe that Britain’s survival in a hostile world depends upon maintaining the dominance of the indigenous whites and in excluding and ideally deporting the others. It assumes that race is fundamental to culture and nationhood.

    Quite rightly, there is an intolerance for these views in the UK and they are kept in check by peer pressure, political leadership, education and where necessary the law.

    The gaping hole in the debate

    The problem is that while position “B” is rightly vilified as unpleasant and dangerous, position “A” does not fully account for reality and does not deal with some very realistic issues around immigration and nationality. Anyone who challenges position “A” has been routinely branded evil and the debate stops, leaving legitimate frustrations to fester and turn to resentment which expresses itself in the current atmosphere towards asylum seekers.

    To move forward, leaders need to acknowledge honestly that there are real disadvantages to mass immigration as well as the well trumpeted advantages.

    C. The Realist view

    Competition and group processes

    In all human groups there is naturally a constant equilibrium between cooperation and conflict. This is as true in a family as in a continent. Of course, it is best to aim for the ideals of cooperation and friendly co-existence (position “A”) but it is very foolish to forget that conflict and competition are just as real parts of life that have to be acknowledged and managed.

    Large influxes of people into a group, even if they are culturally very similar, inevitably causes some tensions, competition, conflict and change. This process is seen when large numbers move to new cities- just as there is growth, opportunity, dynamism and diversity, so there is competition, conflict and change.

    This process is part of life. If you don’t believe it, just go and watch some birds nesting on a rock or some seals on a beach and see what happens when new ones arrive to claim their piece of territory. The existing ones defend their space and try to ward off the newcomers. It’s not “nice”, but it would be ridiculous to call the birds or seals fascists because they are defending their territory. They’re just competing to survive and protect their offspring. Although humans flatter ourselves that we’re very civilised and sophisticated, some parallels with nature are hard to avoid.

    When many of the newcomers to a group have very different cultures, values and attitudes this increases the magnitude of the strain put on the cohesion and identity of both the receiving society and the newcomers themselves by these processes.

    We need a cohesive Multi-racial British Society not Multi-cultural Balkanisation

    People get the concepts of a multi-cultural society and a multi-racial society mixed up. The first is an ideological theory; the second is a fact.
    It is desirable for Britain to be a cohesive, tolerant, liberal, democratic, non-racist, global in perspective and a force for good in the world. Multi-culturalism is NOT a good way to achieve this aim.

    There are four massive holes in the ideology of Multi-culturalism:

    1. Multi-culturalism is moral relativism and nihilism

    Multi-culturalism is founded in the sociological ideologies of the 1960’s, laden with fresh guilt for the holocaust, imperialism and slavery. After seeing those terrible consequences of racism and nationalism, the pendulum swung to the opposite extreme which is equally wrong- moral relativism. That is to say that there is no right or wrong; no criteria upon which one can say “I prefer this to that;” that all cultures and all opinions are equal and that it is immoral to question that. (unless you challenge the faith in multi-culturalism itself which is a sign of being a neo-Nazi/witch)

    2. Multi-culturalism is itself racist and divisive

    In the British context, multi-culturalism has championed the celebration of the cultures and identities of newcomers- people are encouraged to proudly demonstrate their culture and to maintain their separateness. It is racist to assume that people who have volunteered to become British want to be forever considered part of a separate culture and not welcomed to join in the majority culture which they elected to join.

    3. Multi-culturalism discriminates against the majority

    Multi-culturalism has encouraged the denigration, alienation and suppression of the majority British culture. It is a paradox that the open, tolerant, global, prosperous, democratic, secure Britain that people come here to join is not allowed to be proud that it is just that, albeit with faults and limitations. Instead, the majority must hang their heads in shame that Britain is forever an imperialist, racist, oppressor.

    One of the flaws in multi-culturalism is that it has assumed that the host culture is infinitely robust in its ability to cope with the effects of mass immigration. It is very well documented how newcomers may experience culture shock, stress, racism, discrimination and alienation.

    However, almost totally neglected is the experience of the receiving community. Many have experienced large scale immigration as a direct challenge to their identity, jobs, homes, lifestyle and community. Many were a kind of internal refugee- escaping to the suburbs. Many feel angry that they were never consulted before new members were invited to join the club. You only have to read the tabloids to see just how insecure many people feel in the belief that immigration continues apace without any care for the effect upon those already here. This is one reason why there is so much hostility to new asylum seekers. There is a real fear that if they were allowed, many more than we can possibly cope with from Africa, Asia and the Middle East would come here.

    This is a cause of poor race relations. New immigrants are often not perceived as people who come to join in and become part of the whole team, they are perceived as joining separate closed communities who can seem to be threatening to the stability, cohesion and security of society as a whole.

    In fact, bizarre as it may seem, many of the white working class have the psychological characteristics of an oppressed minority- like Palestinians or Northern Irish Catholics. They feel very insecure, threatened, their identity is mocked and denigrated, the tools of the state are used to suppress them and they have no serious politicians voicing what they consider to be their legitimate grievances. Unfortunately such a group is ripe for exploitation by extremist groups who can hijack the interests of the disenfranchised group for a much more sinister agenda of their own. This is why the BNP is doing well because they are the only people who voice the concerns of the disenfranchised whites. This is why it is time for serious politicians, journalists and other opinion leaders to drop the politically correct fantasy and start an honest, pragmatic and common sense debate about nationality and immigration.

    The degree to which people identify with their nation varies with many factors. Most notably in the UK, the working classes and lower middle classes (if those terms are still valid) have always been the most readily patriotic. That is one reason why they are least enamoured by political correctness and by the denigration of British identity. The middle and upper classes are more likely to define themselves more by their occupation, possessions, politics or hobbies. They are thus much less troubled by the denigration of the British identity and can more easily seek refuge in alternative identities.

    The lower classes are also more directly affected by immigration as they more often live in close proximity with immigrants and have to compete head on for jobs, housing, partners and social recognition.

    On both counts, they will inevitably have a view of immigration which tends towards the realist “C” and nasty “B” rather than the liberal classes who, more idealistic and insulated can more comfortably hold position “A” and scoff at the intolerance of those less fortunate.

    4. Experience shows that Multi-culturalism causes division and conflict

    It is possible for different cultures to live along side one another. Muslims, Jews and Christians have done so for centuries in North Africa and the Middle East. Serbs, Croats and Muslims have done so for centuries in the Balkans. Chinese and Malays have done so in South East Asia; Muslims and Hindus in the Indian Subcontinent.

    However, in most cases these situations have evolved slowly over a long time. They tend to have a dominant group who control the culture, power and resources and who tolerate the (often exploited) minorities so long as they keep in their designated place. From time to time things go wrong and very unpleasant consequences follow. This is not a tolerance based upon real mutual respect, understanding and trust. It is people putting up with each other because they have to. These are not sustainable role models for Britain.

    Shared values and identity form the basis of a cohesive, secure, successful society

    Perhaps the most translatable example of people from many places living together is the USA. We know that America is far from perfect- they certainly have many problems caused by social, cultural and racial division. However, in spite of this, their population is still positive and open to immigrants; in fact it is part of their national identity to be open and welcoming to immigrants. They also have a strong and positive sense of being American and pride in their history and values. There are huge differences which inhibit the UK from having such a positive an attitude.

    Firstly, the Americans don’t have any qualms about having membership criteria. They have a precious country and they are not embarrassed to pick and choose who is allowed to join their club. If they don’t want you, tough luck; that’s life. Secondly, the common thread that unites them is the ideal of being an American. They salute the flag, promise to defend the constitution and proudly identify with their history. The natives are proud and those who join them are explicitly welcomed to become a full member.

    The British intelligentsia may look on patronisingly, but the Americans have a national identity that works and we don’t.

    You can be patriotic without being stupid or driven by hatred

    Even when Britannia really did rule the waves and jingoism was at its height, there has always been a strong tension in Britain between those who feel very proud of their country and those who are rather embarrassed to be associated with something so primitive as such tribal feeling. After the 20th Century, no one needs any further persuasion that nationalism can turn very ugly.

    However, again, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. It has become taboo to be patriotic. There the sense that anyone who shows pride in being British must either be some kind of BNP/Nazi supporter or at best a rather quaint, naïve idiot.

    Again there is complete hypocrisy in this position. When we meet someone from another country- say Sweden, Nigeria or Brazil, we find it natural, desirable and attractive that they have a healthy patriotism. When we visit their countries, we are fascinated and charmed to learn about their culture, what makes them feel proud, their landmarks and their beliefs and so on. So why does it suddenly become a sign of evil or stupidity when the culture being celebrated is British?

    Scientifically and philosophically, we know that there is nothing permanent or sacred about Britain or anything about the way we currently organise ourselves. It is just a fact of psychology in terms of identity and group behaviour at present. This realisation is what makes many of us consider patriotism to be a primitive psycho-social process which we ought to rise above. But, the fact is that we are part of the British team for the time being. You may prefer Wales, Manchester, Europe or the World as your ideal unit of organisation, but for the time being British is a practical reality as well as a shared arbitrary belief.

    Enlightened patriotism

    We ought to think about patriotism as we do individual self-esteem. We consider it to be bad for a person to be arrogant, superior, hateful or derogatory about others. We consider it healthy and desirable that a person has good self-esteem- that is to say that they basically feel comfortable in themselves and like themselves while having a realistic appraisal of their limitations and faults.

    It is the same with groups to which we belong. People define their identity in many ways including group membership. Most people to some degree have national or cultural identity as part of that. It is wrong to define your national identity in opposition to others or based upon hate for or inferiority of others. But it is also healthy to have a basic positive respect and warm feeling towards your country and fellow countrymen. This is not some primitive tribal instinct to be suppressed. It is part of being a healthy, balanced person in a healthy, balanced society.

    Healing the wounds and building a sustainable consensus

    It goes without saying that to improve the situation; the country has to honestly and practically face real questions about national identity, values and immigration. The biggest hurdles to that are the twin evils of political correctness and the rabid tabloid propaganda on the subject.

    I am optimistic that it is possible through dialogue and honest debate to achieve a modern, inclusive, non-racist, positive sense of Britishness which can be shared by the majority of Britons and those who have come and continue to come to join us. I believe we can work to evolve a sense of common identity and values which can appeal to the majority at the same time as being something to which new immigrants and existing ethnic minorities can genuinely feel they belong. This could be the key to improving race relations, attitudes to newcomers and to improve everyone’s sense of cohesion and belonging.

    Ideally, we should do our best to have a realistic view of ourselves as we are now, how we relate to each other, how we relate to our history, how we relate to other peoples and of our strengths and weaknesses. In practice, all national stories, like our own personal stories, are part fact, part myth, part wishful thinking and obviously stress the positive and minimise the negative.

    What needs to happen- dialogue, debate and leadership:

    promotion of honest, open debate regarding immigration and nationality
    related practical issues dealt with on a case-by case common sense basis
    a mature examination of:
    our national identity
    our history
    our relationships with other countries
    our relationships amongst ourselves
    promotion of the evolution of a modern, inclusive British identity through dialogue and leadership

    Britain as a beacon of democracy, freedom, justice and secular liberalism

    The Britain of the multi-cultural gurus is a monster which spent hundreds of years exploiting and dominating much of the rest of the world, bringing tyranny, violence and racism. They believe that we must forever hang our heads in shame.

    Over hundreds of years, engaged throughout the globe as the most powerful country, it is inevitable that a lot of bad things did happen, not least slavery. But the people who focus upon these bad things overlook some basic facts. Values the world over used to be very different to our modern liberal ones. What used to be taken for granted is now considered to be immoral. For the majority of time, the few have exploited the many both within and between countries.

    A less jaundiced way to look at our history is that for hundreds of years, Britain has been at the forefront in the development of free speech, freedom from arbitrary government, the rule of law, freedom of the individual, respect for property, respect for religious freedom, representative democracy, liberalism, capitalism, education, science, philosophy and medicine. At home Britain has been and remains one of the most open, free, creative, diverse and tolerant societies in the world. Britain resisted and contributed to the defeat of totalitarian barbarism in Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union and in doing so prevented much worse horrors than already happened. A shift in the realities of power and a change in values at home and abroad led to the dissolution of the worlds largest ever empire. Since that time, Britain has been a leading player in the world in the UN, NATO, EU, Commonwealth and through our alliance with the USA.

    If we can put behind us the politically correct self-hatred, and stick to our strengths, we have the opportunity to flourish as a beacon and facilitator for freedom, democracy, human rights, liberalism, capitalism and the rule of law worldwide as part of a network of like minded allies and friends around the world. We should be proud of this and proud of our values and strengths while conscious to work on our weaknesses.