Friday, September 29, 2006

Subject: The white working-class and the British elite: from the salt of the Earth to the scum of the Earth

Published on Thirdway website

Part of an essay by Robert Henderson :The white working-class and the British elite: from the salt of the earth to the scum of the earth

Robert Henderson

Thirty years ago the Labour Party primary client base was the white working class, while the Tories still had remnants of the heightened sense of social responsibility towards the poor created by two world> wars. Fast forward to 2006 and the white working-class are treated by the entire British political elite as a dangerous, almost subhuman species. The mixture of contempt, fear and hatred which the white working-class> now draws from the political class is echoed by the elite generally, indeed by not just the elite but the middle-class as a whole. Where once the white working-class were next to uninsultable publicly, sneering references to "chavs" and "chav culture" are now commonplace in the mainstream media where they pass with barely a critical public word, while ethnic minorities seemingly have licence to publicly insult the white working-class with impunity, vide the Coronation Street episode in January 2006 where a male Asian character accused his sister of behaving like "poor white trash".

What caused this immense change in the status of the white working-class?

There were three direct primary engines of change.

The first was the success of Thatcher and her ideology, the second a critical point was reached in post-war mass immigration, the third Britain's membership of the EU and other restrictive treaties which tainted her sovereignty. Globalism and laissez-faire economics When Margaret Thatcher became Tory Leader in 1975 the neo-paternalist stance the party had adopted since the smashing Labour victory of 1945 was changed to one of laissez-faire non-interventionism, with its inherent disdain for public provision and service. Thatcher threw away> the protectionism which had sustained the white working-class, allowed much of British industry, especially heavy industry, to go to the wall, and privatised the nationalised industries. Unemployment, already at a post-war high at the end of the Callaghan government, rose dramatically to around 3 million. The unions were then weak enough to be successfully attacked with severe legal restraints on strikes and a ban on secondary picketing.

Unemployment has remained high since the early 1980s - the current official unemployment figures are bad enough taken at face value (around 1.6m by the international Labour survey method) - but in reality it is probably considerably higher - there are 2-3 million on long term sick benefit now compared with around 600,000 twenty five years ago. Commonsense says the country cannot in 2006 have four or five times the number of seriously incapacitated people it had twenty-five years ago. This high unemployment has kept the white working-class largely quiescent and the unions emasculated.

Thatcher also threw away the post-war consensus that the white working-class was admirable, or at least deserving of special consideration because of their disadvantaged social circumstances. Thatcherite Tories were only interested in the working-class insofar as its members were willing to buy into the narrow aspirational template which Thatcher promoted. If you were working-class and wanted to buy your council flat and were happy to gobble up the shares of privatised national industries, the Tories approved of you; if you wanted to maintain traditional working-class employments and communities, you were a soldier in the ranks of the enemy.

Labour did not immediately cast off the white working-class as clients. That took 18 years of opposition. Through four election defeats Labour gradually jettisoned all that they stood for in their cynical quest for a way back to power. The end result was a supposedly Labour Government headed by Blair which became, quite bizarrely, even more fanatically committed to "free markets" and "free trade" than the Tories.

Immigration reaching a critical level

By 1979 immigration had swollen the population of blacks and Asians in Britain to a point where their numbers were significant enough to pose a serious threat to British society if racial conflict got out of hand.

Until the end of the 1970s the official line on immigrants from all the mainstream parties was that they must assimilate. Towards the end of the decade it was obvious to even the most fervent advocate of integration that assimilation was not happening. Rather, large populations of various ethnicities were stubbornly continuing to form ghettoes in the major British towns and cities and were attempting to live lives which as far as possible replicated those of their ancestral countries.

To avoid having to admit what a disaster immigration had been, the British liberal left adopted an ideology to fit the facts of what was happening. That ideology was multiculturalism, a creed which rested on the fantasy that a coherent society could be produced by allowing every ethnic group in Britain to retain its separate identity. Indeed, the multiculturalists did more than say we should allow such a development, they positively encouraged ethnic minorities to remain separate. The kindest interpretation of their behaviour is that these were people enthusiastically pouring paraffin onto a fire in an attempt to put it out.

But the multiculturalists were faced by a most awkward fact. The white working-class was and always had been resolutely opposed to mass post-war immigration. Not only that but they were willing to say so publicly - the dockers for instance had marched with Enoch Powell. Therefore, the liberal left had to do two things to prevent the white working-class from expressing their discontent both with the immigration which had occurred and with the new policy of multiculturalism, in which the native British culture was to have no privileged place but was to be merely one amongst many competing cultures. Worse, in practice the native culture (or cultures if you prefer) was not even to be allowed to compete because to do so would be to give the native population a public voice and a focus for their discontent.

The Labour Party at the parliamentary level was generally willing to espouse the new ideology uncritically because it fitted with their internationalist rhetoric. It also helped that the immigrants overwhelmingly voted Labour and were neatly consolidated in ghettos in the larger towns and cities where their votes were likely to elect Labour candidates more often than not.

Of course there was the seemingly ticklish problem for the multiculturalists of Labour being out of power for 18 years. In practice it did not matter, for it was not only the overt liberal left who embraced multiculturalism. Whatever their rhetoric, in practice, the Tories climbed on the multiculturalist bandwagon quickly enough. Thatcher had spoken not long before being elected in 1979 of Britain being "swamped" by immigrants. But once in office she did nothing and the position continued to worsen, not least because she signed the Single European Act in 1985 which granted any person legally resident in another EU state the right to work in Britain. And of course throughout the 18 years of Tory office, people with the "right" multiculturalist views controlled the media, academia and increasingly the civil service. They were always on hand, both behind the scenes and publicly, to ensure the Tory Government did not actually do anything to disturb the multiculturalist programme.

Worse was to follow. In opposition the Tories followed the course of the Labour Party. Three election defeats in a row persuaded them to elect as leader David Cameron, a man who adopted the same strategy for the Tories as Blair had pursued when he dumped everything Labour stood for. Cameron quickly got rid of everything which was considered "Old Tory" . This included wholeheartedly embracing multiculturalism. The electoral circle on immigration was formally closed. There is no major party to vote for if you do not want further mass immigration.

The silencing of the white working-class voice on immigration was achieved by a number of means over the past quarter century. Most potent was the mixture of legal threats such as the various Race Relations Acts and the religiously fervent exclusion of anti-immigration views from the mainstream media. British culture was gradually relegated to a less prominent place in schools. Pupils were taught, if they were taught anything about the past, of white wickedness. The Atlantic slave trade was represented as the greatest crime of history, the British Empire nothing more than a cruel invasion and subjugation of defenceless peoples. Any sign of publicly expressed native white pride was jumped on from everyone from politicians to teachers and denounced as xenophobia at best and racism as worst.

It did not take long for anyone who was not a supporter of multiculturalism to be beyond the liberal elite pale. By 2006 multiculturalism had been formally embedded into public life through a mixture of ideological sharing amongst the elite and their auxiliaries and the law, most notably in recent years by the Race Relations (Amendment Act) of 2000 which effectively places an obligation on all employers who receive public funding to demonstrate that they are not being discriminatory.

The contemptuous mentality of those who currently permit and advocate mass immigration to Britain is epitomised by a speech in 2006 to business leaders by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King. King said:"If the increased demand for labour generates its own supply in the form of migrant labour then the link between demand and prices is broken. Indeed, in an economy that can call on unlimited supplies of migrant labour, the concept of output gap becomes meaningless....The UK is not in that extreme position, but the inflow of migrant labour, especially in the past year or so from Eastern Europe, has probably lead to a diminution of inflationary pressure in the labour market, relative to previous experience.

"The Home Office estimates that around 120,000 workers entered the UK from the new member countries of the European Union between March 2004 and March 2005. Without this influx to fill the skills gap in a tight labour market, it is likely earnings would have risen at a faster rate, putting pressure on employers, and, ultimately, inflation". Daily Telegraph 14 6 2006.

There you have the elite view of the day: human beings are to be treated purely as factor of production along with land and capital. No greater contempt for the masses, including the white working-class, can be held.

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