Dean Brooke | Opinion
A nation, insofar as we understand it, has always been defined as a group of people who share a common culture, value set and history and who inhabit a particular geographical area.
This might seem like a controversial statement from the outset because these days lots of ire is thrown at nationalism from the Left, and of course certain branches which we might define as “ethnonationalism” do indeed possess outright racist and xenophobic outlooks, which should not be entertained.
However, we must put this to one side for a moment and focus on the essence of what a nation really is and thus describe what nationalism should be in a bona-fide meaningful sense and particularly when it comes to the United Kingdom.
Thus, my goal in writing this article is to write a solid defence of modern nationalism as well as putting forward an outline for what it should actually be going forward.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Nationalism” as:
1: loyalty and devotion to a nation especially: a sense of national consciousness (see CONSCIOUSNESS sense 1c) exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.
Nationalism, per se, is therefore about defending the interests of a group of people who share a common culture and interests.
The main point we have to remember here is that “culture” is an expression of values.
The Nation Of Britain
Historically, if we consider the nature of what Britain has been, then “Britain” as a concept was not simply confined to the geographical shores of the British Isles.
This is because Britain, ultimately, used to be an empire.
The British Empire was one of the key reasons why so many of its members became vibrant, liberated capitalist economies in modern times. This is because, through being members of the Empire (and in modern times the Commonwealth), they adopted the value system of modern Britain and its post-enlightenment worldview, even though they were not connected to Britain by way of landmass and sometimes did not even share a common ethnic background.
Although at one point it comprised many different geographic landmasses and ethnic backgrounds under its rule, for the most part, the extended British Empire still largely held together as a community because, ultimately, each constituent was largely expected to adhere to British values and support principles embedded in British national culture (such as free enterprise, freedom of religion and so forth). Of course, many of these populations also adopted the English language to one extent or another, which is an enormously important point of cultural integration.
Moreover, Britain has successfully assimilated different ethnicities from other parts of the world into British culture and the British way of life.
Since Victorian times, substantial influxes of migrants (such as the original Jewish migrants after Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s Emancipation Act, which officially & permanently delegitimised anti-Semitism in the UK during the same Conservative government), have moved to Britain. This includes the wave of Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s (who were fleeing persecution on mainland Europe during the Holocaust) and the main waves of Hindu Indian migrants (after WWII concluded) in the 1940s and 1950s.
These ethnic groupings have since successfully assimilated into the British nation because, ultimately, the people represented by these ethnicities were willing to accept British values, embrace British culture, learn the English language and assimilate into our way of life.
This is because Britain historically took a “melting pot” approach to life in our own nation, and not only did we levy the expectation upon migrants to accept British values and culture, but we also traditionally levied the expectation upon immigrants to assimilate into Britain’s national way of life.
Moreover, large institutions such as schools (which, in these times, were not afraid to teach British values), the British military, large private-sector employers (which were more solidly patriotic in past times) and others besides have historically helped immerse immigrants and 2nd-generation immigrants into British culture, British history and the British value set through a combination of education, opportunity being offered equally to all and, most importantly, solid sets of institutional values that were upheld and enforced across often entire local populations.
Therefore, as a nation, Britain has always been multi-ethnic because it has traditionally held territories that comprise non-British demographics and has always had input from migrants who were willing to assimilate and adapt to the demands of the majority value set and way of life of the British people.
In short, Britain is a nation of values above all else and, as self-described nationalists, this must be where our concerns about cohesion and unity lie.
Multiculturalism & Modern National Cohesion
The problems we have faced in modern times with immigration (other than the obvious issue of overwhelming numbers, which have placed strains on our national resources) is largely due to the fact that we abandoned the traditional “melting pot” approach of assimilating migrants into our native culture and adopted the destructive post-modern value system of multiculturalism during the late 90s, when the Labour government under Tony Blair won a decisive majority.
The value set of multiculturalism has encouraged migrants to move to our country without placing any expectations upon them to assimilate into British society, contribute to the British nation or participate in our national way of life, or even conform to our national values.
Rather, by definition, multiculturalism actually encourages immigrants and minorities to retain their values and way of life when they move to this country, and for the rest of the nation to accommodate them and grant special treatment to them even when their values and cultural practices are clearly at odds with the majority prevailing value set of the British nation.
This has proven enormously divisive in practice.
It has caused lots of damage to our cohesiveness as a nation, because we ended up with a substantial number of migrants who moved to the UK expecting to be accommodated in expressing values that are diametrically opposed to the values of our nation as a whole.
Under this regime, many migrants, rather than dispersing across the country and participating in the various aspects of British life, also congregated within very small parts of the country, which this has upset the natural political dynamic in some localities, because (especially in certain boroughs of London) migrants have essentially started to become a seperate majoritative electorate.
This is another consequence of the way multiculturalism encourages separatism and the breakdown of law and order, because we have ended up with areas that have a substantial percentage of residents who do not accept British culture and are being encouraged to continue putting their values and way of life into practice even when it clashes with the law of the land and the national values of our country.
In short, multiculturalism is a recipe for anarchy.
The Issues Of Ethno-Nationalism
Now, certain people on what we might call the “alternative Right” would like us on the Right to take an ethnocentric view of nationalism. That is, a growing popular view is that ultimately nationhood, and thus nationalism, is an assertion of ethnic identity as its primary value statement.
Now, without getting too far into the debate about racism and the obvious issues with it, let’s point out a glaring logical problem with this when it comes to ethno-nationalism.
Lots of people with whom we might share ethnic heritage are also the very people currently seeking to undermine our values as a nation.
It is a glaringly obvious fact, for example, that despite the Left’s focus on ethnic minorities and suchlike, they are largely comprised of guilt-ridden white folk from often very middle-class backgrounds and, of course, middle-class students who like to pretend that they aren’t actually part of the entitled, largely white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant middle classes whom they claim to despise.
As such, why do we share an identity with these people, purely because of their ethnicity? Surely, what underpins our conflict with the nouveau-Left is their rejection of our national values, which ultimately help the people of our country prosper and help our country to succeed on the world stage.
Ethnic and racial homogeneity, per se, are not determining factors in what constitutes a community with a strong set of homogenous and cohesive values, and we can see this in the way that Britain was ultimately very strong as a nation up until around the 1970s, when the doctrine of multiculturalism first arose and started to break apart our cohesion as a sovereign, united people.
It does not guarantee a good set of national values either, and we can see this in the way that, ultimately, lots of ethnically white European states (which were extremely ethnically homogenous) caved in to Socialism. Similarly, many mixed-race and non-white nations (especially Commonwealth nations) never caved in to de facto Socialism.
So the problem here, when we speak of national cohesion, is not one of race or ethnicity per se, but rather of values and assimilation.
The Divided National Landscape Of Britain
This is evident in the way that many areas are Labour strongholds and other areas are Conservative strongholds. It is because of the way certain value systems become entrenched in populations inhabiting a specific area (often as a result of migrants consolidating a presence in an area and not assimilating into the British population or accepting British values).
It is of, course, no coincidence that there is a growing rural/urban divide in this respect either. This, in itself, is a result of the way values are shifting in urbanised areas for a variety of reasons (including immigration from nations that have more entrenched Leftist views).
This divide was also very evident in the Brexit Referendum vote.
As such, the UK is already a very divided country, and this is one of the key threats to the UK as a nation because we are close to losing the common value set that defined and drove much of the progress the UK made in terms of standards of living, global influence, civil liberties and so forth over the past 500 years.
That is to say, the reason we ultimately succeeded as a nation is because the UK’s ethical and moral heritage in terms of our unified historical values drove its success (and this is also one of the key reasons why the UK never fell to Socialism or experienced authoritarian nightmares such as Fascism, in the way that so many of our European neighbours did).
And that’s really what Nationalism, as a belief system, is and should be about.
It’s also why we should all be nationalists as well as conservatives.
By definition then, most of the conflicts currently taking place around issues of race and gender and identity are fundamentally conflicts of values above all else, and it’s really this area that we should focus on as conservatives because, first and foremost, we should understand what the values of our nation are and seek to defend them above all else.
This, of course, means that we have to take on the Left on issues like open borders, gender identity, racial divisions and so forth, but we have to do so in such a way that we recognise we are fighting an enemy with a radically different value structure. After all, the lefts’ primary difference to us lies in the fact that they are seeking to destroy and replace our own value system (which the public still broadly supports) in the process of the ideological and political battle.
It does also mean that we have to take on many on the “alternative Right”, who often not only oppose Capitalism (bizarrely, many of them are also against Socialism, so it’s difficult to figure out exactly what they believe in on occasions), but also press for racially divisive policies and authoritarian approaches to society in the UK.
Ignoring the obvious moral implications here, and looking at things logically, this also displays an ignorance of the issues concerning the nature of Britain’s national values – which, ultimately, anyone of any race is capable of subscribing to or rejecting, depending on the whims of that particular individual at any moment in time.
Why Nationalism Is The Answer
Nationalism is largely the remedy for these issues, and it does not necessitate closing the borders or pressing for ethnically homogenous communities. As long as the values we adhere to as a nation (which have ultimately led to us being rich and free and prosperous) are accepted by migrants and minority ethnic and religious groups, there should be no problem assimilating them into the British way of life and creating a population with a cohesive set of values that are broadly respected and upheld.
By definition, then, going forward, the main things we need to push for are:
- Migration numbers must be cut. We are currently importing over 500,000 people every year and the Conservative Party must deliver on its promise of cutting immigration numbers.
- The police forces and judicial services need serious reform; they must enforce law of the land without prejudice or bias to the background of offenders. Officers who do not adhere to this must be stripped of their titles and punished. The police force must start policing again, without regard to the protests of loud minority voices who have their various agendas to undermine law and order.
- Migrants must be encouraged to disperse more evenly when they move to our nation, rather than being crammed into already overcrowded districts such as central London, Birmingham or Bradford, and the Government should play an active part in this. It should decide suitable locations for migrants during the process of assessing their right to settlement. This should be a condition of gaining British citizenship, or indeed any other temporary arrangement such as work permits and so forth.
- Public schools, colleges and universities must play a part in actively teaching British values again, and the teaching unions must be told that anyone not agreeing to do so must be forced to step down and be permanently excluded from teaching in government funded institutions.
- It must be made clear to migrants that, not only will they not be able to sign straight onto benefits, but they must have an existing job offer waiting for them that is difficult to fill from the existing population. We must also make the practice of advertising jobs overseas while not declaring them in the UK completely illegal, and businesses employing people who have not acquired citizenship must be heavily fined.
- More importantly, there must be a substantial programme aimed at promoting the British values of enterprise, personal liberty, family values and so forth nationwide, by means of institutions such as schools and universities.
- Presuming the battle for national sovereignty has effectively been won after the final defeat of the Remain lobby in late 2019, we must now ensure that this is upheld at all costs, and that no subsequent international agreement can ever become a “Trojan horse” for giving our sovereignty away to supra-national powers.
We can consider this a good manifesto for what we should believe in as nationalists, and ultimately, if we can mainstream these values via the various Right-wing parties and Right-wing movements, this should help put down the extremists who subscribe to both ethno-nationalism and the hard-Left.
In short – and let’s not pretend otherwise – Britain has always been one of the main drivers of freedom, progress, enterprise and success in the world, because our Anglo-Saxon heritage always gave us an upper hand versus nations that placed more value on bureaucratism and even totalitarianism.
The export of these values to the rest of the world has been an important source of progress for humanity on an international level.
We should therefore not flinch from promoting them internally. National cohesion is an important factor that we need to address, and we need pro-active policies that help banish divisive influences and bring the nation back together.
Modern nationalism is the logical answer to all these problems.