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Prejudice and the patriotic poor

Sometimes one comes across an article so irredeemably pompous, so insufferably smug, so awkwardly faux-defiant that merely reading through to the end of the thing can be regarded an achievement worthy of official recognition.

Funnily enough, and quite by coincidence, I came across just such an article today. Needless to say it is in the Guardian, as these things usually are, and it warrants attention as a wonderful example of how someone with a pre-determined agenda can weave through a narrative of such startling contradiction that it makes one wonder if the modern world hasn’t found the wisdom of the fool all too much effort and chosen instead to simply elevate the foolish.

The article comes from Kanishk Tharoor, is entitled ‘Umbro’s stirring anthem for a multicultural England,’ and if one was to give a one line synopsis it would be simply this – all you patriotic people are basically racist, especially you poorer white ones, but getting non-white people to sing the national anthem is a triumph of multiculturalism.

I told you it was silly.

Anyway, to get to the meat of thing, Tharoor devotes his first two paragraphs to deriding the national anthem, having, as Guardianistas are wont to do, a haughty little potshot at the monarchy in the process. He follows this up by stating that, quite to his own surprise, he nonetheless found himself liking a rendition of the anthem he had seen in a recent advert by Umbro. Why the change of heart, I hear you cry? Well, basically this – it had half of its cast chosen from ‘non-white minority groups’.

Now before going any further, it’s probably worth reminding ourselves that when the modern liberati are challenged about the divisiveness of their doctrines, they usually turn the argument round on their opponents by charging them to be guilty of the very thing for which they, the liberati, are culpable. So for example, if one questions why Harriet Harman thinks it should be acceptable to rule out men for a job simply because they are men, then in reply one is labelled as a chauvinist who wants to discriminate against women simply because they are women.

Tharoor utilises precisely this tactic. After frankly admitting that his like of the commercial is based primarily on the colour of the skin of those who were in it, he then spends most of the rest of the article attacking traditional patriotic expression on the grounds of its unhealthy historical obsession with skin colour. Or to express that the other way round, the chap who spends nearly an entire article implying white patriotic Englishmen are essentially racist, decides he likes this particular rendition of the national anthem simply because there are lots of non-whites in it.

Of course, an article in the Guardian about the racist white English wouldn’t be complete without a deft working through of some sort of colonial narrative, and so it is that we read that ‘support for the England football team remains strikingly monochrome and prone to the uglier, irredentist passions of the land.’ And, as is orthodoxy amongst the left-liberal intelligentsia, it is the patriotic poor upon whom most aspersions are cast (they’re just not like us, you see). Accordingly, we are told that ‘Other trappings of Englishness like the cross of St George are increasingly seen as the preserve of the “white working class,” and, more worryingly, as the symbol of far-right groups like the EDL.’ One can almost sense the pride swelling in the breasts of the bien-pensants with this particular number, and its intricate weaving together, in one masterfully seamless sentence, the evils of racism and the realities of Englishness, the cross of St. George and the ‘white working-classes’.

Only, the very banality of that assertion contradicts what it seeks to suggest. For the truth is that Englishness and the cross of St. George are not at all ‘increasingly seen’ as essentially racist expressions of those ghastly poor white people, but have actually been sneered at for a generation and more precisely because they have been declared the vulgar habits of the great unwashed. The statement is trite, not prophetic – Tharoor is merely re-packaging as if it were a uniquely modern phenomenon that which has been attracting the acidic attention of the conceited liberal establishment for literally decades.

Of course, insisting that racist patriotism is a uniquely modern threat is a useful cover for blaming the victims of idiotic ‘progressive’ ideologies for the consequences of idiotic ‘progressive’ ideologies. As such, when Tharoor writes that ‘many non-white Britons living in England refuse to call themselves “English”, retaining instead the increasingly anachronistic term “British”, which to them seems like a cosier, all-encompassing refuge from the buffeting’, he is probably speaking a truth. Yet speaking a truth is not the same as being truthful, for if it were then Tharoor would acknowledge that it is precisely because people like him have been equating Englishness with evilness for so long that just about everyone, white or non-white, thinks twice before describing themselves as such. In the milieu, Britishness has arisen as a useful phrase to circumnavigate these dangerous ideological waters – offering this as evidence that Englishness is therefore increasingly equated with racism is a little like telling someone that it is much safer to travel by train than by air, and then offering their decision to travel by train as evidence that travelling by air is evidently more dangerous.

The merging of racism and trendy liberal ideology is of course wholly pernicious, but it is also very potent. It can silence a debate, and can be used to wave-through all sorts of idiotic ideas by numbing with fear those with the instinctive good-sense to oppose them. For example, we are told that ‘The Umbro ad is not trying to “play it safe” in its inclusion of so many black and Asian figures. Such quantity only buttresses the ad’s unwavering assertion of multicultural English – not British – identity.’

See the sleight of hand? Multiculturalism is linked with race, so that any opposition to the former must de facto spring from irrational distaste of a plurality of the latter. So if someone says ‘I don’t think much of that Pakistani cultural habit of arranged marriages and honour killings’, then they are racist. Or again, if someone says ‘I don’t really like the black ‘gangsta’ culture that has grown up in so many of our cityscapes’, then they are racist. With such inquisitionary tools at their disposal, so do the liberals enforce their infallible dogmas; shame and villification await those who challenge the creed of multiculturalism. A similar threat of calumny underpins the dominance of moral relativism, too; any that would be bold enough to challenge are immediately silenced with shrill cries of ‘bigot’.

In the end, Tharoor does little more than trot out standard metro-liberal swill. Whilst delusions of intellectual grandeur seem to infect many whose work appears in the CiF section of the Guardian, nonetheless what Tharoor offers is little more than a rather mundane and unoriginal application of ‘progressive’ prejudice to recent events.

What is more interesting, or perhaps concerning, is that the article demonstrates what is becoming a trend of lazy vilification of that group of people now labelled the ‘white working-class’ (increasingly a catch-all term for anything pathetic or distasteful). This is partly because, in the minds of the liberati, the ‘white working-class’ are detached from civilised society and are better understood as a distinct sub-group with special needs to be met, even though they are often contrary to what our liberal ancien régime deem best for society at large (especially on the issue of immigration). There is a danger in this, and recent Guardian comment pieces are increasingly illustrative of it; the angry creation of a societal scapegoat, by those whose bigotry disallows any possible deviation from their own particular brand of ‘enlightened’ thought.

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