With the referendum campaigns heading inexorably towards their climax on 23 June, it is inevitable that Remainiacs will increasingly taunt Brexiteers with accusations of racism and xenophobia. It is the final insult by people who know they’ve lost the real argument. They’ve trotted out all their ‘experts’ to show us that the Brits are too feeble-minded to survive economically outside the EU. (Their ‘experts’ are, by definition, those who do well out of the EU gravy train.) What a fine way to convince the pig-headed Brits that they’re useless.
Unfortunately, the real argument is lost on many Brits these days. Everything for many boils down to their own personal comforts and privileges, all of which (according to EU propaganda) originate in the pittance they give back to us from our over generous contribution to their unbalanced (and unbalanceable) budget. The economic argument is all that matters. Patriotism is something from the forgotten past and is, anyway, the last resort of fools, isn’t it?
Let’s ditch the word. Let’s talk freedom. What happened to all those lovely cries like: “No taxation without representation!” “We live in a free country, don’t we?”, to which the answer is more and more legitimately: “No, we don’t. We live in a country that’s under the thumb of an unelected bureaucracy. We live in a country that no longer controls its own borders, a country where we can no longer decide who we want to share with.” In other words, we no longer live in our own sovereign country. We have steadily given away – not shared as so many Eurocrats like to claim – our once prized sovereignty.
Leaving the EU has absolutely nothing to do with racism. The British just are NOT Europeans. We have a significant stretch of water between us and them called the English Channel. Most of our population up until the Afro-Caribbean and Asian influxes from the Commonwealth originated from the continent of Europe as refugees (economic or political, it matters not). The tribes of Gaul could see our white cliffs from the top of their own and wanted to come and live here to escape from their oppressors over there. The tribes of an unintegrated Gaul were constantly at each others’ throats. Those escapees drove the native Britons, descendants of the hunter-gatherers cut off by the collapse of the land mass between Britain and the Continent, ever westward.
The people of Gaul had traded with us (and fought with us and against us) for centuries before Julius Caesar visited in 55/54 BC and the eventual invasion (if such it was ) by Claudius Caesar in 46 AD. The Jutes followed the Romans and did a deal with the Romano-British rulers left behind after the Roman Army exodus in the early 5th century. Two Jute chieftains, Hengist and Hausa, took Kent as their fiefdom in return for helping keep the Anglo Saxons out. Some deal!
Once the Anglo Saxons were ensconced, the Vikings followed. The Norman William the Conqueror had much the same bloodline as the people he pushed out. He too was a descendant of the Jutes with the admixture of Frankish blood that was in turn mixed with Celtish and Germanic blood. Quite a mixing bowl!
When thinking of bloodlines, people tend to think simplistically of the warrior invaders and categorise their offspring as, say, Saxon or Viking. After centuries living alongside each other in the Low Countries/North Germany/Denmark/Jutland, there was probably very little actual racial difference. Some of the immigrants brought wives or girlfriends with them. However, they were few and far between. The offspring of the invaders – whether as a result of rape or willing co-existence matters not – were mostly 50% native Brit. That blood became more and more native Brit as the offspring inter-married with other 50%-ers. It has always been the same. Few blocks of immigrants, whether protestants or Jews from the various persecutions in France or elsewhere, retained their racial integrity for very long.
Today, we still like to claim that it is possible to tell origins within the native population of Britain. Hair and eye colour, skin type, head shape and many other physical characteristics are claimed as indicators of whether one is Roman, Celt, Anglo-Saxon or Viking. Accents and vocabulary from North to South still bear the signs of different linguistic development. This is a harmless sign of our interest in the fascinating history of the oldest nation in Europe. We love it. It is not a sign of xenophobia.
The huge influx of immigrants from the Empire after 1947 has re-shaped our population in many ways. This time integration at working class level was far more difficult. Cultural, religious and physical differences have taken much longer to break down and may never do so completely, however well individuals settle in. Racism was once rife in the poorer parts of towns and cities, where the influx of racially very different people led to ghetto-isation of the poorer elements and the not altogether voluntary displacement of the native population. Resentment led to stereotyping and often cruel harassment that went both ways.
For years now, political correctness has led to an almost universal reluctance/fear amongst politicians to address the problem and the adoption of a policy of multiculturalism, a policy that has signally failed. With the influx of a new source of immigrants from war-torn Middle East countries and Western Asia, people with an even more diverse and integration-resistant populations, the problem has, if anything, grown far worse. Pandering to immigrants, who refuse to conform to British cultural standards and allowing them to set up their own cultural courts has bred resentment amongst the native population and more established post-war immigrants from the Commonwealth.
Now there is much talk of a backlash from the ordinary voters in countries worldwide. The USA leads the way in our press with Donald Trump, but the Americans are far from alone, with ultra-right wing (i.e. nationalist) parties achieving significant gains at the polls in The Netherlands, France, Germany and Austria. Others are hard on their heels. The man in the street is growing fed-up with being preached at by the elite of the old establishment ruling classes, who have no idea what it means to have their environments usurped and changed into downtown areas of foreign countries, full of people who refuse to speak English and are known to threaten the native population who dare to trespass into their claimed territory.
That sort of resentment is easily dismissed as racism and xenophobia by the haves. For the have-nots it’s nothing to do with colour and creed, it’s to do with whose country this is. We were once an advanced democratic, relatively homogenous country, whose population was incredibly tolerant of incomers, provided only that they tried to integrate. In our past history there is plenty of evidence of racial tensions. The Huguenots are a prime example of people who were forced to form their own ghettoes in East London, the Jews in North London. Their integration has never been 100% even up to modern times but, at least, they didn’t have to contend with black skin and hair that marked them out for discrimination. Some first and most second generation immigrants of earlier influxes could easily intermingle with normal society with no eyebrows raised.
Such intermingling with the new immigrants from outside Europe over the last fifty or so years has hugely changed the face of Britain. Once a coloured face invoked curiosity in some and fear in others, resentment in many. Today colour is everywhere and few rational people have any objection to inter-racial relations. Differences have been buried quite properly by long social and economic inter-dependence. As Professor Higgins so famously sang: “I’ve grown accustomed to her face…” Yes, we all have grown accustomed to the new multi-facetted population around us. We’re all beginning to sound alike even, let alone look alike.
So what makes the Remainiacs think the Brexiteers have anything against the peoples of the other 27 nations in the EU? Not wanting to be governed by an undemocratic bureaucracy of meddling, left wing socialists, whose one declared aim is to set up the Soviet Union of Europe (or is it the United States of Europe? Same difference) has absolutely nothing to do with racism or xenophobia. It has everything to do with a desire to return to government by democratic institutions, government by elected members of our constitutional parliament, members we can get rid of, if they fail to carry out the democratically expressed will of the people of the United Kingdom. That’s not racist. However, it is an increasingly a shared desire with many of the populations of EU nations, as even recognised by Donald Tusk, the appointed President of the European Council.