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.
The EU and other treaties
Whatever their public words, both the Tory and Labour parties were generally nationalist in their behaviour until well after the second world war. Traditional Tories were nationalists by conviction, while even the Labour left were in practice protective of the nation state because they strongly opposed the importation of cheap goods and cheap labour. British membership of the EU (then the EEC) from 1973 onwards changed the rules of the game for both parties.
The Treaty of Rome made Britain generally subordinate to a foreign authority. It was not like a normal treaty such as that of NATO which is formed simply for a particular limited purpose and which can be ended or withdrawn from cleanly. The Treaty of Rome was a full blown political project with the specific aim of creating a supranational political entity. Even when Britain joined, the EU’s powers to interfere with British political decisions were substantial, although nothing like as extensive as they are in 2006. It simply was not possible to be a wholehearted nationalist any more. That undermined traditional Toryism and paved the way for Thatcherism, which was predicated on the individual rather than the community.
For the Labour Party learning to love the EU took a long time. Their 1983 manifesto advocated withdrawing because the EU was viewed as a capitalist club. But as the Party painfully lurched towards accepting the globalist market-led creed, there came the realisation on the left that both globalism generally and membership of the EU were wonderful promoters of internationalism. They did not deliver the internationalism which the left had traditionally sought, all brotherly love and material sharing, but they accomplished a central part of the internationalist dream, the destruction of nations. This realisation, together with the fear they would never hold power again drove Labour away from their practical nationalism.
As the years passed the entire political class also discovered general benefits from globalism and EU membership. Being in international clubs such as the EU and the WTO effectively destroyed democratic accountability. Any policy relevant to a treaty could be pushed through with the excuse that Britain was legally bound by treaty to do this. Membership of the EU in particular ensured that the excuse could be used over vast swathes of policy. This loss of democratic accountability removed the last vestiges of white working-class power because there was no mainstream Party with a chance of forming a government to speak or act for them. The white working-class might as well have stopped voting then for all the good it now did them.
Devolution and demonising the English
Up to 1997 the white working-class in the UK as a whole suffered much the same decline in prestige and strength. Blair’s victory in that year altered matters fundamentally. Primarily for the self-serving political reason that Labour normally depends heavily on Scots and Welsh MPs to achieve a working majority in the Commons, the Party adopted a policy of devolution for Scotland and Wales. (Northern Ireland was also brought into the devolution mix but for other reasons). It was one of the first major pieces of NuLabour manifesto-promised legislation to be enacted.
Devolution created a ticklish problem. How could it be that England, where more than 80% of the population of the UK resided and where even more than 80% of the UK’s GDP was generated, should have no national representation? Why did England not deserve its own political voice if Wales and Scotland and even tiny Northern Ireland did? Because there was no reasonable answer to that question Labour (and the liberal left generally) invented unreasonable ones: England was too big, there was no such thing as Englishness, the English had no desire for a parliament, such a parliament would only mean more politicians and expense and, most tellingly, the English could not be trusted with nationalism, a claim best translated as “The ruling liberal elite are determined at all costs to prevent the English having a voice because if they do they will look after their own interests which are currently being outrageously neglected”.
When I say ruling liberal elite I am of course including the entire political elite. A prime example of the cross-party agreement on the “dangers” of English nationalism came in a BBC Radio 4 programme Brits which went out on 10th January 2000. The then Home Secretary Jack Straw and the Tory leader of the moment William Hague appeared. This is what they said:
Straw: “[the English] are potentially very aggressive, very violent [and had in the past] used their propensity for violence to subjugate Ireland, Wales and Scotland.”
Hague: “English nationalism is the most dangerous form of nationalism that can arise in the United Kingdom, because England is four-fifths of the population of the UK…Once part of a united country or kingdom that is so predominant in size becomes nationalistic, then really the whole thing is under threat…”
The unresolved question of English devolution within an otherwise devolved UK led to a shift by politicians from the denigration of the white working-class generally to denigration of the English in general and the English white working-class in particular, the latter being commonly portrayed by politicians and the media as brutish people with the unspoken subtext “they cannot be trusted with power”. As most of the British white working-class are English, the white working-class were further marginalised.
Devolution also had a direct material effect on England and in particular the English poor. The amount spent per head on public services has for a long time grossly disadvantaged the English. For example, Public Expenditure Analyses published by the Treasury show that expenditure on public services per head for 2005/6 would be
*N Ireland – 8,566
Scotland – 7,786
Wales – 7,312
England – 6,391
* Daily Telegraph 10 5 2005
The underfunding of England increased after devolution. Take the per Capita figures for Scotland as an example – they are adjusted for inflation:
*1999/2000 – 4,848 (England) – 5,937 (Scotland)
2000/2001 – 5,074 – 6,213
2001/2002 – 5,407 – 6,713
2002/2003 – 5,586 – 6,860
2003/2004 – 5,940 – 7,346
2004/2005 – 6,267 – 7,635
* Daily Telegraph 10 5 2005
In short, devolution weakened public provision in England compared with the rest of the UK. That diminution of provision has struck most profoundly at the English white working-class.
The ethnic minority problem
Where do ethnic minorities stand in a devolved UK? German-born Labour MP Gisela Stuart writing in online magazine openDemocracy.net in December 2005 described the problem, whilst also gaily insulting the English: “It has only been in the last five years or so that I have heard people in my constituency telling me ‘I am not British – I am English’. That worries me.”
“British identity is based on and anchored in its political and legal institutions and this enables it to take in new entrants more easily than it would be if being a member of a nation were to be defined by blood.”
“But a democratic polity will only work if citizens’ identification is with the community as a whole, or at least with the shared process, which overrides their loyalty to a segment.” (Quoted in Birmingham Mail 18 11 2005)
The problem for people such as Ms Stuart is that Britishness was destroyed by devolution. There is no longer a comfortable overarching label of British under which everyone can be placed. All that is left for the people of Britain to cling to are emotional ethnicities.
The situation is most acute in England because that is where the majority of ethnic minorities in the UK live. There is hard evidence that ethnic minorities in England routinely do not think of themselves as English. In 2005, the CRE commissioned from the research firm Ethnos a poll designed to discover how Britons identify themselves (http://www.cre.gov.uk/downloads/what_is_britishness.pdf). A couple of passages are particularly telling:
“In England, white English participants identified themselves as English first and British second, while ethnic minority participants perceived themselves as British. None identified as English, which they saw as meaning exclusively white people.”
“Britishness was associated with great historical and political achievements, but only amongst white participants (whether from England, Scotland or Wales), not those from ethnic minority Backgrounds.”
This tells us two things: ethnic minorities in England routinely reject the idea of Englishness and ethnic minorities everywhere in the UK have no identification with Britain’s past. So much for Britishness.
Recognising the danger that English nationalism represented to Labour’s domestic political hopes (and quite possibly to the EU’s wish to divide the UK into a series of regions), the Blair government attempted to create a political structure which would make an English Parliament next to impossible. Their method was to Balkanise the country through the creation of regional assemblies (the artificial regions chosen just happened to fit the regions into which the EU bureaucrats have decided England should be divided). But this plan fell over, at least for the foreseeable future, when a referendum to set up an assembly in the least artificial of the regions, the North-East, was humiliated by an overwhelming NO vote.
The gradual demoralisation of the white working-class
If laissez faire economics, immigration reaching a critical level and international treaties were the immediate reasons why the white working-class has fallen so far from favour, the ground for their realisation was prepared during the thirty-five years which followed the Labour victory of 1945.
It is important not to be sentimental about the white working-class before their desertion by the British political class. Britain was far from being a peaceful society. Industrial relations were seriously fraught from the Eighteenth century onwards, long before nationalisation and the modern welfare state. Much crime went unreported because working class communities refused to report it. Vicious fights regularly took place in places such as the docks and the mines. There was considerable football hooliganism. Until the Irish Free State was founded, Irish nationalism was a constant running sore. Violent criminal gangs controlled places such as the Elephant and Castle (in London) and Brighton.
British education until after the Second World War (and the Butler Act’s implementation) was seriously flawed, with most children leaving school at 14 having received no more than a primary education – only those who committed themselves to staying until 16 received secondary education. The general standard of education was not high, although, unlike now, the members of the political elite were frequently well educated.
There was also a great deal of abject poverty right up to 1939 with many working people living from wage packet to wage packet, often with the aid of a weekly trip to the local pawnbroker. There was only a rudimentary welfare state and to fall ill if you were poor was to place yourself at the mercy of the charity of others.
Despite these shortcomings, at the outbreak of the Second World War working-class society was much more coherent and secure than it is today. Most important was the fact that mainland Britain was racially and ethnically a very homogeneous society, even the ancestral cultural divisions between the English, Scots and Welsh were largely shadings within a single cultural spectrum rather than violently competing ethnicities. Across the water Ireland was a problem, but even there the divisions were political and religious rather than matters of profound ethnic difference. Such serious ethnic tension as there was resulted from the influx of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, but even there the persistent failure of Mosley’s Blackshirts to gain electoral support in the midst of the Depression tells its own story: vehement anti-semitism was not a widespread problem.
The homogeneity of Britain generated a sense of security because the mainland British at least did not have the distraction of chronic and serious ethnic strife. That sense of security was bolstered by the fact that each of the four home nations had their own territory which they dominated in terms of occupation of the land even if they did not formally control their territory. The white working-class generally did not feel threatened by people whom they felt had no place in Britain. Most felt, whatever their personal troubles, that at least they were secure in their own land.
Added to, and arguably arising from, this marvellous ethnic and territorial security were potent and well established social support mechanisms of the working-class, viz:
1. Unions, including their large welfare role.
2. Co-operative Societies – Harrods for the working class.
3. Friendly societies.
4. Homogeneous working-class communities which mutually supported their members.
5. Large scale manual employment for the working-class.
That was the position at the end of WW2, and for a considerable time after 1945 the condition of the white working-class actually improved as a full blown welfare state, rising wages and very low employment significantly increased their security and advantage.
The 1944 Butler Education Act gave all British children the chance to go to a grammar school and even those who did not gain a grammar school place got an extra year of schooling, schooling which went beyond the primary level. It was a far from perfect educational system but it was a considerable improvement on what had gone before. Most importantly, for the first time it gave large numbers of white working-class children the chance of a first rate education and, for a significant minority, the chance to go to university.
Unions remained strong and both major political parties were committed to maintaining by protectionist measures the British economy, a fair slice of which was in any case nationalised. The white working-class were both the electoral bedrock of the Labour Party and courted by a Tory Party which realised it had to abide by the Attlee Government’s social reforms if it was to be elected (in the mid-fifties one of the proudest boasts of the Tory Government was that they had built 300,000 council houses in a year).
To this growing advantage was gradually added a de facto censorship of criticism of the white working-class. Throughout the period 1945 to 1975 there developed a pernicious habit amongst the British elite whereby public criticism of the white working-class became unacceptable in much the same way that over the past thirty years ethnic minorities have ceased to be publicly criticised.
Like any powerful class which is exempted from criticism the white working-class abused their position, or perhaps more correctly, allowed their elected representatives whether in politics or unions, to lead them into abusive ways. The unions were all too ready to call strikes, strikes which when they affected the nationalised industries had the power to cripple British life.
The unions had become too powerful and it was their extreme propensity for “industrial action” – strikes, working-to-rule, demarcation disputes and violent picketing – which began to break down the public silence over white working-class abuses. Gradually it became acceptable for politicians and the media to criticise the white working-class. They needed little prompting because politicians of all colours and mediafolk were more often than not were middle-class, and the middle-class had very little natural empathy with the white working-class, just as today politicians and the media have no natural empathy with the ethnic minorities who are their current client class.
By 1970 the white working-class was outwardly as secure as a class as they had ever been and would be again. But even at the seeming height of their class advantage they were weaker than they once had been, naturally weaker than ever before in fact because sociological rats had been gnawing away at their natural cohesion since 1945.
The mass post-war immigration began in the late 40s but it was not a major problem for the white working-class until the 1960s. More immediately damaging were the slum clearances which dominated the twenty five years after the war. These destroyed many working class communities by the simple expedient of dividing them up between different housing estates. The working class were still living together but they were no longer the tightly knit coherent communities which had existed for generations. Instead it was strangers living together and living together not in housing which allowed an easy social life to develop, but more often than not in high rise buildings which destroyed social intimacy.
Ironically the new welfare state damaged the white working-class because it weakened the informal traditional social supports deriving from a well established community (help from friends and extended family) and led to the decline of formal supports such as friendly societies and the co-operative movement.
In the 1960s came the disaster of comprehensive schools and progressive educational theory. Comprehensivisation took away the ladder by which the bright white working-class child progressed, the grammar schools. The secondary modern -technical school- grammar school established by the Butler Act was far from perfect because it left large numbers of children labelled as educational failures, but that which replaced it was far worse a system. Most comprehensives simply did not have the resources or the will to provide a grammar school level education for their brightest pupils.
Progressive educational theory caused a general diminution in educational standards through a combination of its “discovery” method of learning, i.e., do not actually teach them anything, and a self-denying ordnance which forbade any criticism of a child’s work. Stir in the lunacy of producing school exams to be taken by children of all ability (GCSE) and the incontinent expansion of higher education from the late 1980s onwards, season with the quasi-commercialisation of schools and universities through money following the pupil or student, top with school examination boards becoming overtly commercial, and you have the recipe for the mess which is modern British education, where exam grades rise inexorably while performance moves just as remorselessly in the opposite direction.
The percentage of working-class children at university is actually lower in 2006 than it was forty years ago. Of course the numbers of children in higher education has expanded massively since the mid sixties and in absolute numbers far more white working-class pupils go on to university in 2006 than 1966. But it counts for nothing. If more white working-class pupils may have GCSEs, A Levels and degrees now, the standard of the education they receive to gain such qualifications is so degraded from what it was forty years ago that the qualifications are next to worthless as guides to employers of a person’s ability and the education received while taking them fails to equip students for the world of work even at the basic level of literacy and numeracy.
Had the major sources of traditional white working-class employment not been largely destroyed in the 1980s and 1990s, comprehensive education would not be so dire in its consequences for the white working class, because they would still have been employed in secure jobs which do not require much education. Instead, millions are trapped in unemployment (admitted unemployment or disguised as ill, retired early or attending worthless courses in higher education) or in insecure and ill-paid jobs, stranded without the education to find decent, well-paid work.
Any society also has to take into account the fact that any population contains many people who are naturally poorly equipped to do anything other than unskilled jobs. Ten per cent of the British population has an IQ of 80 or less. An IQ of 80 is the level at which psychologists generally agree someone begins to struggle to cope with the demands of an advanced society such as Britain. Such people require jobs they can do. Immigrants take those jobs and depress wages.
The white working-class are being left with less and less.
With their traditional employments largely destroyed, subject to a state educational system which leaves them ill-equipped for any job other than the unskilled, beset by cheap immigrant labour competing for unskilled jobs and crippled by the cost of housing, the white working-class are ever more dependent on public provision. That provision is becoming increasingly uncertain as immigrant demand for social provision multiplies, public spending soars to dangerous heights and Blair’s mania for introducing private money and companies into public provision runs riot.
What were once the public utilities – gas, electricity, water, the railways – are becoming dearer and dearer despite providing an increasingly poor service through a lack of investment in maintenance and the shedding of jobs (the government cannot do anything to subsidise utility prices because of our membership of the EU). The poorer you are the larger part of your income is taken by these vital products and services.
Benefits and the state pension are linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) but this understates inflation substantially, primarily because the cost of housing, i.e. what it costs to buy a property, is not included (only average mortgage repayment costs and rents are). This understatement of inflation means that benefits and the state pension are gradually losing their value in real terms.
There are also many people for whom the basket of goods and services is unrepresentative. For example, 14% of the index is devoted to motoring expenses which means that the RPI figure is barely relevant to non-car owners. RPI also excludes from its spending pattern such inconvenient people as OAPs surviving on the state pension because they are not “typical”. Generally, the poorer you are, the less representative of your spending RPI will be.
Wages are also affected by official inflation figures because they are used as a benchmark for both public service and private industry wage increases. I say inflation figures because more than one index is used. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is the index used these days to give the headline rate of inflation. This is even less accurate a guide to the true rate of inflation than RPI because it excludes housing costs altogether. Where this figure is used to guide wage increases the real value of the wage decreases even more rapidly in real terms than benefits and the state pension.
Then there is taxation. The poorest people in work in the population pay by far – in direct and indirect taxes combined – the highest proportion of their income in tax of any part of the population.
How could the present position be remedied?
Britain needs to do four things. (1) Withdraw from the EU and repudiate any other Treaty which prevents the country exercising her sovereignty over immigration and her economy. (2) Recognise that public provision is generally best supplied by the state directly providing it. (3) Substitute for the globalist ideology an unaggressive nationalist one which steers a middle course between protectionism and manic free trade and which clearly distinguishes between the status of citizens and foreigners. (4) End mass immigration.
The first two are essentially acts of domestic political will. Withdrawing from the EU and treaties such as the UN Convention on Refugees would doubtless cause a great deal of political huffing and puffing but would be unlikely to produce any profound ill-effects because the EU would still wish to trade with Britain and the UN is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Public services – by which I mean genuine public services such as the NHS and prisons – are essentially a domestic matter and should concern no one outside this country.
The last two are more problematic. Adopting an unaggressive nationalism and clearly distinguishing between the status of citizens and foreigners would be no difficulty in practice because those are decisions which have little practical effect on other nations, but what of our trading treaty relationships, especially our membership of the World Trade Organisation? If we remained within the WTO would that make a middle course between protectionism and free trade impossible?
The WTO in practice permits many protectionist measures – readers will recollect how the USA suddenly slapped tariffs on foreign steel a year or so back. There is a good deal of wriggle room which Britain could use to protect her domestic economy. For example, if another WTO member is doing something protectionist and getting away with it, and many are, then the WTO will scarcely be able to penalise Britain. If the worst comes to the worst and we had to leave the WTO, bilateral agreements with other countries could be made – Britain has too large an economy for other states en bloc to forgo the opportunity for trade.
The end of mass immigration
That leaves mass immigration which I shall deal with in some detail because it is the most dangerous threat to the welfare of both the white working-class and the native British population as a whole. The stopping of further mass immigration alone would do more for the white working-class than any other single action by government. It would tighten the labour market and improve their employment opportunities. That in turn would improve their status. The pressure on public services, transport and housing would be lessened making access to them cheaper and easier for the white working-class. More generally, the moral climate would change because the ending of mass immigration would signal that there is a clear distinction between the rights of British citizens and the rights of foreigners.
With control resumed over our borders through withdrawal from the EU and the repudiation of other treaties, there would be in principle no problem with stopping further mass immigration. But what about the economic effects? The liberal internationalists tell us that the woes of the world would come upon us should we do such a thing, although, like Lear threatening retribution, (“I shall do such things ….I know not what they are”) they are strangely unable to quite say what the woes will be. If reality, there would simply be a manageable period of economic and social reconstruction.
The immediate economic effect would be a redistribution of labour. Labour would move into those occupations which are essential and which cannot be provided at a distance, for example healthcare and education. We would discover how occupations rank in terms of utility. Wages would rise in those occupations which had most utility to attract staff from elsewhere.
Employers would respond to labour tightening by using labour more efficiently. Automation would increase and employers would change their attitude to the older person and the disabled.
Both employers and government would take vocational training more seriously. Government would provide incentives to employers to train their staff and increase the training of public service professionals such as doctors and dentists. Government would also be forced to tackle the mess which is our public education to ensure an adequately educated workforce.
Employers who could not find the labour to run their business in this country would have to accept they could not do so. No one has a right to engage in an enterprise regardless of the effects on the welfare of the community as a whole. Capital which cannot be used in this country can be invested abroad.
Would there be an unmanageable labour shortage?
The idea that Britain is short of labour for most purposes is demonstrably absurd. The official figure for those under the state retirement age who are economically inactive in the UK is seven million. Clearly not all of those would be able or willing to work, but equally clearly a large proportion would be able and willing to work if the conditions were right, ie, wages rose, employers became more accommodating and the benefits system was tightened as the number of opportunities for work rose.
The claim that the indigenous population will not do the jobs immigrants take is demonstrably false. In areas of the country with few immigrants native Britons do them willingly. In many instances where foreign workers are employed it is not because native Britons will not work. Take the case of the cockle-pickers who died in Morecombe Bay several years ago, it was widely reported in the media that the Chinese cockle pickers clashed with British cockle pickers who resented them invading their territory. These Chinese were not filling jobs which were unfilled by the British but competing with the British for the work.
The experience of the cockle-pickers is found elsewhere, not least because employers, particularly gangmasters, are frequently immigrants. They generally prefer to employ people of their own ethnicity. The consequence is that the British are not found in some occupations in some places because the immigrant employers deliberately avoid recruiting them.
The other thing which prevents native Britons taking jobs in some parts of the country is the fact that the native Briton does not want to work for employers whose workforce is predominantly formed of immigrants or native-born ethnic minorities. Like every other people, native Britons do not wish to be forced to work in their own land in a employment where they are in the minority.
It is also important to remember that the menial jobs immigrants take are worth far more to them than a native Briton. If you earn as little as £200 a week net – many immigrants work cash in hand – and live in accommodation either supplied by an employer or in crowded accommodation for very little rent, you will probably still be able to save a substantial amount, say, £2,000 pa.
If you come from China where wages even in the big cities are 50 pence an hour, you would earn £1,000 pa for a 40 hour week. Working at a menial job in Britain allows you to save double the average Chinese big city annual wage in a year. That money remitted to China takes on the local purchasing power. The multiplier for Eastern Europeans is less but even there £2,000 saved in a year would be a good professional salary in places such as Poland. Give native Britons the chance to save the equivalent of a British professional’s salary in a year doing a menial job and they will flock to the work and put up with basic living conditions. Of course, no such employments are on offer to Britons.
The crime of the post-war British elite of all political colours has been to destroy the social and economic structures which gave security and viability to white working-class society without replacing them with something else. The elites mashed their communities through slum clearance, thrust mass immigration into the areas in which the white working-class lived, destroyed through “free trade” the great industries which traditionally employed them and hamstrung the unions by a mixture of legislation, cheap foreign labour both at home and abroad and the creation of a perpetual “reserve army of labour” from the native population. At the same time the white working-class were deprived of the means to create new lives and social structures through a decent education. Whatever the white working-class are now, they are the product of decisions made by the British political elite since 1945.
I am not a sentimentalist who imagines that the ideal world would be one in which the white working-class continued unchanged as noble “sons of toil” or that “working-class culture” should be preserved in aspic. Had every white working-class person in the country been converted into part of the middle-class by an unforced process of improved education and rising wages I would have seen that as part of a natural sociological change. But that of course did not happen, probably in principle could never have happened in a country the size of Britain. The white working-class have been disenfranchised.
The British middle-class have been at best complicit in the attack on the white working-class and at worst have taken an eager and active part in it. For decades they thought themselves personally safe from the consequences of immigration and, later, imagined that they were immune from the effects of globalisation. They find themselves unable to buy houses because of the absurd prices They are beginning to learn the hard facts of sociological life: mass immigration and globalisation eventually affects all but the truly rich, a poetic justice but one which harms the country.
Can things change? For the first time in half a century British politicians (and the liberal elite generally) are beginning to display realism over the effects of immigration. This realism is coming from both the major Parties. Here is the Tory MP Julian Brazier writing in a pamphlet for the Cornerstone group:
“Overcrowding is a key cause of many of the factors which are destroying quality of life: mortgage slavery, over-development, congested roads, water shortages, flooding and overstretched public services. We should do everything we can sensibly – and fairly – to reduce the level of immigration to well below the level of emigration.” (The Times August 01, 2006)
On the other side of the political fence is Labour MP Jon Cruddas, MP for the Essex seat of Dagenham. Writing a commentary on a Rowntree Trust study THE FAR RIGHT IN LONDON which deals with the recent success of the BNP in his constituency he comments:
“…it [the Blair Government] has tacitly used immigration to help forge the preferred flexible North American labour market. Especially in London, legal and illegal immigration has been central in replenishing the stock of cheap labour across the public and private services, construction and civil engineering…
“For many of my constituents the value of their social wage is in decline. House prices appear to rise inexorably upwards whilst thousands and thousands seek non-existent, new social housing. Public service improvements fail to match localised population expansion let alone the long term legacy of underinvestment…
“At work their terms and conditions are under threat as they compete for work with cheap immigrant labour. In terms of access to housing and public services and their position in the workplace many see immigration as a central determinant in their own relative impoverishment….
“Those communities that must accommodate the new immigrant communities are the ones least equipped to do so they themselves have the most limited opportunities for economic and social mobility…”
But realism from a few politicians acting as individuals is worthless if the major political parties do nothing or indeed, with our various treaty obligations, can do nothing legally while we are bound by them. The only way Britain could meaningfully regain control of immigration is to leave the EU and renounce all other treaties, such as the UN Convention of Refugees, which prevents Britain from controlling her borders. There is absolutely no sign that any major party or even individual politician is willing to contemplate such a policy.
Immigration is only one part of the problem. There is still very little realism from even individual MPs over the effects of laissez faire economics and freer trade, both of which severely undermine the condition of the white working-class (and increasingly, much of the middle-class).
The manic drive to privatise everything in sight, whether by outright privatisation or the introduction of private money into public services, shows no sign of abating. The immediate consequence of this is all too often reduce services at greater cost, while the long -term effect may be to reduced public provision generally, either because the costs simply go out of control or because the fact that a service is provided by a private contractor rather than by direct labour public provision makes it easier to reduce the service or stop providing it altogether..
On the education side so much damage has been done to our education system, from primary schools to universities, that it is difficult to see how things could be changed in less than a generation.
Perhaps the greatest problem is the current state of our political system which has become utterly unresponsive to the needs of the British people in general and the white working-class in particular.
The Labour MP John Cruddas also wrote this recently in his commentary on the Joseph Rowntree Trust report The rise of the Far right.
“The [Blair] government is not a coalition of traditions and interests who initiate policy and debate; rather it is a power elite whose modus operandi is the retention of power.” The words could be as readily applied to the modern Tory Party.
Compare this with George Orwell’s words in his novel, 1984:
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. …We are different from the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites., The German Nazis and Russian Communists came very close to us in our methods, but they never had the courage to recognise their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”
(O’Brien speaking to Winston Smith during his interrogation).
That is the political system we have now: a simple desire for power. The only thing which will change it is fear, fear in the political elite that things are running out of control, that they may be brought to account. Then they will shamelessly amend their ideology, what they said was black yesterday will become white tomorrow. Elites only have one settled principle – to do whatever is necessary to preserve their power and privilege.
In bringing the necessary change the white working-class is important for two reasons: their instincts all serve to protect and maintain the nation and they are by far the largest part of not only the native population but the population of the UK as a whole.
White working-class instincts are against mass immigration, political correctness, free trade and internationalism: their instincts are for a homogeneous society, the maintenance of a national home and culture and the protection of our economy. In their hearts they are still largely unaffected by the liberal internationalist ideology.
Orwell makes Winston Smith say in 1984:”If there is hope it lies with the proles.”
Because the proles had been largely untouched by the Party’s mentality. If there is hope for Britain and England it lies with the white working-class for they are the reserve army of healthy national instincts, the ballast of the nation.The fact that they are the large majority of the population means that all is not yet lost. Their instincts merely need to be articulated by the political elite.