On the OurKingdom blog, Anthony Barnett today does a very admirable job of taking apart the claim that England is a nation only for white people.
A nation is not a biological entity. Neither nationalism nor patriotism are racisms, even when racists avow them. Nationalism is an attachment to a polity, or would be polity. This is not a biological concept, its members are its citizens whatever their race. Benedict Andersonâ€™s study â€˜The Imagined Communitiesâ€˜ shows why this is so in terms of the original development of nationalism. Perhaps knowing that any attempt to define a nation racially wonâ€™t work Gibson tries to use skin colour as if this was a â€œracialist principleâ€. But this is ridiculous. Any argument about skin colour soon forces us back to inner purity. We know where this leads.
â€œOur people will lose this countryâ€, says Gibson. Wrong again. People like you never had it, Mr Gibson, whatever your real name, and will not do so now. The claim that â€œEngland is a white nationâ€ is absurd as a concept, false historically, untrue as a description of the present, and will be repudiated as a claim on the future. Even better â€œbiological egalitarianismâ€ is true. Live with it!
20th century fascism, and even more so Nazism, was an imperial belief. It claimed the superiority of a race and set about to cleanse the surrounding parts of the planet. Gibsonâ€™s is a defensive fascism, which just asserts that England belongs to those he says are biologically qualified. But the claim is made with force despite the appearance of reason. The call to be strong, to oppose those who smell of weakness, to allege that anyone who does not â€œstand firmâ€ merely accommodates out of a spineless desire for a quiet life, this is the language of the recruiting sergeant who exploits peopleâ€™s anxiety with the appeal of potency.
I’ve just copied some of the main bits… but the whole article is quite brilliant. Read it and comment on it there or here.
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Filed in: British Identity,Culture,Race politics