Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dogs Horses and Englishness

Sunda Katwala was disappointed to read that the Mail regards it as a mistake to consider that the children or grandchildren of immigrants are British,they would classify us as “second or third generation immigrants”.
He picks on this poor sentence and has a lot of quite legitimate fun with Churchill `s American mother not to say the Royal family . I like Sunda`s stuff and much of what he writes has the reasonableness I rarely show but admire in others . The old Bernard Manning line gets dragged out and treated with splenetic contempt by a commenter ...“Just because a dog is born in a stable doesn’t mean it becomes a horse.”
I loathed Bernard Manning but there is a kernel of truth here is there not ? Where a community has failed to integrate with the main stream ,that has an impact of on the character of the country no matter what generations have passed .Some may feel this is a good thing and that a multicultural England is something we should all be grateful for. Many people , however share my concerns at the rate of change , and at all events would like to see figures that reflect the current state of play. . The Mail is clumsily essaying a corrective to the hoax that starts "immigration"' in its wider sense at zero every few years .It has a point .
The Mail is misguided because it includes an “genetic “,content and thus open themselves to the charge of racism . This is no doubt the cause of much delight in “Progressive “circles who wish to equate all Nationalism with the holocaust , even when it is a pride in the very country that stood alone against the Nazis . In reality this is only a slip . Mixed race families like mine (not English ?) are a fast growing group but they are a group, which is not a “Community” . We are simply English and regard skin pigment of no more importance that nose length, freckliness of pallor and so on. I would suggest starting from the other direction....
What are the components of Englishness ?
It has a floating set of meanings with differing amounts of importance .Race is a small associative inference but not in a “racist “ sense . A typical Englishman is unlikely to be pictured as Black. .The phrase “ An English beauty” is unlikely to be applied to Mrs N for example . Nonetheless she is English ( and beautiful )and such expectations are just part of the usual flux of language . So it is not an all or nothing but this is really a minor matter exaggerated so as to attack the more important English values and shared culture.

Does English include a component of what we might call sharing English values ?Certainly, and religious values that conflict with them are important in defining who is not “English” .The history of Common Law Parliament literature , even visual art betray a certain habit of mind we find clearly from Chaucer to Orwel .To tell such a people that the country is no more than a car park they happened to park in , and that they have change to suit people that turned up yesterday, is not reasonable . There must be tolerance ,but it must also not be abused .There must be a recognition that this is a home and inheritance not just a scrap of land . To deny the word “ English’ means more than simply having been born here is to abuse language , sense and a nation with nothing to be ashamed of and much to be proud of . ” Just because a dog is born in a stable doesn’t mean it becomes a horse.” ....Well does it ?


asquith said...

What I don't understand is the "argument" that because some immigration has benefited the country (I'd include the recent influx of Poles & some, but not all, asylum seekers in this) then all immigration must always be good, regardless of what riidiculous numbers there are or how they behave.

The problem I've got, as someone who wants less but no immigration, is deciding which of the would-be immigrants should be admitted. A nation has the right to make that choice. But I don't trust anyone to do it wisely. Can the Home Office make a sensible decision? I've yet to see any evidence given the fine people I've known to be deported & the utter knobheads who've been welcomed with open arms.

asquith said...

"less but not no immigration"

It's funny, I've been making typos quite a bit recently. Because I'm so keen to mouth off, I type too fast :)

Anonymous said...

I would equate Englishness with a love of Rich Tea biscuits - an almost inedible confection found only here.

Newmania said...

( I like Rich tea biscuits )

Newmania said...

I agree with you Asquith I want less but I also do not just want rich people are highly qualified people. I think it is good for a country to breath
Cap the numbers

Auntie Flo' said...

agree with you, newms, it is vital that we ensure that those who migrate to these islands henceforth are prepared to integrate and that they share our core values. They must also share, or soon learn, our language.

There's room for much diversity, the eccentric people of England have always been a diverse lot. I'm proud to be the product of a highly diverse and volatile mix of Irish Catholics and Russian Jews, yet I'm equally proud of my country, England. To be an Englishwoman of mixed race heritage feels good to me.

I'm fiercely proud of the other countries my family came from too, yet my first allegiance, and that of my family, is to England. That's how I believe it should be for all those who migrate here.

Both sides of my family migrated here to become English and that's what they became. Even when my father and his family lived in the midst of the orthodox Jewish community in Little Russia in Tottenham, they never lost the sense of themselves as English. England was now their now home and they loved it.

I know that both my Irish and Jewish family members suffered much discrimination initially. Indigenous, and not so indigenous, English people, understandably, I think, hated the overcrowding migrants caused and resented competing with foreigners for jobs and homes which they saw as their birthright.

In common with many other migrants, my family overcome this by applying the skills they brought here. My Jewish family started their own small businesses, one side were rag and bone men and antique dealers, the other surgical instrument makers and artists.

My Irish family used their Irish genius and gift of the gab to get reasonable jobs. Both the Irish and Jewish sides of my family changed their names to anglicise these. Then they sank into, and fully integrated with, the great global melting pot that was London.

The people of England and other parts of our fragile Union, whose families had to struggle and fight so very long and hard for our country's, now shamefully eroded, democracy and freedom, for our system of justice and values of decency and fair play, have every right to expect no less integration from those who would settle here.

Those decent values mean that the vast majority of us here are as tolerant as any people you will find anywhere - and a darn sight more than some. We're sickened by the BNP's bigoted and insane desire to try to turn back the migration clock. It can't and shouldn't be done.

Yet what the majority, I believe, yearn for is rational management of migration to our country. Management that accepts only those who love England, its people and mainstream culture and who aim to fully integrate - and only as many of those migrants as we can comfortably absorb.

Newmania said...

I do not think we all have to be the same Flo.As in all things there is a balance , I would just like the rudder adjusted to steer us into safe waters

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