In August I wrote a short piece about the Rotherham child sex grooming scandal, and wondered if at last the left/liberal ice which has kept us in a political and intellectual deep freeze since the sixties was beginning to thaw. As the months go by I become more and more optimistic that the ice age is, at last, drawing to a close; I know that it doesn’t always seem like it when schools can be punished for being too English, and elderly football club chairmen hounded for off colour remarks about Jews (whatever happened to freedom of speech?), but only a few days ago we saw another split in the ice.
I refer, as you may have guessed, to the great Emily Thornberry gaffe. This lady, previously unknown outside of Parliament and North Islington, earned her fifteen minutes of fame with that tweet of a house festooned in England flags and with a white van parked outside. (When you think how many public figures get themselves into hot water with “Twitter” it does make me wonder why any of them would use it, but at least it adds to our entertainment). Her tweet has been interpreted as condescending, snobbish, as demonstrating the great gulf between the ruling elite and we plebs, and – much, much worse – as showing contempt for patriotism.
It is this last which is so interesting. It is a mystery to me why patriotism, that love for our own place, for the settled way of life and the ancestral population which it shelters – so natural and wholesome an instinct one would have thought – should be so alien to the Left, but so it is. So pervasive has hostility to patriotism become throughout the Establishment that love of country can be expressed, if at all, only in a watered down, apologetic, ironic way. In the schools curriculum it is wholly replaced by “British Values” – but as no-one knows what “British Values” actually are the Department for Education is reduced to reaching for the Equalities and Diversity agenda – you know, all that “tolerance”, “human rights”, “gender equality”, “valuing diversity (except diversity of opinion)” stuff. Which means presumably that if you are, say, an American you can’t believe in “tolerance” because it’s a “British” value.
No more. Thanks to the evidently well fed and expensively housed Ms Thornberry, to be dismissive of patriotism is “snobbish” and no-one wants to be thought to be a snob. So all of a sudden being patriotic has become one of those protected characteristics like being black, or Moslem or gay – for a politician or an opinion former to be anti-black or anti-gay is career death, so now with being anti-patriotic.
Of course, the Left (and that includes you, Ken Clarke) will go through contortions to appropriate patriotism for itself – that it is somehow “patriotic” to be in favour of mass immigration, but few will be fooled. Nor should we fool ourselves that Racial Nationalism is about to come in from the cold, it’s a big jump from a few England flags on an ex-Council house in Strood to a national revolution. But it’s a start, love of country is a natural and indispensable foundation for the more abstract and sophisticated concept which is love of race, and so there we have it – another crack in the ice.
By the way, it’s interesting that the flags in question were all English flags. Whatever happened to the Union Jack? Those of us old enough to remember England’s victory in the World Cup in 1966 will recall that Wembley was a sea of Union Jacks, the Cross of St. George was nowhere to be seen, and I suspect that many English people back in 1966 would not have known that it was the flag of England; it was rarely seen except on Church of England buildings. Now it’s the Cross of St. George which is everywhere and the Union Jack which is rarely seen except on official buildings or when being waved by the BNP or Ulster Loyalists. What might this imply for the future of the United Kingdom and for the future of our movement?