A Hollowed-out, Meaningless Project
Professor Tariq Modood’s speech at one of the launches of These Islands is full of many of the same contradictions that all of the rest that we’ve seen so far suffer. He argues plaintively that:
“We cannot both ask new Britons to integrate and go around saying that being British is a hollowed-out, meaningless project whose time has come to an end. This will inevitably produce confusion and will detract from the sociological and psychological processes of integration”.
The idea of a “sociological and psychological processes of integration” itself bears more attention, but so too does his statement that:
“…surveys have repeatedly shown that ethnic minorities in this country express high levels of identification with Britain and British identity – indeed, higher than white people do. ”
Theres a name for this. People cleave to what they perceive as the dominant cultural ideology and seek to conform, especially when there is strong social pressure to do so. Memo: this doesn’t make it a great thing.
He concludes: “I worry also about a resentful, sullen, angry anti-multiculturalist English nationalism that is becoming a feature of our identities landscape.”
As he should if Shafik Mandhai is to be believed (‘Foreign students targeted by UK anti-migrant policies’). He reminds us:
“In February 2014, an investigation by the channel’s Panorama programme found a government-approved exam centre helping international students fraudulently pass a mandatory English-language test, known as TOEIC, in exchange for payments of up to $600.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, the then home secretary, responded with a blanket and forceful crackdown on students who had taken the test. Over the next two years, immigration enforcement officers set about rounding up those accused of violating the terms of their student visas by cheating in the exam. Within 10 months of the documentary being broadcast, up to 48,000 students were deported, with many others detained in holding centres.
The campaign of arrests and deportation was brought to a halt by a court ruling in March 2016, later reaffirmed on October 25, which found that the government had acted unlawfully, based its response on “hearsay”, and had not established sufficient evidence that the students had passed the tests fraudulently. At the Conservative party conference in October, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd promised restrictions to curtail the flow of international students coming into the country.”
Is this perhaps the angry anti-multiculturalist English nationalism that is becoming a feature of our identities landscape?
Speaker by speaker These Islands contributors bring seem to disown, misunderstand or undermine the project.
Here’s Delyth Evan’s speech:
“What was striking about the Scottish referendum and the Brexit debate was how hard it seemed to cut through with arguments in favour of remaining as we are. It’s hard to tell people that maintaining the current situation is in their best interest when their everyday experience is pretty grim, especially when people on the other side of the argument tap into their discontentment and promise something so much better.”
“The history of the different nations in these islands is not all positive of course – far from it. In Wales’s case, the relationship with England has always been tricky. Oppression, religious persecution, efforts to stamp out the Welsh language, all figure strongly in our history.”
Maybe this oppression, religious persecution, and efforts to stamp out language is the sort of “multinational solidarity (the depth of which “the European Union can still only dream” as a previous speaker mentioned.
Answers on a postcard please.