Political Promise

Nationalism, the safeguard of a nation?

In Matteo Bergamini on May 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

Political Promise returns from its blogging holiday! Matteo Bergamini on whether nationalists are the best form of defence against immigration?

Luton on the 23rd July 2010 was the centre of one of the biggest religious riots in the last couple of years; during the violence objects including ashtrays and a knife were thrown. This has been part of a series of clashes between the EDL and the UAF, with some other factions getting involved on occasion, such as Islam4uk and Islamagainstcrusades.

The EDL and the BNP are nationalist, there is no denying this. They claim that only nationalist groups such as they can save British society, this is indeed debatable. Nationalism might have been a good way of motivating the populace in the past, but it’s a primitive thought now, a thought and feeling that excludes the rest of society, but those native to the country. Can nationalism therefore really be the way to safeguard a nation built on emigration? Clearly the answer is NO.

Nationalists claim British natives have to fight back against immigrants that force their beliefs upon society at the cost of British culture. If you take into consideration Islamist fanatics plastering stickers reading: “Gay-free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment” then one can see their point.

However it is unfair to assume that everyone, but native English, is here to destroy British culture. Nationalism, the one championed by the BNP and EDL try to blame and remove a whole section of society for what a small minority have done. This is affecting hard working British migrants, let me repeat British migrants.

Nationalism is not safeguarding or strengthening our nation; it is dividing and weakening it. British society, by nature, is multi-cultural and any form of belief that does not embrace this is not compatible with British society. The BNP and EDL are feeding into the very force of what they claim to be against, extremism. They try to alienate migrants who in turn give extremists more ammunition against British society, is this really the way to halt extremism?

Where nationalism divides, multiculturalism unites. While nationalists such as the BNP divide society and push more migrants to the side of extremism, multiculturalism pulls them into British society uniting it as one society. Nationalism is not the way forward; it’s not even sustainable, but destructive; destructive for Britain, for immigrants and beneficial to extremists.

It seems many have been mistaken; it’s not nationalism that will save this nation. It’s the unification of all society against all forms of trouble makers, be they white, Asian, Muslim Buddhist or Hindu; divided we fall, united we stand. Let us not discriminate, this land was built on multiculturalism and it’s that same principle that will keep us strong.

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  1. I have to agree, Britain is noted for its tolerance, this can be traced back to the early 19th century. These so-called “nationalistic and patriotic” groups are merely distortions of true British identity and heritage. The core value of “British Nationalism” is TOLERANCE. Something the BNP and the EDL have failed to learn or have chosed not to.

  2. I sense an interesting discussion/debate Pav lol.

    Some things to consider;

    1) Perhaps EDL and BNP are not nationalists? They may say they are nationalists or wave the flag frantically, but is calling them nationalist accurate? SNP are nationalists. The former two groups I think are based on more inferior qualities and substance therefore I do not consider them nationalists.

    2) Does multiculturalism really unite? I think there is a lot of media generated waffle about what we understand as multiculturalism. Sometimes I wonder if this tolerance we talk about is in fact indifference, that the 4 nations just don’t care about the foreign cultures taking root in certain places in the UK. Would that be a cynical view?

    3) I think that these EDL and BNP groups are the worst reactions to how the British government is advancing a multi-cultural agenda that seeks to deliberately reshape the cultural and national identities of the 4 nations to include the cultural and national identities of what we identify as ethnic minorities. That is how I see the situation. We are in a process where we affirm the unique qualities of the minority nations, which is fine, but we do not accord the 4 nations similar accommodation. Instead we get those clever types on TV dismissing or questioning the originality of the English people saying that they are formed by all sorts of immigrants like angels, saxons, picts, danes… meaning what exactly, English people are not unique or worth mentioning and identifying? We accept minority nations to be somehow these well defined peoples, but when it comes to the 4 nations they need to justify their existence, it’s always a debate for them, never an affirmation, it’s always going down that old anglo-saxon narrative as mentioned above – seeking to undermine 4 nations originality rather than affirming it. When you have the mainstream political parties signing up to that multicultural agenda with its corresponding (above) situation, some people of the 4 nations feel they have to turn to things like the EDL and BNP for their “defense” which is tragic and dangerous.

  3. Hi michael lets have a discussion, not a heated debate this time!

    1.) i agree that the groups are not nationalists, both have failed to incorporate the other members of the United Kingdom and have in theory failed to be distinct in true british values- liberty and tolerance as they seem to oppose them. (if there are any BNP and EDL supporters watching this- GET AN EDUCATION! IT’S FREE AND MANY NON-WHITES AND NON-BRITISH people pay taxes for it!)

    2.) i am not advocating multi-culturalism as they will always be an alienated group. i am advocating for a tolerant society. Look at how many people wre allowed exile in this country despite their views and non-british values.

    3.) I empathise with your concern but i see that no one chooses their background, country etc so it is not foolish but odd to boldy take pride in it. How many “white english” people would actually pass the Citizenship Test. Citizenship is at it’s worst level, no group is to blame, only each individual. It’s incredibly odd for groups which you mention to attack others yet are blinded by the sheer levels of their hypocricy.

    For the sake of my exams, no further comments.

  4. I think Einstein said it right when he said “Nationalism is an infantile disease on mankind”. It is shortly followed by religion in being one of the main causes of pointless conflict in the world. How else can a nation of otherwise intelligent and seemingly reasonable people in a so called democracy be reduced to parading a ruling family, as had happened in the recent royal wedding? Nationalism simplifies everything but answers nothing.

  5. I’m afraid that quote from Einstein won’t do. The nationalism that Einstein witnessed in certain places in Europe during his time were more like jingoism. Saying that religion follows nationalism as being the next source of pointless conflicts also, won’t do.

    Usually when those two subjects are raised it’s premised on this this fallacious assertion that the possible world based on the opposites of nationalism and religion would be some kind of “better place,” how do we know? No one can promise or guarantee that, not even Einstein.

    The problem is we have lunatics and extremists that abuse nationalism and religion for their material and/or political purposes.

  6. I am glad to see that this sparked a nice debate.

    I would like to say though that the BNP and EDL are indeed nationalist organisations in the sense that they are a group that seek belonging to a community, this community being England. This community can include language, culture, religion, or race as said by the Oxford political dictionary.

    Granted there are many different forms of nationalism and some could argue the EDL and BNP have a Fascist tendency. However the community that both said groups are trying to create, is one based on race, culture, language and religion which is a classical trait of a nationalist organisation.

    Now going back to my first statement, I believe Britons have a very tolerant nature and true nationalism is alien to us. I could not be prouder of that fact. Multi-culturalism first transpired here and it worked! British heritage is ethnic diversity. The EDL and BNP seem to be trying to trash and dismantle what some would call the first multi-cultural country to have lived in peace and tolerance with such diversity.

  7. I agree with you Matteo except on one point. Saying British heritage is ethnic diversity is in my view not a valid statement. I see very little evidence of that. If we accept that statement it’s no different than saying British heritage is meaningless because it contains a diverse range of heritages. I think British heritage is distinct and it must not be represented by the multicultural perspective. If we want to affirm the various and distinct natures of the peoples who we refer to as ethnic minorities in this country, we must also accord the same level of recognition and treatment for those who are the opposite to the ethnic minorities. To say British heritage is defined by something as expansive as ethnic diversity is to deny British peoples i.e. English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish their regonition as being unique and distinct. I think it is because of this pattern of doubting the originality and distinctiveness of the British heritage and framing it within the multi-cultural perspective, we see reactive groups like the BNP and EDL popping up and gaining electoral popularity. The BNP and EDL do not need to get elected into Parliament to do their damages. I think the damage from those two groups will be from local and council elections – the heart of communities – which could be dangerous.

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