While Channel 4 gets the award for screening the first major deep fake video to air on British television, the question of the purpose of Britain’s immigration policy goes largely ignored.
Rather than being enlightened, Boris Johnson’s ‘people of talent’ approach poses a major threat to the ability of British workers to secure the most coveted positions in the labour market. It is unclear why in a small island with limited resources where people depend enormously on being able to find service jobs, the Prime Minister would seek to make it harder for Britain’s top professionals to find employment.
Neither should the assumption be that British professionals should just head off and compete in the global marketplace. Many of us have hundreds or even thousands of years of heritage in these islands, are deeply attached to our hometowns and dusty traditions, have wide networks of friends and relatives who care for us and for whom we care, and no particular connection to any foreign country or culture.
The effect of redefining British culture as a series of abstract values, most of which if they have any validity should be properly regarded as universal values, is to strip our culture of its concrete and definite content. This reminds one of the famous incident where the Cambridge philosopher G.E. Moore was asked what philosophy was. “It’s what these are about,” he reportedly replied, gesticulating in the direction of the books behind him. British culture is Shakespeare, Bronte, Milton, Byron, Austen, Wesley, Handel, Mendelssohn, Elgar and Holst; Bibury, Castle Combe, Salisbury Cathedral, the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney, Hamilton Palace are what British culture is. Being British is not, as the social engineers at the BBC and other ‘nation-making’ institutions would have us believe, simply carrying a maroon passport, or worse, subscribing to some fashionable set of ultraliberal values. Were it so, one’s national identity would be like a sort of weather vein that pointed north or south depending on who was currently BBC Director-General.
Parts of the United Kingdom today are deeply ghettoised, and irrationally angry at and contemptuous of the country that has taken them in. You can travel through parts of London where the majority of people come from the same three villages in Bangladesh or the same small district in Nigeria, and which have autonomous enclaves with no need to integrate into the broader culture. While our ghettos might not be as imposing as Sweden’s or France’s, they are becoming increasingly separate. Ask Police in Glasgow why they are afraid to enter parts of Pollokshields.
Under the circumstances, if we are to have any future as a nation-state, we must completely rework British residency, immigration and citizenship law, and ignite a renewed national discussion on what it means to be British.
Jus soli must be replaced by jus sanguine. The Emirati and Qatari approaches to separating residency from citizenship have much to commend them in this respect.
Chain migration must be stopped.
If anyone should have the right to move to the British Isles, it should not be the highly-talented, people after all who are desperately needed across much of the third world. I take Boris Johnson at his word that we can create a system that will successfully be able to identify the talented, however I cannot accept that it is in any way desirable. A labour market needs a balanced spread of specialisms, competencies and abilities. Increasingly, roles at the pinnacle of academia and business will end up up being inaccessible to ordinary British. Just as affirmative action hurts most the communities it is designed to help, so also an assumption of native mediocrity will follow the opening of our doors to the ‘highly-talented’ of the world. What working-age Brit in their right mind thinks that this is a good idea!?
But there is a strong case for saying that we have a moral responsibility, as part of our colonial legacy, to allow a right of return for those of British heritage overseas. Israel’s Law of Return, passed in 1950 gives Jewish people the right to their historic homeland and to become a citizen of the state of Israel. The olim who arrived before the beginning of the Second World War were in some cases spared from the horrors of the Holocaust and general European bloodshed by virtue of having a homeland to return to, and the position of Jewish people worldwide has been massively strengthened in the post-Second World War period by there being a state that recognised that it must protect the idea of a Jewish homeland.
As was argued in an earlier article, the primary purpose of the nation-state has always been to protect nations from the predations of foreign forces, powers and empires, particularly those set on ethnic cleansing. While not all of the mass killing of the twentieth century had an ethnic component, the thirty-year Genocide of Christians conducted by Turkey, the Holocaust, and the Rwandan Genocide are obvious examples of incidents where separate or more autonomous homelands might better have been able to champion the cause of or serve as a refuge for the targeted peoples.
Nation-states protect nations from other nations. It is a normative good that India and Pakistan, Armenia and Turkey, and Sudan and South Sudan are separate: there is protection in this state of affairs. It would clearly be good for the Palestinian and Kurdish peoples to have their own nation-states with their own territory, government and armed forces.
This argument from a nation-state’s duty to protect is not moot in the case of the United Kingdom. White farmers in South Africa and Zimbabwe have been targeted on the basis of their ethnicity and skin colour, while in 2011, many Brits fled Egypt after state television depicted them as foreign spies. If someone is being attacked overseas for being British, it seems inhumane to deny them the right to return home.
British olim have shown themselves highly successful at reintegrating into British society, and do not as a rule expect to marry someone from their ‘back home’ country, speak another language, or live in ghettoised districts of London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. For many of them, the shock of what Britain has become is profound, but their reintegration into British society is typically smooth.
Of course, it will be objected by some that Aliyah is racist when in fact it is quite the opposite: a right of return exists to protect people from racism, and in a worst case scenario, ethnic cleansing. To take the domestic analogy, there is nothing ‘anti-family’ about working for the security of your own family, or ‘genderist’ about ensuring that women are protected from men.
There is however something oddly imperialistic about expecting that Brits should be able to live wherever they want, anywhere in the world; globalism is neocolonialism by any other name.
Utopian universalism like any other form of utopianism sounds great on paper but destroys communities in the name of political correctness. Many Western leaders are slowly waking up to the fact that their own desire to “transcend nationalism” and have open-door immigration policies has simply led to reverse colonialism.
Liberalism is great; but there is nothing more dangerous than being the only liberal in the room.
(c) All rights reserved.