The solutions will be the entertaining bit. Having knocked down Britishness over 40 years, they're arrogant enough to believe they can rebuild it with a few citizenship lessons, a rebuild of the history curriculum and some media pressure. They'll find destruction is much easier than construction.
Here we go again :
School-leavers should be encouraged to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen and country, says a report commissioned by Gordon Brown on British citizenship. Report author, ex-attorney general Lord Goldsmith, says it would give teenagers a sense of belonging. Council tax and student fee rebates are suggested for people who volunteer - as well as a "Britishness" public holiday.
Let's pass on what exactly qualifies Lord Goldsmith as an expert on social cohesion. I guess it's an encouraging sign of incompetence that Gordon Brown thinks his input will be useful. The derision he's attracting from both left and right is most beautiful to be seen, as the Bard of Dundee would say.
I have a feeling the Labour Party focus groups must be telling them some rather unpleasant stories. At this moment BBC Radio Four's "You and Yours" is discussing the white (i.e. British) working class, and drawing calls from bemused middle class lefties asking "what's this all about ?".
It's about our rulers crapping themselves, that's what it's all about. No, that's not fair, they probably haven't got to that point yet. The BBCs sudden rediscovery of the WWC is a prophylactic, a catch-up exercise in reminding the poor Brits that they do count, really.
Elsewhere, Tim Lott in the Indie, of all places :
My father worked in a greengrocers' shop for 35 years; my mother was a housewife before she committed suicide in 1987. They were both lifelong Labour voters. My mother hanged herself in the house she lived in all her life, in Southall, west London, a town that had changed beyond all recognition. It is today the least white place in the whole of Britain.
She wrote in her suicide note: "I hate Southall, I feel so alone."
By what methods were the white working classes (WWC) despatched? The first development that undermined WWC hopes and morale was the great betrayal in education – the abolition of grammar schools and the retention of private schools.
Grammar schools, in the guilt-ridden WLMC view of things, favoured middle-class children over working-class children. What they actually favoured – or could have favoured, if the tests were designed sufficiently well – was clever children over less clever children. And if you look at the dyna7mism of the post-war grammocracy (Pinter, Dyke, Potter, Jacobson, Sillitoe, Bragg, Bennett and hundreds of others), it provided a crucial injection of WWC sensibility into the wider culture.
Now, in the name of everyone being equal – except for the WLMC who could pay for private schools – no one could be admitted to a school just on the basis that they were clever, which a remarkably large number of working-class people are. The WLMC had it that the WWC are all about as clever as each other (not very, though you had to pretend otherwise) and thus must all go to the same, very big, often rather crappy schools in which maybe dozens of languages are spoken.
The second great betrayal was multiculturalism. This was the creed that said all cultures were as valid as each other (in theory) but that minority cultures were somehow – no one was quite sure how – actually superior to the host white indigenous culture which was axiomatically racist. So even if you happen to come from a culture that endorsed female circumcision and was misogynist and homophobic, it was a given that you were a "victim". And who were the "victimisers"? The WWC who were faced with the profound challenge and stresses of assimilation.
There was a lot of WWC resistance to immigration. This was partly about racism, which, of course, the WLMC are immune to. Something in the organic bread, I think. But it was also about losing housing opportunities, cheap labour taking away jobs, and the simple, profound problem of learning to exist in a new kind of culture, which in some cases overwhelmed and bewildered the indigenous one. The trick of learning to feel ashamed at the same time as everything was being taken away from you was a really hard one to pull off.
And the mighty Yazza in the same place. You've been talking to that Melanie Phillips* again, haven't you ?
A Jewish friend prompted this column. She said to me: "I condemn Israeli politics and some things British Jews are up to. But when anti-Semitism seeps through the land, unseen, unacknowledged, I must stand up for my people. You must too. It is your duty. Powell's ghost is awake, Racism is everywhere. I can feel it. Can't you?"
I can see the Tories pinching that last line for their next campaign, but that's by the by.
"I must stand up for my people"
And if you do that, Yasmin, you are a doughty campaigner against oppression. If I do that, however, I am a hideous racist !
* not really. I do love the Magna Mater, but she would never use a word like 'seeped'. It would be a 'raging tsunami' at least.