Posts Tagged ‘Daily Mail’

Rod Liddle in the Speccie:

The photo had been doctored to show the head of a small Vietnamese child poking out of the top of the carrier bag, and the caption ‘Gary Glitter gets a takeaway’. I sniggered at the photo in much the same way as I snigger at racist jokes, and for much the same reason — I have a puerile sense of humour, the switch of which is tripped when I know I’m not supposed to find something funny, but disgusting instead. The Daily Mail raged, of course. For journalistic reasons it showed the ‘depraved’ photo, but because it did not find the photo funny but rather an affront to everything our country stands for, it blacked out the eyes of the child in the bag. I think I found this self-righteousness and hypocrisy even funnier than the original doctored photo. I’m still giggling now.



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Are you British or European?

According to a British council poll, reported in the Mail: “In spite of greater European integration since the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992, just 7% of Britons surveyed said they felt like a European citizen.”

You cannot create an identity. It is something that develops organically. British people will not consider themselves to be European after ten more years of the European Union, twenty years, or even a hundred years. The whole enterprise depends on a false set of assumptions about human nature.

The 1960s and 1970s saw the flourishing of a view of human nature that was attractive to many as it promised liberation. Gender, race and nationality, even sexuality amongst the more radical thinkers, were all suggested to be socially constructed. There is no doubt that the intervening decades have seen a greater freedom enter society, and that has done a great deal of good.

It is, however, patently false that there is no biological basis to gender, and race, and no reality to nations. Although society – contact with others, how they present themselves, how they react to us – undoubtedly affects our experience of being a man, woman, of being white or black, these identities can not be reduced to the social.

Similarly, nations are not artificial constructs. Nations are held together by language and culture, and a shared endeavour. It is true that it is hard to fit all national stories to one pattern. However, the left has for many years created a false dichotomy. Either there are fixed identities, which discriminate an ethnicity and culture discrete from all others, or there are none. Of course, such fixed identities are an obvious absurdity. In fact, the story goes, such identities are ideological constructs, used by the privileged to maintain their privileges. In truth, human nature is malleable.

One of the tricks of the intellectually lazy is to represent social developments as inevitable. This often hides an ideological commitment. The dissolution of nations has been considered inevitable by some. However, all around us we see evidence that this is not so. From Scottish national identity to unrest in Western China, from the wars in the Caucasus to the troubles in the Basque country, from Tibet to Cyprus, we see that national identity is strong and critical to today’s politics.

Let us hope that the British establishment allow themselves to see this. Christopher Meyer, former ambassador to Washington, wrote very well about exactly this subject a short while ago, which is encouraging.

Despite the liberating events of the last century, research shows that traditional gender roles are still followed to a great degree. Ideological feminists decry this, but most women are happy with the freedom to choose their lifestyle and the way they view themselves. Society swung a long way away from traditional values, only to return to equilibrium a long way away from the radical visions of many feminists. It is striking how figures such as Churchill saw no shame in referring to their nation as a race. Nowadays, few people view nationhood in the same way. Let us hope that we can finally begin to claw our country back from the radical fringe who view nations as something to be overcome.

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