At last, it’s starting to become OK to talk about immigration. Of course, it’s been a hot topic for the British National Party (BNP) , their British National Front predecessors and the far right for years – in fact, decades really, stretching right back to Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech back in April 1968. The GREEN vMEME’s staunch opposition to anything that could possibly be associated with prejudice and discrimination has inhibited rational discussion of these issues. Now, thanks to the emergence of the cross-party Balanced Migration Group (BMG) , led by Frank Field (Labour) and Nicholas Soames (Conservative), the barriers to acknowledging the problems that immigration is creating for the United Kingdom are at least beginning to crack.
Over the past year, from interacting with Jon Freeman and Rachel Castagne at June’s ‘A Regent’s Summit on the Future of the UK’ to dialogue with staunch BNP supporter Man of the Woods in the comments on ‘Should the BNP appear on the Beeb?’, I’ve come to have much more of an appreciation of how a number of people feel really passionately about this kingdom…as Man of the Woods calls it, ‘my ancestral land’. The real eye-opener for me, though, with regard to how attitudes are changing towards immigration, was Matthew Kalman’s contribution to that Blog. Matthew, someone I’ve long thought of as a self-challenging visionary more than capable of 2nd Tier thinking, appeared at first glance to be reflecting BNP concepts. Then I realised Matthew was reflecting the fears, concerns and aspirations of those he deals with and that this was leading him on something of a journey to question the GREEN-sponsored multi-culturalism which has led to ethnic minority identities being celebrated more than national identities over the past decade or so.
In terms of what the BNP wants set against the general consensus of the mainstream political establishment, acknowledging some simplification of the issues, this can be reduced basically to a values conflict – between the PURPLE tribalism espoused by the BNP and the GREEN egalitarianism of the political establishment. The earlier half-hearted and cack-handed attempts of the Government to develop policies on citizenship and immigration and now the emergence of the Balanced Migration Group are slowly but surely beginning to move us beyond GREEN’s presupposition that, if you want to restrict people of a different ethnic origin from entering this country, then you are prejudiced. As a kingdom, we are heading (hopefully!) towards being able to debate these issues rationally.
With it being said that that one new immigrant arrives in Britain every minute, a new British passport is issued to an immigrant every 3 minutes and every 6 minutes a new home needs to be built for an immigrant, clearly immigration is exerting substantial pressures on both the physical and sociopsychological infrastructures of the United Kingdom. In that context, it’s hard not to empathise with the BMG’s declaration yesterday urging the parties to make policy statements in their manifestos for the upcoming General Election to prevent the British population reaching the projected level of 70 million-plus by 2029. (The bulk of this anticipated population explosion is anticipated to come directly from new immigrants and indirectly from the children of immigrants being born in this country.)
A population of 70 million-plus and continuing to rise would almost certainly make the UK the most crowded member of the European Union.
So we have 3 pressures of concern regarding these issues:-
- the seemingly-unstoppable rise in immigration
- the increased support for the BNP and the far right emanating from the real fears and concerns about this amongst the ‘indigenous peoples’ of the UK
- the effect of BNP and far right hostility towards ethnic groups stimulating some members of those groups towards anti-social behaviour – eg: the Anti-Nazi League and, far more worryingly, radical Islamic fundamentalism
Is it always wrong to discriminate?
That it is wrong to discriminate – because that means not everyone is treated equally – is one of the GREEN vMEME’s presuppositions.
But, from a 2nd Tier perspective, could it sometimes be in the interests of the whole to discriminate against a part?
And is discrimination inevitable anyway?
Simply to categorise people - eg: into ‘British citizens’ and ‘residential non-British citizens’, ‘black’ and ‘white’, ‘Lancastrians’ and ‘Yorkies’, ‘English’ and ‘Scots’ – invites discrimination, according to Henri Tajfel & John Turner’s Social Identity Theory (1979). Categorisation leads to identification with your own ‘in-group’, absorbing its values and norms, while demonising the out-groups via derogatory stereotypes. In Integrated SocioPsychology terms, this is the PURPLE vMEME’s building of the tribal identity. Then, because RED finds its self-esteem invested in the in-group, it pushes the in-group to be superior to the ‘out-groups’.
As Muzafer Sherif et al (1961) showed in the classic Robber’s Cave Experiment, competition increases in-group/out-group rivalry substantially. Moreover, Marilyn Brewer & Donald Campbell, in their 1976 study of East African tribes, found that competition over basic resources such as land and water, really ramps up the hostility.
As its population threatens to mushroom completely out of control, the UK is faced with an enormous debt problem that means, whichever party wins the election, we shall see the promised ‘swingeing cuts’ in public services. With the UK economy showing few signs of emerging from recession, the cuts are likely to be long and deep. Thus, as standards of living fall in real terms, rivalry – even outright hostility – will grow as in-groups look to target out-groups for the blame. Differences in names, language, colour of skin and ethnic origin make it easier to tell who’s not in your in-group. It’s not racism per se because racism is really just a manifestation of tribalism. And tribalism, by default, is ethnocentric. It’s perhaps no surprise that Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, in his support for the BMG declaration, is talking about ‘Christian heritage’ and that immigration policy should have “a bias towards Christian values”. Obviously as a churchman, it’s Carey’s job to promote Christianity; but he’s also making the point that Christianity traditionally is the religion of the ‘indigenous peoples’ of the UK. It’s a sort of other-side-of-the-coin to the English Defence League’s stance against the perceived ‘Muslimisation’ of England. Unfortunately it all too easily slips into a kind of pastiche of the neo-Christian white ‘indigenous’ Briton vs the Muslim Asian immigrant.
Underneath the rhetoric and bluster, if we use the Spiral Dynamics map, we can see RED-driven firebrands like Nick Griffin and some of the more radical imams manipulating the PURPLE anxieties of their communities and using sheens of BLUE nationaliism and religion to do so.
Of course, if we’re to going to follow the BNP down the ‘race route and judge the priority or superiority of one group of people over another group of people by the colour of their skin and their ethnic origin, then the ‘whities’ had better be careful. For 40 years overt racists have used the lower IQ scores of Afro-Americans on Stanford-Binet tests – first brought to prominence by Arthur Jensen (1969) – to justify discrimination by whites (average: 100) against blacks (average: 85). The problem with this is that we now know Asians score higher than whites – especially East Asians (average: 106 – J Philippe Rushton & Arthur Jensen, 2005)!
Heck, not only do they breed faster than us – but they’re smarter too!
There are, of course, huge controversies around both the concept of race and the concept of intelligence – and neither concept may turn out to be as valid as claims make them out to be. Nonetheless, the higher IQ scores of Asians on white-originated IQ tests certainly knock claims by whitey to be superior.
So, on what other basis can there then be discrimination? If you go down Man of the Woods’ route that these are our ‘ancestral lands’; then, while I’ve got a lot of empathy with that concept…if a land really does belong to its ‘indigenous people’, then what the hell were the Europeans doing during the ‘Age of Empires’, invading other peoples’ lands and subjugating them – if not outrightly enslaving them?!?!?
(NB: I’ve put ‘indigenous people’ here in inverted commas because the English are, of course, one of the most bastardised peoples in the world in terms of racial stock, counting Celts, Picts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings, Normans and Jews amongst our distant ancestors. Who exactly were the original ’indigenous peoples’? Smallish waves of Poles, Slavs and more Jews came to these shores as refugees during World War II – and that’s before the docking of the Windrush in 1948 started the trickle that became a flood of Afro-Caribbean, African and Asian immigarants!)
From a 2nd Tier perspective, we have to say that, if there is to be discrimination – which seems to natural to all the 1st Tier vMEMES until the emergence of GREEN – it should be primarily in the interests of the majority and the health of the kingdom as a whole. Therefore, if imposing a cap on immigration – as the BMG is urging – is discriminatory, then so be it. There are far more people in this kingdom who primarily espouse PURPLE values than espouse GREEN values. So keeping the kingdom safe for the majority of its people and ensuring they have the resources to feel safe and secure is important. Allowing our population to grow beyond the 70-plus million will inhibit those vital measures. So a cap or other similar restriction is necessary.
The opportunities an immigration restriction measure will create
In a sense we have the BNP to thank for forcing this debate upon a reluctant, GREEN-led political establishment. The BNP has acted like a lightning rod for all the seething discontentment amongst the PURPLE-dominated traditional white working classes; and the party has channelled that discontentment into a significant electoral force.
However, from a 2nd Tier perspective, we know that all life has value – that all humans have value and that GREEN is basically right in its drive to create equal opportunities for all. What GREEN doesn’t get is that, while everyone might be ‘equal in the eyes of God’, not everybody is equal in practicality; therefore, there need to be multiple opportunities tailored to different needs. What GREEN also doesn’t get is that the lower vMEMES don’t see the world its way. Which is why we need 2nd Tier thinking to create and manage precarious and shifting balances between the competing needs and values of different vMEMES.
An immigration cap and/or other restrictions might be said to discriminate against those who want to come to this kingdom; it might also be said to discriminate against those who are already settled in this kingdom and wish to see other people from their country of ethnic origin settle here. Interestingly, however, it should be noted that increasingly pollsters are claiming support for restrictions on immigration amongst the ethnic minorities.
A substantial reduction in immigration would give us the breathing space to deal with the effects of 50-plus years of large-scale immigration. In 2004, in the wake of reports on race riots in Oldham, Bradford, Leeds and Burnley during 2001, Trevor Phillips, then head of the Commission for Racial Equality, declared multi-culturalism dead. “We need to assert there is a core of Britishness,” he stated.
If the vision of multi-culturalism – distinct plural cultures living side by side in harmony – is indeed dead, then what kind of Britain should we aim for in our multi-ethnic land…and what role would the assertion of ‘a core of Britishness’ play in it?
It was to address these sorts of issues that the Centre for Human Emergence UK was set up last June. However, time is not on our side. As the BMG acknowledge, it will take several years to get immigration back down to manageable levels. In the meantime PURPLE’s need for stability and security is being ravaged by the recession, with the rate of job losses and house repossessions only decreasing very slowly. These ingredients mixed together have the potential to create a social powder keg – which could be ignited by some pretty short fuses!