There is a wonderful thought experiment at the opening of Peter Hitchens’s The Abolition of Liberty which imagines a traveller in time attending both the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and Lady Diana Spencer. A respective taking of the national mood, a litmus of response, is deployed by Hitchens, and the result shows something all genuine conservatives will long have been aware of.
Between the passing of a truly great if flawed statesman and a befuddled Sloane Ranger who got in with the wrong crowd (the British Royal Family), something incalculable has happened to the British people. Deference has gone, openly cheered to its demise by the Labour Party, or the Labour wing of today’s undeclared coalition. The class system has, supposedly, been dismantled – and Socialists do love their machine imagery – and in its place the appearance of egalitarianism has been hastily erected. Nothing of the sort has taken place anywhere in the real world, of course, and instead of John Major’s dream of a classless society, the United Kingdom – even the name is a falsehood – is now simply a society with no class.
Self-restraint has gone from being the dignified response of the civilised Western European to an event causing distress or joy. Watch footage of football fans from the 1950s and earlier. They all look the same. They all behave the same way. That is, in both cases, impeccable. I once read story of an elderly gentleman who remembered seeing a football player called – I think - Johnny Haines hit the post with a great shot. “Luckless Haines!” a man in the next seat exclaimed. Today, an unsuccessful – or even successful - effort by an opposition player will whip the crowd into a baying, grimacing, gurning, writhing mass of hatred, with obscene gestures and gutter language, which can be lip-read on any replay, taking the place of a despairing “Luckless Haines!”.
If the behaviour of football fans were our Virgilian guide, we would be forgiven for thinking that 1950s Britain was a decent, restrained country, its people civilised and unexcited in their responses to social situations, and that today’s British are scum.
We hear a tedious chatter about ‘British values’. What might they be, what might they resemble? Ancient Greek or Roman values? Nordic values? Hindu values? A socio-cultural value is, we can safely say, a way of acting or behaving which is accorded a certain value, in the positive sense (a reprehensible or violent act still has a value, albeit negative in terms of social capital).
Whatever they are, these mysterious values, this hidden book of the law, they are what foreign arrivistes to Britain are expected to adopt. We know this to be the case because we hear it weekly from the government’s megaphone, the popular press. Of course, we understand the between-the-lines inference that it is not all cultures that need to adapt to British values, merely the more socially troublesome ones. The Chinese arrivals in the UK tend to maintain the cultural practices of their home countries but, outside Chinatown, no one would ever really notice that they hadn’t signed up for our still-enigmatic British values.
I was in England recently for ten days, after a three-month period away, by far the longest time I have ever spent outside the country of my birth and upbringing. It was pleasant to see again the hundred small kindnesses the English specialise in, to see manners displayed openly and unashamedly. I noticed this particularly, having spent time in Costa Rica among American expats who, for the most part, are arrogant, charmless, mannerless, braying, small-minded braggarts. I was actually reprimanded here for apologising for the crass behaviour of someone I happened to be playing in a band with. I’m sure that Costa Rica’s Yankee contingent, comprised as it is of pensionados, misfits and chancers, is not representative of all Americans, but it threw the charm of the English into strong relief on my return.
The point is this. What positive values the British still have are a private preserve, social capital stowed away like fivers under the mattress. If the great, lumbering, vindictive Socialist governing class in Westminster has anything to do with it, even these niceties will be removed. Other British values, as far as I can read them from a distance, seem to be stupidity, rudeness, narcissism, football, cataclysmic drinking and drug consumption, hypocrisy, self-hatred – in the case of the white British elites – and a moronic and slavish obsession with consumer trinkets.
If these are the values the great influx of immigrants are expected to learn and practice, can the British really be surprised when Muslims, for example, cling to their own cultural identities? The case against Islam is not going to be a very strong one if the people making the case behave like apes. The twin phenomena of the Americanisation and Caribbeanisation of British, and particularly English, culture is one of the greatest acts of cultural self-harm in history. Islam knows this, and rightly sees it as a vast weak point in the citadel walls.
If you are to have values in the UK, you must nurture them in private, like seedlings. Keep away from government, keep away from the television and newspapers, keep away from cultures alien to your own. Read, and read genuinely educational books, not the crap in the window at Waterstone’s. Listen to music that actually speaks to you in the deeps, not the infantile, objectionable and retarded babble of talentless, gold-strewn black idiots with big trousers. Don’t watch Hollywood movies, watch old black-and-white films which have simpler values and authentic reasons to exist. More than anything, don’t trust anyone who is of the Left. Their methods need observing as their ability to connect must be emulated, but as people shun and disapprove of them, be it in the workplace or in your social life.
Money should only have value because it represents capital. So too with actions, although they represent social capital, a tender in which Britain is running worryingly short. Do not act in the way that your government and its various lobby groups want you to act. Have some dignity. Create a value system that actually means something, and you might find you have something to defend and fight for.