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MICHAEL WALSH: According to Max Hastings, noted British journalist, historian and former editor of the Daily Telegraph, 400,000 Britons departed their home country in a single year. It is not quite true to say they left their country for their country in truth left them first.
Today Britain, and in particular England, is unrecognisable from what it was just a generation ago. It is doubtful if any countries, except those in the midst of warlike Iraq, have seen their demography change so radically in such a short period; in just a generation.
Despite the hardships endured during and after the war, there was cohesion, a Spirit of Dunkirk that welded the English together. Their love of country and tradition; its way of life and their sense of belonging reduced adversity to insignificance. Few would have wished to be anything other than English. Then things began to change and the word tolerance was more often heard and demanded by those who wished to change the England of Shire horse and Coronation Street, morph it into a melting pot of cultures, traditions, races and religion; a cultural kaleidoscope; a world in one country.
All protest was frowned upon and the ‘R’ word was employed to use the judges’ gavels to bludgeon non-conformists into silence. Ironically, the aspirations of protestors were as one with all other nation peoples, wherever in the world; to protect their unique heritage.
A glance at the statistics will leave one wondering where their country has gone to? Has it evaporated? No, the geography is still there but the peoples who shaped and tilled it, fought and died for it; their descendants have gone. Does the culture of Englishness remain as a parting gift to those who took the place of the departed? Sadly, there is little evidence of it.
The character and customs, politeness, self-sufficiency and spirit of communal generosity have evaporated too. It is as if those who remain have also morphed so even they have little in common with their grandparent’s generation: that too is a foreign land.
Pockets remain. Before I myself left England, I was at a talk being given by a member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The setting for our talk would be the parochial hall set in a village a mile or two from the nearest ‘A’ road. The surreal experience was like stepping back into history. Gathered there were about 40 lady members of the Women’s Institute. It was an English scene straight from the 1940s and captured in relief like a dinosaur’s footprint in the sand.
The public room itself was Dad’s Army TV sitcom genre. It was a museum piece in which time had stood still. The ladies, mostly elderly, wore sensible clothing and shared a priceless sense of gentle humour, their politeness would have gained the praise of a geisha. But what of life beyond this idyllic community’s stockade? What lay outside of what was an English reservation for want of a better word?
Within an hour’s drive, the gaps left by English emigrants had been filled by lifestyles and cultures that bore little resemblance to a way of life that had quietly and with little change endured through the centuries.
In 1926, the year in which England’s Queen was born, there were just four mosques in Britain. Today the figure is approaching 4,000. Muhammad is now the second most popular name for boys in England, though it is expected to be No.1 by 2010.
Those blue remembered hills of A.E Houseman, evoked by the delightful poetry of A Shropshire Lad, are now quintessential yet as quaint as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. As you drive down each road of good intention you will approach the usual ‘Welcome to ******* ton’ signs and underneath each town name the legend: ‘Twinned with Coup de Grace.’ ‘Twinned With Fait Accompli’.
Each year there is emptied into England tens of thousands of Third World migrants. Each is not only given the right to work but is given precedence for jobs and benefits, homes and healthcare. Over 250,000 retail outlets, corner shops, and fast food outlets now have as their proprietors non-indigenous new Britons. If you want a Malawian doctor don’t look for one in Malawi. There are more of them in Manchester alone.
Medical students born and bred in Britain, the grandchildren of those who fought and died to ‘keep our English way of life’, along with foreign-born graduates, compete for fewer and fewer places. Again, priority for placements goes to the non-indigenous. The English have become second-class citizens in their own country – by orders of their parliament.
The Englishman’s home is his castle? Not if it is the Home Office. 38% of this all-powerful Government department is made up of ethnic minorities. Chances are that if you enter Britain, even as an expatriate, your right to be there will at some of the various stages be scrutinised by non-Britons. Don’t count on getting a visa just because you are married to a British citizen who was in the services.
A cause of great resentment to returning British holidaymakers is being questioned by attendants born in some other country and seeing their passports and their luggage examined by officials who are clearly not native Britons.
Nothing shows up the hollowness of the claim that Britain is a democracy when it is remembered that according to the Daily Express national newspaper, only 4% think that immigration is not a problem. In many cities and towns, the indigenous English are not only a minority but for their own safety keeping to their own safe reservations.
It would be easy to write such concerns off by citing the dreaded ‘R’ word but wherever one searches one finds the inescapable hard evidence that the fate of the English is akin to the fate of the Plains Indians. God’s little acre becomes God’s little hectare; his minority status is living off the reservation is increasingly alien and unwelcome. People now shun their own town and city centres.
Of course, the Government claims that immigration brings economic advantages. Well, they would, wouldn’t they? To whom, those who employ cheap uncomplaining labour! Otherwise, there seems to be little evidence of prosperity.
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Only 12 months ago UNICEF released a report stating that the UK was the worst place in the developed world for children to grow up. Britain’s debt mountain has now reached unprecedented levels.
More than 3,000,000 British pensioners are in debt. Only 4% will be financially independent upon retirement. Prince Charles revealed that 25% of the homeless are ex-servicemen.
Debt advisors struggle to cope. Liverpool city’s Special Advisory Service, a consortium of Citizens Advice Bureau, has 32 debt advisers, each with a bulging case-load of 6,000 clients each year. Home repossessions are set to leap by 50%.
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