Cower Of London

Here’s Ed West, writing in the “Speccie”:

The reason we keep on hearing about ‘British values’ uniting our nation is precisely that they don’t; communities that genuinely do have a sense of group feeling don’t need to go on about a set of values that supposedly binds them. Why would they? This is not just about immigration; since the Second World War at least western societies have had a huge growth in values diversity, people being freer to chose their lifestyles; the internet has accelerated this. But these sort of values-diverse societies can only really run smoothly on the understanding that no one tries to blow the others up.

Yes, that no one tries to blow his neighbors up is a necessary condition for a happy and harmonious society, but it is hardly a sufficient one. It is, perhaps, sufficient for a well-functioning hotel, or parking facility — but not for a community, and certainly not for a nation.

Meanwhile, new vehicle-proof bulwarks have been installed on London’s bridges, as England’s descent into a wartime security state accelerates. (When you won’t build a wall around your country, you must build walls around everything inside your country.)

I’m glad that my father, who grew up in London and lived through the Blitz, didn’t live to see this. I’m sure he’d think it is far worse: what he saw in that hour was an ancient nation and people adamantly resolved to defend their home and culture, no matter the cost; what he would see today in the city of his birth is a deracinated and exhausted people adamantly resolved to do anything but.

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  1. Whitewall says

    ’nuff said.

    Posted June 6, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
  2. Jason says

    You might enjoy a few of the books of the Hungarian-American historian John Lukacs, who has written movingly about Churchill and 1940: Five Days in London and The Duel are two good ones.

    Posted June 6, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
  3. Epicaric says

    There amount of talk of “British values” is inversely related to the amount of talk of what these values are. Discussion of what these values may be usually ends at the universal and is never allowed to descend to the particular, lest we find ourselves on the head of a pin haggling over the True Scotsman. But like pornography, I think we’ll know a Brit when we see him.
    I was born to an English mother, but raised in America. A British passport awaits me at the end of a handful of documents. But I have never completed the documents, because in the end I am an American. If I were to submit the odd handful of forms, I doubt that in informal circles the British would consider me, without qualification, as fully British. I would forever be “The American”. However, were I to question the Britishness of a recently minted citizen of Pakistani origin, I am as equally sure that the very same British would castigate me for such an insensitive transgression.

    Posted June 6, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink
  4. Whitewall says

    Well, it got worse last night.

    Posted June 9, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink