It’s twenty-one years since the original, failed
Thus has History moved on. Where is it bearing us? As we
accelerate into these rapids, there are some who hear the roar of a great
waterfall ahead. Taking a larger view, we all know very well that since the
1980s, other rapids of disintegration have brought about general ruin and
unresolved conflicts, in Indonesia, Eastern Europe, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. So
why not here? The most generally debated scenario along these disastrist lines
goes something like this. The
On the analogy of Serbia or Russia, a resentful and demoted (or even humiliated) elite will then try to preserve its privileged role and, if unsuccessful, obtain revenge by other means. Populist ‘What about us!’ sentiment will be worked up in the notorious British tabloid manner, and is likely to be politically appropriated by otherwise bankrupt or down-at-heel parties and leaders. It’s not clear who is cut out to be Belarus, Bosnia or Chechnya in this perspective. But what is pretty clear is that anybody easily identifiable as an internal enemy or fifth column would have a hard time of it. The big immigrant minorities of England would occupy the most exposed positions here. There could be a malignant growth of what Darcus Howe in The White Tribe called ‘the Dover mentality’ (‘the mark of the beast’); I’ll return to the question of that growth, and what might foster (or arrest) it.
Sometimes this is called the ‘four-nations’ formula, with reference to the supposed four main ethnic countries of the archipelago.footnote2 To sum up: the four-nations formula can be seen as suggesting that, perhaps before too long—while thousands cram into Heathrow on their way home to Jamaica or Pakistan—Jean-Marie Le Pen will be on his way over to address the House of Commons. His chosen theme is ‘Duc Guillaume jusqu’à Guillaume Hague: racines d’une vraie alliance européenne’. Later in the same day Mr. Le Pen is expected to don ermine and join Vladimir Putin as an Honorary Lord of the restructured Second Chamber.
Too easy to mock, I know, when real fears are involved, reinforced by hooligans with knives, by firebombs and institutional discrimination. So what is the alternative? What optional scenarios might more usefully be occupying our minds for ‘after Britain’, or ‘beyond The White Tribe’? More particularly—what most people want to know—are any of these more hopeful and more probable?