“I had holes in my shoes but we were so happy! Running out into the street!” So recanted my elderly friend about the end of the war. “We had nothing but it was over.”
Now she looks around and wonders what it was all for. “It’s not their race, colour or religion. It’s the sheer numbers,” she says, looking at people from all over the world milling past in the London rush hour. And I agree. Multiculturalism and diversity have been rammed at us for years.
We must feel guilty about things we ourselves never did. Slavery? Our fault. Racism? We are all racist apparently. We are ‘unconsciously racist’.. ‘Little Englanders’. If you voted Brexit you hate foreigners. And if you are ‘ethnic’ and don’t vote Labour you are deluded, apparently – and doing it because there is no other way to succeed.
We of British descent, and those who have integrated and see themselves as British, cannot win. We are wrong whatever we do. Once, anyone born here would immediately see themselves as British and act accordingly, regardless of ancestry. And those arriving would try to fit in, preferring to make the most of the opportunity and bring their children up as British. I have many friends from different backgrounds, most born here, and all see themselves as British.
But now it’s all changed, especially with younger generations. Everyone is encouraged to look backwards, not forwards. Everyone must delve into their background and anything foreign held up as a medal and used to find some reason to hate the land of their birth and feel they are ‘owed’ by us.
“Oh I may look English, but I’m not. My great grandmother was Polish”… erm, OK… when do you become English then? Does one tiny scrap of something else make you different and able to expect special treatment? Apparently!
What is forgotten is that we of these islands were a mixed bunch once ourselves. We were invaded many times and evolved accordingly. All who came here loved the lush greenness. They sometimes settled, sometimes left, fought with the natives, sometimes dominated, sometimes not, bred with them, built up the land, roads, homes, farms and so on.
Eventually a country was formed, rather than groups wandering around. This island contained a mix of Celts, Angles, Saxons, Romans, Normans, Jutes and Frisians, as well as other groups. The English language is Germanic with influences from Latin, French and Hindi amongst others. We also have Scottish, Irish and Welsh languages. We have a long and bloody history, but it made us who we are.
Once we formed a nation and built ourselves up, like other strong nations we travelled the world and built an empire. Many now hate the idea of empire but we brought civilisation, education, law, justice, roads, railways and knowledge to much of the world. Many rue the day the British left and some from the colonies packed up and followed their colonisers to Britain.
Just as the world had a huge impact on us, so we then had a huge impact on the world around us, and still do to this day. We grew a reputation for benevolence towards refugees and those disenfranchised by war and famine. We were a nation open to immigration because we were a nation formed by incomers who had then travelled the world, bringing back foods, spices, ideas, cultures etc. and integrating it into our own, in the same way that we brought our culture to theirs.
It worked well, because the overriding factor was everything and everyone became integrated into our British way of life. All were proud to be British – rich or poor – and being British meant something. We gave so much to the world – our language, our Church, law, engineering skills, tolerance, culture, even sports – cricket, football, rugby – the list is endless! We also abolished slavery. And won two world wars in the same century!
Many groups of people have come here, such as the Huguenots, who settled and integrated. But now…. being British or English is something to be explained away and apologised for. We must be more diverse, multicultural, less ‘racist’…. apparently! We should not be proud of who we are. We need more people here to help make us MORE diverse.
For goodness sake! We are a nation BUILT on diversity and multiculturalism! We invented it! And formed ourselves from it. The key was we all integrated and became one great nation. And then moved forwards. We knew our history, yes, but didn’t keep looking backwards to division and differences – no – we looked forward and out into the world – we CHANGED the world! Not for nothing do other countries ask for our advice on mulitculturalism and terrorism – we have a long experience in dealing with and understanding it. Our country has seen more change in the last 60 years than it ever saw in hundreds of years. We didn’t want it, but have coped.
So please, when people tell us to embrace diversity, first take a look at our history. When saying our royal family has German/Greek blood – our answer is ‘we know’. We understand culture and way of life. We know one can retain a religion but still become British. We also know this is the country everyone wants to live in – certainly not Europe! In fact the most popular countries were all formed with British culture – the USA, Australia etc.
It’s time for us to be proud again of who we are, of being BRITISH. We don’t need diversity or multiculturalism or lessons in how not be ‘racist’ – and we don’t need to feel guilty. What we need is for everyone to integrate into our British way of life.
So please, don’t insult us by trying to teach us what we invented – we’ve been there, done that, and lived to rule the world! Either get on with it, or take your opinions elsewhere – and leave us to it!