If Britain has an official narrative it’s of the Great Decline. This once great nation degenerated into a Third World country where the good are paralysed by political correctness and the lazy and evil live high on the sweat of the few remaining working men. The story of how we went from the spirit of the Blitz to a selfish, hedonistic wasteland has captivated highbrow conservatives, policy units and libertarian bloggers alike. In some ways this miserable romance has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It has hardwired self-pity, parochialism and resentment into the UK’s political discourse. It’s a climate where mainstream newspapers publish the most fantastical conspiracy theories and incitements to racial hatred while clerics make high-profile pronouncements about the End Times like doomsayers wailing in the street.
A key part of the Great Decline narrative is immigration. The hatred for immigrants in our culture has now become a national pathology. Migrants in reality tend to be dispossessed and vulnerable yet they are somehow responsible for taking both our jobs and our benefits, depressing wages, and destroying social cohesion. If they come from Islamic countries they are said to be imposing their native culture upon this small island. It’s this last point that Edmund Standing focuses on in his report ‘Debunking the ‘Islamisation’ Myth‘. ‘Are we now to seriously believe,’ he asks, ‘that Britain is finished because a religious minority, many of whom are poor and powerless, and very few of whom are found at the heart of our economy and our political process, has arrived on our shores?’
Standing begins by putting the Great Decline narrative in historical context, tracing it from Melanie Phillips back to earlier apocalyptics like Spengler and the Nazi theorist Max Nordeau. He then goes on to knock down the conspiracy theories of the contemporary British right. Standing takes apart the demographic basis for the Eurabia idea, and could have pointed out that it rests on the sinister fallacy that future generations will believe exactly the same things that their parents did, as if belief and culture were hammered into the genetic code.
Standing’s an atheist and considers Islam itself to be harmful and stupid. A lot of people will object to his report for these reasons alone, but for my money it’s a stronger, finer attack on the current bigotry against British Muslims than anything produced by the far left.
(Image via John Rentoul)