When in 1941 George Orwell—social conservative, Little Englander, intellectual cosmopolitan—hopefully envisioned an English socialist revolution, he assured his readers (and himself) that such a mere political event, like all such past convulsions, would prove no more than a surface disturbance. Yes, England’s class system would dissolve; yes, the nation’s economy and social relations would change radically as authority and privilege was wrested from the figurative “irresponsible uncles and bed-ridden aunts” who held the levers of power—England, after all, was “a family with the wrong members in control”—and yes, accents might even alter. England, however, would “still be England, an everlasting animal stretching into the future and the past, and, like all living things, having the power to change out of recognition and yet remain the same.”
The (New Labour) government never systematically laid out its rationale for pursuing this radical policy. It emerged from a convoluted set of ideologies, shibboleths, slogans, and aspirations that celebrated the dynamism of global capitalism and that rejected what was regarded as a stultified and insular traditional British culture. Although rooted in an economic vision, the policy derived its energy and appeal from its cultural, even aesthetic aspirations: “diversity,” “inclusiveness,” and “vibrancy” were its watchwords. (Robin) Cook’s “Chicken Tikka Masala Speech” was New Labour’s most famous pronouncement of its vision of this policy, a feat of social engineering designed to forge a new national identity by means of“the changing ethnic composition of the British people themselves.” In a fit of consumerist enthusiasm, Cook disdained the former “homogeneity of British identity,” dismissed older Britons who clung to that antiquated and stodgy identity, extolled the ways mass immigration had “broadened” lifestyles, and enthused over the prospect of a pulsating and ever-changing “immigrant society” that would continue “enriching our culture and cuisine.”
…Over the last 18 years, about twice as many immigrants have settled in Britain as had done so in the 49 years (1948-97) that constituted the first wave of mass immigration. About 80 percent of these have come from outside the EU, the greatest number from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Somalia, and Nigeria.
…Since 2001, Britain’s visible minority population has nearly doubled
…The visible minority population is projected to rise to about 38 percent by mid-century and to over 50 percent by 2070, which will make Britain by far the most ethnically diverse country in the West.
…Andrew Norfolk, the self-described liberal London Times investigative reporter who methodically uncovered the Rotherham sexual grooming scandal, concludes that “It is possible for a Muslim child to grow up—in the family home, at school and in the mosque and madrassa—without coming into any contact with Western lifestyles, opinions or values.”
…37 percent (of British Muslims) believe British Jews are “a legitimate target as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East”; that 46 percent believe British Jews “are in league with the Freemasons to control the media and politics”; that 68 percent want the prosecution of British citizens who “insult” Islam; that 28 percent hope Britain will become a fundamentalist Islamic state… And as the Muslim population becomes more established in Britain, these attitudes, the evidence strongly suggests, are becoming more intemperate, not less: the few surveys that have measured the attitudes specifically of young British Muslims consistently show that their views are more extreme than those of British Muslims as a whole….