Britain’s new minorities

The recent census findings revealed the emergence of a new set of minority groups in Britain. Will the liberal establishment fight their corner?

Are we binning 'British'?
Tom Wilson
On 28 December 2012 11:35

The recent census findings revealed the emergence of a new set of minority groups in Britain and indicated a trajectory that suggests we will likely see the creation of several more. What is striking about these new minorities is that they are formed out of groups that were formerly the majority in this country and that have long been viewed as mainstream components of Britain’s national life.

But when one looks at who these new minorities are, one can’t help but wonder whether the liberal establishment - that has long championed the cause of minorities and countercultures - will afford these people the same privileges and protections that the Left has typically bestowed upon other minority groups.

Perhaps the most controversial and commented upon of these groups has been the newly made 'White British' minority of London, whose population has receded from 58 percent of London’s population in 2001 to 45 percent in 2011. It is not nothing when a country's capital is no longer predominantly populated by those of the ethnic and cultural background of the nation that it has historically acted as a flagship for. Nor can such a dramatic turnaround avoid having serious repercussions for the rest of the country’s national identity.

The influx witnessed by London in recent decades is hardly comparable to the often cited examples of the small number of 17th century French Huguenots or east European Jews fleeing the pogroms of Tzarist Russia. Rather this has been a demographic tidal wave, and a man made one at that. For while Bonnie Greer may have appeared on Newsnight referring to how this phenomenon is something that can’t be stopped, as if it mysteriously arose from some unknown source, the reality is that this transformation was intentionally orchestrated by New Labour bureaucrats without the democratic consent of the British people.

Another of the newly created minorities is married couples. It would seem that the foundation point of the family unit and the ideal of lifelong, committed human companionship, as celebrated and strengthened in the form of a legally recognised institution, is now fading fast. For while David Cameron distracts us with his indulgent championing of same-sex marriage, traditional marriage has been disintegrating and the far more challenging task of addressing this fact has been neglected. 

It may well be the case that this subsidence in married couples is fundamentally tied to the decline of Christianity in Britain. For at the same time as the unelected Rowan Williams was devoting himself to apologising for the spread of Christianity from a podium in Cairo and slamming the fiscal prudence of the current, and indeed elected, government from the pages of the New Statesman, the number of Christians in Britain has declined from 72 percent to 59 percent in 10 years.

If churches continue to haemorrhage numbers at this rate then within the next decade Christianity will have become just another minority religion in multicultural Britain, so continuing the process by which the country becomes estranged from the Judeo-Christian heritage that has traditionally provided it with so much of its cultural identity as well as its primary moral reference point.   

Another recent social shift that may be less the effect of the loss of the protestant work ethic as much as it has been the combined result of extensive taxation and rapid population increase through mass immigration is the substantial decline in home ownership.

Having reached a peak of over 70 percent owner occupancy in 2003, the number of people owning their own home has been in decline since 2005 and was down to 66 percent in 2011. Assuming that this process remains an ongoing one, Thatcher’s vision of Britain as a property owning democracy appears as if it might soon be consigned to being little more than a dim memory.    

The liberal establishment has been so successful in implementing its various programmes and waging war on the mainstream groups that it now finds itself in the disorienting situation whereby having for so long been the champion of minorities, those very minorities are now comprised of people that it cannot stand.

Naturally the Left will be unconcerned to see the demise of such middle class ideals as home ownership and such archaic arrangements as heterosexual marriage, yet one wonders how eager the Left will be to include the 'White British' of London among the minority groups whose ‘diversity’ it is supposed to revel in celebrating.

Nor does it seem plausible that the Left will come out in force to champion the rights of Christians when they are threatened by legislation or in court. Indeed, it is doubtful that the liberal sections of the press will defend the wearing of the crucifix with the same zeal that it has mustered for those donning the Burqa.    

This fundamental transformation of the character of British society has in many cases been carried out quietly and without the electoral consent of the country’s voters. Many of the changes were foreseen some time ago by commentators who were often silenced by being labelled bigoted and alarmist.

What remains to be seen is in the event of this assault continuing to a point where traditional British identity has been fully decimated, whether the British will prove able retain the values that have historically made their country in many respects a light in the world.    

Tom Wilson is a political analyst and a doctoral student at University College London

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