The Twilight of Britain Cultural Nationalism, Multi-Culturalism and the Politics of Toleration
"Betts is to be commended on his careful and insightful elucidation of the complex and novel sets of dilemnas now facing the British people at a time of superficial calm masking serious divisions."--Albion
The erosion of British sovereignty, national identity and culture, the subversion of its history and traditions, and the demoralization of its institutions and public services, are a source of increasing unease to many. The process began, Betts argues, with the end of the colonial empires. Since the beginning of the last decade, concern about the consequences has been heightened by global instability. The demise of the Communist empire, the rise of national independence movements, and the eruption of long standing and bitter ethno-national conflicts have resulted in a mass migration of economic refugees and asylum seekers to Britain and other Western nations.
In Britain, public attitudes are ambivalent. In part this is a consequence of the promotion of the myth of the multiracial Commonwealth, the regional devolution of the United Kingdom, and the transition from a European Economic Union into a politically federalized European super-state. Britain's national interests have become secondary to those of the United Nations and an inchoate and unwilling international community. Influenced by an outmoded UN Convention on Refugees and the lack of a consistent immigration policy and failure of those immigration controls that do exist, gradual but major political, social, and cultural shifts have occurred without the express consent of the majority of the British electorate. Virtually all public debate by the government and by politicians on these issues has been taboo, effectively silenced by fear of being accused of xenophobia, discrimination, and racism. The result is cynicism and disenchantment with the political process as a whole.
Betts's objective is to promote responsible and informed discussion of these issues. In the absence of this, he warns, we risk the twilight of a harmonious British society, diminished pride in British institutions and national identity, and competing and conflicting separatist ethnic, racial, and cultural claims. Twilight of Britain will be of interest to general readers, those interested in modern Britain and Europe, as well as sociologists, political scientists, and philosophers.
G. Gordon Betts was educated in the Universities of Cambridge, Birmingham, Greenwich, and Kent at Canterbury. He is a chartered chemical engineer, having spent his professional career with a major British oil company in the petrochemical industry.