Reconceptualizing Britishness on the Far Right: An Analysis of the British National Party’s Identity Magazine
First published in 2000, Identity was the response of the British National Party to the view that Britain had become a diverse society for ever, and that the “new” Britishness could no longer have an ethnic basis, nor, in fact, be exclusively grounded in recognisable British values. Drawing on books recently published on the genetic history of the British Isles, Identity contributors try to show that far from being all descended from immigrants, the British can biologically trace their ancestry to the first pioneers who reached the Isles after the last glaciation, and that the original populations were merely supplemented by minor gene flows from closely-related peoples in early historical times, from the Celts to the Normans. Thus the British have remained anthropologically homogeneous till the middle of the twentieth century. In its magazine the BNP promotes a racial(ist) view of identity rooted in a firm belief in the objective existence of blood ties. This biological identity has however developed a cultural structure around itself, which provides the concrete manifestations of what Britishness is and supplies the reservoir of facts and symbols indispensable for its reproduction and durability. From that perspective traditional national culture also becomes an instrument of the ethnic reawakening of the British people drugged by consumerism and liberal propaganda. Britishness in Identity is thus pre-modern and anti-liberal, the product of the fear of cultural deracination, territorial dispossession and racial extinction. It underpins a model of ethnicity which predates immigration and postdates the multicultural society.
Published : 2010-03-11