The following essay by El Inglés is the fourth in a six-part series that examines the sociopolitical effects of mass immigration into the Western democracies.
Ethno-Religious Diversity and the Limits of Democracy
by El Ingles
Part Four: Applying the Model to Western Political Structures
The first post in this series introduced a statistical analysis of political systems that includes various terms referenced by abbreviations in later parts of the text. For the reader’s convenience, a list of those abbreviations and their meanings is below:
|PP||Policy Point||Policies actually being implemented by a government at any point in time|
|IPP||Individual Policy Point||Policies preferred by an individual|
|DI||Discontentedness Index||Distance between the PP and an IPP|
|MDI||Mean Discontentedness Index||Average of the DIs of individuals in the population|
|TD||Threshold Discontentedness||The level of DI above which an individual considers the government illegitimate|
|CZ||Contented Zone||The interior of a circle having a radius of the value of TD|
|DZ||Discontented Zone||The area outside the CZ circle|
|DZF||Discontented Zone Fraction||The fraction of the population occupying the DZ
Using Our Model to Think About Western Democracies
Thus far, our discussion has referred largely to hypothetical societies that exist only on our system diagrams. However, readers will already understand that this essay has not been written purely as a dispassionate investigation of the effects of ethno-religious political diversity. The rate at which this diversity is increasing in Western countries must, if the reasoning herein is sound, give rise to serious political conflicts, conflicts which are by no means certain to be resolved peaceably.
This remaining parts of the essay will strive to move away from the hypothetical and towards the concrete. It has the following objectives:
|a)||to explain the difference between structural and partisan analyses of the political diversity brought about by growing ethnic diversity,|
|b)||to show that most mainstream analysis and even most ostensibly rarified, academic analysis of this political diversity is partisan in nature, and|
|c)||to demonstrate the pointlessness of these partisan analyses by performing what we hope will constitute a reasonable first attempt at the structural analysis that seems so elusive.
We will work towards these objectives via reference to Britain, as, being British, Britain is the country we know most about and whose media and political discourse we have most convenient access to. Readers from other countries will undoubtedly be able to construct similar analyses of the political situations in their own countries.
Alert readers will recall that the distinction between structural and partisan analyses is one we first introduced when first introducing our system diagrams, and touched on later when talking about the prospects of a party like the National Front in France winning a presidential election. This preemptive introduction of the concept was hard to avoid given its importance in our analysis. Let us now water the seed we planted earlier.
The Difference between Structural Analysis and Partisan Analysis
Why exactly analysis of the subject matter of this document tends overwhelmingly to be partisan rather than structural is a mystery to us. Time after time, one reads articles and supposed analyses of these matters that give no hint whatsoever of appreciating the deeper issues involved.
A partisan analysis of ethnically and religiously induced political diversity is characterized in the following manner:
|a)||it concerns itself purely with the relative electoral prospects of competing political parties (hence its name),|
|b)||it assumes that the game of electoral politics will continue to play out as it has in recent decades for the rest of time,|
|c)||it asks no questions about the underlying political stability of the polities it is concerned with,|
|d)||it asks no questions about whether the demographic changes it studies might not entirely delegitimize the electoral process and motivate politically concerned parties to act apolitically in pursuit of their political goals, and|
|e)||it is peculiarly bloodless and removed, in that it demonstrates no understanding of the importance human beings attach to political power and the anguish they must be expected to evince if such power is taken away from them in their own countries, especially by groups with which they have antagonistic relationships
A structural analysis of this same sort of political diversity is characterized as follows:
|a)||it concerns itself primarily with whether or not the political diversity in a polity is of a type consistent with the maintenance of democratic government, and only secondarily with how party politics affects that,|
|b)||it assumes that electoral politics is a very fragile thing, and that a sufficient degree of estrangement from democratic outcomes will lead people to ignore those outcomes,|
|c)||it focuses on the probability of political stability being destroyed through inter-group hostility and violence,|
|d)||it understands that radical demographic change will tend to result in attempts to radically redistribute political power, and|
|e)||in keeping with the previous four points, it is psychologically engaged in that it sees the potential for political upheaval to result when political power threatens to shift from one part of society to another.
In March 1992, a referendum was held in Bosnia-Herzegovina (hereafter Bosnia), one of the original six republics of Yugoslavia, to determine whether or not the territory should declare independence from that rapidly crumbling state. The referendum delivered a resounding ‘Yes’ to independence, as a consequence of which Bosnia seceded from Yugoslavia and established a thriving, multiethnic, multifaith country in which disparate groups of people lived, worked, and socialized alongside each other in peace, and on the basis of a civic national identity that was open to all who subscribed to Bosnian values.
Anyone with the slightest understanding of the breakup of Yugoslavia will realize that the above account of the Bosnian path to independence is pure fantasy. As Slovenia and Croatia had already declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and been embroiled in war as a consequence, it was clear to Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, who made up a small majority of the Bosnian population, that remaining in the Serb-dominated rump Yugoslavia was not a viable option. Unfortunately for them, Bosnia had and has a large Serb minority, which was adamant that it would remain in some sort of political union with Serbia itself. It was not prepared to be dragged into an independent Bosnia in which it would exist as a minority, confronted with a majority Muslim and Croat population that it was in conflict with, for reasons both historical and current.
The referendum was essentially a farcical exercise. Bosnian Serbs, not wishing to legitimize it, overwhelmingly refrained from voting. Serb paramilitaries intimidated those few Serbs who might otherwise have been interested in casting a vote. Amongst Bosnian Muslims and Croats, on the other hand, turnout was extremely high. These factors resulted in a turnout of 63.4%, with 99.7% of voters casting their ballots in favour of independence.
War broke out immediately upon the Bosnian government’s recognition of the referendum result and independence being declared. The JNA (Jugoslav National Army) and Bosnian Serb paramilitaries joined forces and commenced a brutal war that took as its objective the driving of non-Serb populations out of what they considered Serb territory in Bosnia. At their high-water mark, they were to control about 70% of the entire country. From 1993 until 1994, Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat forces would fight a vicious war of mutual ethnic cleansing between themselves, making for a complex three-way conflict. The conflict only came to an end in 1995, when Muslim and Croat forces, rearmed, reequipped, and putting their own mutual hostility aside, would be joined by NATO airpower to push back against Serb forces and retake large parts of the country. Formal peace, and the power-sharing agreement we briefly alluded to in the first part of this document, would only be established in December 1995.
If we now imagine two political analysts, one partisan, one structural, sitting together on the eve of the referendum, and discussing its likely result and consequences together, what do we imagine they would say to each other? The partisan analyst would surely say that Bosnia would soon be a new, independent country, as all the population figures and opinion polls pointed in that direction. He would then have stopped speaking, as a partisan analyst has no other analytical tools to bring to bear.
The structural analyst, on the other hand, would point out that war was almost certainly unavoidable, and that the referendum was a tribal head-count rather than a meaningful democratic exercise. He might also point out that, if the situation were different, and the Bosnian Muslims and Croats were a minority of the population, it would be the Serbs clamouring for a referendum, and the Muslims and Croats preparing to unilaterally secede from Bosnia in areas they dominated. Lastly, he would point out that war was in the cards either way, as the interests and objectives of the various sides were mutually contradictory and not amenable to negotiation.
It is immensely unlikely that any real-world analyst of any sort would actually have been as woolly-headed as our hypothetical partisan analyst in the preceding paragraph. But then, war had already broken out in Yugoslavia. The war with Slovenia was short and sharp, a mere ten days, and had ended in the rump Yugoslavia’s agreeing to Slovenian independence. The war with Croatia, however, though deadlocked, was ongoing, with large parts of Croatian territory under the control of the JNA and ethnic Serb paramilitaries, who were intent on incorporating it into a Greater Serbia. Against this backdrop, even the most utopian partisan analyst would undoubtedly already have been shaken out of any partisan reverie they might have been enjoying.
Insofar as one can tell from reading analysis of ethno-religious political diversity in Britain, however, virtually everyone in any mainstream publication who says anything at all on this matter is indeed still in a dreamlike state. We will establish this more definitively in the next section.
Mainstream Analysis of Ethno-Religious Political Diversity in Britain
In the last couple of years, a tipping point seems to have been reached in British political discourse in terms of an awareness of the growing electoral heft of the ethnically non-white part of the electorate. That the numbers of these people in Britain have reached such levels is, of course, a consequence of decades of mass Third World immigration, higher immigrant fertility, and a willingness on the part of British governments to enfranchise immigrants and their descendants. There is much uncertainty as to exactly what effects this new electorate will have on forthcoming general elections, but its growing significance is apparently not contested.
Viewed from one perspective, the observation that a part of the electorate that grows in size becomes more significant is trivially true. If it were to be discovered that left-handed people were becoming an ever-larger part of the electorate, then it would obviously be the case that, all other things being equal, politicians would have to pay more attention to the political positions of those left-handed people. The same would be true of people whose names began with the letter P, or people who played the banjo. The reason there is never any discussion of the size of the left-handed electorate, the electoral significance of those whose names begin with the letter P, or the number of banjo-players in crucial, contested constituencies, is that these characteristics are not of any political significance, and do not inform people’s political views. Whoever heard of a civil war between the left-handed and the right-handed, or a grenade attack on a political rally of the Banjo Party?
If the electoral heft of non-white voters is discussed at all, it must be because this non-whiteness and its attendant cultural and religious differences do inform their electoral choices and political identities. And indeed, this seems to be a characteristic of democratic societies in general: different ethnic groups do, statistically speaking, tend to vote for different parties. What this observation does to the notion of a post-ethnic, post-racial national identity based on a shared culture is something to be debated.
We have suggested that mainstream analysis of ethno-religious political diversity is overwhelmingly partisan in nature, as we have defined partisan analysis above. Here, we would like to demonstrate the truth of this claim this. First, we will briefly quote from mainly partisan analyses of ethno-religious political diversity taken from the mainstream British media, which for our purposes will mean the broadsheet newspapers. This will give a flavor of the type of analysis provided by regular journalists. That this analysis is, with a single exception, mindless even by the standards of partisan analysts will become quickly apparent. Nonetheless, it is important to set the scene and show what we later present our structural analysis as being in contrast with.
Second, we will look at a more weighty analysis of ethno-religious political diversity co-authored by an academic. We will observe that even a work of this nature, produced by people who should, we feel, be capable of more penetrating insights, is partisan in approach. This is a general truth of mainstream analysts of ethno-religious political diversity. Even when they show a hint of an awareness that there is a more insightful structural analysis to be performed, they show few signs of being willing to develop it.
We commence our study of partisan analysis of ethno-religious political diversity with a piece in the Guardian by Ian Birrell, published on October 2, 2013. Birrell writes of the suburban constituency of Mole Valley in Surrey, which he describes as being ‘solidly Conservative.’ However, he also tells us that it is changing at ‘breathtaking speed’ due to immigration, and in a manner that ‘contains a message the [Conservative] party ignores at its peril.’ Indeed, these developments are ‘dynamite that threatens the Conservative Party. For these migrant voters may share suburban values, but they do not share their politics.’
According to Birrell, the ‘Conservatives face a fundamental choice: do they want to chase the votes of the pessimists who preferred Britain as it was in the past, or those people living in the real world as it is today?’. He concludes by telling us that ‘if the Tories do not come to terms with the shifting shape of the suburbs, it could threaten their very existence.’
Birrell is a former speechwriter for David Cameron, and therefore presumably considers himself to be some sort of conservative. What sort of conservative exactly, we cannot imagine, as his primary concern is to give the huge flood of immigrants swamping his country whatever they want, if it allows the Conservatives to cling to power. More importantly, there is no indication in his piece that he has any sense of any greater significance of what is occurring. There is a political party called the Conservative Party. How can this party win elections? Birrell evinces no interest in any other aspect of this matter.
Next, we have Tim Wigmore writing a blog entry for the Daily Telegraph on January 24th, 2014 . His piece is entitled ‘Unless the Tories engage with issues black voters care about, they face electoral oblivion’, this title being an entire universe of intellectually sub-par partisan analysis distilled down to a single drop. Wigmore tells us that ‘the Conservative Party’s hopes of winning elections rests [sic] on getting an increasing share of a declining part of the electorate. In 2010, they won only 16 per cent of the BME [Black and Minority Ethnic] vote. Unless that changes, defeat by democratic change awaits.’
Wigmore spends a substantial part of his piece talking about how stop-and-search is a key area where the Conservatives could improve their appeal to, and soften their image with, black voters in particular. Apparently, black people are aggravated by the vigorous efforts of police forces to stop young black men carrying weapons with which to maim and kill other young black men. Be this as it may, the entire piece is again couched entirely in terms of what the Conservative Party must do to win elections. This is the only issue floating around inside this incurious young man’s skull.
Do those elements of British society who support the Conservatives want their future governments to be determined by the feelings black people have towards those tasked with restraining their overwhelming criminality? Does any other part of the white British electorate? These questions are not raised. We were foolish enough to allow large-scale black immigration. Now we must start to do what these civilizationally hopeless peoples want. This is democracy, Wigmore implicitly tells us. Indeed, he tells us the same thing again in a blog post dated February 26th, 2014, imaginatively titled ‘Without more ethnic minority votes, can the Conservatives ever win again?’, which recycles all the same points in similarly clueless fashion.
Our travails not yet over, we stumble away from the egregious Wigmore straight into the path of Hugh Muir, a black man who writes for The Guardian. He can be distinguished from Gary Younge of the same publication by the occasional touch of humour in his writing, though he possesses the same predictably singleminded focus on race and ethnicity. On September 4th, 2013, The Guardian published a long article by Muir on the possible influence of ethnic minority voters on the 2015 general election in Britain.
The focus of Muir’s article was some recent research conducted by Operation Black Vote (OBV), that most post-racial of organizations. The research examined the distribution of ethnic minority voters throughout constituencies across the country, and compared the predicted ethnic minority vote counts in each to the margin of victory in each at the last general election, in 2010. It revealed ‘that 168 marginal seats are susceptible to the voting whims of a minority electorate’, a development that Muir describes as ‘a depth charge into the waters of contemporary politics.’ Whether or not the indigenous British people actually want black and brown people detonating depth charges in contemporary politics, or anything else, is not discussed.
Muir continues, telling us that it is ‘High time, says Woolley [OBV’s director], for each [of the three major political parties] to explain what they would do about pressing subjects such as equalities legislation, immigration and stop and search.’ His article is less tightly focused on Conservative prospects than others we have looked at, but the gist is clear from his mention of Conservative Party strategists ‘who observe the wreckage of a US Republican party that is estranged from the growing Hispanic population of 53 million in the US and thus condemned to bit-part status.’ The once-proud party of Abraham Lincoln, now a rusty derelict long-since abandoned by the side of the road because Mexicans will not vote for it. Such are the fruits of diversity.
Muir’s article considers in reasonable detail the possible implications of growing ethnic diversity for the three major parties, which makes it a more interesting piece than the pathetic efforts penned by Birrell and Wigmore. Nonetheless, it is purely partisan. There is simply not a glimmer of awareness in it that a deeper, structural awareness is waiting to be unearthed.
Our next, and last, piece drawn from the mainstream media is more interesting in that it is one of the vanishingly small number of such pieces that show some awareness of the underlying structural issues, whilst also demonstrating a more nuanced take on the partisan issues themselves. It is an editorial published in The Guardian on June 20th, 2014. Responding to a recently published analysis we will be looking at in more detail later on, the editorial first makes some generic comments about how ethnic minority groups tend to vote Labour rather than Conservative. However, in a departure from type, it then informs us that ‘the most urgent message is for Labour, which may come to rely on minority support, a phenomenon the authors call the “browning of Labour”. Therein lies the most troubling indication of how politics may fracture; party endorsement predicated on ethnicity.’ Here we have the first hint of an awareness that the developments we have looked at thus far may actually be more significant than what the weather forecast is for Wimbledon this year, or what England’s prospects are for retaining the Ashes. Like some primeval fish laboriously pulling itself onto a muddy shore to discover to its astonishment that the ocean is not all there is, the editorial writers at the Guardian have made their way into an entirely new intellectual world.
Sucking away at the thin atmospheric oxygen via mechanisms we can only wonder at, our fish’s primitive brain notes that ‘Two out of three minority voters backed Labour in London [at the last elections to the European Parliament], according to researchers. Exactly the same proportion of white voters backed the Tories [Conservatives] or UKIP. Not so much a multicultural rejection of UKIP, rather that Nigel Farage [UKIP’s leader] was overwhelmed by the hard realities of London’s demography.’
In other words, politics in London is becoming ever less political, and ever more tribal. Political diversity is becoming ever more essential, ever less non-essential. Political parties are becoming ever more the vehicles for different ethnic groups or coalitions thereof to protect their interests as they perceive them. We would suggest that the first- and second-order polarization we outlined earlier in this document both lie submerged within this development, along with many other antagonisms and resentments.
Our fish does not make this observation. It has not yet learnt these difficult terms, or learnt to perform a structural analysis of ethno-religious political diversity; it is merely groping in the right direction. We hope to make more progress in this direction ourselves later on. For the moment, we will leave broadsheet media analysis of our subject matter to one side and look briefly at two recent in-depth pieces of analysis to show that partisan naivety is not limited to journalists, but is also found amongst the heavy hitters of the academy.
Our first ‘serious’ piece of analysis is an article entitled The Tories’ Missing Half Million Voters, published in Demos Quarterly on April 24th, 2014. It was authored by one Richard Webber, a Visiting Professor at the Department of Geography, Kings College London, and Trevor Phillips, a professional black man and apparatchik of the multicultural state. What exactly Phillips could have contributed to such a dense piece of number-crunching besides his boyish charm and winning smile remains a mystery. Either way, the piece has the strengths of partisan analysis at its best, and the weaknesses common to all partisan analysis, good, bad, or indifferent.
Webber and Phillips offer up some interesting suggestions and insights. They consider, for example, the possibility that visible minorities (their term) who would once have voted for the Labour Party tend to drop their support for it as they diffuse out of their original areas of settlement. They note that there are large differences in the tendency of visible minorities to vote Labour as a function of the ethnic minority they belong to (Black African, Indian, Bangladeshi, etc.). There is also a discussion of what motivates ethnic minorities to vote the way they do: is it class, race, or both? This said, the article as a whole is a purely partisan exercise, concerned only with the relative electoral prospects of the main British political parties.
Our second piece of academic analysis, written by the same authors, is entitled Labour’s New Majority, and is found again in Demos Quarterly, published on July 18th, 2014. It was in response to this research, but prior to its publication, that the Guardian editorial we quoted above was published. There is no reason for us to consider this article at length; it suffices here to note that it demonstrates that the partisan nature of the previous work by this pair of authors was not an anomaly. Scholarly, learned, thorough, and largely worthless to those with a desire to understand the likely long-term consequences of Third World immigration into Britain, this, our last piece of partisan analysis, is of a piece with other work in this genre.
We close here by pointing out that both of these two final pieces have titles that make their partisan nature clear at a glance: the Tories this, Labour that. In the intellectual world of the partisan analysts, there are only political parties and their relative fortunes. Asking them about the structural implications of the demographic shifts they study would be akin to asking a particle physicist how bats can sleep upside-down, or how chameleons change colour. These questions simply do not have meaning in the analytical worlds they inhabit.
Coming up in Part Five: Structural Analysis Applied to Britain
For previous essays by El Inglés, see the El Inglés Archives.