This post was edited on 12 June 2010 – a commenter on Liberal Conspiracy pointed out that I used “civil” rather than “civic”, and I’ve now put that right.
Things are looking rosy for ResPublica, the Conservative think tank led by official enemy of Paperhouse and original Red Tory Phillip Blond. There’s now a government that’s broadly sympathetic to ResPublica’s aims (Red Toryism occupies the same sort of self-help space as Compassionate Conservatism), and it’s received a hefty injection of support – enough to be recruiting for six new positions offering “competitive + bonus” salaries.
One of the roles it’s looking to fill is “head of the security and civic cohesion unit“. Wait, what? Why does “security” go with “civic cohesion”? I know I’m approaching this from my standard fuzzy left position, but doesn’t “security” mean “people with guns and things that go bang”? And isn’t that a bit of an awkward fit with “community cohesion”, which seems to mean… Well, I don’t really know what it means. People rubbing along together, I guess. Municipal halls. That sort of thing.
Actually, I can have a pretty good guess at what it means in Blond-world. There’s his insidious insistence that the “indigenous white working class” have been “marginalised and ignored” (by whom?); he has a “sense” that “racism is returning”, but he treats racism as a rational response to barely-defined social conditions, rather than a repellent attitude that ought to be publically thrashed.
Blond is not keen on difference. He writes about the “ruinous consequences of state sanctioned multi-culturalism and the lazy moral and social relativism of the liberal middle class” as though those ruinous consequences are absolute and their cause confirmed. Whatever the ruinous consequences are, they were caused by multiculturalism, whatever that is. Clear? Good.
It’s that sort of floppy logic that makes sense of ResPublica’s decision to class civil cohesion with security issues. Things were nicer, in Blond’s view, before the 1940s – and maybe it’s not a perfect coincidence that his British Eden pre-dates Windrush. In Blond-world, security comes from sameness and pockets of otherness mean danger. And that, presumably, is why ResPublica puts “civic cohesion” under the same remit as spies, terror and invasions: because if you’re not like Blond, then you’re against his nebulous, homogenous little idea of Britain.
Text © Sarah Ditum, 2010; photo by Kudomomo, used under Creative Commons