Back in 1990 Norman Tebbit, arguably the best modern PM Britain has never had, came up with a useful test to determine the extent to which immigrants are integrated.
Which team do they support when England plays the one from their native land?
Tebbit had specifically cricket fans from the Subcontinent in mind, but the test works just as well with any other sport and any other group.
But immigrants, Lord Tebbit? How very 1990s. What about second-generation natives? Where do their allegiances lie?
Two German football players, Özil and Gündogan, had answered the question exhaustively before the World Cup started. And then Germany crashed out at the first stage of the competition. One detects a causal relationship there.
Both players are second-generation Germans of Turkish descent. In the run-up to the World Cup both posed with Erdogan and gave him a Germany jersey inscribed with ‘to our president’.
Any football federation with any backbone at all would have responded in an unequivocal fashion. If Erdogan is your president, then Germany isn’t your team.
But football these days imitates life (and exceedingly vice versa). Reacting that way would be deemed decidedly anti-multi-culti. Who says new arrivals or even people born in Germany have to integrate in German society? Anyone who says so must be in favour of genocide.
To be fair, there was some brouhaha in the wake. After all, Frau Merkel is teetering on the edge of political extinction, mainly because of her open-door policy that supplemented the three-odd million ethnic Turks resident in the country with over a million other Muslims.
But the noise died down quickly, outshouted by the demiurge of political correctness. That Germany’s team was rent asunder as a result goes without question. But was Germany herself? No more than she already is.
Anyone who, like me, has experienced schadenfreude (an appropriate word or what?) at the sight of Germany exiting the World Cup at group stage ought to ponder the wider implications. And they are indeed wide.
When millions of citizens feel loyalty to a country other than the one that is, or is soon to be, their home, the home is no longer a home.
It’s merely a house, or rather a hotel inhabited by unconnected people from all over the world. And few people treat hotel rooms with the same loving care as they treat their homes.
Nationhood is a relatively new concept in European history. Throughout the Middle Ages, Europe was united for real, not in the ersatz (another appropriate word?) way peddled by the EU. What united it for real was Christianity and the culture it was creating.
For example, what was Thomas Aquinas’s nationality? German, because that’s what he mostly was ethnically? Italian, because he grew up in Aquino? French, because he spent most of his life in Paris and is buried in Toulouse?
Any or all of the above, from the modern standpoint. From the contemporaneous standpoint, it didn’t matter one iota.
And even in the seventeenth century Europe was still held together by dynastic more than national ties. The Great Condé, for example, twice led Spanish troops against his own country, ruled by his cousin Louis XIV.
Now imagine for the sake of argument Montgomery or Patton leading Nazi troops against the Allies – and losing. What would happen to them? The mode of execution is the only thing open to debate.
Yet Condé got away with a mild slap on the wrist. He was guilty only of squabbling with his cousin, not of treason – as we understand the word.
However, Europe is no longer held together by either religious or dynastic ties: modernity is innately divisive. Yet no other basis for unity exists, nor can exist. As the EU is finding out, a desire for six-week holidays and 30-hour work weeks doesn’t quite work as the adhesive.
Hence a strong sense of national identity within separate but friendly countries is the only realistic obstacle in the way of anarchy. I for one regret that this is the case. But it is the case.
The suicidal drive towards multi-culti diversity is a bomb under the foundations of what’s left of our civilisation. And the bomb’s action isn’t even particularly delayed.
What happened to Germany’s football team can be seen as a microcosm of a much larger catastrophe looming over Europe’s mountains and plains. In that, other than just purely geographic, sense Britain is a fully paid-up part of Europe for she is susceptible to all the same trends.
I can see that by the example of England’s Russian community, and I don’t mean the recent immigrants with their yachts, football clubs and the urge to ‘whack’ one another. I’m talking about the English equivalents of Özil and Gündogan, native-born Britons of Russian descent.
In the early 90s I encountered many of them at the 1812 Ball, one of the premier events in the London social calendar. Normally I detest such festivities, but that time curiosity got the better of me: all those Golitsyns, Obelenskys and Tolstoys were walking, talking Russian history.
In addition, I admired, and still do, the book Victims of Yalta by Nikolai Tolstoy, who was the MC of the ball. Either he or his co-MC, can’t remember which, opened the proceedings by announcing that the gathering was honoured by the presence of the Russian ambassador. “Our ambassador, ladies and gentlemen!”
Now Count Tolstoy (in the absence of primogeniture, everyone even remotely related to a count has the same title) is about as English as Lord Tebbit, and his accent even more so. He was born in England and educated at some of the best schools. His Russian, on the other hand, is uncertain, not to say practically non-existent.
How was that career KGB ‘diplomat’ Tolstoy’s and his friends’ ambassador? I couldn’t answer that question, so, when the ambassador rose to speak, I demonstratively walked out across the polished floor. He wasn’t my ambassador – even though I lived the first 25 years of my life in Moscow.
I cite this example simply because it’s something I witnessed myself. The Russian community is still small and rather insignificant in Britain. But it’s indicative of the general trend towards particularism and away from national unity.
This is an explosion waiting to happen, and the fallout will be considerably less enjoyable than Germany’s defeat at the World Cup.
2 thoughts on “Germany fails the Tebbit test”
“a useful test to determine the extent to which immigrants are integrated.”
Same as in the United States too. Mexican-American football fans [soccer] act as thugs when the Mexican national team plays the American national team. Even if the match on American soil. “Fans” burn the American flag, attack and beat American spectators, yell and shout the worse possible profanities at players of the American team.
Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles as we speak carrying on as riotous fools each time “their” team does well in the World Cup. Ask yourself who the deplorable are.
Welcome back Mr. Boot – I hope you are feeling well now. A different slant on your theme: As a Scot living in England, should I be supporting the English national team in this year’s world cup? As someone who has stood on the Hampden terraces roaring on his team against the Auld Enemy, yet also a British patriot, who should I be cheering on? I would rather not say for fear of offending anyone…