Nationalism and the Rise of the new 5th Column?

National Identity and Nationalism are often confused, however one is benign and a source of great comfort to individuals and groups of people the other is a danger to humankind and representative democracy itself. So, how to differentiate between the two?
National Identity is how one defines oneself in terms of culture, customs, language and commonality with others from a similar group. It is often associated with the historical growth of national borders but does not have to be so defined as in the example of Kurds, Sikhs and Roma Gypsies and other similar indigenous peoples who cross national borders and frontiers.
Nationalism on the other hand is a pernicious permission given to those who define themselves often using national identity to not just define “Other” but also to define “Other” as inferior.
Nationalism cultivates fear and loathing of “Other” as a menace to national identity, when of course national identity can never be in jeopardy, solely because of the fact that it resides in us as individuals, so therefore how can someone else remove it from us. It is intrinsic and therefore immoveable and has been cultivated over generations of shared values.

Historically, nationalism has fuelled the 5th columns of destruction and war between groups, often based on those restrictive national borders but certain conditions have to be met in order for this nationalism to grow sufficiently to such a crescendo that it gains enough momentum for the fear and loathing that it creates to be a movement strong enough to attack “Other”.
Unfortunately we are seeing the rise of those circumstances now across Europe and particularly in our own U.K.
Is it any coincidence that Greece then Spain and more latterly Cyprus blame Germany for the failings that they are currently experiencing? Is that not an expression of “Other”? I am jumping ahead of myself though. National surplus creates opportunities for all including incoming “Others” and as no society is perfect, those in need benefit from this with little outcry from the majority, who finance the support of the needy minority from taxation and philanthropy.
Extrapolate forward to the current conditions of austerity and all of a sudden the xenophobic minority seizes their opportunity to make “Other” the bogeyman and unparalleled threat to the fabric of our society. Britishness becomes a watchword for us and Non- Britishness a definition of “Other”, any other will do, so we see this not being driven along racial lines but by all irrespective of their heritage who define themselves as British. This was highlighted recently in “The Big Question” a TV discussion programme where an Asian man (UKIP) and a Jewish woman who claim to represent our Britishness were arguing against the immigration of Bulgarian Gypsies swamping our shores when Bulgaria and Romania enter the European Union. The language is inevitably one of threats to our borders, education, housing and employment from “Other”.
It is absolutely right that a balanced, factual discussion by the politicians in any representative democracy is undertaken to ensure the safety and prosperity of us all. This includes all national issues including immigration, but the skewing of that into “Other” merely feeds the Right, creating leverage for the rise of a 5th column whose only ideals are to use representative democracy, which is so sacred to all of us to fuel xenophobia, fear and loathing.
UKIP is one such party, the acceptable face of a metamorphasised BNP, EDL etc, the new 5th column in our midst which wishes to destroy the values of our country of acceptance, understanding and curiosity of “Other” and instead one which lulls us all with their persuasive rhetoric of the dangers to our Britishness (that tends to be how they define it) from “Other”.
Do not be lulled. Vote in every single election possible, national, local, parish, whatever election opportunity you can to say No to this vitriol of hate.
Otherwise the rise of this xenophobic Right will drive our ordinarily centre parties such as Labour and Tory and Lib Dem to appease, as they are already starting to do and move inexorably to the Right supporting a minority view of “Other”
The average voter turnout has consistently been falling in all elections since full enfranchisement at the turn of the century. This will be the death knell of representative democracy and in turn could be catastrophic for us all.

The Life and Death of Democracy- John Keane 2009 p562-9
Allport’s Scale of Prejudice and Discrimination -Gordon Allport 1954

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