SOMETIMES a single image can say more about the times we live in than any newspaper column or speech.
And this week, the picture of three bewildered poppy sellers surrounded by hordes of pro-Palestine protesters in Charing Cross Station is one such image.
Three bewildered poppy sellers surrounded by hordes of pro-Palestine protesters in Charing Cross Station earlier this week[/caption]
Many Brits feel profoundly anxious about what the pro-Palestine march on Remembrance Day weekend represents — what it says about our nation[/caption]
To many people, it reflects two completely different Britains.
A calm, dignified, patriotic and older Britain that wants to solemnly remember the sacrifice of our ancestors and remain loyal to our British traditions, values and history.
And, surrounding it, a new, younger, radical, far more diverse Britain which has taken to the streets to show solidarity with Muslims in Palestine and is far more critical of Britain, its history and institutions.
This weekend, both the image and the cultural rift it represents look set to come to life as pro-Palestine activists plan to march through London on what is meant to be a time for our nation to join in quiet, solemn remembrance.
Many Brits, including me, have been shocked by the horrors that are unfolding in Israel and Gaza and sympathise with those who have been caught up in the conflict and lost their lives.
But many also feel profoundly anxious about what the pro-Palestine march on Remembrance Day weekend represents — what it says about our nation.
In fact, recent polling suggests only one in five British people support the march going ahead at all.
For many, this is not just a protest or an event.
No, it has become a symbol of what I call a “civilisational moment”.
What do I mean by that?
While millions of decent, hard-working, law-abiding and patriotic Brits support the right of people to protest, they are also watching these events unfold with a creeping sense that their British history, identity, values and cultural inheritance are being rapidly undermined on two fronts at the same time.
On one side is the threat from radical Islamism, symbolised by the public expressions of support for Hamas terrorists that we have seen at the pro-Palestine marches in recent weeks, and which many people on the Left who have marched alongside them have consistently failed to call out.
The young Muslims calling for Jihad on Britain’s streets and the continued murder of Jews.
The radical preachers at mosques in London and northern towns who have been recorded describing Jews as “filth” and “usurpers”, urging followers to “tear them apart”.
And the protesters on London’s Tube calling for an “intifada” and singing a call for the eradication of Israel.
While most British Muslims reject these radicals it is also true that too few have condemned them loudly and publicly.
The threat from radical Islamism is the result of years of mass, uncontrolled immigration into Britain which has left many of our communities segregated.
These trends, combined with the failure of our so-called “leaders” to integrate newcomers into wider British society, is why we have been importing tribal grievances from abroad.
It is why many British Muslims now say they would like to lead their lives either fully or partly separate from non-Muslims.
This should be ringing alarm bells.
We’ve seen in recent weeks that whenever a conflict flares up in the Middle East it now also flares up on the streets of Britain.
On the other side, meanwhile, our British identity, culture and ways of life are also being eroded by the rapid rise of a radical “woke” ideology which has been embraced by the new, left-leaning ruling class who dominate our elite institutions.
Drawing on warped ideas which have been trickling out of the universities since the Sixties, like radical Islamism this belief system is openly cynical, if not openly hostile, towards Western nations like Britain.
It argues their history, their identity, their culture are all “racist” and should be revised, if not completely “de-constructed”.
Like radical Islamism, it is profoundly illiberal — it is dismissive of individual rights, tolerance, free speech and free expression.
And it is rapidly reshaping our nation and culture around an utterly divisive and thoroughly un-British “identity politics”.
It is dividing Britain, crudely, into just two competing groups — the “oppressors”, namely the white majority and Jews, and the “oppressed” minorities, like Muslims.
In this way, by prioritising minorities over the majority, by only ever viewing minorities as victims being oppressed, by routinely portraying Western nations like Britain as racist, and by turning a blind eye to minorities who disrespect British values and laws, the woke are enabling the rise of radical Islamists.
The key problem, today, is that the two ideologies are now actively feeding off one another, with the toxic combination of radical Islamism and woke ideology rapidly undermining our British values, culture, identity and ways of life.
So, as we approach Remembrance Day weekend, while most Brits will follow the sacred values of those poppy sellers by taking a moment to remember the sacrifice of our ancestors, we would also do well to remember something else . . .
The fight for a Britain which is free, tolerant and democratic and respects its values, culture and identity is by no means over.