‘Belonging and entitlement – Britain’s ‘ethnic majority’ and the rise of UKIP’ | M. Skey- openDemocracy

‘Belonging and entitlement – Britain’s ‘ethnic majority’ and the rise of UKIP’ | M. Skey- openDemocracy

Using this approach, we can begin to make sense of the unease that substantial numbers continue to articulate concerning the changing face of British society and, moreover, why these anxieties focus on what might seem to be trivial or sometimes imagined issues. For instance, concerns over the right to celebrate Christmas or fly the English flag seem rather puzzling when subject to any concerted scrutiny, as there is very little evidence that these activities have ever been proscribed. Yet tabloid reports and other forms of apocryphal story-telling seem to resonate because they chime with people’s everyday experiences, including, to take some examples from my own research; the sound of foreign voices in local spaces, the presence of halal butchers and East European shops on the high street, non-Christian religious dress and observance, signs written in languages other than English and visible support for foreign sports teams (including those who compete against England). These features, which are seen to demonstrate the increasing power and agency of ‘other’ people in turn inform a (perceived) loss of status, privilege and control for those who consider themselves to be at the centre of national life and, hence, the arbiters of national territory and culture.

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