The dangers of Britain-bashing | Spiked

By Brendan O’Neill

The upper middle-classes’ fashionable loathing for the country they live in is sowing division and tension.


This article can be better appreciated if read in conjunction with the previous article on scapegoating.

The phenomenon of national-self-hatred is not confined to British elites but characterises all the elites of the Western world.

And perhaps it should not be taken at face value. If Western elites truly despised our countries to the extent they pretend they would go and live somewhere more congenial – they have the means.

Rather national-self-hatred is a transparent veneer for hatred of the rest of the population, excluded from elite ranks, and that is how it is understood by most people. When the elites heap scorn on their own country, they are actually venting their hatred against ordinary people, and the working class most of all.


The elite and children of the elite raised in wealth and privilege are socialised to believe they are better than everyone not of their social class. In an old-fashioned expression they suffer from a superiority complex. But this is not based on any actual superiority. The cognitive dissonance of perceiving people they view as social inferiors, being superior to them in any respect is galling. They are particularly threatened by merit in others, which they do not have. To the extent that they have not been completely morally hollowed out by their privilege they also experience guilt, perhaps even a trace of shame at their massive social advantages in contrast to the majority less privileged. This collides with their wish to retain their feelings of superiority.

To get rid of this conflict, even angered by their uncomfortable feelings they project their guilt outwards, unloading their psychological burden onto others – the classical scapegoating manoeuvre .

Conveniently they choose as their scapegoat the group they have always traditionally hated – the working class. By loading their own guilt onto this group this gives them justification to attack them directly. They do not feel guilt as they do not view people of lower social class to themselves as equally human. Elites have never treated working people with respect, just as people they can exploit with impunity.

They are also greatly threatened by the collective wish of this huge swathe of the population to “better themselves” that is to be treated as fully human, with respect and the options of personal achievement.

The historical mistreatment of blacks has come to their rescue. Of course racism has not been totally eradicated – anymore than sexist abuse and exploitation, ageism, and mistreatment of the disabled – or classism. It is unlikely that the human race will ever be free of malevolent actors. So racism will always exist, along with sexism, classism and every other kind of human vileness.

But to propagandise solely the white working class as the prime racists is a dishonest distortion. The white working class share many of the same problems as the black/ethnic and migrant classes, living and working alongside them and are more integrated with them than the higher social classes. Also, along with blacks they have been exploited and abused to a similar extent. It is not working class people whose ancestors owned and profited from slaves, but rather many of the present day elites. The only thing the working class and elites share is being white – and that is being used to channel  race-hatred, fomented by the elites, onto the poorest members of society least able to defend themselves and  effectively abuse by proxy.

The white elites offering as a sacrifice the white working class in expiation for their own sins historic and ongoing. Forcing the working class to pay the debt of the elites historic, and ongoing, abuse. The latest twist on exploiting  the working class – as they have always done.

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