Phil Woolas: Populist agent provocateur


by Sid (Faisal)
24th October, 2008 at 1:18 pm    

Black and southasian readers of Pickled Politics more than 10 years old will remember how casually racist and intolerant England was in the early 70s and 80s. They will remember how easily and routinely anti-foreign sentiment was ratcheted up a degree or two during times of national economic hardship. Most people will probably remember, painfully, the passive-aggression that was targetted, widespread and palpable during the late seventies. Others may have even faced real violence.

The mood against “foreigners” almost always turns ugly during times of economic hardship. So when Gordon Brown made the statement that the country is officially in recession, he confirmed what everyone already knew. But as the country enters a possible 2 year recession, I wondered to myself how long it would be before first anti-foreigner soundbite, like bird call signalling the changing of season, would appear.

What did surprise me was how quickly that call would come. Phil Woolas, Labour Minister of Immigration kicked off:

“We need a tougher immigration policy and we need to stop seeing it as a dilemma. It’s not. It’s easy.”

This is David Osler on Phil Woolas:

Here’s the most worrying soundbite of all: We need a tougher immigration policy and we need to stop seeing it as a dilemma. It’s not. It’s easy.

What Woolas knows full well – but of course doesn’t say – is that the only “easy” way to limit further immigration is to single out black and Asian would-be immigrants for the kind of treatment that is openly discriminatory.

Nothing will be done about the one million or more South Africans that have the right to live in Britain because they have one British [read: white] grandparent, when many children born and brought up in Britain by non-British parents do not.

Moreover, hundreds of millions of EU citizens are able freely to live and work in the UK. Short of withdrawal from the EU itself, there is no way that right could be curtailed. Thankfully for Phil, they are again very largely white, and tend to congregate in the south east anyway. No need to get tough on them.

Remember also that in 2006, 50,000 foreign nationals married British nationals, while 25,000 claimed asylum. To stop either group living in Britain would require dismantling human rights conventions and withdrawal from treaties.

Still, there is one aspect of immigration policy that truly is colour blind. Millionaires are allowed automatic entry into Britain, whatever their passport. No word from the minister on how he intends to put a stop to this particular abuse.

There is a crucial difference between confronting racism and meeting it half way, as all the mainstream parties tend to do, and as Phil has done in this article. When Labour prime ministers advance catchphrases such as ‘British jobs for British workers’ and Tory parliamentary hopefuls proclaim that ‘Enoch was right’, they boost the fears the BNP thrive on.

Enoch was wrong. The River Tiber isn’t flowing with much blood. Britain hasn’t built its own funeral pyre. It is today a far more tolerant and less racist place than it was three or four decades ago.

Phil Woolas entered politics to fight racism, apparently. He is appalled by stories of immigrants being given £1 million houses at taxpayers’ expense. He opposes an amnesty for people who are already here illegally because he thinks it would encourage more to come. He believes passionately, however, that those who do become part of the British workforce should be treated with far more respect.

The Labour Party also banned Woolas, Home Minister of Immigration from appearing on BBC’s Question Time last night. This may be because they disapprove of his abilities as an populist agent provocateur.


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  1. billaricaydickey — on 24th October, 2008 at 1:24 pm  

    There is an interesting discussion going on on this subject at socialistunity.com where my old bricklaying and anti fascist mate Terry Fitzpatrick has demolished the whole racist edifice. And I thought he was out in Spain getting pissed, how wrong can you be?

  2. Pablo — on 24th October, 2008 at 1:47 pm  

    Woolas really is a spineless little wretch. It’s as clear as day to me that he is the chosen attack dog for Labour to make this attack as part of a strategy to position themselves against the Tories and BNP on this ground and appealing to the lowest common denominator in the electorate. Anyone who says in one sentence that it is not true that immigrants are shoved to the top of the queue in the housing list, then follows it by pandering to the story about the Afghan family in a £1 million house, witrhout condemning the right wing tabloids for their inflammatory and racist shaded hyping of that anomolous story, is little more than a spineless, gutless little runt. Labour is sticky with cynicism and Woolas plumbs the depths like no other Labour party worker-ant I have seen yet.

  3. billericaydicky — on 24th October, 2008 at 2:50 pm  

    Pablo,

    I have seen your thick posts here before but you have really surpassed yourself on this one. I can’t believe that you can see anything as clear as day and you probably would have difficulty finding you way around the London Underground even with a map.

    Did Woolas say that immigrants are not pushed to the top housing queue? Yes.

    Did an Afgan family get accomdation in a house worth a lot of money over in West London somewhere? Yes.

    Is true that a lot of people, and not just whites, who have to pay their bills are pissed off about this? Yes.

    Is there anything about that that you do not understand you thick cunt?

    This one is going to be interesting as the pig in lipstick known as Diane Abbott the moron for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has now called for open borders. I think she must be getting paid by Nick Griffin. What about you Pablo?

  4. billericaydicky — on 24th October, 2008 at 3:02 pm  

    Sid,

    A friend of mine gave Lee Jasper a piece of advice many years ago which he couldn’t take, mostly because of the fact that he hasn’t got a brain.

    The advice was always engage brain before opening mouth. The definition of ” agent provocateur” in my 1924 edition of the Oxford is this. ” Person employed to detect suspected offenders by tempting them to overt action”.

    If I were Woolas I would be calling the lawyers now. It’s time to grow up children. I hear a lot of foot stamping and the sounds of wrattles being thrown out of prams.

  5. Pablo — on 24th October, 2008 at 3:03 pm  

    Hi Billericky!

    I said that Woolas knows perfectly well that immigrants are not pushed to the top of the housing queue. The issue with the Afghan family was thus:

    Right wing tabloids in question look for easy scapegoats when what we have here is a much more complex set of problems.

    Problem 1: Crap interpretation of rules by the local authority, the family in question probably do not really need a house that big.

    Problem 2: The lunacy of landlords being able to set the value of their properties and charge the state rents commensurate to that. If they can get that rent on the open market then fair play to them, if they can’t and the house is standing empty then they can either leave it so or they should have to accept a flat rate per bedroom from that state so that it can be used to house local families.

    So you have the real issue, government of the rich for the rich colluding to maintain their rental incomes in a buy to let market that the arse has fallen out of misrepresented by the rich vested interests of the press so that the gullible all blame the family and the local council. So people talk about scrounging immigrants, Asian or Black parasites, while the monied and propertied snigger behind their hands at how easy it is to get away with this bullshit. And in the meantime, hatred and suspicion and rabble rousing against immigrants is fostered, racist vilification is legitimised. Nice one.

    Peace and love to you, billerickydicky

  6. Sid — on 24th October, 2008 at 3:05 pm  

    billericaydicky, like your pin-up Woolas, you have a tendency to reach for a soundbite to make a point because you think being controversial is to come across as clever, disarmimg, perhaps even worthy of respect.

    Around here, you are none of those things.

  7. El Cid — on 24th October, 2008 at 3:55 pm  

    There is something weird about this post.
    “Casually racist”? You mean just “racist” surely.

    And much of the arguments made are about what was NOT said rather that what was.

    And someone who loves the soundbite possibly more than all others is accusing someone else of thriving on it?

    I’m not coming down on your side billericay. You are being a little too aggresive from the outset and I’m frankly tired of arguing for arguing sake. But the way you other people go on, you’d think immigration could never be debated. All that fucking posturing and intellectual pride. Tut tut.

  8. Sid — on 24th October, 2008 at 4:01 pm  

    I could take your statement seriously if you didn’t have to defend a posturing politician famed for dropping risible political innuendo for the sake of out BNP-ing the BNP.

    You want to debate immigration, please let’s. But on sensible terms, not on Woolas’ terms. And don’t dismiss those who refuse to do so either. So please, fuck off, why don’t you.

  9. Leon — on 24th October, 2008 at 4:31 pm  

    Hey Sid, good post I’ve been wondering about exactly this in recent weeks too. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out and the response given the anti racist movement is perhaps at its most fragmented at the present time…

  10. El Cid — on 24th October, 2008 at 4:34 pm  

    Innuendo eh?
    So as I said it’s all in the interpretation then.

    I’m not happy with the way you speak to me.
    But then it’s easy from behind a screen, eh, little man?

  11. Leon — on 24th October, 2008 at 4:45 pm  

    El Cid, keep the cheap shots to your self and focus on the topic at hand please.

    Anyway,

    Jon Cruddas is picking up the same scent as Sid:

    http://www.politicshome.com/Landing.aspx?Blog=4059&perma=link#4059

    Mr. Cruddas said that he feared that the British National Party would “capitalise on the downturn of the economy.”

    “There are housing labour market insecurities. Moreover, those communities that are taking a large proportion of the strain of immigration are often poor. There’re big organisational challenges. It’s going to be an issue that’s not going away,” he said.

  12. Sid — on 24th October, 2008 at 5:21 pm  

    I’m not happy with the way you speak to me.
    But then it’s easy from behind a screen, eh, little man?

    Amusing to see such petal-like sensitvity from someone who can’t make it through a thread without raging at the other guy and calling him a “cunt”, every time. What now, little man?

  13. Avi Cohen — on 24th October, 2008 at 6:01 pm  

    “Phil Woolas entered politics to fight racism”
    Yeah right which is why he bashes ethnics every chance he gets. His track record and statements say it all about the type of person he is.

    Woolas has attacked minorities every chance he has gotten, so how the hell is he fighting racism???

  14. David — on 24th October, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

    Populist agent provocateur, but which one Billericaydickhead or Phil Woolas?

    One is fighting battles that have long since ended(and boring the hell out of us) and the other is fighting a losing war.

    The losing war is Woolas and the Labour party’s attempts to change perceptions. Even if they put barbed wire and machine gun nests in every airport and port to stop illegal migrants entering the country the mail and express will always tell their readers their being too soft.

  15. MixTogether — on 24th October, 2008 at 7:56 pm  

    The (supposedly) anti-racist movement as a whole will find it a lot more difficult today to operate with unquestioned credibility than it has in the past, unless it takes steps to address ALL forms of racism. At the moment it seems, as ever, to focus on only one type of racism for overtly party political reasons.

    Today there is increased awareness among everyone that racism is present in all sections of society. People are patronised by being told otherwise.

    The ‘anti-racist’ movement, and all its events, are thinly disguised fronts for hard-left activism. This alienates all true anti-racists who happen to hold political views to the right of the spectrum.

    The BNP can and does point out these inconsistencies at every available opportunity, and it is clearly having an effect.

    If people are serious about defeating the BNP then they ought to take steps to remove these glaring inconsistencies.

    Any really credible anti racist movement should be a unifying force, not a divisive one, across political lines.

    Some of the comments here and elsewhere however suggest that there are those on the left who relish the rise of the BNP bogeyman so that they can unify their own, equal and opposite brand of political extremism.

    A push out to the two extremes would leave ordinary people in the middle (and that most definitely includes mixed race couples) facing danger from all sides.

    It is to be avoided, please.

  16. Ashik — on 24th October, 2008 at 9:16 pm  

    I think this thread has a left wing permissive ‘lets open our borders to indiscriminate immigration’ (written by an immigrant) spin with which the vast majority of the British electorate would strongly disagree. Hence why Nu Labour through Woolas and the Tories are posturing on the subject. The great British public, prompted by the economic downturn, has finally had enough of the deluge. Unlimited and haphazard immigration is not good for the long term stability of society and integration generally. Short term economic gains are swept away by the long term social costs.

    ps. asylum seekers are mostly economic migrants who travel through x y z safe country to these sceptered Isles cuz this country is a soft touch and they wouldn’t qualify under the immigration rules as students or visitors etc.

    oh yeah, bring on the slurs about nazism and my support for the BNP. We can’t have a debate without banding such standard fare.

  17. Dave S — on 24th October, 2008 at 9:31 pm  

    Woolas is an opportunist fascist bastard – ’nuff said.

  18. Laban — on 24th October, 2008 at 10:14 pm  

    I’ve already made this point over at Justin’s, but I think you’re being most unfair to Phil W – and I’m no great fan of his.

    When Muslims rioted in three northern towns in 2001, in two of the towns the rioting was followed – not preceded – by BNP representation on the local council – this despite efforts at integration/social engineering which went as far as (in Burnley) abolishing all the existing secondary schools and opening ‘super-schools’ with mixed catchments.

    Only in Oldham did they not get a seat. I don’t know Mr Woolas’ secret anti-BNP weapon – for all I know it may simply be massive vote fraud, but I’m assuming not. At the very least I’d expect that he’d get a respectful hearing from the left on matters of race and immigration. Maybe Jon Cruddas could pick up a few ideas from him.

    “But as the country enters a possible 2 year recession, I wondered to myself how long it would be before first anti-foreigner soundbite, like bird call signalling the changing of season, would appear.”

    Well, it depends on whether you find Mr Woolas more offensive or the prospect of several BNP MEPs come next May, with all the EU funding that goes with it. Labour are crapping themselves about this prospect – with good reason. Last time out 16.8% of the vote went to UKIP – that’s a lot of discontented voters out there. Will they be less discontented now ?

    In the long term Mr Woolas’ efforts may be pointless – an ethnically, culturally or religiously divided nation will find politics tends to fissure on ethnic, cultural or religious line – hence the BJP, Muslim League, Shiv Sena or the small “indigenous” parties of India. Why should Britain be any different ? But he seems to be making an effort – and getting slapped by everyone for it.

    What do you think he should say ? “All are welcome ” ? That’s a perfectly reasonable view, but not one that’ll appeal to Dave Average.

  19. Simple Question — on 25th October, 2008 at 10:48 am  

    Sid, do you think that immigration should continue at the same levels even as we head into a major recession?

  20. Sid — on 25th October, 2008 at 3:39 pm  

    Actually my point wasn’t about immigration control, as such. I think, incidentally, that it is perfectly sensible to implement an “earned-citizenship” system so that skilled and targetted immigration is maintained. Pulling the plug on the ‘Translation Industry’ and enforcing English speaking immigrants are all sensible measures, in my opinion. But that wasn’t the point of the post.

    We don’t get sensible language from the Immigration Minister. Instead Woolas seems only too happy to stay firmly in Dail Mail territory by employing triangulation and resorting to catchphrases: You’re either a Guardian-reader willing to fling the gates open or you’re a nasty BNP type. But for someone who claims to hate the BNP, Woolas seems to feel no self-doubt when he reach for slogans like “British jobs for British workers”.

    Is this the sensible voice of immigration control, I ask you.

    If the recession starts to bite and proves to be deeper than estimates predict, what are the chances that one of the hardest hit groups, on so many levels, won’t be recent and prospective non-white immigrants? And does Woolas even care?

  21. Suzy — on 25th October, 2008 at 4:14 pm  

    If people are serious about defeating the BNP then they ought to take steps to remove these glaring inconsistencies.

    There is only one racist poitical party in the country that has mass support and elected politicians. It’s not a bogeyman, it’s a reality, and it’s called the BNP. That you should even refer to it as bogeyman, a chimera supported by inchoate people from ‘the left’ with, supposedly, their own ‘anti-white’ agenda only shows how paranoid and conspiracy minded you are.

  22. Laban — on 25th October, 2008 at 7:00 pm  

    “But for someone who claims to hate the BNP, Woolas seems to feel no self-doubt when he reach for slogans like “British jobs for British workers”.”

    I’m presuming that when Woolas calls for that, Brits who happen to be immigrants or descended therefrom are included in the category ‘British workers’. So what’s the problem ?

  23. Roger — on 25th October, 2008 at 8:50 pm  

    “Black and southasian readers of Pickled Politics more than 10 years old will remember how casually racist and intolerant England was in the early 70s and 80s.”

    Actually, they’d have to be more than twenty to remember the eighties and at least forty to remember the early seventies. I don’t think the late seventies were any better either. An interesting and hopeful fact about racism is how astonishingly quickly it has become generally disapproved of and how quickly it has actually diminished. Even racists deny they are racist now. They may even believe it. In the early 1970s most white antiracists were astonishingly patronising in their attitudes; we may have been antiracist in our theories but that didn’t stop us being racist in out assumptions. Now pure racism- belief in racial superiority- is aberrant. Even racists give other reasons for their attitudes.
    The other interesting aspect, which has been exemplified by people from east European E.U. members coming to the U.K., is how very quickly Black and southasian people can use selfish and racist arguments- disguised as culturalist or linguistic arguments- themselves. I was astonished by a Bengali in Tower hamlets who argued that the “influx”- his term- of Poles might damage the East End’s muslim traditions. The fact that those muslim traditions dated from after his birth was irrelevant, it seems.

    There are- as usual, but most people seem to ignore it- two different aspects to immigration here. One is immigration in search of work; the other is refugees from dictatorial and/or murderous governments. The first category, if they don’t find work, will go elsewhere. If people really think that they would rather refugees are tortured or murdered rather than come to the U.K. because they might get jobs eventually then they should be honest enough to say so. There are enormous and world-wide problems of employment and refugees, but an attitude of “Fuck off, Johnny Foreigner!” will be disastrous. It will take world-wide measures to deal with them, if nature doesn’t deal with them- and the human race- rather more drastically and a Britain-first policy just won’t work.

  24. marvin — on 25th October, 2008 at 8:55 pm  

    British jobs for British workers mean that. Race doesn’t come in to it. For example many people are annoyed about the massive and sudden influx of Polish workers because they will do the jobs for a lower rate, taking down rates for the working classes (black, brown, white) in the building trade for example.

    An elected government has responsibility to the British tax payer (black, brown or white). If there is a large proportion of the population that feels they are adversely effected than the elected government needs to address it in a fair and rational manner to avoid protest votes to fascist parties.

    Otherwise of course disenfranchised working class (the white portion) may have an urge to rebel and vote BNP. I am not sure what the brown or black people who have lived here for years and paid tax for years are able to do if they feel strongly on the issue.

    Politicians should read this http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/index.php?link=template&story=233

  25. marvin — on 25th October, 2008 at 8:58 pm  

    Woolas is an opportunist fascist bastard – ’nuff said.

    This is exactly why ‘fascist’ has virtually lost its original meaning. Get a grip. While the Dave S’s of this world scream fascist at any politician talking about the immigration issue, alienation from the main parties occur and people vote BNP. So, with respect Dave S, I wish you would refrain from such hysteria – it’s counter productive.

  26. Dave S — on 26th October, 2008 at 1:57 am  

    Marvin @ 25:

    This is exactly why ‘fascist’ has virtually lost its original meaning. Get a grip. While the Dave S’s of this world scream fascist at any politician talking about the immigration issue, alienation from the main parties occur and people vote BNP. So, with respect Dave S, I wish you would refrain from such hysteria – it’s counter productive.

    When – in the face of a global economic disaster caused by bankers – Phil Woolas starts talking about limiting immigration, instead of dealing harshly with the bankers and banking system which got us into this mess in the first place, then I think it’s fairly safe to call it “fascism”.

    Besides, wasn’t it capitalism that brought most economic migrants here?

    If the so-called “indigenous population” want to limit the number of immigrants coming here (as Woolas supposes they might – though it’s not like he asked me), then perhaps the “best” way to do that would be to address the massive inequalities inherent in the transnational capitalist system!?

    Why should life be so bad in any country that huge numbers of people feel they have little choice but to leave families and friends behind and go elsewhere to seek work? Beats me! Nobody should ever be in that position.

    Of course, fixing the inequalities would mean an end to the exploitation which brings us cheap labour, cheap goods and cushy lifestyles based on consumption. The same exploitation and imprisonment within borders that capitalism depends on to function. It’s abolition is hardly likely to get talked about in mainstream politics any time soon.

    How ironic that despite an entire global apparatus of repression set up specifically to fulfil their need greed, the ever incompetent and corrupt capitalists still can’t stop the wheels falling off their little pyramid scheme! It’s not like they didn’t have fair warning this was coming, but they really, honestly do not give a shit. As long as the share prices kept rising and they could cash in before the bottom fell out, who cares!?

    But now like bad tempered brats, when they can no longer have their cake and eat it, it’s always sooooooooo much easier to disregard the consequences for actual people’s lives, and create distractions around other emotionally charged subjects such as immigration instead. Or to have their lackeys like Woolas do the dirty work for them.

    Why bother actually trying to sort out or replace a fucked system that is fucking us all, when instead you can just find an easy scapegoat?

    Tinkering with the symptoms of the problem (rising unemployment and a perception that immigrants are a significant factor in this) rather than the cause of it (an ethically bankrupt corporate financial system causing it’s own meltdown) is exactly the type of despicable cryptofascist behaviour that I’ve come to expect from sycophant authoritarians like Woolas.

    He may have spent much of his career fighting racism, but evidently he has a price, and will say almost anything if it means he gets to look tough on “the problem” and keep his job. That is opportunistic, careerist, and in this case, fascist.

    Put the blame where it lies! The problem isn’t unrestricted immigration – it’s unrestricted capitalism!

  27. douglas clark — on 26th October, 2008 at 4:26 am  

    Dave S,

    He may have spent much of his career fighting racism, but evidently he has a price, and will say almost anything if it means he gets to look tough on “the problem” and keep his job. That is opportunistic, careerist, and in this case, fascist.

    Agreed. The Marvins of this world spend their days and nights building up the BNP as a genuine threat instead of attacking it. It is supine, stupid and appeasing to the memory on one Enoch Powell. Oops, I just swore….

    The point, I’d have thought, about any form of democratic politics, is about persuasion, rather than playing Chicken Little. But there seems to be a substantial element of the self referring ‘decent left’ that would surrender principle for expediency at the drop of a hat.

    Far be it from me to suggest that if one has proto fascist sympathies you’d spend your time bigging up the BNP.

  28. marvin — on 26th October, 2008 at 10:20 am  

    Capitalist fascist pig dogs! You really should try to condense your rants Dave S.

    For your information douglas clark, I have attacked the BNP many times.

    “cryptofascist” “proto fascist” LOL. Keep it up your cracking me up. Sounds like a meeting of the Peoples Front of Judea.

  29. Sid — on 26th October, 2008 at 11:06 am  

    I’m presuming that when Woolas calls for that, Brits who happen to be immigrants or descended therefrom are included in the category ‘British workers’. So what’s the problem ?

    The problem is a small point of principle. If Labour were interested in routing the BNP in Oldham and elsewhere in Britain, why does the Home Minister of Immigration feel they need to to re-purpose BNP’s stance, slogans and posturing to the letter, in order tackle the issue of immigration? Have things become so bad that instead of fighting the BNP, Woolas now feels the need to join them?

    To suggest that the white working class are raging white supremacists whose single issue voting pattern is on immigration is patronising to the max and, not to mention, a massive disservice to them. And to suggest that the only light of hope the government can offer to guide them out of their perdition is a reduction in immigration is not only capitulation to the BNP, it’s a failure of the ruling Labour party.

    The failure to increase spending on the WWC, the breakdown in social fabric, the failure of deregulated markets. And the only thing Labour ministers can bring to the table by way of solution is the scapegoating of immigrants?

  30. Anon — on 26th October, 2008 at 12:52 pm  

    billaricaydickey: “There is an interesting discussion going on on this subject at socialistunity.com where my old bricklaying and anti fascist mate Terry Fitzpatrick has demolished the whole racist edifice.”

    Give us a break, Fitzpatrick. Everyone knows billaricaydickey is you. You must think we’re all as thick as you are.

    Incidentally, Fitzpatrick’s mates at Searchlight have reproduced the Times interview with Woolas (“Employers should put British people first” … “The easiest thing for an employer to do is to employ an immigrant. We need to help them to change that” … “We need a tougher immigration policy” … “It’s been too easy to get into this country in the past”) with evident approval on their Stop the BNP/Hope not Hate site: http://tinyurl.com/635loz

    Like Fitzpatrick himself, his fellow Searchlighters clearly believe that the way to stop the BNP is by imitating the BNP’s own anti-immigration rhetoric.

  31. marvin — on 26th October, 2008 at 1:59 pm  

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKL751753720080908?sp=true

    75% of black and ethnic minority candidates polled said they would prefer either a balanced migration approach or curbs on immigration.

    Crypto-proto-fascists! Don’t they know they sound just like the BNP!

  32. Anon — on 26th October, 2008 at 4:45 pm  

    “75% of black and ethnic minority candidates [sic] polled said they would prefer either a balanced migration approach or curbs on immigration.”

    Yeah, in a YouGov poll as commissioned and spun by Migrationwatch. The whole point of this exercise was to pretend that scaremongering about immigration is not racist because, look, BAME respondents support limits on immigration too.

    Hasn’t it struck Marvin that when, say, an inhabitant of Tower Hamlets of Bangladeshi origin states that they favour a limit on immigration this has a very different content from a white inhabitant of Barking & Dagenham expressing what is formally the same view?

  33. marvin — on 26th October, 2008 at 5:09 pm  

    Hasn’t it struck Marvin that when, say, an inhabitant of Tower Hamlets of Bangladeshi origin states that they favour a limit on immigration this has a very different content from a white inhabitant of Barking & Dagenham expressing what is formally the same view?

    Because when a white person says it who lives in a predominatly white area, it’s racist, but not when Bangladeshi (who lives in a predominantly Asian area) says it?? Eh?

    Anon – poll after poll shows the majority of people including migrants themselves support some controls on migration. This is not fascism lefties! If it were simply racism, anon, then white peoples views would differ vastly from BME. They do not. Good lord.

  34. ac256 — on 26th October, 2008 at 7:39 pm  

    “Hasn’t it struck Marvin that when, say, an inhabitant of Tower Hamlets of Bangladeshi origin states that they favour a limit on immigration this has a very different content from a white inhabitant of Barking & Dagenham expressing what is formally the same view?”

    What exactly does that mean? That makes no sense.

  35. persephone — on 26th October, 2008 at 8:37 pm  

    Phil Woolas appearing in agent provocateur on Question time. Thats pants

  36. Roger — on 26th October, 2008 at 9:40 pm  

    Controls on emigration are much more effective than controls on immigration. The most effective control of all would be to make it unnecessary for people to have the choice of emigrate or starve. Until a worldwide policy is developed then this country will have immigrants coming for many reasons besides pure curiosity. As long as people are better off working in an illegal sweatshop or selling Big Issue on Hungerford Bridge on a rainy winter’s night than if they stayed in another country there will be immigrants, elgal or illegal, controlled or

  37. Sid — on 27th October, 2008 at 9:32 am  

    75% of black and ethnic minority candidates polled said they would prefer either a balanced migration approach or curbs on immigration.

    Crypto-proto-fascists! Don’t they know they sound just like the BNP!

    Except that a “balanced migration approach” is not BNP policy. A “race-based approach to immigration” would be nearer the mark.

    Out of interest, what percentage of black and ethnic minority candidates polled preferred *that*?

  38. Dave S — on 27th October, 2008 at 3:38 pm  

    margin @ 28:

    For your information douglas clark, I have attacked the BNP many times.

    So have the British People’s Party. My point is that you can attack the BNP as much as you like and still hold (or harbour latent support for) fascist views yourself.

    As all good anti-fascists know, different fascist factions all hate each other’s guts, because they all want power for themselves.

    Not that the authoritarian left is any better, mind, but at least they aren’t also racist bastards. (Just authoritarian bastards.)

    margin @ 33:

    This is not fascism lefties!

    Perhaps if Woolas had repeatedly brought up immigration in a general context any time within the last 11 years then I would not be calling him an opportunist fascist lackey (though I would still disagree with him). But it’s because he has brought it up at this specific moment in time and is discussing it in the context of the economic crisis that I am calling him an opportunist and a fascist.

    Instead of pointing the finger at the bankers who are responsible, he is pointing at the symptom of unemployment, and discussing immigration in the contexts of unemployment and the credit crunch.

    I don’t know whether he’s deliberately trying to tie them all together, but if he isn’t, he’s done a damn good job of it.

    Have your eyes been blind to the ramblings of the far right recently, Margin? Of course, they’re all saying “too little, too late”, but I’m sure some non-hardline fascist sympathisers will have applauded Woolas’ recent statements on immigration.

    Which is exactly who he’s pandering to.

    “Cryptofascist”, as I said. Look it up.

  39. Refresh — on 27th October, 2008 at 3:51 pm  

    Well said Dave S.

  40. Ruby Rails — on 27th October, 2008 at 5:25 pm  

    @29 – what Sid said.

  41. marvin — on 27th October, 2008 at 5:56 pm  

    A “race-based approach to immigration” would be nearer the mark.

    Indeed.

    Is this is what that cryptoprotofascist Phil Woolas is suggesting? Or is this inference from the words “British jobs for British workers”? Brown has said the same thing. Is he a cryptoproto neo-nazi too?

    The fact that BNP rhetoric sounds anything like mainstream MP Woolas is because they are essentially lying, trying to appeal to normal people. Delve a bit deeper and they will say what they mean.

    I doubt very much indeed that Woolas wants whites to have jobs instead of Blacks and Asians. People who do think this are IMHO paranoid or just plain getting it wrong. If he does start talking about the blacks or the Asians coming here nicking the jobs from the whites, then I’ll take that back. I think I’m pretty safe for fear of a retraction.

  42. marvin — on 27th October, 2008 at 6:01 pm  

    “Cryptofascist”, as I said. Look it up.

    Talking bollocks, look it up. Unless you can provide me actual evidence of his National Socialist leanings?

    Please don’t tell me British is a code word for lumpen proletariat in his cyrptotonazi mindset.

  43. marvin — on 27th October, 2008 at 6:02 pm  

    Anyway, ladies and gents, beware of the draconian libel laws in this country :P

  44. Sid — on 27th October, 2008 at 6:07 pm  

    I doubt very much indeed that Woolas wants whites to have jobs instead of Blacks and Asians.

    I doubt very much Woolas is a racist. But I will wager money that he will be repurposing a lot more of the BNP line in non-white immigrant-scapegoating between now and May 2009.

  45. Jai — on 27th October, 2008 at 6:16 pm  

    I have nothing of consequence to add to this thread, except of the course that, like Persephone, to me the term “agent provocateur” means the type of flimsy unmentionables that your average Asian girl has to rip off the washing line and hide at the very back of her wardrobe whenever Mahesh Uncle and Jaya Auntie from Finchley suddenly drop by for an unannounced visit.

  46. Chris — on 28th October, 2008 at 7:36 am  

    I am surprised that so many supposedly intelligent people; wander through life with blinkers on, they see nothing of the world around them, focused entirely on what they perceive to be reality and unable to accept that what the perceive is not the real world.
    Britain does have a population problem.
    Immigration has to be curbed.
    Illegal immigrants have to be removed.

    Britain has finite resources.

    Phil Woolas (who I personally can’t stand) is correct in his stance on immigration.
    The recent pie in the face attack at the University of Manchester by The “No Borders” Group has also shown that he has the support of the majority of the general public. The No Borders Blogsite was inundated with condemnation of the childish attack on Woolas, and criticism of the No Borders policies. so much criticism that “No Borders” despite all their ‘free speech and right to protest’, deleted all the critical posts/comments and closed access to their Blogsite yesterday (double standards?).
    The video of the assault on Woolas that they posted on YouTube has also drawn masses of critical comments and condemnation (probably soon to be withdrawn.
    The attack has generated an amazing amount of support for both Woolas and his Policies, while highlighting the No Borders organization as a group of radical extremists without the ability to engage in debate due to their lack of valid argument for their own policies.
    A copy of the deleted No Borders Blogsite (prior to deletion) can be found here
    http://get-that-stitched.blogspot.com/

  47. persephone — on 28th October, 2008 at 12:38 pm  

    chris @ 46 “Illegal immigrants have to be removed.”

    Is this not happening? In the last few months not a week goes by w/t a small London business being raided and any illegal workers being arrested & the business owner fined.

    Plus first ID cards for Foreign nationals are due to be issued from 25 Nov this year. Within three years all foreign nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK will be required to have a card. By 2014, 90% of foreign residents should have identity cards.

    These are just some of the real world measures being used.

    And yes Britain does have a population problem – not all of the population (who are able) are willing to work & some of those who do may not have the skills. Will curbing immigration help? Would you want an unqualified doctor operating on you? Unqualified teachers teaching your children?

  48. Roger — on 28th October, 2008 at 1:49 pm  

    “Britain does have a population problem.
    Immigration has to be curbed.
    Illegal immigrants have to be removed.

    Britain has finite resources.”

    The world has a population problem.
    The world has finite resources.

    As long as we ignore these facts and assume that policies carried out solely in Britain will be effective in preventing immigration-legal or not- we will carry out cruel and ineffective policies. We cannot legally curb immigration from the E.U. at all. As long as the alternatives are certain poverty, starvation or persecution we cannot deter immigration- for political or economic reasons, legal or illegal- by people who fear all these.

  49. persephone — on 28th October, 2008 at 2:17 pm  

    Roger @ 48 “The world has a population problem.
    The world has finite resources. As long as we ignore these facts and assume that policies carried out solely in Britain will be effective in preventing immigration-legal or not- we will carry out cruel and ineffective policies”

    Thats like telling someone to eat an elephant. You can’t eat it whole. You have to start with bite size chunks.

    How would you propose to solve all the issues (poverty, starvation or persecution) that the rest of the world has?

  50. Roger — on 28th October, 2008 at 4:08 pm  

    I don’t have the wisdom that requires, Persephone.
    However, i do think that the sort of controls Mr. Woolas and those who agree with him propose are not going to work unless there are such drastic changes to society in Britain and the granting of so much power to the authorities that it will severely damage individual freedom in this country.

  51. Dave S — on 28th October, 2008 at 7:58 pm  

    persephone @ 49:

    How would you propose to solve all the issues (poverty, starvation or persecution) that the rest of the world has?

    Well, abolishing capitalism and war would be a pretty decent start…

  52. persephone — on 28th October, 2008 at 9:15 pm  

    Dave S – your idea of abolishing capitalism reminded me of this quote:

    The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

  53. Refresh — on 28th October, 2008 at 9:28 pm  

    Or the modern day banker’s equivalent:

    ‘capitalism takes the profits, socialism takes the losses’

  54. persephone — on 28th October, 2008 at 10:09 pm  

    Refresh, reality check on the uber modern bankers equivalent:

    Unemployment, Depression & Suicide

  55. douglas clark — on 28th October, 2008 at 10:46 pm  

    persephone,

    Sure, for the little guys that is probably true. But, for some:

    http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1853846,00.html?imw=Y

    There is a book that I haven’t read with the remarkable title:

    “Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? or A Good Hard Look at Wall Street.”

    Sums it up for me.

  56. Ian — on 28th October, 2008 at 10:55 pm  

    This post indicates that Phil Woolas comments about capping immigration numbers (from outside the EU etc etc) would result in the fact that those being prevented would be mainly asian and black people.

    And so, this concludes that such a capping is wrong for the single reason that it is descriminatory to those particular ethnic groups.

    This would be like saying we cannot prevent people entering a full yoga class because most of these would-be students would be woman…. and therefore we would be descriminating against woman. Hence we must leave the doors open.

    Completely dumb. Just trying to say we cant do anything because perfect percentage numbers arn’t achievable.

  57. persephone — on 28th October, 2008 at 11:13 pm  

    Douglas @ 55

    Thanks for the link but that supports the fat cat angle when I was drawing attention to the less populist reality that not all bankers are rolling in it. A bit of balance.

    Linking it back to the post, how will abolishing capitalism resolve the social ills as to why people have to be illegal immigrants in the first place

  58. douglas clark — on 28th October, 2008 at 11:30 pm  

    Ian,

    Has this passed muster in your training camp? I’m only asking.

    This post indicates that Phil Woolas comments about capping immigration numbers (from outside the EU etc etc) would result in the fact that those being prevented would be mainly asian and black people.

    Well, that would largely be true would it not?

    And so, this concludes that such a capping is wrong for the single reason that it is descriminatory to those particular ethnic groups.

    Discriminatory, dear chap, not descriminatory.

    I didn’t see any suggestion in the original article, y’know that thing at the top of the thread that you are ranting about, that suggested that Sid concluded anything of the sort.

    This would be like saying we cannot prevent people entering a full yoga class because most of these would-be students would be woman…. and therefore we would be descriminating against woman. Hence we must leave the doors open.

    Discriminating, dear chap, not descriminating.

    Or, alternatively, this would be like saying that because the wee corner of the country you live in is a bit busy, and because you represent a jaundiced and stupid part of the electorate, that yoga classes should be closed down everywhere. Not going there. And certainly not to the beat of your drum.

    Completely dumb. Just trying to say we cant do anything because perfect percentage numbers arn’t achievable.

    Look mate, we can do more if we want to. Do you want to know my secret tactic?

  59. douglas clark — on 28th October, 2008 at 11:59 pm  

    persephone @ 57,

    I thought I was making the same point, but with less Sympathy for the Devils at the top. Non?

    Linking it back to the post, how will abolishing capitalism resolve the social ills as to why people have to be illegal immigrants in the first place

    I am a romantic anarchist, meaning that the power of the people should usually subvert the state. But that is a Utopian idea, is it not?

    Certainly, as you can obviously see, the ideas that you have, are either declaimed by the state, or claimed by it.

    You and I have no power.

    Let that be the lesson. We. The people who comment here, are castrated by the so-called democratic process. Neither your points of view nor mine will matter much at the next General Election.

    It will be the folk that can silence us, make us irrelevant, that will wear the sharp suits.

    Anarchy says:

    Fuck the lot of you.

    And there are huge attractions in that.

    Notwithstanding that, I am a democrat.

  60. Ian — on 29th October, 2008 at 1:22 am  

    @Douglas

    Thanks for your reply.
    Unfortunately – its all opinions. No logic or step-by-step reasoning. Just a ‘fuck you’ set of opinions that reek of anti-government rhetoric. I actually have no idea on what your stance is on immigration.

    One thing i did pick up from you is your opinion that:
    - People who support immigration are nice people
    - People who oppose or are concerned about immigration are all BNP supporters.

    Fortunately, the world is not so black & white as you seem to perceive it. The majority of the electorate are concerned about immigration (I think – I may be wrong), but at the same time, those same people are not all BNP supporters.

    I’d like to correct your blinkered and prejudiced view, I don’t support the BNP, i think they are dangerous, arrogant, misguided, misleading set of people who are trying to misuse people’s genuine concerns for their own means.

    You probably think i’m some skinhead working class fella who “passes muster in training camp” (whatever that means, I’m pretty sure its just yet another irrelevent personal insult). Well, actually I work with chdilren with special learning difficulties ranging from PMLD to the physically disabled. I do it not for riches, but because I enjoy helping people who much of society cares little for. And I’m dyslexic which is why my spelling is at fault sometimes. So kindly keep your personal attacks regarding that to yourself. Or do you like picking on people’s disabilities?

    Rant over. I’d prefer to discuss pro and cons of immigration and try and learn what is best (if that is ok with you – or am i not welcome?)

  61. Dave S — on 29th October, 2008 at 2:54 am  

    persephone @ 52:

    Dave S – your idea of abolishing capitalism reminded me of this quote:

    The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

    So what’s this recent bankers bail-out all about then? Socialisation of risk, privatisation of profit. Or in this case, we’re long past the risk and have skipped directly to the losses.

    So-called “free” market fundamentalists don’t seem to be able to see that it’s the “free” market which got us into this mess. Lack of regulation allowing unchecked capitalists to carry out whatever crazy schemes they could come up with, often involving financial mechanisms so complex that no one person can fully understand their workings.

    When it all goes tits up, they come crawling and begging for a warped type of more-or-less communism. At least, it’s communist in as much as it takes money which supposedly belongs to other people, and redistributes it to a bunch of ultra-wealthy delusional gambling addicts.

    You want to keep capitalism? Capitalism just died a couple of weeks ago – didn’t you get the memo? (Though I’m sure we’ll be experiencing it’s death throes for quite some time yet.)

    You also seem to mistakenly believe that politics is a straight line between capitalism and socialism (or perhaps communism). It is not – though of course, it’s very convenient for the status quo if masses believe that it is.

    Let me tell you a bit about what I think the politics of the future are going to look like. Or at least, a few aspects that are almost certainly going to be necessary, if humanity is to survive:

    * Power decentralised as far as possible. We won’t need a central government to make the vast majority of political decisions.
    * No political parties, just people engaged in making the decisions that affect their own lives.
    * Ecology before economy.
    * People before profit.
    * A lot less focus on employment, and a lot more focus on local sustainability – including sustainability of human happiness (eradication of poverty, globally).
    * Libertarian when it comes to personal freedoms – you own your body.
    * Libertarian in terms of society too – no pressure to conform to any one particular agenda. Design your own community and move about freely when you feel like it. When corporate domination of the world comes to an end and global equality ensues, we will willingly abolish the national borders which keep us divided.
    * A lot less tax.
    * A much fairer distribution of access to the global commons, including land access.

    There’s probably more besides, and I don’t necessarily expect to see all this in my lifetime. It may not happen at all – but if much of it doesn’t, then we’re already dead.

    This set of ideas doesn’t need a name, but if it were to have one, I guess we could call it “giving us the best chance of survival and happiness”.

    Call it idealistic if you like. Personally, I think it’s pretty idealistic (no, make that downright insane) for economists and capitalists to operate on the assumption that continual growth is possible in a finite world.

    They know full well that the world’s resources can’t be exploited indefinitely – they’re just too chicken shit to admit that “growth at all costs” also spells human extinction.

    Even if I were a die-hard capitalist, I’d be forced to admit that to be able to profit indefinitely, I’d need to do it sustainably.

    No, the only thing that has kept capitalism afloat in recent decades is the rampant usurping of resources that belong to future generations.

    Well, that’s coming to an end. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that it’s probably already come to an end.

    Capitalism is dead! Long live the future of humanity – in which we will all be a lot happier and richer (and have quite a lot less material wealth).

  62. Ian — on 29th October, 2008 at 3:32 am  

    @persephone

    I agree with a lot of your points there. But i think that responsbility does not quite live 100% at the governments and banks door.

    Many people have overborrowed to the point of excess in recent years. People borrowing £150K for a tiny shoebox whilst earning £20K is a risky gamble in anyone’s eyes. As the last 10 years have shown, such people would be the first to congratulate themselves on their “shrewd financial invesment” had they bagged themselves a nice profit. But now things have unravelled and they can’t find someone to buy the house for more than they paid for it, it suddenly becomes a cry that “Irresponsible lenders should not have loaned me the money.”
    Your would never have heard people cry that irresponsible lenders have made be rich.

    So it is not just the corporations, the banks that are at fault. It is the individuals too. Which surely is a sign that capitalism has many complex sides to it flaws.

    The governments notion that they can bail the worries out of the economy and continue this life of credit is something I think is poorly conceived. You can give another trillion pounds to the banks but they will not lend to borrowers. Why should they? House prices are falling, unemployment is rising, what sane bank would lend x5-7 salary rates out. A person could lose their job and the house would not be worth the money that was borrowed. No bank is going to lend recklessly in that environment no matter how much money they have.

    So as to responsibility. Yes, the government is at fault for adopting the flaws of freemarket. Yes, the banks are at fault for reckless lending practices and chasing profits. But it is also the borrowers that are at fault. It is the borrowers who’s greed to have things that they cannot afford that have ultimately made the rich richer.

    And, unfortunately, it is the prudent people who are having to help pay for the mistakes of the reckless lenders and reckless borrowers.

    People are crying woe, the end is nigh. But, personally, I think things will recover, things just need to return to somewhat saner levels. We arn’t back to the 70s. Perhaps things should return to the old days when you had to join a queue for months to borrow money and have an interview with a building society manager, not a salesman. But now, building societies have become banks, and banks have become businesses. Bank managers have become salesmen… no wonder we borrow so much.

    But to what point does the state control us to not make the same mistakes agree. Afterall a free market leads to recklessness…. Do we need a nanny-market, A speed-camera for the financials to prevent our own financial destruction? Is that what people want, their lives under more control?

  63. douglas clark — on 29th October, 2008 at 6:40 am  

    Ian @ 60,

    You say:

    I’d like to correct your blinkered and prejudiced view, I don’t support the BNP, i think they are dangerous, arrogant, misguided, misleading set of people who are trying to misuse people’s genuine concerns for their own means.

    Whereas at 56 you said:

    And so, this concludes that such a capping is wrong for the single reason that it is descriminatory to those particular ethnic groups.

    Explain why I shouldn’t see you as a BNP troll?

    You can be whatever you say you are.

    This, cry me a river shit, suggests that you do want to be whoever you say you are:

    Well, actually I work with chdilren with special learning difficulties ranging from PMLD to the physically disabled. I do it not for riches, but because I enjoy helping people who much of society cares little for. And I’m dyslexic which is why my spelling is at fault sometimes. So kindly keep your personal attacks regarding that to yourself. Or do you like picking on people’s disabilities?

    But, frankly, if you walk like a duck, quack like a duck, I am liable to call you a fucking duck.

    Now, if you’d started with your arguements at 62, who’d have known what prejudices you had at 56, where your genuine opinions shine through.

    This would be like saying we cannot prevent people entering a full yoga class because most of these would-be students would be woman…. and therefore we would be descriminating against woman. Hence we must leave the doors open.

    Completely dumb. Just trying to say we cant do anything because perfect percentage numbers arn’t achievable.

    That, sir, is a completely naive comment. We can do whatever we want. We are not currently limited by geography or resources nor common sense, unless we want to be.

  64. Ian — on 29th October, 2008 at 9:38 am  

    @Douglas
    It just seems that you ascertain all comments that are in favour of controlling immigration are made by BNP followers. Rather than discuss / educate / correct, you just do ‘labeling’ motivated by a need to exclude from discussion.

    I could sit here and label you a lefty student. But what is that going to achieve. fook all. no discussion and no education. So tell me you don’t like my ideas, tell me you don’t like what im saying, tell me you don’t like my fooking necktie, but don’t tell me I’m BNP

    I was actually referring to Dave Osler’s comments that Sid points to. Where he mentions all of groups of people that we can’t control immigration of (EU citizens etc etc). I was concluding that ones that we could control immigration of just happen to include large groups of asians etc. My point was: is that really relevent, and do we have a right to actually instead choose to also cap other groups of people (eg. EU members) just so that the ethnic proportions will look ‘fairer’ when tallied up. Whereas in fact we will have been discriminated against the EU members all because we want to be fairer on other groups.

  65. douglas clark — on 29th October, 2008 at 11:08 am  

    Ian,

    It just seems that you ascertain all comments that are in favour of controlling immigration are made by BNP followers. Rather than discuss / educate / correct, you just do ‘labeling’ motivated by a need to exclude from discussion.

    Perhaps.

    I could sit here and label you a lefty student. But what is that going to achieve. fook all. no discussion and no education. So tell me you don’t like my ideas, tell me you don’t like what im saying, tell me you don’t like my fooking necktie, but don’t tell me I’m BNP

    Lefty student is damn near a compliment. FYI I am a sixty year old SNP supporter.

    My point was: is that really relevent, and do we have a right to actually instead choose to also cap other groups of people (eg. EU members) just so that the ethnic proportions will look ‘fairer’ when tallied up. Whereas in fact we will have been discriminated against the EU members all because we want to be fairer on other groups.

    I think you’ll find that the EU sees itself as a young USA. It is in a process of pulling down boundaries between nations, through a general agreement that people should be allowed to live anywhere within its borders. It is only little Englanders that seem to have an issue with that. Personally, I’d be quite happy if the EU expanded to take in most of the planet, as it seems to respect the idea of physical mobility, rather than simply the financial mobility we’ve all become accustomed to. All you occupy is a bit of geography, it is really not that important.

  66. soru — on 29th October, 2008 at 1:17 pm  

    Some people who are concerned about finance market deregulation will end up saying certain things that express that concern.

    Some people who are worried about Jewish bankers stealing their money, but have enough self-awareness not to want to be seen as Nazis, are very likely to repeat those things. If there were more such people than those honestly concerned, then a good, if fallible, rule of thumb would be someone who opposed deregulation was likely a closet Nazi.

    You can replace the word ‘finance’ with ‘labour’ without changing all that much.

  67. Refresh — on 29th October, 2008 at 1:51 pm  

    Dave S.

    Capitalism disappears into the ether when usury is abolished.

  68. Ian — on 29th October, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

    @ Douglas Clark (65)
    I would somewhat disagree and say geography can be of importantance. With shortages of fresh water in the world and rising global temperatures, the UK may be a very geographically desirable place to life in the not so distant future compared to say Australia or Africa which has been devastated by droughts.

    Fear of others in our territory probably stems from a behaviour formed through evolution. Many animal groups protect their individual terriorities because they rely on the resources in them to survive. So to suddenly go against millions of years of behavioural evolution is asking quite a bit. Our resources now manifest themselves as public ammenties and services, jobs, transport, house prices etc. Also, immigration doesn’t eveningly distribute itself across the land, it may localise in hotspots, multiplying its effect of impact on local resources in a city before a smooth transition is possible. I think careful measurement is important, least we find ourselves in a situation where we have tried to change too quickly and have not had time to adapt.

    @Refresh (67)
    Lead me to the a bit of a tangent thought:
    “How much money would you borrow if it was interest free?”
    All of it!

  69. Refresh — on 29th October, 2008 at 2:32 pm  

    Like the way you think. I think 0% interest will be available very soon, so we are all persuaded to get back on the wagon and spend spend spend.

    Not quite what I was thinking.

  70. douglas clark — on 29th October, 2008 at 2:47 pm  

    Ian,

    On one level geography is important. There are habitable zones on this planet, which we tend to take for granted, because most of us live in them rather than, say, Antartica. My point may have been better made had I talked about territory.

    On the one hand, there are the urban gangs of LA who view anyone, of their age group, who crosses an invisible line, to be ‘dead meat’. And this is not hyperbola, this is real. It is even raising it’s head in the urban sprawl that is London. Gang territory, if you will.

    Define your importance, probably largely to yourself and/or your immediate gang members, on the basis of geography, which I’d expect they all failed at Standard Grade, and you set up a systemic failure, which leads to that sort of aggressive behaviour.

    All to protect an idea that failed a long time ago.

    So, ‘as above, so below’.

    Above the gang fights, there are nation states that want you, yes you, to go out and die for them. That want to expand their territory by eliminating the opposition. Whether that be Iraqi nationalists, or South Ossetians or any other, opposing, gang.

    It is a lot easier to see humanity as a single species, we can after all breed with each other, and put our relatively small differences behind us, than it is to support the frankly xenophobic or economic rage that you appear to be indulging in.

  71. chavscum — on 29th October, 2008 at 2:50 pm  

    “Black and southasian readers of Pickled Politics more than 10 years old will remember how casually racist and intolerant England was in the early 70s and 80s”

    Examples please. I grew up in the era mentioned and don’t recognise the description of England, nor does my mixed race wife.

  72. Refresh — on 29th October, 2008 at 2:55 pm  

    Chavscum,

    I think a lot of others do. It wasn’t pleasant. In fact it was quite a vicious time.

  73. Dave S — on 29th October, 2008 at 4:25 pm  

    Chavscum @ 71:
    I remember when it was perfectly normal in the 1980s to casually refer to the Newsagents as the “Paki shop”, and that doing so would hardly raise an eyebrow. Casual racism and racial stereotyping was incredibly common.

    I think my mum was perhaps an exception. My (perfectly nice middle class) aunt did this once, and afterwards I vaguely remember my mum talking to me about how it was wrong to think or talk like that. Probably my first memory of the idea that racism is wrong.

    Besides, the shop owners were Indian not Pakistani! (Mr and Mrs Patel – they were great to me when I was a kid. I do wonder what happened to them.)

    I also remember at primary school the kind of excitement at the first Indian boy in the whole school. Sure, people liked him, but there was a definite “freak show” aspect to it. Because he had an “unusual” name that the teachers couldn’t spell, because he joined the school several years in, because he came from somewhere “different” and “exotic”.

    He was literally the only non-white person in our entire school. Maybe not exactly hardcore racism, but quite alienating behaviour nonetheless.

    I remember exactly the same at my secondary school in the early 90s. There were a lot of Sudanese (asylum seekers I think) and also a small number of Polish kids. As I recall, the racism wasn’t out and out nasty, but there was certainly an element of it there, and they were made to feel somehow “different” to the rest of us.

    Even in my next secondary school after that (we moved to the Midlands) – literally only one or two non-white faces in the whole year group. The racism at that place was off the scale compared to anything I’d ever seen before.

    Unfortunately I didn’t have much fight in me when I was in my early teens, or I’d have probably tried to do something about it.

    I remember a time where some poor Sikh kid was endlessly given shit on the school bus, simply because he wore a turban. As far as I know, he didn’t rise to it, but I always felt sorry for him, and I don’t think anybody ever did anything to help him.

    So while it wasn’t exactly a National Front cell, racism was still very prevalent there, with quite a nasty undertone to it.

    I wonder how much it has improved in those schools since I left? I’m sad to say probably not that much, but you never know.

    By the way, this is my favourite poster on the subject of racism.

  74. billy — on 29th October, 2008 at 8:39 pm  

    Examples please. I grew up in the era mentioned and don’t recognise the description of England, nor does my mixed race wife

    I echo DaveS’s post above. Speak to most Asian and Black people growing up in England in the 1970′s and 1980′s and they will tell you that their lives were greatly defined by racist intimidation, bullying and violence. Racism of both a casual and endemic type. Paki bashing, an atmosphere of hatred and marginalisation. That was the mood of the era. If your mixed race wife didn’t experience it that’s because she was one of the few that didn’t. To suggest that her experience is representative is just wilful blindness about that recent past.

  75. persephone — on 29th October, 2008 at 8:56 pm  

    Douglas @ 59

    I re-read the beginning of your post .. apologies for my skim reading. First time I have ‘met’ a romantic anarchist. As to:

    “Neither your points of view nor mine will matter much at the next General Election…It will be the folk that can silence us, make us irrelevant, that will wear the sharp suits”

    Is not the solution to become the sharp suit & change it from the inside?

  76. Don — on 29th October, 2008 at 9:20 pm  

    I was a teenager in the early seventies and I remember a teacher (in a 100% white semi-rural school) telling a paki joke. Two or three of us hippy types objected and were met with general and sincere incomprehension. That was just the casual and ignorant aspect. Elsewhere it was vicious and often lethal.

    Examples? It was endemic, it was ingrained, it was bloody everywhere. If you don’t recognise the description you must have been even more stoned than I was.

  77. persephone — on 29th October, 2008 at 9:37 pm  

    My family tell me the word WOG was also used as a taunt by children in the 70′s and by adults even in the workplace (eg accounts office of a national courier company) as late as the 80′s – latter w/t any reprimand to the person saying it.

  78. persephone — on 29th October, 2008 at 9:40 pm  

    Dave S @ 61 Thanks for such a comprehensive answer.

    “So what’s this recent bankers bail-out all about then? Socialisation of risk…. Or in this case, we’re long past the risk and have skipped directly to the losses.”

    I feel that way about those who run my local hospitals and PCT’s who have been in deficit long before the credit crunch and are always being bailed out.

    “You also seem to mistakenly believe that politics is a straight line between capitalism and socialism”

    My, my, you deduced my mindset all from an old quote. Now that was a piece of linear thinking.

    “Ecology before economy ”

    Agree…..but we will need to finance being more eco friendly

    ” ..no pressure to conform to any one particular agenda… move about freely when you feel like it. When corporate domination of the world comes to an end and global equality ensues, we will willingly abolish the national borders … A much fairer distribution of access to the global commons, including land access.”

    Does that mean more unrestricted travelling? Yippee .. er.. except is that not at odds with your aim of ecology being paramount – what about all those uncontrolled carbon footprints?

    “People before profit.”

    Of course. I suppose the NHS, welfare state could be said to be examples of this (which may I add some of those horrible capitalists fund & bail out to ensure they are still in business even when millions in deficit & even when the senior management are not competent tsk tsk)

    ” A lot less focus on employment… more focus on local sustainability”

    You do not see sustainability being a much needed new profession in & of itself?

    “A lot less tax.”

    Easy peasy then. But with less tax what is going to fund & bail our welfare state etc? How will we pay for our other infrastructures?

  79. persephone — on 29th October, 2008 at 9:51 pm  

    Ian @ 62 ” But i think that responsbility does not quite live 100% at the governments and banks door. Many people have overborrowed to the point of excess in recent years…So it is not just the corporations, the banks that are at fault. It is the individuals too.”

    I agree. As you say a return to your personal ‘old fashioned’ bank manager who really knew you over time (and sometimes said no to borrowing) rather than the current succession of relationship managers who never stay there long enough anyway for any continuity & whose only relationship is with their commission.

  80. Jai — on 29th October, 2008 at 10:03 pm  

    I grew up in the era mentioned and don’t recognise the description of England,

    Messrs J. Davidson and B. Manning (deceased) would disagree, particularly as those “comedians” were amongst the ringleaders perpetuating racist attitudes in the popular media. The character of Alf Garnett was another example embodying the bigotry which was endemic at the time, except of course that his depiction was supposed to be satirical (unfortunately the rednecks amongst the viewing audience didn’t see it that way).

    As for examples from real life — too many to list. I wouldn’t know where to begin; I find the very question (particularly the supposed unfamiliarity with the atmosphere in many quarters of British society at the time) to be staggering. However, several other commenters on this thread have neatly summarised the situation, especially Dave S, Billy and Don.

  81. Andy Gilmour — on 29th October, 2008 at 11:31 pm  

    Moving the ‘racism’ issue north about 400 miles, up in Edinburgh (c.94% white at the last count) we had one Pakistani-origin guy in our secondary school who was an avowed BNP supporter, (and hung about with the white racist kids), because he “hated f*cking n*ggers”.

    Trying to point out to him that as soon as his mates were done with the black people, he’d be next, never seemed to sink in…

  82. Refresh — on 29th October, 2008 at 11:59 pm  

    Andy, strange world. In the 80′s and 90′s there was a lot of stories about an afro-caribbean guy in the Portsmouth area who was very active going round paki-bashing with his BNP mates.

    On a positive side, the racists were only defeated when people came together in solidarity. It was people like Don, the left, anti-nazi league, anti-fascist movement, rock against racism, indian workers, pakistanis, jamaicans, jews, the labour party, liberals (lets not forget peter hain’s greatest moments), who turned it around. As Peter Hain has said the country was on a knife-edge. Its just as well the good guys won.

    I know of one sikh boy, at the time (late 60s) the only asian lad at that school being racially abused and physically attacked by one of the teachers who was built like brick ****house. The result was one of the white lads stood up and dragged the teacher away – making it known that he would never ever do that again. The schoolkids subsequently went on strike in support of the asian boy.

    Peculiarly enough, I got to meet this teacher later in his life by which time he was spending a lot of his time working and supporting asian kids.

  83. Sid — on 30th October, 2008 at 12:35 pm  

    My neighbours are a middle-aged couple who, due to various reasons, have had their all four of their adult children, their spouses and their children move in with them. There’s now about 15 people in a 4 bedroom house. My neighbours on the other side are also a middle-aged couple. Both of their sons are in their early thirties and they are still living with them.

    Weren’t only Asians supposed to do that kind of thing?

    I’m suspect they now put all their suitcases on top of their wardrobes! I blame it on all that eating curry. :-D

  84. Dave S — on 30th October, 2008 at 1:02 pm  

    persephone @ 78:

    I feel that way about those who run my local hospitals and PCT’s who have been in deficit long before the credit crunch and are always being bailed out.

    Likewise. Too many unnecessary management positions, when what NHS staff need is more autonomy (at least that’s what those I know have told me).

    My, my, you deduced my mindset all from an old quote. Now that was a piece of linear thinking.

    OK, sorry about that. Glad that’s not what you think then!

    Agree…..but we will need to finance being more eco friendly

    Not necessarily. We just need to untie people’s hands to get on and do it. For example, my partner and I would like to become more-or-less self sufficient and live off the land as much as possible.

    You would think a desire for such a simple life would be quite easy to achieve, but it is not. Not because of prohibitive expense, but just because pretty much everything in this country is set up to trap us into work and the money economy. It is *VERY* hard to significantly live outside of that, even if you want to do it without breaking any laws.

    (I can go into more detail about this another time, if folks are interested.)

    Does that mean more unrestricted travelling? Yippee .. er.. except is that not at odds with your aim of ecology being paramount – what about all those uncontrolled carbon footprints?

    With less focus on employment, we would be free to take as long as we wanted over our travels. Cycling, walking, horse and cart, sailing boat, airship – all pretty low impact methods of travel that could well make a comeback in a different kind of economy where we have more time to get from A to B.

    In all honesty, I would like to spend 10 years of my life walking, cycling and sailing around the world. I think a lot of people would like to do that – and why shouldn’t we be able to?

    Of course. I suppose the NHS, welfare state could be said to be examples of this (which may I add some of those horrible capitalists fund & bail out to ensure they are still in business even when millions in deficit & even when the senior management are not competent tsk tsk)

    If it wasn’t for capitalists, we wouldn’t need the welfare state. Those who needed to would be able to spend time looking after each other instead of having to work to get money to look after each other.

    Healthcare can also be provided autonomously, just as the Zapatistas are already doing.

    You do not see sustainability being a much needed new profession in & of itself?

    Sustainability is as fundamental a requirement of being alive as breathing or eating. So no, I don’t see it as a profession. I see it as a bodily function.

    Easy peasy then. But with less tax what is going to fund & bail our welfare state etc? How will we pay for our other infrastructures?

    Local welfare provided from within communities who are liberated and empowered to take care of themselves.

    Other infrastructure created by people who are empowered to do so.

    (I probably need to explain a lot of this more, but I’m away for a few days now so have got to get ready, sorry!)

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We exist in spite of capitalism, not because of it, and we can do away with it any time enough people want to. (Which hasn’t happened yet, but I believe is likely to become a more and more mainstream viewpoint over the coming decade.)

  85. El Cid — on 5th November, 2008 at 11:13 am  

    Amusing to see such petal-like sensitvity from someone who can’t make it through a thread without raging at the other guy and calling him a “cunt”, every time. What now, little man?

    I purposely steered away from PP and so have only just seen this.
    Sid, your accusations are misplaced. I have made every effort to restrain my language in the last year or so. You haven’t. I didn’t call you a cunt the other day; I said you were being one. And you were. You weren’t trying to engage or persuade but misrepresent and libel. (It reminded my of that Anthony Browne argument from before — some guy I still don’t even know or give a shit about. But that’s irrelevent because the disagreement was about tactics of misinformation and lies that I objected to).

    Now you either be man enough to recognise when you are wrong, or even just MIGHT be wrong, or we take this off site and stop bothering the rest of PP world. And then you can abuse me to my face.

    I have a lot I could contribute to this site. I am the son of a first-generation immigrant and single mother, a product of the British welfare state and of a multicultual inner city upbringing. And a successful man to boot. My life experiences are not be sniffed at or dismissed willy nilly. Who the fuck do you think you are with your private education and intolerant and self-righteous manner? You think an argument can be won by shouting people down? You think my children have less rights than your children because they are white? Do you think we have to suffer because of the sins of our fathers and that no modern racial taboo can ever be questioned?

    Do you think Obama thinks that way? You’re so yesterday man.

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