Local Elections open thread


by Sunny
5th May, 2006 at 12:15 am    

Post comments and results here as they come in… Labour is going to get a kicking no doubt, but will the Tories gain those seats?

And will the BNP get any serious number of votes? On the last question I am not sure either way. On the one hand they have seen a huge surge in members, on the other the media has gone out there intentionally to find BNP supporters for a soundbite. Though Nick Griffin got unlucky, the BBC is predicting 5-6 seats for the BNP in Barking and Dagenham. Hmmm…

I’ll be on BBC Asian Network at 10am to discuss the aftermath. Oh, and I wrote something for CIF on the BNP.


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  1. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:20 am  

    Are you on the Asian Network cos you’re the only young British Asian who follows British politics and can string a few words together about it?

  2. raz — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:25 am  

    Don’t be jealous Rohin :) Imagine if you had Sunny’s fame, people would be condemning you as a ‘rampant Islamophobe’ all over the internet!

  3. Lester — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:27 am  

    What a t*t you are Rohin. What on earth is motivating you to make this comment about Asians, if it is not racism?

  4. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:38 am  

    Lester it’s called a joke. Lighten up. I’m playing on the fact that almost Asians I know aren’t particularly interested in politics and Sunny is. I’m complimenting Sunny as opposed to offending anyone.

    Raz no jealousy here, any publicity for Sunny is publicity for PP – when he was on TV the other day it said editor of Pickled Politics, hooray! Anyway, who needs ‘rampant Islamophobe’ when I’ve got ‘racist’ in this thread – that trumps it, I hate MORE people than Sunny.

  5. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:42 am  

    Dear everyone,
    Earlier on, a few of us were having a civilized debate on US immigration… but it ended up as a guttersnipe shouting match about the credibility of George W. Bush :-) . Sunni and Rakhee accused Bush of ‘lying’ about WMD – I took exception to this, and offered a pretty extensive rebuttal. I invite you all to make comments. Feel free to call me a ‘nasty, vile rootin’ tootin’ Republican apologist’!

    Here’s the thread.

  6. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:46 am  

    Lol. Lester – relax, Rohin is the deputy editor here and does not mean it maliciously.

    Rohin – I think there are plenty others but I just write about the issues constantly, which is probably the reason. They also said they want to hear what ‘people on the ground’ (i.e. PP readers) are saying, which is another plus point. They watch this place keenly you know ;)

  7. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:52 am  

    Amir – GW Bush has credibility? When did that happen?

    btw – a poll says 50% of Britons want Blair to go by the end of the year, and a slightly higher percentage of people trust the Tories on the NHS. How bizarre.

  8. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:53 am  

    “They watch this place keenly you know”

    Oh fuck. Right, erm..I’d like to make it known that I am available for radio shows and obscure TV channel appearances, weddings and bar or bat mitvahs. I can guarantee political commentary, erudite debate, rational argument and sociopolitical theorisation
    I can tell fart jokes.

  9. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:54 am  

    Sunny – you crack me up. Just cos India’s a shit country!! :-)

  10. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:56 am  

    Yeah, you know it!

  11. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:07 am  

    Amir, you’re a bit loopy eh? What’s India got to do with the price of fish?

  12. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:09 am  

    I was dropped on my head at a very young age.:-(

  13. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:14 am  

    Haha Amir!

    Ok, here are some council seats to watch with interest:

    Oldham, Burnley, Keighley – This is BNP heartland, helped no doubt by the Bradford riots, and more lies by the BNP about Pakistani boys raping young white girls.

    Early signs are that the BNP have made some gains here.

    Tower Hamlets / Bethnal Green
    Will Galloway get anywhere in unseating Labour? They reckon they’ll get up to 1/3rd of seats.

    Barking Dagenham
    It’s looking bad. The BBC presenter said that in some places where the BNP councillors were NOT standing, some voters still said they wrote their name or were angry that a BNP candidate was not standing.

    Camden
    Labour heartland. Looking set to lose this.

    Feel free to add to the list.

  14. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:15 am  

    Bloody hell, the BNP are gaining a lot of seats all over the place, though I’ll doubt very much they will win full control of any one council.

  15. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:18 am  

    Camden – I still think it’s Labour. If they do lose Camden, that really is a big blow, they had a large majority there, for London.

    We’ll see what happens with the BNP – every election I hear them getting played up and thankfully they normally do worse than most predict.

    I still find it quite amazing such a party still exists in relatively mainstream society. I mean they’re dinosaurs from a bygone era. What’s more amazing is people still fall for their bullshit.

  16. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:47 am  

    I’ve just texted a comment to the BBC. I hope they digitize it at the bottom of their screen:

    ‘Sunny Hundal, London – I have overdosed on mangos and vertiginous Bollywood movies, so I voted UKIP’.

    Fair play to you, son.

  17. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:48 am  

    You reputation is in tatters. That’s what you get for messing with me. 8)

  18. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:49 am  

    Blast! Asian Network will never invite me on again :(

  19. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:50 am  

    The BNP is +11. That’s hardly ‘an earth-shattering’ gain. Most of their voters were probably Asian anyway – bloody Kashmiris!

  20. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:52 am  

    The Tories will, however, be very pleased; at least temporarily. And yet, no inroads in the North, which – in the grand scheme of things – does not bode well for posh nosh Cameron.

    Can he turn things around?

  21. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:00 am  

    Labour is so far NOT in a meltdown that they themselves predicted, just to keep expectations down anyway.

  22. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:03 am  

    Here’s a picture of Claire Short on the campaign trail with local councillors

  23. Soultrain — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:11 am  

    Not really a great look based on the results so far in regards to support for the BNP, but I suppose they could be much worse, considering what kind of news has dominated events in the past weeks – you’d think that all ethnic groups were either foreign criminals who have failed to be deported, or scroungers who get all the council housing. And indeed these are lies and hyprocisy easily fits into the reckless propganda the BNP use that non white people are the single cause of the UK’s problems.

    Which some people who fall into the trap of believing and base their whole lives and ideologies around. And its symptomatic of many peoples unfairness and unwillingness almost to put things into perspective or be fair.

    So considering that and the scandals that all three main parties have been embroiled in the last six months, the results could have been a lot worse. Though the symbolism doesn’t bode well for Asians who live in councils which have BNP councillors, which will likely encourage more low level racist insults on the street, small scale graffiti and nuisance which has the potential to snowball.

    It appears that the Lib Dems have not done as well as they would like; Labour is losing as many as would be expected during any local election and the Conservatives have picked up plenty of seats. It looks like Menzies Campbell has not lead the LDs into doing well in the local elections. The real trouble looks like more for the LDs than for the Tories and Labour (in terms of Blair facing even greater pressure to quit early)

  24. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:40 am  

    Bloody hell, they’ve won 8 councillors (and counting not finished yet) in Barking / Dagenham.

  25. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:53 am  

    you’d think that all ethnic groups were either foreign criminals who have failed to be deported, or scroungers who get all the council housing

    I know Soultrain – it’s depressing isn’t it?

    Labour does not seem to have done all that bad… yet. Though london is not in yet. Ealing, apparently, is very central too. Hmmm…

  26. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:44 am  

    Labour is screwed in London, while the BNP have taken over Dagenham. Time to go bed.

  27. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:45 am  

    Urgent news…
    Claire Short has been spotted in Birmingham.

  28. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:52 am  

    How dare…
    I say, how dare John Prescott show his face in public!

  29. Roger — on 5th May, 2006 at 9:08 am  

    “you’d think that all ethnic groups were either foreign criminals who have failed to be deported, or scroungers who get all the council housing”
    Well, many BNP supporters are lumpen semi-criminals who think they have a right to council housing and regard all other ethnic groups as potential rivals for their “privileges”.

  30. Amit — on 5th May, 2006 at 11:19 am  

    If anything good were to come out of it, my one wish would be for TB to step down as prime minisiter….to be honest, ever since he’s been in power it has felt more like living in a dictatorship than a democracy.

    It’s a given that a few good things have come about since he’s been in power but overall I personally believe most of it has been for the worse, not better.

  31. Ravi Nailk — on 5th May, 2006 at 11:33 am  

    The BNP doubled their seats. I say: good for them. Now let’s learn some lessons out of this. Mainstream parties should address their issues, which are after all the concerns of a lot of people. Racists will always vote for the BNP. We should prevent non-racists from doing so.

    Immigration control should not be equated with racism. Promoting British culture and way of life is not racism. Why should people come to this country and not be expected to learn the language, the culture and mix with natives? Multiculturism has allowed that to happen. I believe firmly that people should not be judged by their race, religion or ethinic origin – but shouldn’t you expect to change your ways once you arrive here?

    Multiculturism is a great idea, but there should be a backbone culture which we all relate to. A great nation is built upon unity, not by ghetto communities – that’s what feeds the BNP.

  32. sonia — on 5th May, 2006 at 11:50 am  

    ah gosh what an election night! Such big changes across London – the map is now mostly blue.

    yep Labour is screwed – {funny though that they should gain Lambeth Council – their one solitary gain} and the Lib Dems have lost Islington, they did get Richmond though.
    i’m glad i voted and Southwark is still NOC – close though – Labour gained 2 seats, Lib Dems didn’t lose any, and the greens gained one.

    and the BNP – .gosh. such a coup in Barking and Dagenham – well what does that say?! they’ve also gained one seat in Solihull.

    this will all take some time to sink in. for anyone working with local authorities this means a lot of time spent waiting for the new councillors to be incorporated into the new Executives and decision making bodies etc.

    Also – though its interesting to see how people have come out and voted – and clearly sent a msg that they’re not happy with the Labour Party, how are these changes going to impact everyone on a local level is not at all clear, what with the complex interplay of local and national govt.

    I mean in terms of Council agendas and regeneration funding for example, or just funding local initiatives full stop. Tory Councils are well known for their desire to keep up their CPA’s and be known as ‘efficient councils’ ..the question is of course – how does the public gain or lose?

  33. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:06 pm  

    Why should people come to this country and not be expected to learn the language, the culture and mix with natives? Multiculturism has allowed that to happen.

    What a load of tosh. Yes people should mix with the ‘natives’ and learn the language. But multiculturalism is nothing to do with the reason that people haven’t done this, it’s just their insularity.

    I’m pissed off Richmond is Lib Dem, I just don’t get it. Bugger. Conservatives are much better for local matters round here.

  34. sonia — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:12 pm  

    “Sunni and Rakhee accused Bush of ‘lying’ about WMD”

    erm.. i think that’s fact now, as opposed to sitting in the ‘allegation’ category. where have you been Amir? nothing to do with being a Republican ‘apologist’ – more like an ostrich.

    Also I find it funny you haven’t questioned George Bush’s notion of ‘democracy’. this here in my opinion is the fundamental issue!

    Sorry honey, you can’t ‘bomb’ people into democracy – there’s the oh-so-slight matter of the definition of the term ‘democracy’ , something to do with the ‘people’s decisions having some importance somewhere. then again of course, no doubt it all depends on who defines who the ‘people’ are and who counts!

    ( i mean hey! the Greeks didn’t consider women and slaves ‘people’ did they..and i suppose you can say ah we’re being true to our classical heritage*chuckle*. You could say Bush’s idea of ‘democracy’ is one where the American people are the ones who count – the ‘electorate’ the ‘people’ – even then – he hasn’t taken into account what they think! ha – you see where this is going don’t you?)


    if one can truly refer to that as democracy, then i suggest a new strapline for the Islamists – they should start using that banner too shouldn’t they, after all why not – they might assume that what they’re doing is in the ‘interest’ of the ‘people’ they kill. After all they’ve decided to take that ‘right’ into their own hands – in much the same way anyone else ( e..g Mr. Bush) decides ‘democracy’ of some other folks is in his hands. I can’t tell the difference – certainly not in moral or ethical terms.

    Just about the only difference between war wrought by a nation-state and destruction wrought by a bunch of terrorists is simply this – one has a nation-state and one doesn’t.

    i.e there’s a difference in the social legitimacy of one form of social organization vs. another form.

    and that’s it.

  35. Nindy — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:16 pm  

    Ignorance and stupidity. Most of the population’s politival awareness comes from the fucking Sun newspaper or the Daily Mirror. That informs their political choices. So it comes as no suprise that the BNP gained seats at local gov’t.

    “Yeah, that Tony Blair is a dick, so, erm, yeah, i’ll vote for the BNP ‘cus, er, Cameron’s like Blair innit, and the lib dems have some old nutty queer geezer, and the green party are hippies, so yeah, BNP all the way.

    “They’re not racist you know.”

    Yeah, and the pope is punjabi.

    The BNP will be ecstatic at the results. It gives the party an incentive to pursue their faux-politics and they now have the fuel and confidence to do so. What the election results project to the BNP is that people are disillusioned with Labour and increasingly interested in the ideology of the BNP.

    “This is it men, this is the dawn of our time, of a thousand year reich, sorry, a thousand year BNP…”

    Delusions of grandeur… bless.

    The idea of politics is in crisis.

  36. Vladimir — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    I am quite bored, with the elections stayed up till 2 last night listening to the commentary, I’ve heard all the soundbites. The BNP need to be taken seriously, as many people have said they need to be confronted and issues which they campaign over need to be discussed before its too late. They may be a fringe party at the moment, but can we really wait till they become a bigger party with a larger movement behind the filthy viral disease they really are?

  37. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    What do people think of Margaret Hodge’s comments, that gave the ‘oxygen of publicity and credibility ‘ to the BNP? Some are talking about disciplinary action for what she said. Nick Griffin insists that they didn’t need her but the BNP councillors and the press office are clear that her statement was instrumental to their success.

  38. Gump — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:01 pm  

    I think the results were to be expected.
    I was estimating about 250 seats lost. Even before the past few weeks i thought 15-200 would not be too far off.

    I think the Conservatives were always going to take the seats. They are the only party that look like they are different.
    The Liberal Democrats are hopeless. They cannot take advantage of any situation. It was the same at the last general election. Their leader has been pretty much invisible for the duration of the campaign.
    I think his words were: “It has been time for consolidation…”
    I think that roughly translates to: We haven’t got anywhere near as many seats as we were aiming for. We have’t managaed to take advantageof the situation. I have no idea what we are going to do next. I have no idea how to make any sort of a difference. However, at least we did not lose as many seats as Labour.

    I don’t think you can read that much into the results. The Labour party have not done well for a while in local elections, but the general election is the real test.

    I thik the reshuffle has been quite interesting.
    Most of it has been lateral movement. A few minor promotions, but generally people just swapping poistions.
    Obviously Clarke is the main story. I think he really had to go, and just saved some integrity by not accepting other positions.
    Prescott has had his responsibilites removed, which I think is a good thing (affair or no affair).

    I don’t think Labour haev actually ‘kicked on’ this term. So, it will be interesting to see if they manage to.

    I don’t think Hoge should be reprimanded. Most of what she said was common sense. She was just higlighting it. The media jumped on it, but it was always a possibility.

  39. Gump — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

    oops
    *have
    *Hodge
    *highlighting

  40. Ravi Nailk — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

    “What a load of tosh. Yes people should mix with the ‘natives’ and learn the language. But multiculturalism is nothing to do with the reason that people haven’t done this, it’s just their insularity.”

    Multiculturism has made it easier for people to become more insular. Just look at the efforts by the council to translate information to a lot of languages. Multiculturism has given a platform for certain groups to demand special rights (Sharia law, for instance) and the blind eye in the name of culture differences.

    It is very easy to criticize the BNP. Every politician does that without blinking their eyes. But if a certain hindu/muslim organization makes a fascist comment, then politicians
    are all too careful to criticise. Why? Have people become so afraid to offend brown people? Do they think that criticizing a group of brown people, they are offending all of us?

    Because if mainstream politicians do not have the courage to address the problems of multiculturism, then you are giving fodder to the BNP. Let’s give them the only thing they are good for: being miserable racist bullies.

  41. raz — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

    The BNP now have six councillers in Epping Forest, which is not a deprived area by any stretch of the imagination. And if I’n not mistaken, one or two of them are Jewish! WTF?! Why would a Jew of all people join the BNP?

  42. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

    Same reason Sikhs and other Asians do Raz, stupidity. Although yeah, a Jewish member does seem even weirder for some reason.

    Ravi, what you’re citing is not multiculturalism, it’s daft politics. Multiculturalism is not something that governments can impose with laws, it’s something communities can engender. I know that sounds wishy washy, but multiculturalism has become a byword for communalism and it’s become a negative concept when it isn’t.

    However putting things in different languages is fine, why would you object to that? Hospitals have dozens of languages – are you suggesting we shouldn’t with patients effectively? Sure I get ticked off when people live her for years and don’t speak english, but you can’t assume any Tom, Dick or Hari is going to be able to speak English the day they arrive, so it’s useful to make things available in different languages. And we have tourists, as a minor point.

    What is all this Sharia talk? Nowhere in Britain has Sharia law and nowhere will get it. “Allowing people to demand it” – how would you BAN someone from demanding someone without infrigning freedom of speech? I demand a live-in supermodel and marijuana field, so what? Just because some crackers people ask for something, it doesn’t mean it will come.

  43. Jay Singh — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

    There was a Jewish NF woman back in the day.

  44. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

    There’s a Jewish neo-Nazi in the states and I think I read something about some in Germany too.

  45. Ravi Nailk — on 5th May, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    “The BNP now have six councillers in Epping Forest, which is not a deprived area by any stretch of the imagination. And if I’n not mistaken, one or two of them are Jewish! WTF?! Why would a Jew of all people join the BNP? “

    Divide and conquer. Nick Griffin has made it open season on muslims. And so he find allies among jews and hindus/sihks who should know better. What is sad is that these people seek validation from a bunch of thugs.

    If the BNP has business in Epping Forest, then there is a reason for that. Not everything has to do with economy, but perceived danger. Like some forms of cancer, once they are in, there is a danger of metastising quite quickly.

  46. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:19 pm  

    You think that’s bad? There’s a Muslim BNP councillor too up north somewhere! Go figure!

  47. Sid — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

    Barking and Dagenham is down the road from me and my own council (Redbridge) has a single newly elected BNP councillor. Thats a total of probably 13 seats round my way! Looks like the battle will be fought on my doorstep.

    I have a very uncomfortable feeling that the BNP gains are a direct result of the rampant anti-Muslim agitation (conflation of Muslim with terrorists and “non-deported” criminals etc) that has been the mainstay of certain sections of the MSM (and the blogsphere).

  48. Ravi Nailk — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

    “Multiculturalism is not something that governments can impose with laws, it’s something communities can engender.”

    I mostly agree with you, Rohin. But I would say that minorities in the US and in southern europe tend to integrate better because they have little choice, or otherwise they are marginalised by society.

    It’s a tricky balance we “non-natives” face. However, I do believe that once you adopt this country, something will have to give in.

    The government can impose laws prohibiting segregated schools, forcing citizen tests that include history, language and understanding the core values of our society. Which is the idea that every person in the UK should have equal opportunities, rights and duties regardless of race, sex, caste, religion and sexual orientation.

    “What is all this Sharia talk? Nowhere in Britain has Sharia law and nowhere will get it. “Allowing people to demand it” – how would you BAN someone from demanding someone without infrigning freedom of speech? ”

    My point is that ‘multiculturism’ has given a platform for such demands to be made in the first place. And Sharia Law (parts of it) is practised in Ontario, Canada.

  49. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    “The government can impose laws prohibiting segregated schools”

    Right. Sunny and I have both written on here before on why faith schools are undesirable. That is the biggest single measure the gov’t has taken to create a new generation of bombers and BNP members. I’m so against these asinine schools. I’ve also said I’m in favour of a citizenship test. But immigrants aren’t necessarily the problem, there are many British-born people who feel like this isn’t their country.

    I’m aware of the Canada thing – but I thought we were talking about the UK.

  50. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

    because they have little choice, or otherwise they are marginalised by society.

    Ravi – the same happens here. There are plenty of communities marginalised, and not all of them brown/black. It’s just about being poor. America has millions of marginalised poor people too.

    My point is that ‘multiculturism’ has given a platform for such demands to be made in the first place. And Sharia Law (parts of it) is practised in Ontario, Canada.
    Edit Comment

    Not really. Canada already had aspects of the civil code specifically applicable for Catholics and Jews. Although I’m not a fan of modern day interpretations of Sharia, Muslims simply wanted equal opportunity in that case.

    the same goes for Faith schools. America has tons of them too, they’re just private. So the opportunity for segregation is everywhere.

    There is an issue with community leaders, but I believe that is seperate to allowing people to practice their own culture (within the law).

  51. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    Sid and Ravi Nalik,
    You’re both right:

    1) The poisonous creed of Jihadism has dominated our screens, newspapers, internet chat rooms, blogs, and public discourse for quite some time. The Jyllands-Posten scandal exacerbated this already fragile state-of-affairs, and the nasty protesters in London calcified this impression in the public’s mind. Added to this, you had the subsequent imprisonment of Abu Hamza (an albeit lenient sentence), and the unravelling of an insidious Jihadist plot to gas ‘slags’ in a London nightclub (as well as an ancillary plan to acquire radioactive material from the Russian Mafia). Recent polling figures have shown a disturbing willingness amongst British Moslems to blame Jews/Zionism/Israel for all their woes in the world, and a concomitant commitment to Sharia law.

    2) Mr. Nalik – spot on. The sociologist Max Weber made a similar observation in his book On Charisma and Institution Building. Social life is divided into various spheres (religious, cultural, economic, political, etc.), which may or may not interpenetrate and inter-pollinate. In this case, the BNP have pandered to British people’s sense of patriotism and national identity – which, as you quite rightly observe, is under constant threat by the ghettoising tendencies of multiculturalism.

    Amir

  52. Jai — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    =>”But I would say that minorities in the US and in southern europe tend to integrate better because they have little choice, or otherwise they are marginalised by society.”

    This may be correct, but — at least as far as the US is concerned — I don’t think it’s the only reason. The US has a comparatively stronger sense of a “unified” cultural identity for its citizens, and this is implemented throughout (for example) their High School system and also during the immigration process. There is a strong underlying sense of what being “American” is all about (and no colonial hangup for desis to deal with, unlike Asians here). Plus, in a manner of speaking, the entire country is a “nation of immigrants” (apart from the Native Americans, of course).

    With regards to (South) Asians, they also tend to be a) in less concentrated, ie. ghettoised, communities, and b) the educational and professional level of Asians over there is, on average, significantly higher than that of their counterparts here in the UK.

  53. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:15 pm  

    Jai – spot on
    In America, loyalty is instilled constantly (regardless of whether you’re a ‘liberal’ or ‘Republican’, or pro-war /anti-war, pro-abortion/anti-abortion etc.). America works because it emphasises not only diversity but the ties that bind us, too. It encourages a hyphenated identity – think of Italian-American, Irish-American, Saudi-American, etc. – but insists on both sides of the hyphen.

  54. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    Unfortunately, the British model of multiculturalism oscillates between benign neglect (i.e. we’ll leave you alone in an ethnic ghetto) and luck neutralization (imported cultures should be protected like endangered species… to compensate for minorities’ unequal access to culture).

  55. Jai — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:29 pm  

    Along with the “Americanness”, there are certain high-minded ideals that the US was founded upon and which play a huge part in the cultural and social consciousness (yes I know there is currently some controversy about all this). It’s not just supposed to be a mere geographical & political entity.

    This is less the case here in the UK — and although those ideals are present, they’re more vague and not “trumpeted” to the extent they are in the US — which is another reason for some of the problems we have here.

  56. Sid — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

    However…in practice, this subliminal drive for uniformity, in the US which starts from high school results in pervserse peer pressure which affects every level of society and individuals of all ages. If you think this pressure is benign you only have to look at the frequency of events like Columbine occur. Thats an extreme example but the pressure to conform, to have the best job, to have the best sex, to drive the best car, to have the best kids for Americans is constant and pervasive.

  57. Ravi Nailk — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

    “Unfortunately, the British model of multiculturalism oscillates between benign neglect (i.e. we’ll leave you alone in an ethnic ghetto) and luck neutralization (imported cultures should be protected like endangered species… to compensate for minorities’ unequal access to culture).

    Yes, I believe that is the main problem of multiculturism. The belief that all cultures have equal value and should be protected even if they go against the core values of western societies (equal opportunities, rights and duties).

    Cultures are much more than rituals, gods and dietary requirements. They include prejudices as well, which are tolerated because they are minorities, and cannot be criticised because it is seen as oppresion and imposing the values of the majority on a minority. Talk about coloniser’s guilt. Except this time, it’s the immigrant that makes a choice in living in a foreign country and not the other way around.

    By the way, I am curious. Do you think that full ‘burkas’ should be allowed? Or people should be allowed to practice this aspect of their culture?

  58. TottenhamLad — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:19 pm  

    Why people like me vote for the BNP…

    “…he chased me down the road with an iron bar and hit me over the head. The next thing a gang of about five Asian lads came at me… …the mob started kicking and punching me shouting ‘kill the white bastard‘…”

    From Sheffield Today:
    Injured cyclist slams court (2006 May 2nd)

    Just remember though it is:
    ‘kill the English bastard’ not  ’kill the white bastard’

  59. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:19 pm  

    I think it is a valuable point that has been raised that all cultures have their pros and cons and I have said in the past that sometimes we should not be afraid to say that certain ways of life are less desirable than others.

    (side note about burqas Ravi – no they should not be banned. I don’t want to live in any country that tells me or anyone else what to wear, whether it be more (as in some Muslim countries) or less (as in a ban on burqas))

  60. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    So you voted for a racist party because you’re objecting to racism? And more to the point, you’re voting for a racist party on the basis of the behaviour of five men?

    Wow, check out the big brain on TottenhamLad.

  61. Ravi Nailk — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:33 pm  

    “Why people like me vote for the BNP…”

    Makes perfect sense to me. You vote for racist thugs in hope they will tackle crime from other racist thugs.

    Just one thing though. It is this type of news that makes the BNP more popular. Do you see where I am getting?

  62. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:35 pm  

    That makes perfect sense Tottenham Lad! Presumably next time you won’t have a problem with a suicide bomber blowing up trains in London when he uses British forces in Iraq as an excuse.

    Twat.

  63. Ravi Nailk — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:56 pm  

    “(side note about burqas Ravi – no they should not be banned. I don’t want to live in any country that tells me or anyone else what to wear, whether it be more (as in some Muslim countries) or less (as in a ban on burqas)) “

    I am kindda torn on this issue to be honest. A lot of women wear full burkkas because it is imposed by the culture. I wouldn’t be against burkkas if man wore them. ;) They don’t because it’s mostly degrading.

    Also, in some cultures, women are not expected to get any education. But the government makes education compulsory until you reach a certain age. So the government does have some leverage to help integrate minorities into the mainstream.

  64. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 5:18 pm  

    Ravi Nalik,

    Do you think that full ‘burkas’ should be allowed?

    In civil society… of course. I’m a libertarian.

    In schools (both secondary and primary), the burka should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

    Education has two functions:
    (a) utility: reading & writing, mathematics, practical knowledge (textiles, woodwork, metalwork), physical education, sex education, etc.
    (b) culture: regional & national history, basic legal knowledge, music, drama, literature, etiquette, patriotic allegiance (flags, national anthems, regional/international competitions), school uniform (reinforces the axiom of ‘equality before authority’)

    The burka, for me, is anathema to (b). For obvious reasons, it creates a physical and psychological barrier between male-female, female-female and, as a consequence, panders to the worst ‘tribal instincts’ of small children and teenagers.

  65. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

    You’re talking sense there Amir.

  66. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

    Hey, there’s a first time for eveything. :-)

  67. Jai — on 5th May, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

    Sid,

    =>”. Thats an extreme example but the pressure to conform, to have the best job, to have the best sex, to drive the best car, to have the best kids for Americans is constant and pervasive.”

    I’m assuming you’re referring to the whole “American Dream” idea. You may be right, although all the things you’ve listed are also common pressures within (South) Asian culture worldwide, both back in the subcontinent and amongst the diaspora (both older & younger generations).

  68. Jai — on 5th May, 2006 at 6:01 pm  

    Ravi Nalik & Amir,

    re: the burkha issue

    We’ve actually already hammered out this topic extensively here on PP a few months ago, on a previous thread. I don’t know the specific URL, but if you do a ‘search’ then hopefully you should find it somewhere. I’m sure you’ll find it interesting reading ;)

  69. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 6:07 pm  

    the things you’ve listed are also common pressures within (South) Asian culture worldwide

    Jai, I don’t believe the South Asian culture has ever insisted on “having the best sex”!

    “Now beti, study hard, get the best job you can, marry a rich man, have studious kids, drive a big car and get fucked until you black out every night”

  70. raz — on 5th May, 2006 at 6:15 pm  

    “Jai, I don’t believe the South Asian culture has ever insisted on “having the best sex”!”

    Asian parents having sex. Truly the most repulsive concept in the world.

  71. Roger — on 5th May, 2006 at 6:28 pm  

    Perhaps the solution to shariah is to make muslims liable to both shariah law and British law. If it is a crime under both systems they are tried and- if convicted- punished under both systems. There’d be problems of course- would theives have their hands chopped off before or after they’ve done their community service, which they need both hands for? The only law that couldn’t be enfoced would be the laws about apostasy.

  72. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 6:47 pm  

    Look what I’ve done to Alexander Cockburn’s wikipedia entry: [go right to bottom of the Bibliography]

    How long will it take them to notice?

    …I’m so, so sad! :-)
    Oh dear!

  73. Amir — on 5th May, 2006 at 7:43 pm  

    Dam, they deleted it (45 minutes later).

    By the way, did anyone see the new series of Lost on TV?

    4,8,15,16,23,42

    Mmm? 108

  74. Gibs — on 5th May, 2006 at 8:03 pm  

    No one should panic about the BNP getting a toe-hold in a handful of rundown, undesirable council wards.

    After all, it is only fair that chavs, dimwits and
    village idiots should have a “homeland”. Maybe Barking fits the bill ?

    (I can’t imagine anyone else wanting to live there)

  75. TL — on 6th May, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

    Seen this Sunny?

    From East London Advertiser
    Machete mob in race hate attack 2006 May 3rd

    How dare the English vote for the BNP – how disgusting, what ever could the reason be…

  76. Rakhee — on 6th May, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

    No idea TL – thought you might like to see this though.

    http://www.clubs.psu.edu/up/sayar/riqs.htm

    Apparently racists have lower IQs than normal people…

  77. Amir — on 6th May, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

    TL,
    We condemn all acts of racism and violence and racially-motivated violence– that poor man who had his scalp sliced off with a machete deserves justice. Those Asian thugs who did this to him should be jailed for a very long time. Good old retributive justice.

    But TL? Why should law-abiding Asians – no, not ‘Asians’, British people with slightly darker skin – be held accountable for the thuggery of a hardcore minority? Unless, of course, you believe that Moorish-coloured people are intrinsically violent?

    Voting for the BNP is not going to stop racism and gangsterism – it will only exacerbate it.

    David Cameron will, I believe, come down hard on criminals… so vote for him instead. David Davis is a stalwart critic of multiculturalism, so vote for the Tories.

    The BNP are wolves in wolves’ clothing… they embody the cruel irrationalities of skin-nationalism.
    Rakhee – good link.
    Amir

  78. Rohin — on 6th May, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

    Tottenham Lad, I’m not wondering how people vote for the BNP, I’m just perplexed at your reasoning. You have cited two racist attacks. So your plan of action is to vote for racists. How does this make sense?

    Racist attacks are perpetrated by all colours on all other colours. Every race has its share of shitheads, but putting shitheads in power won’t solve anything. Besides, all this blustering of yours doesn’t amount to much seeing as you didn’t actually vote for the BNP anyway.

  79. Rohin — on 6th May, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

    Rakhee that link is pseudoscience. It’s quite laughable. I’m sure racists do have low IQs, but that page doesn’t prove it. Some well-meaning person has just knocked it up with meaningless graphics and references that are 60 years old.

  80. Rakhee — on 6th May, 2006 at 3:24 pm  

    Rohin, I know. But I wasn’t about to send TL a link to something which was highly intelllectual was I?

    The pictures may look old but my god do I believe in the point I made.

    ps. TL – As I’m a nice person I’ll help you out here. Go to http://www.dictionary.com, save it in your favourites and yes, am sure you will have to look up ‘pseudoscience’ before you respond.

  81. Amir — on 6th May, 2006 at 3:33 pm  

    Rohin,
    Rakhee’s link is lacking in information, but the ‘thesis’ put forward is a sound one.

    Ideological enclaving is another problem, i.e., spending all your time with like-minded people, thus inadvertantly cutting yourself off from a truly democratic conversation.

  82. sonia — on 6th May, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

    there’s so much bollocks everywhere. firstly although everyone’s happy to criticize ‘multiculturalism’ – as a set of policies – most people don’t actually know what those policies are, or how they are actually implemented.

    if there’s been a focus on BME groups in regeneration efforts, its in order to help them ‘help’ themselves and not be ‘excluded’ – i.e. get jobs, get access to education, get representation, get involved in the community i.e. surely all the things one would consider healthy in an ‘integrated’ population, if you want to think in terms like that.

  83. sonia — on 6th May, 2006 at 3:43 pm  

    yeah that link about racists and low IQ’s is well funny.

  84. Amir — on 6th May, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    Sonia

    There’s so much bollocks everywhere

    Yes, they tend to have ‘TottenhamLad’ or ‘Sonia’ attached to it: the ad hominem insult.

    everyone’s happy to criticize ‘multiculturalism’

    No, not everyone. Some people are vehement supporters of multiculturalism.

    …most people don’t actually know what those policies are, or how they are actually implemented.

    Do you Sonia? There are, in the main, two ways of using the term: descriptive & normative:

    Usage 1. To say a society is multicultural in a descriptive sense simply means it is comprised of a variety of different religious, cultural, ethnic, or linguistic groups. (ya know: curries, synagogues, saris, Urdu, turbans, bangra, Indo/Pak rivalry on Pickled Politics, crappy Bollywood movies, etc.) It’s just a euphemism for cultural diversity.
    Usage 2. To talk of multiculturalism in a normative sense, however, is to propose how we ought to respond to the empirical realities of cultural diversity. Members of the ‘pro-multicultural’ camp – from Seyla Benhabib to Will Kymlicka to Charles Taylor to Bhikhu Parekh – usually want the state to grant special rights, privileges, exemptions, funding, recognition, or status to minority groups and immigrants. In all cases (bar Taylor’s), the hombre is against proactive assimilation and in favour of luck neutralization: many liberal philosophers contend that ‘fairness’ requires the state to compensate for minorities’ unequal access to culture (i.e. tax payers’ money should be spent to, say, an Islamic initiative in Bradford or re-furnishing a synagogue in North London).

    People such as yourself – the ‘bollocks’ crowd – tend to conflate 1. with 2.. I, on the other hand, am very much rooted in the ‘anti-multicultural’ camp, which includes (most prominently) Professors Brian Barry, Jeremy Waldron, David Miller, and Michael Sandel. To a lesser extent, it also spills over into the philosophy of Edmund Burke, the patriotic essays of George Orwell, and a rational defence of tradition by Karl Popper. In a nutshell: we believe in the primacy of national identity, the importance of civic participation, and consistency in the rule of law – some food for thought, hey Sonia?
    Amir

  85. Amir — on 6th May, 2006 at 4:35 pm  

    get jobs, get access to education, get representation, get involved in the community

    These are issues concerning social justice and democratic representation – not multiculturalism.

    Ironically: The doctrine of multiculturalism is anathema to social justice. If people do not feel part of the same ‘nation’, then they’re far less likely to support ‘positive discrimination’ in the workplace and scemes of distributive justice. Multiculturalism is also anathema to linguistic and cultural cohesion in the public sphere, which is a necessary pre-requisite for deliberative democracy.

    Some more food for thought.

  86. Ravi Nailk — on 6th May, 2006 at 11:25 pm  

    “The doctrine of multiculturalism is anathema to social justice. If people do not feel part of the same ‘nation’, then they’re far less likely to support ‘positive discrimination’ in the workplace and scemes of distributive justice. “

    Great post, Amir.

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