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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Alan Johnson refuses to share platform with fascists


    by Sunny on 15th September, 2009 at 4:34 AM    

    And well done to him:

    “I’ve gone 59 years without sharing a platform with a fascist, and I don’t intend to start doing it now,” he told yesterday’s BBC Politics Show after being asked by presenter Jon Sopel if there was any circumstances in which he would change his mind.

    The Labour party has made clear that no minister will be forced to debate with the BNP, but it is reconsidering its customary ban on sharing a platform in the light of the BBC’s invite to the BNP following their success in the European elections. I wonder how many other cabinet ministers will go down the same road?



    Filed in: Race politics, The BNP




    • Rumbold
      Let's hope that some Labour people will go on Question Time. Shame that their best media performer won't. Another victory for the BNP ("they are too scared to debate with us because they know we are right.")
    • johng
      The biggest defeat for the BNP would be if everyone took Alan Johnson's principled position and everyone refused to share a platform with him. That would send a far more powerful argument then the likely spectacle of the BNP shifting the whole ground to the right as politicians make concessions to racism in the mistaken belief that this will undercut the BNP. They are not a normal party and its a mistake to treat them as one. Doing so gives credence to their message before a word has even been uttered.
    • cjcjc
      Having an SWP/Respect activist like johng call for "no platforming" fascists given their support for foreign fascists - we are all Hezbollah now, eh? - is nothing more than a sick joke.
    • Refresh
      Absolutely Johng!
    • they are too scared to debate with us because they know we are right

      He'll play the vicim card regardless...
    • johng
      cjcjc, have you any opinions of your own?
    • cjcjc
      Yes, amongst them are

      (1) I agree with Rumbold

      (2) members of parties who support fascists overseas, whether Hezbollah or Hamas, and who ally with homophobic reactionary religionists in the UK are not best placed to dole out advice on anti-fascist tactics
    • Rumbold
      The BNP have been subjected to name calling and no platforms for years. The result: a London assembly member, two MEPs and the potential of winning a parliamentary seat in 2010. The BNP won't go away if we ignore them. We need to expose their arguments at every turn.
    • Reza
      Refusing to accept the democratic will of the British people is fascism.

      The BNP are a legal political party with views I abhor. But so are Respect / the SWP and various other sundry left-wing fascists.

      The ‘no platform’ policy is puerile, cowardly and ultimately counter-productive.

      Elsewhere on this blog is an article poking fun at the prejudices of Mail readers.

      Wake up! There are far, far more Mail readers in this country than Guardian readers. Don’t underestimate the mood of the British people. It is turning ugly.

      The people of Britain are want an honest, no-holds-barred debate on multiculturalism and immigration. They must have it. And the argument for tolerance MUST be won.

      Otherwise watch the BNP’s vote rise, and rise.
    • douglas clark
      I agree with Rumbolds' take on this. There are plenty of intelligent and capable people that could take Mr Griffin to bits. Shami Chakrabarti comes to mind. And she's more of a British institution than he is!

      But the format of Question Time does not lend itself to genuine debate between the participants. It would be luck of the draw whether the news that week was about the economy or race or whatever. The BBC could not be seen to allow much more than a token question about, say, immigration, if it wasn't in the news that week.
    • johng
      It is not anti-democratic to refuse to share a platform with someone. On the contrary it is a democratic right. Where is your evidence that "the people of Britain" want a "no holds barred" discussion on multi-culturalism? And generally speaking ugly moods are things to be resisted rather then conceded to. And that has nothing to do with fascism. Playing a demagogue and invoking the "will of the people" when defending the rights of a small group of fascist thugs on the other hand...I think it was the mail or was it the Express, who in the 1930s ran a competition about who could write the best essay on the theme of "why we say hurrah for the blackshirts". Presumably it would have been fascist to condemn this. A lot of people read that newspaper you know.
    • hantsboy
      We need to expose their arguments at every turn.
      8

      There are a lot of people out there who like their arguments.

      What do you do then ?

      On to a loser I would have thought.
    • cjcjc
      It is not anti-democratic to refuse to share a platform with someone.

      Indeed not.

      Though of course we have seen that the UAF aims to prevent, by force, any meetings between the BNP and those who do choose to share a platform from taking place at all.
    • Reza
      johng

      "It is not anti-democratic to refuse to share a platform with someone."

      Of course it isn't.

      But I didn't say that. I said "Refusing to accept the democratic will of the British people is fascism."

      And well said cjcjc
    • Jai
      “Refusing to accept the democratic will of the British people is fascism.”


      So if the majority of "the British people" wanted all Muslims currently in this country to be rounded up and executed, would you support that, as "the democratic will of the British people" ?

      By your own definition, refusing to act according to their wishes in this scenario would be "fascism".
    • Rumbold
      Refusing to share a platform with someone isn't anti-democratic, but it is a poor strategy (I believe). How many people are you going to convince if you do that?

      Hantsboy:

      As I have said before, I will never change the minds of committed racists. But debating with and exposing the BNP will show them up to evetyone else who votes for them as a protest.
    • Narinder Purba
      Bill Clinton met Kim Jong Il.

      Two extreme opposites.

      Obama is keen on opening up conversation with Iran.

      Again, two extreme opposites.

      Etc, etc...

      Conversation is good.

      If Alan's personal code of ethics disallows him from talking to fascists, then fair enough, stick to what you believe, be a man of principles.

      But don't leave it there, an empty seat, a vacuum, leave it to the MP who thinks otherwise to take up the debate.

      Otherwise, we get folk like Unite Against Fascism who think throwing eggs is the way to talk like adults.
    • Roger
      Yes and it was Johnson's party who rightly so decided to talk to extremists and killers from the IRA too. Labour MPs now share a platform (the House of Commons) with former terrorists.

      It's silly to assume that so long as we ignore that they exist the BNP will just get bored and go away.
    • Leon
      I reckon Labour should put up Lord Mandleson...
    • Reza
      Jai asked:

      "So if the majority of “the British people” wanted all Muslims currently in this country to be rounded up and executed, would you support that, as “the democratic will of the British people” ?"

      But that's not going to happen.

      But say it did, then we would no longer have democracy. We would have civil war. So I would either leave the country or stay, hiding as many Muslims as possible in my attic and joining the 'resistance' to smuggle Muslims out and blow up instuments of the state.
    • Reza
      Some relevant background on this sanctimonious hypocrite from Wiki:

      "...[Alan Johnson] joined the Labour Party in 1971, although he considered himself a Marxist ideologically aligned with the Communist Party of Great Britain."

      So he supported a wicked, fascistic and totalitarian ideology at a time when millions of people were suffering at the hands of Communist tyrants.

      Griffin and Johnson belong on the SAME platform.
    • persephone
      Reza, you said:

      “ Don’t underestimate the mood of the British people. It is turning ugly.”

      and then you said:

      “But that’s not going to happen.”

      in response to:

      “ So if the majority of “the British people” wanted all Muslims currently in this country to be rounded up and executed, would you support that, as “the democratic will of the British people” ?”

      Your scaremongering is all a bit one sided.
    • damon
      There's a huge difference between having been a supporter of the CPGB and a far right racist party.

      And to not see the difference is what lazy newspaper and radio commentators do all the time.
    • cjcjc
      Yes indeed - my totalitarianism is far superior to yours
    • persephone
      Reza: “ The people of Britain want an honest, no-holds-barred debate on multiculturalism and immigration. They must have it. And the argument for tolerance MUST be won.”

      I agree but I would replace the word tolerance for equal rights.

      Whenever I see the word tolerance (and your text is littered with it) it means certain cultures, races & religions are being 'endured' or 'allowed' because another way of life/belief system is seen as supreme. As if those who are 'tolerated' have no rightful place in society in comparison to other citizens.

      Perhaps its a confidence thing but I see myself as equal to other citizens. The word tolerate infers an inferiority complex.
    • johng
      " So he supported a wicked, fascistic and totalitarian ideology at a time when millions of people were suffering at the hands of Communist tyrants.

      Griffin and Johnson belong on the SAME platform"

      How charmingly American.
    • cjcjc
      Of course johng and the charmingly named "Lenin" have rather a soft spot (or should that be a hard-on, I'm not sure) for communist tyrants.

      After all they meant well , didn't they?
    • Rumbold
      The difference is that Alan Johnson has renounced his communist-fascist past, while the BNP haven't. I see no difference between a supporter of the Soviet Union and Nazi Gemrany, but as long as Johnson has renounced his past that is acceptable.
    • Jai
      Reza,

      We're still waiting for an answer to the following question addressed to you yesterday afternoon:

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5857#co...

      Quote:

      "Reza, do you believe that the writings and philosophies of Rumi, Saadi, Hafez and Omar Khayyam would be destructive influences on British society ?

      How about Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s impending series of major concerts in the UK ? Do you feel that his (and, especially, his late uncle Nusrat’s) music and message — considerably influenced by historical predecessors such as Bulleh Shah — are dangerous “multicultural” influences which should be discouraged at the very least and ideally actively opposed ?

      What about the examples and message of other historical figures such as Baba Farid, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Nizamuddin Auliya, and the music based on their teachings ?

      Or the writings of people like Mirza Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, Zauq, Bahadur Shah Zafar ?

      The individuals above are all Muslims, of course — I can name numerous others from various other backgrounds (including non-Muslim South Asians), but for the purposes of this discussion let’s focus on Muslims, since they’re currently the primary target of the SIOE, EDL and BNP’s hostility — a stance you appear to support and regard as justifiable.

      So, again, should the presence, message and influence of works related to all of the above individuals be minimised, discouraged or (if already present) eradicated from British society ?"
    • Reza
      @ Rumbold

      "The difference is that Alan Johnson has renounced his communist-fascist past, while the BNP haven’t."

      Thank you for that; I wasn't aware he’d done so. It does elevate Johnson slightly in my eyes, but only a tiny bit.

      “I see no difference between a supporter of the Soviet Union and Nazi Gemrany, but as long as Johnson has renounced his past that is acceptable.”

      Well said Rumbold. There is little difference, and arguably Communism was even more damaging to humanity.

      But Griffin has also 'renounced' some of his past views, such as Holocaust denial. Does that make HIM any less of a scumbag?
    • Reza
      Jai

      I'll answer your question soon, on the original thread.
    • Reza
      Persephone

      Believing that the British (and European) mood is turning ugly doesn't mean I predict we'll have genocide and extermination camps. That type of scaremongering belongs with the multiculturalists and half-wits of the far-left, who shriek “Naaaazi!” at anyone who opposes uncontrolled immigration and unrestrained multiculturalism.

      Things are turning ugly. I’ll give you an example. Before the London mayoral elections, one of my employees admitted to me that he was going to vote BNP. I tried to talk him out of it. His reason was, and I’ll quote his general argument from memory:

      “I’m not a racist. I like you Reza. There was a time when I used to walk down the street and see black faces, I saw a human beings, ordinary people, men and women I could feel good about and want to protect. I hated the NF. I had and still have black and Asian mates. But now when I wander around Woolwich and see that every face is black and women are wandering around in burqas, I look at every black face and see an invader, who is changing my world beyond recognition and making me a foreigner in my own country. My kid is one of only 2 white kids in his reception class. Most of the other kids don’t even speak English. The teacher can’t cope and my kid’s not learning anything. I complained to the head and she called me a racist. So I thought “f*ck it, I’m voting BNP.”

      He had a profound effect on me. I believe that he is a decent man, driven to a desperate extreme. And I believe that Britain is full of similar people who could potentially be pushed to the same extreme.

      Not being the type of person who shrieks “raaaacist!” in these situations, I tried discussing it with him. I tried to convince him, rationally, that the BNP weren’t the answer.

      “So what”, he replied. “At least they’ll [meaning the government] will see how p*ssed off I am”.

      The ugliness I see, and predict increasing, is this, increased intolerance, suspicion and hatred. Increased polarization and ghettoization of communities. Britain becoming a land of ‘tribal’ communities, who, eventually will start killing each other. Civil war.
    • douglas clark
      Reza,

      Your employee exemplifies exactly what I've been trying to say. It's a protest vote, not a political movement.

      When do you see this civil war kicking off? Would that be before or after mixed race relationships make mixed race kids predominant? Which, I believe, is another quite potent trend.
    • persephone
      Reza

      " Believing that the British (and European) mood is turning ugly doesn’t mean I predict we’ll have genocide and extermination camps." and "Civil war."

      How would you corral a (Civil) war in?
    • persephone
      Reza,

      I am not immune to knowing that fellows such as your employee exist. I do question the numbers you allude to. I am comfortable in knowing that a sizeable amount of the 'indigenous' are of a more balanced frame of mind.

      BTW did you ever quiz your employee as to why he sees only negative impacts? Surely a whole race/religion must have at least one positive trait and role model? Also, why are you swayed by someone whose solution is to vote to the lowest common denominator?

      I have nightmares too. About the invasion of the single teenage mothers with buggies in local shopping precincts and all dressed in trackie bottoms. They speak a language (or patois?) too that I cannot understand. Its a jungle out there.

      I hope none of this means you infer that I am shrieking
    • Jai
      Reza,

      I’ll answer your question soon, on the original thread.


      A simple "yes" or "no" will suffice. If you have any knowledge of the aforementioned individuals, presumably you are aware that the answer isn't exactly rocket science.
    • Reza
      @persephone

      "BTW did you ever quiz your employee as to why he sees only negative impacts?"

      I thought hard about that at the time. What 'positive' effects of mass immigration into his neighbourhood could I have exampled as benefiting him?
    • Reza
      @douglas

      "When do you see this civil war kicking off? "

      History and current events have demonstrated that whenever you have two, culturally distinct groups of people, who are similarly large and ethnically, religiously or culturally different, occupying the same space, they begin killing each other.

      It is possible to keep a lid on things through totalitarianism and a police state, but eventually, people kill each other.
    • cjcjc
      but eventually, people kill each other

      I am clearly more of an optimist than you!
    • persephone
      Reza @37

      It depends upon from whose perspective. Instead of your hypothetical Mongolisation example why not take a real life example:-

      The USA was taken over by what some call pioneers & others immigrants (the power of language...) from the indigenous Red Indians amidst much warring. Some would say that the immigrants paved the way for the USA to change direction, instil christianity and a law abiding structure in the 'Wild West', embrace globalisation and become the superpower it is today. Others would say it demolished Native Indian American culture, led to their long term social deprivation and the decimation of their population. The same, to a lesser extent, could be said of Australasia.

      Does any of this not concern you?
    • persephone
      My thinking is that multiculturism (even immigration) is the wrong word and needs to be replaced with globalisation.

      Rather than predicting civil war I see this period as the growing pangs of globalisation - which may be anathema to those with an island mentality or who think of themselves as supreme both racially & culturally.

      I for one, post invasion, would insist upon cultural foods such as Fish & Chips remaining a staple diet :-)
    • Reza
      @ persephone

      "Some would say that the immigrants paved the way for the USA to change direction, instil christianity and a law abiding structure in the ‘Wild West’, embrace globalisation and become the superpower it is today. Others would say it demolished Native Indian American culture, led to their long term social deprivation and the decimation of their population. ..."

      Clearly the American example benfited the immigrants hugely but was disasterous for the indigenous population.

      Are you suggesting I raise your example with my BNP sympathising employee to persuade him of the 'positive' effects of immigration?
    • Jai
      But Jai, it doesn’t matter what the culture is. Multiculturalism is the problem and it is all a question of numbers.

      History and current events have demonstrated that whenever you have two, culturally distinct groups of people, who are similarly large and ethnically, religiously or culturally different, occupying the same space, they begin killing each other.

      It is possible to keep a lid on things through totalitarianism and a police state, but eventually, people kill each other.


      India is a multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious country; it's as though the whole of Europe or Latin America were combined into a single nation-state, but with even larger numbers.

      Apart from sporadic disturbances in the decades since independence, on the whole the country holds together pretty well. India has not disintegrated into mutually-hostile warring states.

      Even before the colonial period, internal conflicts within the subcontinent were generally motivated by political concerns involving territory and power rather than the presence of "implacably hostile and intrinsically irreconcilable" communities (even though some of the rulers did use religion to justify their actions).

      Different groups eventually starting to kill each other is one possible outcome of the scenario described in #38. The alternative is that, in order to prevent mutual destruction or the annihilation of the weaker and/or smaller population by the stronger and/or larger group, a degree of constructive adjustment and syncretism occurs on both sides. India's own history has included both of these reactions, but overall the latter became predominant.

      The considerable legacy of cultural fusion, cultural adjustment and religious syncretism is still present in Indian society, especially in the north and most of all in the northwest.

      Reza, if you're not aware of the details already, I think it would be a good idea for you to familiarise yourself with the history of Muslims in India during the past 1000 years, up to the present day. It hasn't been without its share of conflicts, but there are still a lot of positive lessons for everyone.

      And you should definitely go to one of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's impending concerts too, because his family's message and the ideals of their historical role models are perfect examples of the positive legacy of multiculturalism, the positive things that Muslims can bring to the table, and indeed what interpretation of Islam is best placed to function effectively in a diverse, comparatively liberal wider population.
    • Jai
      Rather than predicting civil war I see this period as the growing pangs of globalisation – which may be anathema to those with an island mentality or who think of themselves as supreme both racially & culturally.


      Concisely stated and very accurately described by Persephone. Her points are spot-on.
    • persephone
      Reza @ 42 “ Are you suggesting I raise your example with my BNP sympathising employee to persuade him of the ‘positive’ effects of immigration? “

      What I am saying is that where one group seeks to gain credence disproportionately another suffers disproportionately. I am saying yes to globalisation because it is inevitable but not globalisation at any cost. What would be more fruitful is a discussion on how to work out a middle ground and achieve balance. Threats of its 'ugly out there' or civil war only polarises groups further.

      The fact that your employee wants to vote BNP shows an unwillingness to seek a middle ground (that is if they understand the BNP agenda). Rather the negative affects (ie inhumanity) of voting for the BNP should be pointed out to him by you?

      So the real question is does your employee want to be persuaded when they are blinded (to quote) by the mere sight of women 'wandering' around in burkhas - as if they are wound up and let loose in the local precinct as an intentional 'provocation'. I don't wear (nor am an advocate of) the burkha but am affronted for them by this remark. Because I see them foremost as humans and not as a race or religion. That to me is successful globalisation.
    • damon
      Rumbold @ 28

      ''The difference is that Alan Johnson has renounced his communist-fascist past, while the BNP haven’t. I see no difference between a supporter of the Soviet Union and Nazi Gemrany, but as long as Johnson has renounced his past that is acceptable.''

      I see the difference as being that supporters of the CPGB like Alan Johnson were basicly good people wanting the best for society. In a way that people supporting the far right never are.

      It's more about the person than the politics (and 1968 and the Soviet re-invasion of Czechoslovakia).

      Unless he was a real pro-Soviet stooge and loyalist, being in the CPGB could be OK.

      I can't think that Martin Jacques (editor of Marxism Today) was a bad person.
    • johng
      There seems to be a slippage in Reza's use of multi-culturalism here. One kind of opposition to multi-culturalism (sometimes called muscular liberalism) insists that culture can play no part in politics. Thus you can accept that there are different cultures but insist that this should remain irrelevent to the political process and social policy. Another kind of hostility to multi-culturalism is one which suggests that different cultures can't inhabit the same land without civil war and violence. Those with the latter belief simply are racists. Simple as.
    • johng
      And these stories about Reza's employee. The notion that the main problem facing white working class people is black people is a joke. The recession and the crisis were not caused by immigration. There used to be a nice slogan back in the '70s. "Unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration. Bullshit. Come off it. The enemy is profit". Of course slogans don't win arguments. But then Reza is hardly making an argument. Just a lot of concessions to racist ideas.
    • Reza
      johng

      That's the problem with people like you. You're so wrapped up in your far left world-view and imaginary far-left solutions that you don't actually listen.

      My employee wasn't complaining about the economy, jobs or housing.

      He was talking about becoming a foreigner in his neighbourhood and his kids not getting an education as an English speaking minority in their class.
    • persephone
      " He was talking about becoming a foreigner in his neighbourhood and his kids not getting an education as an English speaking minority in their class. "

      I wonder if the indigenous Spainish feel the same about their British born immigrants:

      In 2007, the officially registered British-born population of Spain numbered 315,000 (though various estimates place the true figure significantly higher, ranging from 700,000 to more than 1,000,000, constituting 8.09% of the foreign population and making Britain the fourth most common country from which migrants to Spain originate
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_migration_...
    • damon
      Im sure they do. The British expat culture is an embarassment when shown alongside the local Spanish.

      It would be interesting to have a survey of the views and politics of that British community. I'm guessing that it would tip towards the Daily Mail end of things.

      I'd guess that anti-racism and multi-culturalism would frown on denigrating observations made about the British overseas though. Those middle aged people reading The Sun at cafes along the Algarve. The Brits out in the Gulf only there for the wages. All those English who've bought houses in France.

      Because if it's OK to call them vulgar, next thing is, people in the UK might be saying the same thing about Russians in London and Arabs along the Edgware Road.

      I know three people from India who back home in India have servants at their family homes. They seem to think it's perfectly normal to have employes doing their cooking and driving, while to me it sounds like Upstairs Downstairs and rather backward.

      When visiting India, I found the wealthy people to be (and I generalise of course) somewhat crass and I felt some antipathy towards them.
      When travelling by train they segregate themselves away from the wider society in air conditioned first class carriages - ''VIP Class''.

      So maybe one could find that certain kinds of migrants or overseas workers or students, had traits that you might not care for. Students from Asia to Western countries must come from families in their country's elite. As what percentage of families in Pakistan can afford the huge costs of sending a young family member to university in the west? Same perhaps with the Indian families who move to the USA. They're not truely representative of India, but from a particular class. (In the same way that the Miami Cubans are of a particular type too).

      But that's enough generalising for now.
    • persephone
      “ Because if it’s OK to call them vulgar, next thing is, people in the UK might be saying the same thing about Russians in London and Arabs along the Edgware Road.”

      Thats the whole point. No man is an island.

      “ I know three people from India who back home in India have servants at their family homes. They seem to think it’s perfectly normal to have employes doing their cooking and driving, while to me it sounds like Upstairs Downstairs and rather backward.”

      Yeah I have come across loads of high net worths of all races from all over the globe. I think its a monied and class thing rather than a race thing. I sat next to some wealthy American corporate wives at dinner once and they were amazed that some UK women did their own manicures

      “ When visiting India, I found the wealthy people to be (and I generalise of course) somewhat crass and I felt some antipathy towards them. When travelling by train they segregate themselves away from the wider society in air conditioned first class carriages – ”VIP Class”.”

      Rather like the expensive Loggia boxes at the Royal Albert Hall or those exclusive private members clubs in Paris I expect. I was upgraded to 1st class on a Quantas flight to Oz once and the looks I got when I entered that 'inner' sanctum! Don't know whether it was because I was female, non white, not wearing the latest Versace or a combination of all. Or mebbe just that I was a new face.
    • Reza
      persephone

      "I wonder if the indigenous Spainish feel the same about their British born immigrants:"

      I have a friend who's lived on the Algarve in Portugal for 12 years, among a huge British expat community. He drinks in an ‘English’ bar, socializes only with British expats, employs an English gardener and an English housekeeper. And he barely speaks a word of Portuguese.

      He laughs, arrogantly, at how much the locals dislike him and his fellow expats and how he dislikes the "lazy and stupid" Portuguese.

      I’m not surprised they don’t like him, and I’m certain the situation in Spain is the same.

      I think that many British expats have a shamful attitude which demonstrates utter disrespect bordering on contempt.

      However, one thing I can say about the expat community I’ve observed is the they neither expect, nor demand any concessions or special treatment from their host country. They claim no benefits (most are quite well off), pay their own way, either educate their children privately or in local schools, who make to allowances whatsoever for children with Portuguese as a second language.

      There are no translation services, no State funded community organisations and nobody is expected to ‘embrace’ or ‘celebrate’ British culture.

      So your example isn’t really relevant as a moral equivalence argument regarding the British experience of immigration.
    • damon
      Yeah I have come across loads of high net worths of all races from all over the globe. I think its a monied and class thing rather than a race thing.

      I agree Persephone, but my point was really, that with some people who don't travel themselves, these might be the most common examples of people from a particular country or region they see.

      So I think it's perfectly fair for a French peasant to have a dim view of English incommers who are trying to live the Year in Provence ideal.

      I was delivering water cooler bottles a while back, and sometimes delivered in the Edgware Road/Paddington area. Many times I'd go into a flat in the expensive appartment blocks and mansion buildings there, and see the appartment was occupied by Arab people, who must have had a bit of money. A servant would open the door, (you presume she's a servant when she's from south east Asia and the rest of them are Arab.)
      As soon as she lets you in she goes back to the kitchen to continue her chores.

      In the living room you catch sight of women still sitting around in their dressing gowns in the middle of the afternoon watching arabic TV.

      When you see this situation again and again, maybe a certain resentment can creep in .. like: ''how come I can't afford to live in an appartment like that in such a great location?'' and ''Where does their money come from?''

      If you work in Silicon Valley, your idea of what an Indian person is will be skewed by the fact that most of those people working there in the IT sector who are from India will not be typical of their countrymen and women as a whole. But offspring of the wealthy class.

      So if you did feel anything negative, it wouldn't necessarily be because of their race.

      I was tiptoeing in my last post to almost suggesting that some sterotypes that people might have about different minorities, might have some basis of truth behind them, because people who can afford to immigrate are often not typical of their country as a whole.

      Changing planes in Kuwait a couple of times, and hanging about inside the terminal, I'm afraid to say that anti Gulf-Arab prejudices start to come into my mind (I have to admit). Standing around watching the passengers from flights from Riyadh and Muscat enter the terminal, I find myself inwardly shaking my head at the sight of some of them.

      Meanwhile, in the terminal building, the guys doing all the menial jobs there look to be overseas nationals. (''What a miserable society'' is the kind of thought I had seeing this).

      I have the same thought when going to factories and laundries in England and see an exploited largly immigrant workforce there too.

      Is it OK to have ''prejudices'' about wealthy people?
      And anyone who employs servants (and nannys and au pairs?)
    • cjcjc
      Is it OK to have ”prejudices” about wealthy people?
      And anyone who employs servants (and nannys and au pairs?)


      Like everything, best to judge on an individual basis.

      I employ a "servant" if you mean a cleaner.
    • persephone
      Reza

      The state funding of such things is the ethos of being in a country with a welfare state which other developed countries do not have. A lot of Britons are proud of that fact.

      If we reverted that ethos, demolished the welfare state & the types of state funded initiatives you mention and met claims from taxpayers for the resultant tax savings it would impact widely.

      Such a move would not just affect the 'immigrants'.

      Unless your view is that 'immigrants' only take and do not pay taxes.
    • persephone
      “ So your example isn’t really relevant as a moral equivalence argument regarding the British experience of immigration. “

      Oh it is in so many ways.

      BTW – I'd get some new 'friends' if I were you. And he may too going by what you write about him.
    • persephone
      Damon

      “ because people who can afford to immigrate are often not typical of their country as a whole. “

      No they are not all wealthy (UK anyhow). Quite a few have to borrow or sell the family silver to pay for a flight & have a relly over here who is prepared to stand as a sponsor.

      “ When you see this situation again and again, maybe a certain resentment can creep in “

      Yes I can see that a lavish lifestyle can have that affect. In the cases you have mentioned though I do not envy the women because other aspects of their life are quite dire.

      “And anyone who employs servants (and nannys and au pairs?)”

      I sometimes have a cleaner if I am working long hours. But I am my own 'servant' when it comes to the gardening.
    • Reza
      persephone

      "Oh it is in so many ways."

      I accept that it is, in terms of some the negative effects of immigration, such as a failure to make the effort to integrate and a lack of respect for the culture and values of your host country. Creating ghettos, damaging established communities and harming social cohesion.

      However, it does differ in that the Spanish or Portuguese don’t claim that British expats are a net drain on their State. (As they do with say, North Africans and East European Roma).

      I accept that most immigrants to Britain aren't a net drain on the State either. But you can't deny that there are one or two immigrant groups that clearly are.

      Try reading this. You might find it enlightening:-

      http://www.channel4.com/news/dispatches_pdfs/di...

      “Dispatches will reveal which immigrant groups, by country of origin, appear as a debit and which as a credit on Britain's balance sheet - uncovering some key facts about immigration.”

      The problem persephone, is that whilst you are happy to highlight all the tangible (as well as many more intangible) benefits of immigration, you’re unwilling to accept that there are considerable and demostrable downsides.

      Something you have in common with many people. Hence the increasing credibility, among many British people, of nasty outfits such as the BNP.

      I am strident about this subject because I believe that allowing the BNP to have a monopoly on these inconvenient truths gives them a credibility they don’t deserve. If reasonable people are willing to admit inconvenient truths then that monopoly is taken from them.

      And then they become nothing more than an irrelevant bunch of racists with far-left economic policies.
    • bananabrain
      personally, i employ a cleaner and a gardener as well as having a live-in au-pair. all of these are economic decisions; my leisure time is extremely constrained and consequently a very precious, scarce resource which i'd prefer to devote to my family and friends. i'm not going to say that this isn't a privilege, because it is, but i pay through the nose for the cleaner and gardener and that is my decision; it is a better use of my time to pay someone else than to do it myself, which is what i'd do otherwise. i'm certainly not seeing myself as entitled to it. in terms of the au-pair, this is a young girl living in your house and you are in loco parentis and with a responsibility to develop her, you're not just an employer. we quite simply couldn't afford a nanny. anybody who makes generalised statements about such situations, privilege and the like, simply doesn't live in the real world. similarly, anyone who treats their domestic help as disposable is the same.

      b'shalom

      bananabrain
    • persephone
      Reza

      "However, it does differ in that the Spanish or Portuguese don’t claim that British expats are a net drain on their State."

      Is another difference that they do not agonise to the same extent over the percentage of the population that the British immigrants occupy? That in itself means a country resources are being utilised and creation of high density ex pat areas where a Spanish face is rare & English is the main language.

      “But you can’t deny that there are one or two immigrant groups that clearly are.”

      The biggest group in my mind are those who rely on welfare as they have no inclination to work – regardless of origin.

      “Try reading this. You might find it enlightening”

      The link is not live

      Reza, can you define who you see as an immigrant?

      I see all as citizens (whether by birth or naturalisation) and as such should attract the same benefits & rights as any other citizen.

      If you are assessing which groups are taking the most benefits then what are the figures for all citizen groups. Perhaps a few unconvenient truths may arise.

      “ I am strident about this subject because I believe that allowing the BNP to have a monopoly on these inconvenient truths gives them a credibility they don’t deserve.”

      The BNP operate in the hazy hate fuelled grey area of using propoganda and policies which do not have much grist or truth behind them when they are quizzed by reasonable people. It means their rationale is based on racist bile. An unconvenient lie does not have any credibility.
    • damon
      No they are not all wealthy (UK anyhow). Quite a few have to borrow or sell the family silver to pay for a flight & have a relly over here who is prepared to stand as a sponsor.


      Yes that's true obviously. And you just have to talk to people in the health service from overseas (like the few I know) to understand what a pain it is to try to stay legal and get on with your life here, when changes are announced to ''reduce the number of foreign doctors and nurses'' like like has happened a couple of times here in the last few years.

      This thread is about the BNP and Alan Johnson saying he would not appear with Griffin on Question Time because the BNP are so prejudiced (which they are).
      I'm just saying that we all can have prejudices, and being on Edgware road again this evening, I seem to have some prejudices too.

      I walked along that road again this evening, with an hour to kill before my next delivery and looked in at the Abu Ali resturant and the Al-Dar resturant across the road from it.
      They are pretty authentic Arabic places, with patrons sitting outside (with the Al-Dar providing an outside shisha smoking area) as well as Starbucks and Costa Coffee that are also popular with people of Arabic origin, sitting outside at the tables having a drink, smoke and a chat.

      I remember back when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1991 that there were ''Free Kuwait'' posters and stickers to be seen in the area. I didn't feel a great deal of sympathy back then, and maybe this still clouds my judgement today.

      And I take your point Persephone when you say ''though I do not envy the women because other aspects of their life are quite dire'', because that's how I see it too. And compare this kind of wealthier Arabic culture to that that I've seen in Morocco and Tunisia, with so many unemployed men whiling away their days sitting outside cafes, and when talking to some of them, was told that they bearly had enough money for a few teas and coffees and cigarettes.

      I worked with a German chef once (who had worked in the Gulf in an American Hotel) and was full of bigoted prejudices about the culture he had seen there.
      I wanted to argue against his chauvanistic (racist) atitude, but it was quite difficult, as anecdotally, the things he railed about may well have been true.

      Having cleaners, gardeners and even au pairs is not really the same as having servants like they have in places like South Africa. But we don't like it when we see it there. Where white people (ar anyone these days) employs township women to come and take care of madam's domestic needs. And there's half a dozen young men mowing the grass and sweeping up the leaves of some walled Johannesburg villa (the ones with the electric wire rinning on top of the walls - that carry the Armed Response security notices).
      http://jlpowers.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/...

      And Bananabrain, of course having an au-pair can be OK. My sister did it in France 30 years ago and it's a fond memory of hers.
      It was funny though today, hearing about Baroness Scotland having an illegal cleaer.
      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100010...

      The guy who wrote that may have a point (even if he is a Daily Telegraph hack).
    • bananabrain
      damon,

      Having cleaners, gardeners and even au pairs is not really the same as having servants like they have in places like South Africa. But we don’t like it when we see it there. Where white people (ar anyone these days) employs township women to come and take care of madam’s domestic needs. And there’s half a dozen young men mowing the grass and sweeping up the leaves of some walled Johannesburg villa


      much like employing an au pair, there's a socially responsible way to do it and a disposable, cookie-cutter "flush them when you're done" way of doing it. my friends in johannesburg (who are pretty much all jewish liberals) always told me that the done thing was that when you took on a maid, you took on the whole family and overmanned everything simply to have excuses to employ them whereas otherwise they'd have trouble getting other work in the city or a place to crash. apparently the rest of the social contract would involve improving their houses back in the townships or home villages and paying for college. now, obviously that is not a sustainable model (and, of course, it highlights how distorted the pricing of labour actually was) but for those that chose to see it as a social project rather than a divine white right (which, i dare say, was not nearly enough) there was an ethical way to undermine the system. in the new south africa, of course, i expect this doesn't happen so much any more, hopefully for good reasons, but it's been a while since i talked to any of them about it.

      b'shalom

      bananabrain
    • persephone
      @63 That also happens in India & even here in the UK. Yes you do get those who see domestic workers as disposal.

      I suppose the prejudice arises because only one aspect is seen which makes it look very feudal. I know that members of my family, decades after leaving India, still helped the poorer of their ex workers and their families as immigration meant they were left without income and housing. Yes there is a 'servant' culture but there is also a responsible community & charitable culture that co-exists alongside it.
    • bananabrain
      of course, it would be better if domestic workers didn't have to rely on the better nature of their employers in the first place - and could take it as a given that they would be properly, fairly and ethically employed!

      b'shalom

      bananabrain
    • Chris
      Anyone know the date for the debate please ? Keep hearing that it will happen on Sky, then it's going to happen on BBC ? ? Anyone know the details for sure ?

      It would be excellent to see all parties represented.

      http://www.UKandSpain.com/strange
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