In the public eye


by Rumbold
28th April, 2010 at 8:51 pm    

I think that Gordon Brown has been a terrible chancellor, and is a terrible prime minister. He has stolen from the taxpayer, and got away with it (those not at the top would have found themselves prosecuted). Yet I still feel sorry for him in this latest furore, which erupted after Mr. Brown forgot to remove a microphone, and so was overheard labelling a woman a bigot after she had complained to him about immigration.

Politicians, especially party leaders, are scrutinised all the time. The media obsess over errors, or potential errors, which leads to meaningless sound bites and staged apologies, while larger issues are left in the background. I didn’t bother to watch either of the leaders’ debates because I knew no usual information would come out of them, which is a sad reflection on how issues are debated in this country. This story is now the main headline on the BBC news website, and doubtless is so for other media outlets. But this shouldn’t be a big story.

Gordon Brown got annoyed with someone. I do. You do. Everyone does. He voiced his frustrations in private (or so he thought), and was rude. He has probably been rude about member of the public, but hasn’t bothered to make a public apology, which shows how contrived the whole episode was. People rightly hold politicians to certain standards on issues such as expenses, but we shouldn’t expect them to be immune to emotions like annoyance and fatigue, especially in private, unless they themselves avoid such pitfalls.

(For a humorous take on the matter, see this mock twitter feed)


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  1. Kulvinder — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:03 pm  

    The whole story is bollocks, im also one to hardly defend GB or the Labour party but its frankly a fairly reasonable assumption that in most cases anyone who suggests theres too many poles etc is a bigot; granted thats not what this woman said but if i were a politician and some old lady tried to go off on one about where the eastern europeans were coming from id also frantically steer the conversation to something else on the basis that it couldn’t go anywhere good.

    I’d also then bitch about that person, their family and the entire area they live in behind their backs; because frankly its human nature and if you’re someone who actively goes around telling people JUST what you think of them everyone already thinks you’re an arse and it doesn’t really matter.

    That all said have the murdoch employees have gone slightly nutty, im all for bigging up internet drama so fwiw the lovely Emma Kennedy called the SKY reporter concerned a twat, and for some frankly incomprehensible reason he feels the need to start a 140-character-a-responce war with her!.

    Fucking get a life Niall Paterson.

  2. Kulvinder — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:11 pm  

    nb this also has nothing to do with ‘repressing debates about immigration’, all three leaders have been pretty clear in the debates about what their position is, noone has ‘stifled’ anyone

  3. Jenny — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:23 pm  

    Er… Kulvinder. You would say that, you are an immigrant and are taking it personally.

    The woman asked a perfectly reasonable question, one I might add, we are all asking and being ignored… (in Britain, it’s called Free Speech) and as much as the righteous would love to destroy it, you won’t, it’s our right as British Citizens. So, get a life, or leave.

  4. KB Player — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:24 pm  

    Mountain, molehill. Storm, teacup. It’s ridiculous making anything out of this.

  5. Kulvinder — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:28 pm  

    Er… Kulvinder. You would say that, you are an immigrant and are taking it personally.

    Well i laughed.

    nb id be grateful if you could link me to which act of parliament gives the ‘right to free speech’

  6. earwicga — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:36 pm  

    The woman asked a perfectly reasonable question, one I might add, we are all asking and being ignored

    You can count me out of your ‘we’.

  7. earwicga — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:42 pm  

    ‘The woman’ asked:

    You can’t say anything about the immigrants because you’re saying you’re – but all these eastern Europeans coming in, where are they flocking from?

    Jenny at 3 says:

    The woman asked a perfectly reasonable question, one I might add, we are all asking and being ignored

    You can count me out of your ‘we’ Jenny.

  8. Britcit — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:54 pm  

    Oh, come on. I agree the media are making a meal of it and it’s time to move on to more important stories (deficit, anyone?) – but let’s not pretend this wasn’t a story. For one thing, as Sunny himself pointed out, it goes straight to the heart of how Labour have habitually sabotaged any rational or balanced debate about immigration over the last decade by shouting ‘racist!’ whenever anyone tried to criticise their policies. And yes, GB was speaking in private – but he’s also the Prime Minister who played the ‘British jobs for British workers’ card and then tried to get out of the hole he’s dug on the issue by insisting that people have a right to talk about immigration concerns (http://bit.ly/bZcNes). Given that, his flippant dismissal of a concerned voter as a ‘bigoted woman’ surely warrants a little scrutiny?

  9. Ravi.Nk — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:55 pm  

    The woman asked a perfectly reasonable question, one I might add, we are all asking and being ignored…

    The answer is Eastern Europe, Jenny.

  10. earwicga — on 28th April, 2010 at 10:01 pm  

    This!

    The slow, sad realisation that the political culture in the UK is such that no politician has any choice but to grovel to the bigots. Because standing up and explaining to them instead that immigrants make a massive contribution to the economy, let alone that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of nationality, citizenship or contribution, would be political suicide.

    http://elmyra.livejournal.com/498792.html

  11. KJB — on 28th April, 2010 at 10:23 pm  

    I found it kind of funny, and I actually liked GB a bit more for saying what he thought like that. Loads of people on Liberal Conspiracy said that he should have said it to her face, which I think is nonsense. How was he supposed to deal instantly with it? It’s not like she came right out with it; she was talking about other things before she suddenly made that immigration remark. What I think is a shame is that he then went and grovelled to her afterwards; he should have had the guts to stand by what he said.

    Seconding earwicga at #9. What I want to know is: why do we expect our politicians to be completely honest with us, and wave a magic wand over our problems when we don’t even bother to inform ourselves properly most of the time? I mean, I think it says a lot that nine out of the top 10 areas for BNP votes has a lower than average rate of immigration.

    (Oh, and Rumbold, I think you meant ‘useful,’ rather than ‘usual’ and ‘a member of the public’…)

  12. Britcit — on 28th April, 2010 at 10:53 pm  

    Good link in comment #9, earwicga – I do feel for people upset by this issue, but I also think that half the problem is that people DO get so upset.

    It’s such an emotive topic, so charged with suspicion about other people’s motives and fear of what one will be accused of, that there’s no real opportunity to discuss ideas and change minds.

    It’s interesting (particularly on Twitter) how quickly people made up their minds about Gillian Duffy – people either assumed she was an ignorant racist bigot or assumed she was a perfectly reasonable woman concerned with the numbers of new migrants. She uttered two half thoughts, that it was difficult to say anything about immigrants (presumably because she feels it’s frowned upon), and that she was concerned about the large number of people who’ve come to the UK (flocking) from Eastern Europe. Everyone’s filled in the gaps themselves.

    I don’t think I’m likely to agree with Gillian Duffy on immigration (or a whole lot of other things), but bigotry’s a hell of a charge to throw at someone without a really good reason. Worse, it’s counter-productive to do so as then we just get into this interminable ‘us and them’ stand-off and we’ll never reclaim immigration as something we should all be proud about.

  13. marie-odile — on 28th April, 2010 at 11:00 pm  

    Blimey, Sarkozy once told someone, ‘f*** off you tosser’ (or words to that effect, when it comes to translating swear words there are a myriad of shades). On camera. Can you imagine how crazy the Beeb would have gone for that?

  14. Kulvinder — on 28th April, 2010 at 11:03 pm  

    it goes straight to the heart of how Labour have habitually sabotaged any rational or balanced debate about immigration over the last decade by shouting ‘racist!’ whenever anyone tried to criticise their policies.

    I don’t understand. The labour party is a private organisation that anyone sane would agree was free to conduct its internal debates on policies as they see fit; i have no idea whether they actively heckle their own members into submission but its hardly my concern.

    In the broader public arena you can’t ‘shut down’ a debate by simply using a word, and despite these apparently numerous instances when ‘the labour party’ has shouted ‘racism’ at people who simply disagree with them im finding it difficult to google actual examples of it happening.

    For the sake of argument even if there were two, three or a dozen such instances its hardly a case of ‘habitually shutting down the debate over the last decade’. The labour party has never sought to censor anyone and the fact the Conservatives and Lib Dems have their own unique and different solution to the ‘immigration problem’ points to the fact there have been numerous debates about these issues.

    With regards to Eastern European immigrants the fact of the matter is the UK has signed up the EU, has agreed to the various rules on travel within the EU and there is nothing about ‘labour policies’ that caused the poles to come here.

    If the tories, or ‘the right’ in general, are so weak willed, so thin skinned and averse to criticism that they can be dissuaded from carrying on certain discussions by uttering a single word; then they have no place in politics or the government.

    Each one of us when faced with awkward or difficult situations say one thing, even to those we love, and perhaps think another. It would be a harsh, pitiful and ranty world if we didn’t.

    Gordon Brown hurt the feelings of a woman by apparently misrepresenting who she was, his opinions were expressed in private and it was embarrassing for her and shameful for him when she learnt of what he said, but nothing that happened today can be extrapolated into some idiotic wider thought on politics and society.

    It was a gaffe, nothing more.

  15. Cpl. Jones — on 29th April, 2010 at 12:03 am  

    With regards to Eastern European immigrants the fact of the matter is the UK has signed up the EU, has agreed to the various rules on travel within the EU and there is nothing about ‘labour policies’ that caused the poles to come here.

    This is incorrect. The Poles et al came here because Britain was the only major country in the EU that declined to take up the option of a moratorium of up to seven years on labour migration from the A8 states.

    This was a conscious policy decision of the Labour administration which had entirely predictable consequences, even though the government pretended at the time that it wouldn’t.

  16. KJB — on 29th April, 2010 at 12:04 am  

    marie-odile: I know, our press/media are becoming possibly the most hypocritical scum in Europe. Sarkozy also called inhabitants of les banlieues (the inner-city suburbs) ‘racaille’ (scum, pretty much) after the infamous threat to ‘nettoyer la cité au Kärcher’ (clean out the city with a Kärcher machine).

    He then went on to say:

    «il faut nettoyer le quartier des trafics et des délinquants… Je ne retire rien. Je ne regrette rien. Je ferai ce que j’ai dit et nous aurons des résultats. Cela prendra le temps qu’il faudra. Le terme nettoyer s’applique parfaitement à ceux qui sont capables de tuer un petit garçon de 11 ans ».

    ‘It is imperative to clean out the district of trafficking and delinquents… I’m not taking anything back. I’m not sorry for anything. I will do what I said and we will have the results. It will take as long as it has to. The term ‘clean out’ applies perfectly to those capable of killing a little boy of 11 years.’

    While I find that rather dubious, it would be nice if UK politicians were that straight up… although when it comes to spouting similarly populist crap, they are, so maybe not.

  17. earwicga — on 29th April, 2010 at 12:12 am  

    Rumbold – I’ve just clicked into your link on ‘stolen’ and have to say that it doesn’t show thieving at all.

  18. Britcit — on 29th April, 2010 at 12:29 am  

    Kulvinder – all good points. I agree it was a gaffe, and I agree everyone should now get over it and move on to more important things.

    I was just saying it’s not quite right to call it a non-story. For whatever reasons (you may not be able to ‘shut down’ a debate but we all know you can suppress it) many people feel they can’t raise concerns about immigration levels for fear of being labelled a bigot. Gordon Brown even made a point of addressing this himself at the end of March, as per the link in #7.

    That he then got caught labelling someone who raised such concerns as a bigot, albeit in haste and in private, rather called into question his sincerity and his understanding of a good many of the people he is seeking to lead.

    I think that’s a newsworthy story, deserving of a good deal of the attention and discussion it received today. Obviously the BBC went a bit crazy with it, but I suspect they’re seizing the opportunity to prove they’re not shot through with anti-Tory bias :-)

    Anyway, I must now get back to extrapolating some more idiotic wider thoughts on politics and society.

  19. KJB — on 29th April, 2010 at 12:34 am  

    Perhaps we need a compromise: ‘I won’t call you a bigot if you actually do your research,’ or somesuch?

    I mean, I’m not saying that everyone who expresses concerns about immigration is a bigot, because they’re not. However, people often say the same thing about racism: ‘Oh, you can’t do/say ______ without being called a racist’ – yet most white people don’t actually have a clue what racism is, or means, to people who experience it, and will say/do racist things anyway. My own partner has done it to me, but thankfully I had read enough on people’s experiences of racism to be able to manage his derailing tactics.

  20. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2010 at 1:10 am  

    Cpl. Jones @ 14,

    It is not true that the UK was the only major nation to agree to immediate open borders. Both Sweden and Ireland did too. Though I expect you’ll say that neither Ireland nor Sweden are very important

    http://tinyurl.com/38lm5cp

    The most relevant part of which is this:

    The doomsday predictions of a flood of workers from Central and Eastern Europe have proved to be unfounded. Labour migration from new to old member states has been modest, rarely reaching even 1% of the active working population of the host country. This is the case both in those member states that applied restrictions to access to their labour market and in those which did not. These workers have helped to ease labour shortages in sectors such as agriculture and construction.

    Ireland, the UK and Sweden have successfully opened their labour markets to the workers from Eastern and Central Europe right from the start, on 1 May 2004. In Ireland, the arrival of workers from the new member states has played a major role in sustaining the country’s high growth rate. In the UK, workers from the new member states have helped to fill a part of the half a million job vacancies. In light of these positive experiences, Finland, Portugal and Spain have now decided that they too will open their labour markets. Others – such as Belgium and France – have opted for partial opening.

    Employment grew 1% on average in 2005 both in the new and in the old member states. Enlargement favours legal migration, which is easier to control, whereas the real problem in many member states is illegal migration, mainly from third countries.

  21. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2010 at 1:21 am  

    Just to make the point, I’d have thought the expansion of opportunity to work or live wherever you liked in the EU was a positive thing for folk.

    It is as much your right to go and work in Spain or France, or wherever, as it is their right to come here.

    I really don’t see that as a hardship clause.

  22. Cpl. Jones — on 29th April, 2010 at 1:50 am  

    Douglas – the fact that the government did *not* choose to repeat the experiment when Bulgaria and Romania acceded in 2007 speaks volumes in and of itself.

    And of course, let’s not forget that the official forecast at the time for net migration from the A8 countries was 13,000 in total. In reality it was closer to a million.

    Incidentally I am in favour of intra-EU labour migration, as long as it remains roughly in balance, which it was prior to 2004.

  23. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2010 at 2:24 am  

    Cpl. Jones,

    So you are admitting I was right and you were wrong?

  24. Chris — on 29th April, 2010 at 7:46 am  

    I’d like to be counted out of the bigot’s ‘we’ as well. I wasn’t going to vote for Gordon before, and I won’t now, but he gets a lot more sympathy from me. Ignore the right wing press and its desperate fomenting of racism. The woman’s a bigot and what she said was bigoted.

    The racist minority are constantly whining that they “can’t talk about immigration”. I want to talk about bigotry. I’m sick of it.

  25. Hair Transplant Pakistan — on 29th April, 2010 at 7:46 am  

    Nice and informative

  26. mirabelle — on 29th April, 2010 at 7:50 am  

    What I don’t like is the double language. The lady is intitled to raising her question and Gordon Brown is intitled in thinking X or Y is a bigot. If he had tried to ruin her reputation on TV on purpose, it would be different.
    So give him a break and let’s concentrate on the issues.

    If you still don’t know who to vote for, try the vote-u-lator: http://www.leblogdelamirabelle.net/pensees-qui-trainent-par-la/la-carte-electorale-britannique-au-tresor-the-vote-u-lator-will-find-you/
    But be warned, it concluded my friends and I were conservatives, so I wonder who paid for this. Come on James, admit it.

  27. cjcjc — on 29th April, 2010 at 8:58 am  

    Gordon’s anti-bigotry bravery came over really well in his “British jobs for British workers” slogan, don’t you think?

    The main problem isn’t so much the “bigoted woman” remark – though that was the headline grabber – but rather the painful fact that he is unable to handle even the briefest contact with normal people asking quite normal questions. Mrs Duffy left the encounter patting his hand and clearly intending to vote for him, and there was nothing problematic about the encounter at all other than Brown’s obvious hatred of every minute of it.

    Yet not even before the car door closes he pronounces it a “disaster” and slams his aide for arranging the chat. Any normal person would at most just have said “phew” and moved on.

    He’s not just on the edge, he’s over it and falling.

    Had brown toast this morning in his honour.

  28. Kulvinder — on 29th April, 2010 at 10:03 am  
  29. Trofim — on 29th April, 2010 at 10:16 am  

    Most significant is what it says about GB’s understanding of how human beings operate. Having dug himself a little hole, instead of making minimal conciliatory noises and keeping a low profile as an ordinary person with elementary nous would do, he went on digging hard, and actually took the trouble to compound his problem by going round to this woman’s house to make sure that it is all blown up to epic proportions. He is seriously deficient in elementary human awareness.

  30. Trofim — on 29th April, 2010 at 10:26 am  

    If you look at Wednesday’s Newsnight on iPlayer, incidentally, you will see brown and black residents of Rochdale expressing similar views to those of Gillian Duffy.

  31. Paul Moloney — on 29th April, 2010 at 10:43 am  

    “The woman asked a perfectly reasonable question”

    “All these eastern European what are coming in, where are they flocking from?”

    What, and Brown was supposed to answer “Eastern Europe”, was he? Maybe he should have agreed with her and said he’s work on getting the Iron Curtain reerected straight away.

    He’s only made it worse by his fake apology. Rather than stay he “misunderstood” her comments, he should have said “I overreacted, but they were bigots comments. This country has a lot of real problems, I’m the first to admit, but Eastern Europeans didn’t cause them.”

    The Livejournal entry about should be food for thought for anyone who considers themselves on the left.

    P.

  32. Kulvinder — on 29th April, 2010 at 10:43 am  

    If you look at Wednesday’s Newsnight on iPlayer, incidentally, you will see brown and black residents of Rochdale expressing similar views to those of Gillian Duffy.

    They’re equally wrong; and id happily call them bigots if they expressed sentiments about ‘too many eastern Europeans’

  33. Paul Moloney — on 29th April, 2010 at 10:47 am  

    Testing (my last comment disappeared into the aether)

  34. _bananabrain — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:04 am  

    i would have been far more impressed if he’d stuck to his guns. i don’t like the guy and i’m not voting for him, but he shouldn’t toady to people whose opinions he violently disagrees with. minimal conciliatory noises ought to be sufficient.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  35. Refresh — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:22 am  

    ‘They’re equally wrong; and id happily call them bigots if they expressed sentiments about ‘too many eastern Europeans’’

    Agreed.

    Either you pander to them or you take them on. I say take them on.

    And Gordon Brown will take them on in the debate tonight. It will be done as a part of the economic debate, which is where it should be.

    The issue he needs to address is the pressure the government (of any hue) is put under by businesses.

    Businesses love low cost labour.

    He can address this by putting up, significantly, the minimum wage as a starting point. He can go further and say that the government inherited a decimated manufacturing base from 18 years of Tory rule, and the investment of the last 13 years has all been about bringing the economy into the 21st century. Here he needs to give a cast-iron guarantee that the green economy is going to be real and not be thrown off by vested interests.

    That said, I will not be voting Labour. But there is no way the Tories are getting a look in as far as I am concerned, ever.

    If we can have proportional representation then now is the time to grasp it. And if we can drive out of politics, all those who backed wars within the next 10 years then we can say the public has done its work.

    Tactical voting is a strategic decision, and voting will remain tactical for another two elections at least.

  36. cjcjc — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:30 am  

    And Gordon Brown will take them on in the debate tonight.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (continued for 15mins at least)

  37. _bananabrain — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:47 am  

    good G!D, not like me to agree much with refresh, but:

    >‘They’re equally wrong; and id happily call them bigots if they expressed sentiments about ‘too many eastern Europeans’’

    agreed – with the proviso that there is clearly something structurally amiss in the system that needs addressing if we have local labour but are importing what is, effectively, surplus capacity, so we should look at why that is and address that instead.

    >And Gordon Brown will take them on in the debate tonight. It will be done as a part of the economic debate, which is where it should be.

    unfortunately, we know what his answer is, which is “increase investment” and, for the most part, this hasn’t been fixed, because you can’t fix problems like this simply by upping spend, although you can certainly make it worse (as the tories did) by reducing it to too low a level. this is just a-level results writ large: labour appear to believe that “the grades are better” is the same as “the system is working better” – it isn’t. the system is being gamed by the use of targets to manage by results and here, labour is part of the problem. i wish, however, that i were confident that the tories had better answers.

    >Businesses love low cost labour.

    agreed!

    >He can address this by putting up, significantly, the minimum wage as a starting point.

    NOOOOOOOOOO. this is the same as making exams easier to pass. what happens is that QUALITY suffers as people find new ways to game the system by exploiting assymetries, whilst the customers of the system lose confidence in the product. you could put the minimum wage up to £30 an hour and the jobs would disappear.

    >If we can have proportional representation then now is the time to grasp it. And if we can drive out of politics, all those who backed wars within the next 10 years then we can say the public has done its work.

    wow, talk about a non sequitur. besides, wars are an excellent source of employment, as are defence contracts, as the government well knows. the military is also an excellent place to put people who would otherwise have difficulty getting work and give them skills, discipline and self-respect. unfortunately, they do need to practice from time to time.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  38. Ravi.Nk — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:49 am  

    yet most white people don’t actually have a clue what racism is

    Actually, I think they do. When I read #9 or #27, I can see that the feeling of exclusion is something that a lot of us can relate to regardless of race, and can be triggered through many forms – either gender, sexual orientation, attractiveness, ableness, class, religion, level of assimilation, and so on.

  39. KJB — on 29th April, 2010 at 12:29 pm  

    Actually, I think they do. When I read #9 or #27, I can see that the feeling of exclusion is something that a lot of us can relate to regardless of race

    No, a feeling of exclusion is not the same as racism. By that token, we could on the basis of the recent IPPR report, claim that BNP-voting whites in some of the top 10 areas for BNP votes know what it feels like to experience racism, because they suffer major social exclusion. By the way, #9 and #27 are linking to the same post.

    The anti-Eastern European sentiment among some people here is utterly deplorable, but it is not the same as racism. Racism involves more than just calling someone a particular name. What makes racism (and anti-Semitism) characteristic is the long history of knowledge production behind it. Perhaps you aren’t aware of that yourself – it’s not really something that can be learnt in a hurry or is necessarily gained by experiencing racism. Otherwise, we all can relate to experiences of discrimination to some extent, yes.

  40. Refresh — on 29th April, 2010 at 12:49 pm  

    Bananabrain

    Increasing the minimum wage sends out the correct signal that we do not operate a low-wage economy.

    Gaming is something else.

    You will also know that the biggest ‘gamers’ are businesses themselves. You should read George Monbiot’s ‘Corporate Welfare’.

    ‘wars are an excellent source of employment, as are defence contracts, as the government well knows. the military is also an excellent place to put people who would otherwise have difficulty getting work and give them skills, discipline and self-respect. unfortunately, they do need to practice from time to time.’

    That is a valid point and its been long understood that wars are fought for economic reasons. I hope you are not another one who thinks Goldman Sachs is doing G_d’s work, and by extension so is the industrial-military complex.

    As for driving warmongers out of politics, do you not think its already happening? Both here and over in the US? Do you not think Brown’s biggest problem is that he cannot shake off Blair’s legacy?

    Yes, tactical voting is a strategic choice the public is making. PR will place a yoke round the warmongers’ necks.

  41. _bananabrain — on 29th April, 2010 at 1:44 pm  

    >Increasing the minimum wage sends out the correct signal that we do not operate a low-wage economy.

    and when it’s done “sending the signal”, drives the result of increasing unemployment for the sort of people that could only find low-wage work, damages the tax base, criminalises behaviour and induces people to people pay cash instead. you know, like “sending the signal” that “drugs are bad, m’kay” by keeping them illegal makes criminals very, very rich and damages our tax base and society? the net effect of all your “signals” defeats the PURPOSE you are trying to achieve.

    >You will also know that the biggest ‘gamers’ are businesses themselves.

    i do. everyone games the system, it is a natural behaviour to exploit asymmetries in information and government simply couldn’t possibly legislate fast enough or effectively enough to compete with businesses, let alone individuals. drugs, again? i will ask again, what are you TRYING TO ACHIEVE? what is the PURPOSE of the signal?

    >I hope you are not another one who thinks Goldman Sachs is doing G_d’s work, and by extension so is the industrial-military complex.

    absolutely not. goldman sachs’ entire existence (and that of the entire financial services system) is built around the exploitation of information asymmetries (the current court case is explicitly about that) based on their capability to hire the cleverest people available to find ways to game the system. the “industrial-military complex” is an industry, which assumes it requires growth and customers; you are its customer just like the rest of us, if you expect to be protected from people who want you harmed.

    >As for driving warmongers out of politics, do you not think its already happening? Both here and over in the US?

    i think you’re utterly deluded about the importance of the war to people outside your little liberal bunker. i think the word “warmonger” is meaningless. i think you’re searching for a sort of ideological phlogiston. personally, i abhor the cost of the wars, i think they were poorly conceived and prosecuted and i doubt they will ever achieve their putative aims, but that does not mean that there are not a bunch of real people that really want to really kill us if they get the chance, for reasons that are far less healthy than wanting to make a bit of money. i question whether changing that situation (as opposed to “sending a signal”) was ever seriously considered to be the real purpose.

    >Do you not think Brown’s biggest problem is that he cannot shake off Blair’s legacy?

    no, i think brown’s biggest problem is that labour have been in power too long, he can’t blame our economic policies on anyone but himself. i think blair was a genius in his own way and did some amazing things for politics; i think the war is a fairly major achilles heel for labour, but so are some pretty major other things.

    >PR will place a yoke round the warmongers’ necks.

    that’s an interesting point of view. of course, israel has extremely “P” PR and you think they’re warmongers too. i might also mention france, india and russia (and lebanon, too!) – none of them ever engage in stupid, grandstanding and high-casualty military activity. of course, if russia were run by human rights activists, i’m sure chechenya would be a haven of peace and tranquillity.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  42. 5cc — on 29th April, 2010 at 2:09 pm  

    @Jenny:

    “The woman asked a perfectly reasonable question, one I might add, we are all asking and being ignored…”

    Who is this ‘we’ who all don’t know where eastern Europeans come from?

  43. sofia — on 29th April, 2010 at 2:39 pm  

    It was interesting she mentioned eastern european immigrants…technically they’re economic migrants who are perfectly entitled to come over here. As for the whole immigration ‘debate’..well of course there isn’t one because no one is sitting down to actually talk figures…i.e how many economic migrants, how much they give to the UK economy, how many refugees, how many asylum seekers and roughly how many illegal immigrants are sent back to their country of origins.
    This is of course then linked to issues around employment and social housing.

  44. sofia — on 29th April, 2010 at 2:40 pm  

    Also figures around how many migrants from outside the EU including countries such as Australia, NZ and the USA since we don’t tend to lump them into the immigration debate

  45. Ravi.Nk — on 29th April, 2010 at 2:57 pm  

    Perhaps you aren’t aware of that yourself – it’s not really something that can be learnt in a hurry or is necessarily gained by experiencing racism.

    Oh, so you don’t necessarily understand racism by experiencing it? How did you achieve enlightenment? :)

  46. Trofim — on 29th April, 2010 at 3:22 pm  

    +KJB @ 36:

    “The anti-Eastern European sentiment among some people here is utterly deplorable”.

    For example?

  47. boyo — on 29th April, 2010 at 3:36 pm  

    regardless of whether what gordon said was right or wrong imho it has just lost him the election, and for that alone it made me furious

    in the pp bubble it may well amount to a storm in a tea cup, and indeed the educated middle classes would rightfully shrug it off, but for many white working class people it will have embodied how out of touch labour is with their concerns and they will go blue, and outside our bubble they form a sizeable part of the electorate – possibly decisive in this too close to call election

    it is not trivia, i fear its tragedy of titanic proportions.

  48. boyo — on 29th April, 2010 at 3:39 pm  

    regardless of whether what gordon said was right or wrong imho it has just lost him the election, and for that alone it made me furious

    in the pp bubble it may well amount to a storm in a tea cut, and indeed the educated middle classes would rightfully shrug it off, but for many white working class people it will have embodied how out of touch labour is with their concerns and will go blue, and outside our bubble they still form a sizeable part of the electorate

  49. boyo — on 29th April, 2010 at 3:42 pm  

    doubled ;-)

  50. Ravi.Nk — on 29th April, 2010 at 4:06 pm  

    Boyo – I am guessing that people who are pissed off by Labour because of immigration will not vote for them anyway.

  51. Wibble — on 29th April, 2010 at 4:12 pm  

    “regardless of whether what gordon said was right or wrong imho it has just lost him the election”

    Was he really on to win it? Financial crisis, unpopular wars, immigration, too long in power, MPs’ expenses, and his own personal unpopularity (those who hate him will crow on and on about it). Why don’t the Tories think they can get a overall majority? Are they such a poor alternative themselves?

  52. boyo — on 29th April, 2010 at 4:39 pm  

    ravi, i dont think you get it – immigration is a touchstone for a basket of issues that have alienated the wwc. Just because people are concerned about it, as mrs miggins was, doesnt mean they’ll vote bnp – indeed she was a labour voter before being dismissed as a prol by her metropolitan elitist pm ;-)

  53. Boyo — on 29th April, 2010 at 4:54 pm  

    wibble – the tories are a joke to any thinking person.

    each and every call on the economy has been wrong.

    their talk of “big society” means you’ll just have to volunteer because there won’t be a public sector any more… etc.

    can any one else actually recall anything about tory policies? i bet not, because they’re aren’t any – all we have is david cameron’s sense of entitlement and george osbourne rubbing his hands with glee at all the cuts he’s going to make in the name of the recession while he and his pals enjoy their millionaire lifestyles.

    tory policies have come under no scrutiny whatsoever, but we’ll be feeling the effects soon enough

  54. Refresh — on 29th April, 2010 at 5:13 pm  

    Well put Boyo.

  55. Bored in Kavanagsau — on 29th April, 2010 at 5:25 pm  

    Here is my conspiracy theory. Labour want to lose this election but by only giving Tories the majority and at the same time weakening the Lib Dems. This keeps first past the post in place for the next election which they will win by a landslide. The way they weaken the Lib Dems and simultaneously strengthen the Tories is making a gaff on immigration, shifting votes from the WWC to Tories and implicitly reminding everyone what a monumentally shitty idea the Lib Dem’s illegal immigrant amnesty is. Gordon Brown takes one for the team and is remembered in Labour history in a 100 years time, along with Mrs Duffy who was involved in the plot, as the couple who guaranteed a further generation of Labour goverment after a short Tory interLabnum.

  56. Ravi.Nk — on 29th April, 2010 at 5:33 pm  

    ravi, i dont think you get it – immigration is a touchstone for a basket of issues that have alienated the wwc.

    Boyo, I usually do not follow tabloids for guidance to how people think – I do think they are going for the sensationalist angle with faux outrage. I am not convinced that bigot-gate sinked his candidacy, not more than other factors mentioned by wibble – “the financial crisis, unpopular wars, immigration, too long in power, MPs’ expenses, and his own personal unpopularity”.

    I guess we will know in a couple of days if this had any impact, though I agree that this is a huge distraction to his campaign.

  57. Kulvinder — on 29th April, 2010 at 5:43 pm  

    The anti-Eastern European sentiment among some people here is utterly deplorable, but it is not the same as racism.

    I haven’t seen any anti-easteuropean sentiment on this thread, but id happily label any that did appear as racist. In any case the EHRC, as well as courts, disagree with you about racism and national origin

  58. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2010 at 5:49 pm  

    Just asking, ’cause I don’t understand. Why are you now Ravi.Nk nowadays rather than Ravi Naik. I think, going on my rather pathetic Neuro-linguistic skills that you are he, or her, and vice versa.

    I have always admired your posts here, so it is a genuine question.

  59. KJB — on 29th April, 2010 at 5:56 pm  

    Kulvinder and Trofim – by ‘here’, I mean in the UK.

    Oh, so you don’t necessarily understand racism by experiencing it? How did you achieve enlightenment? :)

    Funny! I read up on the British Empire, and on African-American History.

    Kulvinder:

    In any case the EHRC, as well as courts, disagree with you about racism and national origin

    Look who’s mansplaining now! Since only one definition of something is right, of course. Furthermore, that is a definition which deals primarily with racial discrimination in legal contexts. When I say ‘racism’ I’m thinking more of the deeply-ingrained cultural stereotypes that influence how we think, and those don’t necessarily get talked about in court.

  60. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2010 at 6:11 pm  

    Kulvinder @ 54,

    Neither have I.

    This is a story, so bear with it.

    http://tinyurl.com/2v74o3p

    I quite like Poles. They stood up against the Nazis in my own back yard, in the depths of our despair. There has been a Polish population here ever since, and – fuck it – we seem to like them and vice versa.

    Should I disrespect the Indians which included Pakistanis back then, at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kohima

    I don’t think so.

    There is no going back from respecting folk for putting their whole lives on the line for you. Valour for the sake of democratic government, despite how rarely Pakistan has met it’s dreams.

    —————————–

    These are our unspoken heroes. Much like the Russians in WW2. They won the war, body for body.

    Not John fucking Wayne.

  61. Kulvinder — on 29th April, 2010 at 6:28 pm  

    Look who’s mansplaining now!

    By simply disagreeing with you? Fair enough.

    When I say ‘racism’ I’m thinking more of the deeply-ingrained cultural stereotypes that influence how we think, and those don’t necessarily get talked about in court.

    I don’t understand, the argument, as i took it, was that ‘anti-eastern european’ sentiment was not racist; the point i was making was the ‘deeply ingrained cultural stereotypes’ aren’t magically excluded simply because the people in question happen to be ‘white’ and/or from eastern europe.

    Racism, as i look at it, isn’t an anthropological or genealogical view of what did occur or what was done; its about what is. I couldn’t careless about what the origin of a particular hatred is; id rather confront the bigotry here and now.

    To me the tabloid headlines about poles eating swans, of slovakians squatting in sheds – of the ‘eastern europeans’ coming here and taking ‘our’ jobs is nothing but racist bollocks.

  62. Ravi.Nk — on 29th April, 2010 at 7:08 pm  

    Look who’s mansplaining now!

    Mansplaining sounds rather sexist, why would you use it when someone is simply disagreeing with your position?

    Just asking, ’cause I don’t understand. Why are you now Ravi.Nk nowadays rather than Ravi Naik. I think, going on my rather pathetic Neuro-linguistic skills that you are he, or her, and vice versa.

    Because of PP’s spam filter. All my messages under “Ravi Naik” and my real email address go directly to the spam folder. All of them. :(

    I also like your contribution here, Douglas.

  63. I AM DUFFY — on 29th April, 2010 at 7:09 pm  

    The elites hate the British people and are conspiring to import a new electorate.

  64. earwicga — on 29th April, 2010 at 7:16 pm  

    Ta for the link Ravi, I’d not heard of ‘mansplaining’ before.

  65. Kulvinder — on 29th April, 2010 at 7:19 pm  

    The elites hate the British people and are conspiring to import a new electorate.

    To be fair that very strategy did improve the place after AD 43, 1066 and 1688.

  66. I AM DUFFY — on 29th April, 2010 at 7:51 pm  

    Even the Romans and Normans were not as relentlessly hostile to the native population as the present elite. They did not seek to import millions of foreigners by stealth.

  67. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2010 at 7:56 pm  

    Kulvinder @ 62,

    The only sense you ever got was in 1706. When there were a few brains added to the English mix.

    Just joking ;-)

  68. Rumbold — on 29th April, 2010 at 9:25 pm  

    Update on the fake twitter feed:

    i have 957 followers y r u following me I told you I dont have any change, when u come 2 brittain u hav 2 work 4 a living

    Earwiga:

    Anyone who claims expenses for something he/she should pay for out of their own pocket is stealing in my view.

    Ravi, Kulvinder and others:

    I think KJB’s point was that racism against Eastern Europeans, whilst deplorable, does not carry the same history as that against South Asians/blacks. While I reject the idea that racism can only be perpetuated by and against certain groups (as that is cultural relativism), it is true that the impact can be different. If a brown person calls me ‘whitey’ in an angry manner, it is racist and wrong, but I don’t fear for myself in the same way that an Asian who lived in 1970s Britain would do if they were called ‘Paki’ by an angry white, because of the history of the two terms. Therefore the two words aren’t equivalent in the impact that they have, even if they express the same thing (bigotry against another race) in the same manner.

  69. I AM DUFFY — on 29th April, 2010 at 9:31 pm  

    In fact isn’t it really a misnomer to characterise animus towards Eastern European migrants as ‘racism’, since nobody as far as I am aware would claim that Britons and Poles are members of different races?

    Xenophobia would seem to be more apposite.

  70. Ravi.Nk — on 29th April, 2010 at 10:21 pm  

    If a brown person calls me ‘whitey’ in an angry manner, it is racist and wrong, but I don’t fear for myself in the same way that an Asian who lived in 1970s Britain would do if they were called ‘Paki’

    Rumbold, do you think that throwing rocks at a house with Polish immigrants and telling them to go home has any less of a racist impact than if residents were Asian immigrants?

    From the point of view of the immigrant, call it xenophobia or racism, I would think the feeling of exclusion would be the same: being an unwanted outsider.

  71. Ravi.Nk — on 29th April, 2010 at 10:58 pm  

    Boyo, I usually do not follow tabloids for guidance to how people think – I do think they are going for the sensationalist angle with faux outrage. I am not convinced that bigot-gate sinked his candidacy

    Just found this – the Sun didn’t publish their own poll because it didn’t fit their narrative.

  72. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:09 pm  

    Ravi.Nk @ 60 & 68,

    @ 60, cheers, I just wondered.

    @ 68 I’d have thought that that was exactly right. As someone elsewhere has said, French, American and Austalasian folk seem to be quite acceptable as immigrants. Even Brazilians, but let’s not go there.

    I don’t really understand this differentiation of what constitutes a ‘good immigrant’ versus a ‘bad immigrant’. Unless and until someone can prove that foreign folk are worse than British folk.

    I expect the discussion to now divert to Somalis….

  73. KJB — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:09 pm  

    Kulvinder & Ravi – Don’t flatter yourselves; I didn’t say that because you ‘disagree’ with me, but because I’m perfectly aware of the standard definitions of racism, and I don’t need to be told that they differ from mine. People like to tell me (and others like me) that we are ‘wrong’ all the time; we get used to it.

    You might think I’m trying to downplay the impact of discrimination against Eastern Europeans; I’m not. And fine, Kulvinder, if you don’t care about what happened in history – but for those of us who continue to feel the impact of it, it is a problem.

    I agree that headlines about Poles eating swans are despicable, but that nonsense started after the papers noticed their presence in this country. There wasn’t the same centuries-old racist consensus against them that non-white people have faced. A lot of the bigotry directed at Eastern Europeans is not based on them being seen as another ‘race’ in the way that non-whites are seen to be (although this DID happen in America). The ire that gets directed at them is anti-immigrant ire. People complain about them taking jobs or taking over the market or whatever; they don’t, however, see them and immediately tag them as ‘effeminate’ or ‘ugly’ or ‘weird’ or ‘terrorist’. People don’t look at Eastern Europeans and assume that, oh, you are a Muslim because you are this colour and you are wearing X item.

    I am not trying not to confront the bigotry against them. However, racism against non-whites and anti-Semitism still exist and are still a problem too, and I’m not going to ignore them just because you think it’s irrelevant.

    It’s not about ‘the origin of a particular hatred,’ it’s about the fact that imperialism created certain attitudes about non-white people and Jews that are STILL in our collective psyche and affect the way we act. The stereotypes created around Africans, for example, have barely budged. Just because black people have found ways to exploit some of them for personal gain, does not mean that we are ‘post-racial’ in any way.

  74. Boyo — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:14 pm  

    “The survey, carried out yesterday, also showed that just 9% of the 527 people polled said the episode was less likely to make them vote Labour, while 3% said it was more likely to make them vote Labour. The overwhelming majority – 83% – said it would not affect their voting intentions.”

    In a tight election 5 per cent could swing it.

  75. Kulvinder — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:15 pm  

    I think KJB’s point was that racism against Eastern Europeans, whilst deplorable, does not carry the same history as that against South Asians/blacks.

    I accept that as an opinion; my point is i simply don’t share it. I have no psychological hang-up about something that didn’t happen to me, i cannot claim my suffering is somehow greater simply because of what my parents or grandparents went through.

    To me racism isn’t about what happened its about what is, and the fact of the matter is a white person in the travelling community is far more likely to face discrimination and racism than i am.

    It would be callous to suggest (not that KJB did) that the suffering my grandparents or parents faced somehow meant my own experiences were ‘worse’ – here and now – than say a white traveller.

    Yes asian and black people were attacked in the 60s, 70s and to a degree in the 80s; but the eastern europeans in belfast and elsewhere are the ones being attacked now.

    I can’t look the other way and shrug that it isn’t ‘really’ racism.

  76. Wibble — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:17 pm  

    Boyo @ 51

    I was questioning the competence of the Tories – their lead seems more due to more Brown’s errors than Cameron’s positive qualities. One policy I don’t like is with schools – basically allowing really pushy parents to set up their own schools.

    Regarding cuts: Mervyn King is said to have warned that the election victor will have to cut so severely that they will be out of power for a generation (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/29/mervyn-king-warns-election-victor).

  77. Kulvinder — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:19 pm  

    Kulvinder & Ravi – Don’t flatter yourselves; I didn’t say that because you ‘disagree’ with me, but because I’m perfectly aware of the standard definitions of racism, and I don’t need to be told that they differ from mine. People like to tell me (and others like me) that we are ‘wrong’ all the time; we get used to it.

    I didn’t tell you the EHRC did; and i didn’t say you were ‘wrong’.

    I simply disagreed with you.

  78. Boyo — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:19 pm  

    “ComRes also asked if Brown’s comment about Gillian Duffy being a “bigot” would make any difference to voting intentions. Some 61% said they were not planning to vote Labour, and 24% said they were planning to vote Labour before the incident and were still planning to vote Labour. But 7% said they had now decided not to vote Labour, and 8% said they had been planning to vote Labour but were now undecided.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2010/apr/29/leaders-debate-live-blog

  79. Kulvinder — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:24 pm  

    Boyo given the way the polls have gone so far in this election; i don’t think anyone really cares.

  80. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:25 pm  

    KJB @ 71,

    I don’t understand your post. Unless I have misunderstood this thread completely, the issue that is being addressed is an extension of racism to include Eastern Europeans.

    It, racism, clearly does, from a White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant perspective, at it’s most prolix, exclude anyone that is not a White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

    I’d have thought that was obvious and mendacious.

  81. KJB — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:32 pm  

    I didn’t tell you the ECHR did; and i didn’t say you were ‘wrong’.

    I simply disagreed with you.

    Fair enough, though my remark wasn’t aimed at you in particular – I was just saying.

    I can’t look the other way and shrug that it isn’t ‘really’ racism.

    As I said above, I wasn’t dismissing the experiences of Eastern Europeans – but nor will I dismiss the experiences of non-whites and Jews either.

    You’re very privileged if you’ve never felt the effects of racism at all – lucky you, I guess. I’ve had it at the most personal level, and also had to be aware of the consequences of it, on account of being female. As I said though, racism is more than rude words and until more people recognise that, there’s not going to be much progress on a hell of a lot of issues, unfortunately.

    Still, this thread is about Gillian Duffy and her foolish comment about Eastern European immigrants, so I’m not going to talk about other things any longer. It seems as though the PM needs to explain to many people what ‘freedom of movement’ means. Nothing is stopping them from going elsewhere in the EU if the Eastern Europeans are ‘flocking’ to where they are. Our area became noticeably more Eastern European, and it’s great. They’ve balanced the number of old whites fleeing, got into interracial relationships with Asians and generally shown white British bigots a thing or two about assimilation. :-D I do wish I could magically pick up Polish in a day, though.

  82. Trofim — on 30th April, 2010 at 12:37 am  

    KJB @ 79:

    “Nothing is stopping them [the locals] from going elsewhere in the EU if the Eastern Europeans are ‘flocking’ to where they are”.

    Interesting. Reminds me of the de haute en bas opinions of the metropolitan liberal elite expressed on World at One, Radio 4 on 28th April, in the person of one Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Gallery in London: “it’s a situation whereby we can travel abroad and to continental europe and continental europeans can come to england . . . this is a different kind way of the labour market operating . . . a different way we can look at our place in the world. This island mentality that we have, for certain people of a certain generation, and I could even include myself in this, it actually is really a fundamental change and this is what the woman in case was really struggling with. But it really is an incredible freedom to have this idea of being able to move around”.

    If you want to move around, of course.
    There’s very much a flavour of “The hoi polloi? Let them eat cake” in what these rich metropolitan lefties opine.

  83. Trofim — on 30th April, 2010 at 12:55 am  

    Overwhelmingly, human beings require a modicum of familiarity, regularity, even predictability, in order to feel psychically comfortable. Sure, we all like a holiday, a stay in a hotel for a few days, but at the end of the day there is such a phenomenon as home-sickness, of longing for the familiar. And we derive a feeling of comfort and security from this regularity, having familiar places, people, customs and things around us. Certainly, some diversity, some novelty and unfamiliarity makes life more interesting, but it’s a matter of degree. This all seems absolutely obvious and axiomatic to me. If the familiar is replaced by the unfamiliar within a relatively short time, is it really surprisig that people feel anxious, discomfited and resentful?

  84. KJB — on 30th April, 2010 at 1:32 am  

    Well gee, Trofim, you might want to put that to all the Third-World and developing nations residents who had to come to Britain because it fucked over their countries. Indians, Pakistanis, Bengalis, Africans, African-Caribbean… Let’s not forget that the Irish also were part of the Empire and lots of them came over accordingly. Then there’s the Afghanis and Iraqis who’ve had their countries very recently fucked over.

    And of course, people like my parents turn on other immigrants coming from their country partly because they fear deep down that all will be tarred with the same brush, just like with the Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many white British people seem to have this in-built superiority complex, believing that everyone flocks here because it is so great and liberal whilst loudly bemoaning same – yeah, that’s why we STILL have to worry about the BNP and white fascists in the 21st century

    Familiarity is wonderful, but British people have this deluded sense of entitlement that the whole world should come to them and not the other way around. I mean, Britain has supported the wealth it sucked out of its colonies through cheap immigrant labour. While I agree that sudden changes are hard for white working class people to take, racism just makes me think: cry me a fucking river. How often do white British people going abroad have people walk out of their shops once they see their faces, or hear their voices? Almost never, I’d hazard. How many British people abroad have been continually physically attacked, sworn at, denied jobs, refused entry to places, constantly misrepresented in the press or assumed to be inferior because they were white British?

  85. 241 — on 30th April, 2010 at 2:39 am  

    “How many British people abroad have been continually physically attacked, sworn at, denied jobs, refused entry to places, constantly misrepresented in the press or assumed to be inferior because they were white British?”

    Zimbabwe, for one, perhaps?

    And for being white, maybe SA too? Well over 3000 white farmers murdered so far, mostly after serious torture.

    But then they asked for that, right?

  86. KJB — on 30th April, 2010 at 3:25 am  

    241 – Trofim and I were talking about Europe. That was why I said: ‘white British people going abroad‘ prior to that little bit of selective quotation you’ve just engaged in.

    Care to provide some examples within Europe?

  87. Sarah AB — on 30th April, 2010 at 7:15 am  

    @KJB 79 – I agree with plenty of what you say but I also feel sympathy for the workers who felt it was unfair, not that individual immigrants had taken ‘their’ jobs, but that they simply had had *no* chance to try for a job when a large contract had been offered to a European firm which was bringing in its own workers.

    http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2009/01/31/distinguish-between-the-slogans-and-the-underlying-issues/

    I’m not saying they were completely right – I’m not sure – but I *did* sympathise. It reminds me of the situation in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” where a strike is broken by poorer people being shipped in who will sleep in dorms in the factory for starvation wages. I’m not sure that having so much movement of workers – though *instinctively* I have no problems with it – is conducive to good working conditions etc.

  88. Rumbold — on 30th April, 2010 at 8:26 am  

    Ravi:

    Rumbold, do you think that throwing rocks at a house with Polish immigrants and telling them to go home has any less of a racist impact than if residents were Asian immigrants?

    No, but that hasn’t really happened much on the mainland, so there isn’t the same fear surrounding verbal abuse.

  89. 241 — on 30th April, 2010 at 8:43 am  

    -“Trofim and I were talking about Europe. That was why I said: ‘white British people going abroad‘ prior to that little bit of selective quotation you’ve just engaged in.”-

    Well you didn’t say it in the direct quote I post and I couldn’t care less about your selective criteria anyway. You don’t decide what is relevant in this world.

    The fact is that all those things you claim are happening to people of foreign origin in this country are actually happening to white people just for being white people in Zimbabwe and SA with bells on, many of whom are of British origins.

    Additionally they are having their entire property, mostly owned and worked for generations stolen from them (sanctioned by the state in Zimbabwe), they are being subjected to the most brutal oppression and threats, they are being tortured and they are being murdered wholesale so lets hear your righteous indignation turned in that direction for a change.

    -“Care to provide some examples within Europe?”-

    Care to provide some examples of the above happening in Europe, most especially with government sanction?

    In fact care to substantiate your claims with anything other then anecdotal recitements, most especially the part where people of foreign origin are being refused jobs for being of foreign origin?

  90. Ravi.Nk — on 30th April, 2010 at 9:30 am  

    How many British people abroad have been continually physically attacked, sworn at, denied jobs, refused entry to places, constantly misrepresented in the press or assumed to be inferior because they were white British?

    I would imagine that these occurrences do exist. Though I am not sure why is this relevant.

    To me, the rise of the BNP is a symptom (not a disease) that indicates that there is a class of people that were hit specially hard because of recession and yes, immigration. I can sympathize with the fact that it is difficult to talk about immigration without sounding xenophobic. And we know that people who feel socially excluded tend to take extreme measures like voting for racist parties.

    My point is that I believe we should redefine what it means to be socially disadvantaged in Britain. I would venture that being born poor and raised by a school drop-out single-mother to have a much worse outcome than if you are raised by a middle-class Asian family.

  91. Trofim — on 30th April, 2010 at 9:48 am  

    KJB @ 82:

    Silly me. What did I expect but a stock cut-and-paste “well, you white people are all imperialists, colonialists and racists, so what do you expect” screed. It embodies that same principle which underlies collective punishment. I was sort of expecting to be denounced for hating eastern europeans to boot.

    Now I’ve got to go and plant my sweet peas. We can’t all hug computers.

  92. Wibble — on 30th April, 2010 at 9:57 am  

    bananabrain @39

    “goldman sachs’ entire existence (and that of the entire financial services system) is built around the exploitation of information asymmetries (the current court case is explicitly about that) based on their capability to hire the cleverest people available to find ways to game the system.”

    Aren’t Goldman Sachs being subjected to scrutiny because their behaviour “exploited information asymmetries” in that they had a conflict of interest? I would’ve thought that the SEC is fully aware of how these institutions work and decided to go after them because they went outside acceptable limits of behaviour – do you think SEC are pursuing Goldman for mainly political reasons? It would be nice if these were clever people trying to get one over on each other in their own bubbles, but it has huge knock-on for the rest of us in our pensions and government bail-outs of banks.

  93. bananabrain — on 30th April, 2010 at 10:15 am  

    >Aren’t Goldman Sachs being subjected to scrutiny because their behaviour “exploited information asymmetries” in that they had a conflict of interest?

    exactly, it’s a systemic problem. in this country, it has been worst because of the behaviour of many of the clearing banks that also have investment banks, some very stupid m&a hubris (e.g. rbs’ bid for abn amro) some criminally stupid government intervention (forcing lloyds tsb to take over hbos) and the general problem of sub-prime loans built on unrealistic expectations about property, which in my opinion are mostly due to the aspirations of the baby boomers for a cushy retirement based on their stock portfolios and expensive houses. goldman’s behaviour is a symptom, not the cause; they’re just exploiting something which they are clever enough to see the angles in – you could probably call it immoral, but unless it results in a wholesale change in banking behaviour i simply don’t see how this isn’t just tinkering with the edges with someone who got caught crossing the line. we need wholesale reform of the city.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  94. Trofim — on 30th April, 2010 at 10:29 am  

    KJB @ 82:

    “Familiarity is wonderful, but British people have this deluded sense of entitlement that the whole world should come to them and not the other way around”.

    I don’t quite get this. I thought the whole world coming here was the gripe?

  95. KJB — on 30th April, 2010 at 2:12 pm  

    Well you didn’t say it in the direct quote I post and I couldn’t care less about your selective criteria anyway. You don’t decide what is relevant in this world.

    Nor do you, cherry-picker. As to the rest I mentioned, that happened to Asians and black people in Britain and the US. Even as early as the 1990s, a nail-bomb was planted on Brick Lane on mosque day to target Bengalis.

    so lets hear your righteous indignation turned in that direction for a change

    Aww, would you look at that! A troll is trying to make me start a will-you-condemnathon.

    Care to provide some examples of the above happening in Europe

    Anti-immigrant ire directed at Eastern Europeans… reports about the Poles having children, eating swans, taking jobs etc. etc. in the Mail and Express to name just two papers… Nor did the aforementioned papers mention when many EE immigrants were homeless in the UK, and many returning to Poland, because they were hit by the recession.

    Awww, Trofim. Do learn to read, and stop twisting my words. Also, what happened to your claim that you don’t ‘hug computers’ (I’m not sure anyone here does…)?

    I simply made the point that you might want to ask various different groups of people who have had *no choice* but to leave their home countries, given that you assumed that was ‘a metropolitan liberal elite’ sentiment. As to your comment at #50 – again, since so many other people across the world have had to move to find life-sustaining work, saying that white British people now have to do so as well is nothing to do with ‘collective punishment,’ and everything to do with economic reality. India and China are rising economic forces, and they are probably going to end up surpassing Britain.

    Sarah AB – I totally agree that such situations are unacceptable. I think white working class people have every right to get angry over the way they are treated – I just object to WWC racism. Firstly, WWC racists perpetuate the myth that all WWC people are racist. Secondly, getting angry at immigrants rather than the people who employ them is unfair and pointless. If they’re going to apportion blame, they should blame the employers who betray them – and also accept that a reduction in immigrant labour will mean a rise in prices. I mean, look at the newspapers who whip up hatred against immigrants – the Mail, the Express, the Sun, the Telegraph and even sometimes the ES and the Times… How many of the people working for them are ‘salt-of-the-earth,’ eh? The owner of the Times and Sun is himself a fucking immigrant!

  96. 241 — on 30th April, 2010 at 2:49 pm  

    KGB

    Aww, thanks for calling me a troll because you have no answers and want to control what direction everyone looks in. It is the first resort of the scoundrel.

    A simple challenge to provide anything other then anecdotal evidence produces a nail bomb left by a diagnosed nutter, a paranoid schizophrenic acting alone but fails to mention the four suicide bombers who were compos mentis and blow themselves up out of sheer unadulterated hatred of British people, trying to kill as many as they could.

    As for the newspaper reports, do Poles not have Children? Do eastern Europesn not eat swans and tench, roach etc? Have they not taken some jobs? Are these reports of events or complete fabrications? Do you know the difference?

    Try again to back up your claims with some actual evidence, most especially the part where people of foreign origin are being refused jobs for being of foreign origin, or let it go.

    And tell us what you think of the plight of Whites in Zimbabwe and SA, is it wrong? It is their own fault? Are they not now Africans too?

  97. boyo — on 30th April, 2010 at 2:56 pm  

    Latest polls predict narrow Tory win (hung but kept in via deal with nationalists – the very fucking worst of all worlds).

    http://generalelection2010.timesonline.co.uk/#/GainsAndLosses

  98. boyo — on 30th April, 2010 at 3:27 pm  

    How will you feel about propelling the Tories to power Douglas?

  99. douglas clark — on 30th April, 2010 at 4:09 pm  

    boyo,

    I’d have thought it was completely impossible for me, or more or less anyone else in Scotland to propel the Tories to power. If you mean that the SNP may support a minority Conservative administration, well, it would be on a vote by vote basis. Salmond does not have a majority of seats at Hollyrood and every vote requires agreement with other parties to pass. Seems to work OK.

    Where I think there is a bit of overstretch by the SNP is in saying that they ‘may’ vote on English only issues. I do not agree with that at all.

  100. boyo — on 30th April, 2010 at 5:17 pm  

    Well, it looks like the progressives are “toast” according to this other analysis

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/04/uk-seats-projection-tories-299-labour.html

    But yes, fair enough on the UK stuff, nauseating for a Tory Party to force through “reforms” say on health, education, etc on the English with Scots and Welsh votes. GOD PLEASE GIVE US PR.

  101. douglas clark — on 30th April, 2010 at 7:11 pm  

    boyo,

    I read that yesterday, and Nate Silver makes a very good case.

    However that is not a Conservative victory that he is predicting, you end up quite a few seats short of an overall majority. Assuming you see both New Labour and the Lib/Dems as progressive.

    Traditionally the SNP, and I believe Plaid have not voted on English only legislation. It has been Scottish Liberals and Labour that have voted on these Bills. I assume it is the same in Wales. It is quite wrong in my opinion.

  102. Boyo — on 30th April, 2010 at 8:26 pm  

    Guardian has just gone Lib Dem….

  103. Ravi.Nk — on 30th April, 2010 at 11:32 pm  

    To me, one of the most interesting moments of the last US presidential election was how Obama handled the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s controversy. He gave this wonderful speech where he highlighted the civil right’s movement and the struggle for justice and equality for all. However, he said:

    The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made;… [and] is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past

    He also said:

    In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor.

    I tend to agree with that sentiment. I do not feel underprivileged because of my race, and I do not relate to what my father went through in the 70s. And I do sympathize with the fact that some sectors were hardly hit by immigration, and that it is not easy to talk about immigration without sounding xenophobic or racist.

    In my view, the rise of the BNP should be treated as a symptom not the disease. We know that if sectors of our population become desperate, they will resort to extremist measures, like voting for fringe parties. I think it is time we start identifying which are the real disadvantaged classes in our society if we – as progressives – want to create a fairer society.

  104. boyo — on 1st May, 2010 at 8:32 am  

    Ravi, I agree.

    I think though that Bigotgate, while literally meaning nothing, actually symbolised everything – essentially how Labour has detached itself from its working class base.

    The Guardian has now gone LD (finally throwing off any pretentions its readers still had that it represented the wc)… in a way this is a massive watershed for the Left, and being in the centre of the hurricane we have yet to recognise the movement – a process that has been taking place over maybe a decade or more, not least on this pages, is coming to a climax.

    Labour shed class and went for middle class causes
    The Lib Dems already did the middle class better – progressives without the prol ballast.
    Brown blew it with his bigot comment – the wc realise he no longer represented them
    The Guardian – well, rats, ships etc.
    And as for the wc? Well – the BNP are waiting to spread like a nasty rash (although I suspect over the coming years we may get a BNP-lite like UKIP without the overt race element, and they may well become a force of some influence)

    Capitalism is triumphant, and in any case, my bet is the Tories will get in without the need of the Lib Dems – they’ll form a self-serving alliance with the nationalists, so wave goodbye to PR too.

    And the greatest irony is the Left will love it – the chattering classes have always felt uncomfortable in power, now they’ll be able to whine self-righteously while the consequences of their betrayal, the thousands who lose their income, health and see their opportunities diminish, never touch them.

    But then, in truth they were always on the same side as the Tories.

  105. Kulvinder — on 1st May, 2010 at 4:17 pm  

    I’ve just read rusbridger’s editorial and its properly amusing the way the labour commentators are going apeshit and engaging in a spat with all the lib dem supporters.

    Its the age of thing of ‘the left’ accusing each other of being splitters and letting the tories in.

    fav rant so far

    I have just removed 215 clippings from this web site and I would advice others to do the same and don’t support this turncoat arse licking shit house paper, when I was a kid during the war we would wipe our arse on crap like this…

    Get fucking stuffed JUDAS GUARDIAN you nailed your yellow colours to the upper crust mast

    lol

  106. boyo — on 1st May, 2010 at 5:10 pm  

    That is funny, the Guardian (and Observer) have been upper crust since the Astors. Indeed, it’s probably the paper of choice at the Cameron household.

  107. chairwoman — on 1st May, 2010 at 5:23 pm  

    And were the traditional support of the Liberal Party.

    A case of the rats returning to the sinking ship!

  108. Rumbold — on 2nd May, 2010 at 9:41 am  

    Haha Chairwoman.

  109. Chris Baldwin — on 9th May, 2010 at 11:40 pm  

    Any Labour Prime Minister is better than any non-Labour Prime Minister. Yes, any.

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