Two other families, man juggling eels, redux

In the Independent Yasmin Alibhai-Brown tells it like it is.

I guarantee you have never read that sentence on a blog.

But she has got it right over establishment pandering to the ‘white working class’:

A new government report finds that they feel ‘betrayed’ and abandoned. Ruined by ‘ethnic minorities’ they cry into their antimacassars and threaten to vote for fascists. The British working classes include people of every shade. But only white grievances matter. Nobody seeks to find out what life is like for the incomers living in the fog of nativist bitterness.

We are thankfully free to question Muslim, Asian, Arab, African, Caribbean, Polish, Lithuanian, Russian behaviour in Britain. And some behave abominably. The British middle and upper classes are rightly fair game. But not the white working classes.

Criticise them and they, who detest PC, bring down the wrath of Alf Garnett on your head. Their culture is proud; they are noble; what they believe – however stupid or vicious – must be awesome. Oh, and they are never to be called racist, not even the scum who drop shit and firebombs through letter boxes of asylum-seekers on estates.

One writer, Liz Jones, of white working-class stock, sees through the cultural protectionism. Responding to beer-swilling blokes in Wibsey Working Men’s Club, in Bradford, who said on television that they had lost their place as the backbone of the nation because Asians were overtaking them, she wrote: ‘A snail with special needs would overtake this lot … It is patronising and not remotely useful to treat the white working class as though they are all helpless, giant toddlers in need of conservation.’

Defenders of this faith claim they are never allowed to speak on immigration. They have done little else since the first boats sailed in from the Caribbean.

That’s exactly it. There is no reason why people’s views should not be challenged just because they live below a certain level of income.

Of course it’s going to annoy people if they get bumped for a house in favour of an asylum seeker. But poverty is extremely relative – if you think globally – and councils have to allocate on the basis of need. A guy fleeing wartorn Sudan will get priority over a carpet fitter in adequate housing – that’s just how it works.

In any case, why turn different sections of the poor against each other? Why not just redistribute wealth, introduce progressive taxation and build more social housing?

Just as leftists make excuses for suicide bombers by implying that Arabs can find no other way to express historic grievances than by blowing themselves up, so there is the condescension of the Right which holds a parallel view towards working class racists: ‘Well, he lives on a council estate so we can’t expect too high a moral and intellectual standard’.

And so we must jump to ‘assuage the concerns’ of people who are considering voting for a fascist party because they’ve been on the transfer list for three months, or because they can’t get credit, or because there’s too many strange faces in town.

When studies show that the mainstream parties are losing votes to the BNP the politicians all shout: ‘How can we win them back?’ It never occurs to them to say: ‘Hang on – do we really want a bunch of racists in our party?’

It’s communalist politics of the sort that we were warned about when Galloway won Bethnal Green and Bow. It’s relativism. It is the same denial of individual responsibility and moral agency, the same noble savagery, as we see from the apologists for terrorism.

Six years ago the blogger Harry Hatchet looked around his hometown of Burnley – the ‘BNP capital’ – and cut through the self-serving bullshit in two neat paragraphs.

No, sorry to break it to you, but there is a harsh truth that people are going to have to face up to – the BNP vote is a racist vote, pure and simple. The BNP know that and they have devised their strategy around addressing the concerns of racists and making an appeal to them. Mainstream politicians insist on saying that not all BNP voters are racists. Perhaps, but the vast majority of them are.

The people who vote for the BNP do so for reasons of race and little else – because they believe the BNP will ‘sort out the Pakis’ or ‘stick up for us’ or because they have had enough of the ‘Paki lovers’ on the council. The BNP’s ‘respectable turn’ in replacing bomber jackets with badly fitting suits hasn’t changed the message it has just made it easier for people to vote BNP.

Dsquared recently argued – yeah, I know, but he’s right – that the white working class has become a mirror:

Everyone in the politics and opinion journalism industry who takes time out of their busy day to take a look at the white working class, seems to find their own reflection staring back out.

And for some reason most of these people do not, and sometimes have never, lived anywhere near a white working class area.

It’s a popular line of argument because it carries the force of threat: saying ‘I speak for the white working class’ translates instinctively as ‘Agree with me, or I’ll send the boys round’. It’s what Nick Cohen called ‘elite populism’, or as Dsquared has it: ‘nice tolerant multiracial society you’re got here … shame if something happened to it’.

I don’t accept that anyone who points this out is a tofu-munching, politically correct Islington elitist. For let’s not forget that the white working class, by all accounts, has different politics than its self-appointed defenders say it does.  Mixed-race marriages, for instance, are more prevalent among the working class. And as Alibhai-Brown says:

There is a remarkable side to this story that has been erased by the culture of intolerable complaint. White ‘lower’ class women were more accepting of ‘coloureds’ than the men. They fell in love, had families, faced down bigots. Despite racism in some trades unions, schools, health services and local authorities, genuine co-operation evolved as people grew to trust one another. Britain is a more integrated place than was in the Sixties, and many of us would not live elsewhere.


‘We thought people who lived in the gutter were ponces’


One Response to “Two other families, man juggling eels, redux”

  1. Louise Says:

    A bunch of working class white guys in some obscure working men’s club means that all working class people are racist. So does that mean that because Nick Griffin, a Cambridge graduate, is racist then all Cambridge graduates are racists? Does it also mean that because Oswald Mosely was embraced by the British aristocracy then all members of the British aristocracy are racist? Surely the concept of collective guilt is invalid if it is applied selectively.

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