29 April 2010

Gordon's gift to the BNP.

"Immigration, understandably, and legitimately, generates strong feelings, and people have a right to talk about these issues and what they mean for them. As politicians in that mainstream, in the centreground of British politics, we have a duty to listen and engage with these big issues, because if we don't people will listen to whoever does." --- Gordon Brown, 31st March, 2010

Interesting day, yesterday, as much for what people said about it as for what Gordon Brown actually did. I've covered in detail the thin pretence we have of freedom of speech these days. From thin skinned, reactionary, professional-victims, to those who dress themselves in the moralistic finery of patronisingly defending others from having to hear nasty things. Both groups which will leap to fling ugly insinuations around at the merest hint of an off-message phrase.

Seeing Gordon Brown facepalm when hearing his own words played back to him has broader electoral consequences than his own, already blighted political future. As I said last October, the expectation of political properness in language is used to bury uncomfortable truths; but it's a shallow grave. Everybody knows where the grave is, everybody knows what is in the grave. But nobody is allowed to talk about the grave.

Yesterday, Gillian Duffy asked about that shallow grave. Yesterday, Gillian Duffy went to the shops, and, while about her business, became aware of the close presence of the Prime Minister. She wanted an opportunity to ask about some very important matters (I think we all would). Taxes on pensions. Student tuition fees. The budget deficit. Immigration.

The first 3 demonstrate an intelligent, working class woman who clearly has a solid grasp of the state of the nation, but the last one makes Gordon nervous. You see, she talked about the grave, and what was in it. The shallow grave nobody is supposed to talk about; that everyone is supposed to ignore unless they talk about it in a certain way.

People must couch their questions and statements with adequate equivocation, like "We all know that immigration is a benefit... but", "We welcome immigration and the richness immigrants bring to our culture... but" (is this sounding familiar?) You know the rest. Once they've donned their proper linguistic armour, we can hear what they actually have to say and then decide if we can shout "Racist!" at them. Without these front-loaded caveats, you don't even need to listen, there's no decision to be made, it's automatic. Racist. Bigot.

This was powerfully in evidence on Twitter yesterday. Gordon was horrified, and apologised, then went back to apologise in person. All the time that was happening, this impolitic woman, this un-nuanced woman, this spin-free, real woman, who exists outside the world of mealy-mouthed politic-speak was being ripped to shreds by the Twitterati. Celebrity power very quickly had the #bigotgate hashtag relegated from trending topics, to be replaced by the anti-Duffy #bigotedwoman accompanying many funny tweets, and many downright obnoxious tweets. All of which were completely on the side that Gordon Brown had already abandoned, the side that believes if you say anything remotely critical about immigration levels, you're a racist.

Gillian Duffy is not a politician. Her concerns, whether realistic or not, are the concerns of hundreds of thousand, if not, millions of people in this country. It is a matter of record that immigration levels spiking massively under New Labour was no accident. Andrew Neather, a former Government advisor revealed last year that it was a covertly implemented policy to throw open the doors to all comers. This was not altruism. Their tacit goal was to ram multiculturalism down the throats of the opposition, and if they complained about it, to brand them as racists in order to gain political advantage. Moreso, the goal was an infantile desire to inflict pain on rivals. The goal was tribalistic, childish, partisan, political spite.

If you think the immense rise in the popularity of the BNP during this period - gaining council seats, and even seats in the European Parliament - is a coincidence, or was simply inevitable, or follow the line that "all political parties must shoulder the blame for letting this happen", think again.

The rise of the BNP is due to an act of deliberate Government provocation. A gauntlet thrown down on the ground in front of anyone who dared defy their multicultural ambitions. Middle-class guilt about not being poor, not being meek enough, fretting about whether that Indian couple who moved in down the road will think you're racist if you don't smile enough at them (or smile too much at them); that will keep a lot of the population in line with this piece of maliciously motivated social engineering.

But the working class aren't raised to feel guilty, that's the job of the middle class. When the working class see how open-door immigration overloads local housing, local infrastructure and local services, they want to know how this was allowed to happen. They want to know why grubby partisan politics in the Westminster village is indifferent to the strain unchecked mass immigration places on their lives and their communities. So too do builders and tradesman who are being undercut by cheap overseas labourers. They aren't trained in nuanced politic-speak, and they don't deserve the derision and dismissal of the political classes, the chattering classes and the Twittering classes just because they speak like real people. Nor do they deserve the crass, childish, invective tantrums on display in social media yesterday.

While the earnest, comfortably-off and worthy chattering classes back-slap themselves and each other for being better people than Gillian Duffy; being pleased with themselves for the "enlightenment" that comfort allows, indulging themselves in right-on snobbery; people with real problems, who are sick of being castigated for expressing honest views will think they're as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. If that's what the insulated, ignorant political class thinks, why not turn their Labour vote into a BNP vote?

Pathetic whining about Sky News this, and Murdoch that, completely miss the point of what happened yesterday. We know who Murdoch wants to win the election this year, just like we knew in 1997. Congratulations to the people just now waking up to his toxic influence! Well done, what fucking rock have they been living under for the last 30 years?

For all the influence Murdoch has exerted on these elections (ironically, usually resulting in worse polling for the Conservatives) Rupert Murdoch didn't make Gordon Brown say what he said. Didn't conspire for him to reveal the contempt the Government have for the sort of people who have supported the Labour party from its very birth as a political movement. What Gordon Brown did was not just insult an old woman, it was to dismiss millions of fair-minded people in an offensive and offhand way. I doubt Nick Griffin has ever had a better day than yesterday. They may even get an MP out of this one.

I deliberately did NOT couch this post with an introduction stating I'm not racist, or stating I have nothing against immigration, or any of the other cowardly caveats anyone daring to discuss these topics is supposed to use. Anyone who thinks I needed to, or in absence of them assumed that I must also be a racist or a bigot, they are NOT combating bigotry, they are perpetuating it, and escalating it. You're not a righteous warrior for racial and ethnic tolerance, you're the reason people turn away from mainstream parties towards the only people with nothing to lose by telling awkward truths.

If you participated in the sustained attack on someone who just asked a fair question, then you are not the answer to intolerance, you are the problem.

27 April 2010