I’m not a racist but –

Thomas Mair looking to the right, just like the people who tried to pretend he had nothing to do with Britain First.
Thomas Mair looking to the right, just like the people who tried to pretend he had nothing to do with Britain First.

After the Referendum I’ve learned a number of things.

  1. The most important issue facing the UK today is how rubbish Jeremy Corbyn is. This is the major preoccupation of the UK media, so it must be true. The fact that the entire referendum was a squabble between entitled rich boys who will never, ever have to face any personal consequences of their actions is wholly and completely irrelevant. Especially when one of them is paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to promote himself in the fiercely independent British press owned by people who aren’t British, but know much more about how to be it than people who actually live here.
  2. It was never about immigration. Oh, OK. Well, it certainly wasn’t about economics, was it?
  3. It was about democracy. Which is why there are no plans whatsoever to reform, let alone abolish the completely undemocratic House of Lords or the monarchy, and stand to attention when you type that word or you’ll learn to expect Britain First knocking on your door, too. Which now you might anyway, because Britain First are not to be condemned. And that’s official. After MP Jo Cox was shot dead by a Britain First supporter, who was also saying in the dock “I am a political activist,” just in case anyone was unclear what this murder was about, not a single MP condemned Britain First. Not one. That fact alone tells you pretty much all you need to know about racism in Britain today. You don’t need to approve of it. All you need to do is refuse to condemn the people doing it.

I’m quite British, as well as being of a certain age, so I’ll give you some British. We all like British, don’t we? I mean, not many other countries do now, but we’re really, utterly brilliant. It said so in all the tabloids and they don’t lie. Except about Hillsboro. Or Orgreave. Or Charles de Menezes. Or Stephen Waldorf. Or Freddie Starr eating my hamster. But apart from that they don’t, ever. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time in Bremen or thereabouts, a friend got talking to an old lady who used to live next door to some Jewish people a long time ago. One day they weren’t there. Their front door was open though, which most of the street found quite convenient when they needed to borrow household items like a piano, or a sofa, or some curtains, or in fact most of the contents of the house now it was obvious nobody with hair like that was coming back to ask for a cup of sugar, ever again.

“So,” my friend said, and with her hair like summer wheat and her cold blue eyes and the way she said “So!” when she was just being herself and trying to be friendly, it was always quite scary if you were brought up on a diet of Colditz and The Great Escape.

“So! Where did they go?” She wanted the old lady to say the words. Auschwitz. Dachau. Treblinka. Any one of the litany. Or even just: “I don’t know. ” But none of these words came.

“They just went,” the old lady said. My friend asked again.”But where?”

“Well,” a little more slowly this time, “They just went.”

Because the old lady knew the rule that my friend had never had to learn, thanks to the EU. You do not ask where people go when you know racists came and killed them. You do not ask where people from another race are taken when your name might go on the list, or anyone else’s. You do not call the police when the neighbours are taken away, especially when it was the police that took them. And when you have to face what has happened you don’t say “yes, but I got a new sofa out of it.” Except that’s essentially what some people are saying exactly, here in the UK, now.

Today I’ve heard ‘well, there are bound to be some casualties.’ So it’s ok that hundreds of billions have been wiped off the economy. It’s ok that the £ is plummeting against the euro which is supposed by Brexit to be such a failing currency. And it’s totally ok that a hundred racial attacks have been recorded in a couple of days, that a shop has been firebombed, that leaflets telling Poles they’re vermin have been posted through letterboxes.

Nice Mr and Mrs Brexit didn’t do it. They just voted shoulder to shoulder alongside the people who did. And when those different people go, once again, Mr and Mrs Brexit with their shiny principles and their Cross of Turkish St George and their reduced pension they voted for and their intact, laughable non-democratic government they wouldn’t change for all the tea in China, even if they could afford it any more, despite, or perhaps because that They’ve Got Principles, still won’t know where they went.

They just went.

Again. Funny how that happens. So if you’ll excuse me I’m not going to be singing Tomorrow Belongs To Me. I know all the words. And I know how it ends.


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Closing down the options

There are things you’re allowed to say, these days. And other things you’re not. Increasingly, you’re not allowed to ask certain questions.

An opinion for all seasons. But you aren't supposed to mention that.
        An opinion for all seasons. But you aren’t supposed to mention that.

Not because you don’t need to know, but because the answers will embarass somebody else. Somebody who doesn’t have the answers.

Who ought to. Because that’s their job. But becaue they patently havent done their job that’s not their fault, but yours. So we won’t be talking about it and that’s official. Now get back to watching Kendra On Top or The Only Way Is Essex or whatever it is people like you do all the time.

Allowable debate.
                                 Allowable debate. Talk about this all you like.

You can’t have failed to notice Boris Johnson (eezalarf, innee?) doing his usual “as Pericles put it” act over Europe. This week he doesn’t want to be part of a Europe that will let 77 million Turks come to the UK. Let’s assume, for a second, that that’s what they’d all do, because of the generous benefits system and the bountiful job opportunities which benefit Schrodinger’s Immigrant, the one who takes your job and sits on the dole at the same time.  Let’s assume Turkey gets membership of the EU. Which is more than moot, for a host of reasons. Why or more pertinently how won’t Turkish people be able to come into the UK if the UK isn’t part of the EU? And what will the IRA have to say about it? Or the Ulster Unionists? Or Sinn Fein?

It’s a serious question but nobody even wants to ask it. Because if the UK did leave the EU, the only physical way it could stop EU migrants coming into the UK would be to close the border with Eire. Passport control. Visas. A big, big fence. Customs posts. Immigration checks. At the moment you just drive through a border that’s just a line on a map. Nobody checks your pasport. Nobody asks you the purpose of your visit. There isn’t anybody there to even ask you. A bit like the fearless UK media, and this question itself.

If the UK leaves then any EU citizen who wanted to get in would Easyjet to Dublin and get on the next coach north. And they’re in, miraculously taking your job and sitting around doing nothing at the same time, according to the tabloid press. Who haven’t mentioned any of this.

Docklands, 9/2/96. Non-allowable debate.
Docklands, 9/2/96. Non-allowable debate.

In case you’ve forgotten, not very long ago there were riots and bombs taking out half of Docklands because some people wanted a united Ireland. A whacking great wall across it isn’t going to significantly further this ambition, so far as I can see.

It’s not debated. It’s not discussed. It just isn’t a question anyone is allowed to ask. And it makes me sad that this is the level of debate now. Tony Blair gets wheeled out to make people do the oposite of anything he says, presumably, while this fairly big issue, one which could kick over the whole balance of the Good Friday agreement and make every tabloid editor re-calibrate the dial on the suto-hate press machine from Moslems to Irish people isn’t even being mentioned. But obviously, we needn’t trouble our pretty little heads about it. Grown-ups like Boris and Blair will sort it all out, the same way they always do. With a big war we can’t afford, that’s built on lies, whcih does nothing but destabalise the area and that we’ll lose, if their track record is anything to go by.

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