Black Lives Matter

Over the weekend, there were many protest demonstrations about racism in the UK under the slogan #blacklivesmatter

There was violence at the demo in London, a police horse bolted after the police had decided to charge a bunch of protesters; it injured a protester, several statues inc. that of Churchill were defaced. In Bristol, the statue of Edward Colston a slaver, later a Tory MP and philanthropist was pulled down and thrown in the Avon. Both these actions have started debates, about Churchill, slavery, museums and how we do history in the UK.

The establishment was quick to apportion blame on the protesters, with Johnson calling them thugs, and Priti Patel yet again disgracing herself, but this is to avoid examining the racism within British society, the Tory led state and the Tory Party itself. Only when we, i.e. the people of the United Kingdom, have satisfactorily resolved the Windrush scandal, the hostile environment and, most recently the suppression of the report into BAME propensity and deaths from CV19 can the Tories have anything to say about anti-racism demos.

The Labour Party has its own demons to exorcise, apart from the record of the Attlee government in India and Africa, more recently there is the allegations of racism at the most senior levels of the Party towards its leading black MPs, and Keir Starmer, albeit in a longer interview criticised the Bristol demonstrators who had pulled down the Colston statue. He has been rebutted by Marvin Rees, the black Mayor of Bristol, who also criticised the Govt’s priorities and Dawn Butler, the black MP for Brent Central.

Len Duval, the Leader of London’s GLA Labour group issued a statement, in which he says, this must be a turning point. Anyone who disagrees is just not listening to their friends, co-workers, family and neighbours.

This is a challenge for everyone in the UK, together we can make a better society and move towards eliminating racism within our society.  …

First they came …

 

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the sick, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not sick.

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller

This is based on speeches made by the anti-nazi German priest Martin Niemöller and sourced from Wikipedia; most versions of the poem seem not to include the sick, the so-called incurables, but I wanted a longer version and think its more relevant to the UK today. …

Racism in culture & politics

Racism in culture & politics

Two stories, one personal and one public showing the endemic racism in the UK in Thatcher’s ’80s and wondering how much things have changed. Originally posted as a storify, rescued and back dated to the original date.

The personal story related to watching an episode of Minder, “Poetic Justice, Innit!” and the endemic, unnecessary casual racism within it. This was cross referenced with yet another shock story of racists in the Tory cabinet.

The Minder episode was published a year after the Brixton riots, and the video copy on youtube, pointed to in the story is no longer available there. The story was made in 2017, posted here in 2020 and backdated to the date of its first publication.  …

The day after the night before

The day after the night before

That was a shock, a soul deadening shock. In the words of the meme, I felt a grief for the loss of the future I thought I and my children had. How did this happen? How could we have voted to follow the corrupt and the vain, Johnson and Farage. The answer may have been most rapidly and accurately identified by John Harris of the Guardian in an article, entitled “If you’ve got money, you vote in … if you haven’t got money, you vote out” in which he identifies those whom we’ve known about for years, who can be described in a number of ways. In my micro blog post, “Pebbles”, I describe them as ‘globalisation’s losers’, the working class whose towns, communities and institutions have been smashed during the neo-liberal ascendency, communities that Labour stopped listening to and representing in 1997 leading to a loss of 5 million votes between 1997 and 2010. Making this even more problematic for Labour is that nearly ⅔ of Labour’s voters, voted remain, and just as globalisation’s losers cannot be ignored, nor can Labour’s majority of remainers. What is to be done? …

learnings of deptford, on the doorstep

New Cross in the a.m., 7:00 a.m.

I was out on the doorstep tonight, campaigning for Vicky Foxcroft, Labour’s candidate for MP in Deptford. I met a number of interesting people and these are my notes, thanks to those who spoke to me about tactical voting, the middle east, racism, welfare and Labour’s representation of its core suport, the working class. …

That’s not why we won, or lost

That’s not why we won, or lost

In London, Labour won 50% of the seats in the European elections, won control of  four more councils and increased our majorities in the others. This rather fucks up the right’s desired narrative that UKIP won the elections. The argument that London rejected UKIP because we are younger and better educated is deeply unhelpful and yet still reinforces UKIP’s story that they are the only party fighting an oppressive metropolitan elite. Funny that. It is ignored that Labour also did well in Manchester, Liverpool and North East. …