It's funny isn't it that despite nearly fifty years of British history and at least nine different pieces of binding legislation having been passed by successive governments, we're led to believe that we still live in a country that is beset by racism, sexism, fascism, intolerance, bigotry, Islamophobia, xenophobia; and any other number of supposedly extremist sentiments that you might try and care to name. Or so the prevailing mainstream media keeps telling us!
Starting with the first Race Relations Act that was passed in 1965, successive government's have introduced a range of regulatory rules designed to both influence and order people's personal and public thinking when it comes to the issues of race, gender, religion, employment and standing for public office. In their turn, there has been the Race Relations Act 1968, the Equality Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Race Relations Act 2000, the Sex Discrimination Act (Election Candidates) 2002, the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, the Equality Act 2006, the Equality Act 2010, a variety of highly specific Employment Equality regulations; and overriding all of these, has been the ultimate criminal sanction, the relevant sections of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
So, according to the widely held theory, with race relations having been thoroughly addressed and equalised through the 1965, 1968, 1976 and the 2000 laws, community relations in Britain should have been perfect, given that these pieces of national legislation were in place to regulate people's behaviour and attitudes; yet despite this there were "Race Riots" in Chapel Town 1975, St Paul's in 1980, Brixton 1981, Chapeltown 1981, Moss Side 1981, Toxteth 1981, Brixton 1985, Broadwater Farm 1985, Handsworth 1985, Dewsbury 1989, Bradford 2001, Oldham 2001 and in Birmingham 2005. What do these riots prove? They prove that you can regulate and legislate as much as you like, but ultimately, if people don't want to adhere to the actual ideals behind the law, then in reality they aren't worth the paper that they're written on; and are therefore worthless.
In a similar fashion, anyone who believes that women have achieved social or economic parity with their male counterparts is a fool; and yet the legislation to ensure that such parity has been around for nearly forty years. Likewise, if the legislation was working, Black youngsters would achieve comparable educational and employment outcomes to their white compatriots, yet they still don't, nearly fifty years after the first draft of the Race Relations Act was introduced into parliament. Why? Because in reality society is, what it is, with all the same intolerances, bigotry and discrimination that existed fifty years ago, the only difference being, that people don't publicly proclaim or admit their personal bigotry today, as they did fifty, or even sixty years ago, because it's not acceptable, or politically correct to do so. But for anyone, in government or in the media to believe that modern Britain has been compelled to become a much more tolerant, multicultural or accepting place for foreign migrants, just because were told to be, or made to be under threat of the law, is a complete nonsense, as it's simply perpetuating a mythical social model that doesn't actually exist.
The level of sheer stupidity displayed by our political classes is a wonder to behold. Rather than seeking to find and resolve the root causes of the British people's fears over immigration, those associated with migration generally, health, housing, education, employment, local services and wages, for the politician's part it is just easier to refer to such concerned people as racists, fascists, bigots, xenophobes, or Little Englanders, who only represent a very small proportion of the British population. Only yesterday, Nick Clegg called such people "backward looking", thus playing into the idea that those of us who see a future outside of the European Union, hanker for a return to the 1950's, when Britain was reported to be a much simpler and much more straightforward place to be. Only today, an Irish correspondent has felt driven to attack the leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, for his nationalistic views, which seems very odd, coming from a citizen of a country that had struggled for a thousand years to free itself from British dominion, only to then throw itself freely under the governorship of a foreign parliament in Brussels.
It seems that no matter how often people state the case that UKIP supporters don't dislike foreigners per se', just the fact that our government has opened our borders to one and all, is completely lost on the Westminster elite and the most of the mainstream media. For them both, lazy journalism, political spin and pointless sound-bites are the answer to people's genuinely held concerns, which simply helps ensure that fear, antagonism, intolerance and extremism within the British public continues to grow unchecked. Of course, some politician's and commentators dismiss such public concerns as simple scare-mongering, countering that the perceived pressures on schools, housing, hospitals and the nation's emergency services are all being overstated, that the numbers of people and children not speaking English as a first language is relatively unimportant to the economic future of our country. They tell the British public that it would be economic suicide for Britain to leave the European Union, to stop the flow of European migrants, because as a country we couldn't survive alone, that it would impede our ability to travel abroad, to retire to Europe, to work in Europe, all of which are a complete nonsense. For decades before the EU was even thought about Briton's travelled the globe, for vacations, for work and so in or out of Europe, Britons will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future.
Nigel Farage was attacked for daring to say that the absence of English voices, on an English train, travelling through the English countryside concerned and alarmed him, as if it should be perfectly normal for anyone to travel on a bus, a coach or a train in their own native country, without hearing anything but foreign voices. It is perhaps indicative of the utter disconnect between our political classes, our media and the people that they are supposed to serve, that any normal everyday person is thought to be stark staring mad for commenting on the absence of English voices on what was after all, an English train. Had a similar journey been undertaken by someone in France, Belgium, America, Canada, Germany, Pakistan, India, or elsewhere in the world, do you imagine that the reporter of the incident would have been publicly vilified by the media in that particular country, or would the wider implications of the incident itself have been discussed as a matter of some national concern? Even now the "racist" bombshell, designed to curtail discussion and prevent reasoned explanation, are thrown around by elements of the British media, often to hide the fact that there is no reasonable explanation for the events that are taking place in our country. Mass migration? Use the racist ploy! Open borders? Use the 'R' word! The foreign ghetto-isation of our larger towns and cities? No need to address the question, just call them a "racist" instead!
The recent case of a former UKIP councillor who it was reported to have inferred that Lady Doreen Lawrence, the mother of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, was a monkey and questioned whether or not whether the teenager was actually killed by a group of white thugs, perhaps illustrates best of all that legislation on its own is a highly imperfect way of trying to regulate an individual's personal opinions. Clearly, racism in its most potent form revolves around the belief that one race is superior, or inferior to another, a point of view that has yet to find any sort of scientific basis from any laboratory in the world. Bearing in mind that most intelligent people accept the facts on the general theory of evolution, that all of modern mankind evolved from early apes, then the councillor was correct in a limited sense, but overlooked the fact that his early ancestors were no doubt swinging from tree branches too at some point in our shared history. As for his reluctance to accept that Stephen Lawrence was indeed murdered by a gang of white thugs, which included the two men subsequently convicted for the crime, ultimately they were tried and convicted by a jury of their peers, so as far as British justice is concerned, they did participate in the murder of the young teenager and are currently serving their prison sentences accordingly.
As has been said before on this blog, politicians, policemen, soldiers, health workers, or indeed any other large body of people are almost certain to be representative of the society that they're drawn from; and that includes local councillors or national representatives, whether they stand for UKIP, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, Labour, Green Party, SNP, SDLP, or whoever. Out of the thousands of individuals who regularly put themselves forward for public office, there is always likely to be a smattering of racists, fascists, paedophiles, crooks, religious extremists, liars and adulterers amongst them; and no amount of lawmaking can ever account for that. One only has to look at the recent P.I.E. scandal that is currently engulfing the Parliamentary Labour Party to know this is true, although one wouldn't think there was any real problem if you happen to peruse the front pages of the Daily Mirror, the Labour Party's public media mouthpiece, as it's far too busy worrying about UKIP's latest politically incorrect faux pas, to be worried about paedophiles and the like!
Now I don't claim to be as clever, as some of those degree holding geniuses that currently inhabit the Palaces of Westminster; and dictate to the rest of us just how we should live and think about things, but if the likes of Greece and Spain are anything like the measure of the potential problems we could encounter in the future, as the result of our EU membership, then being backward looking, insular, or even nationalistic might be the least of our problems.
Having successfully created and essentially nourished an unrepresented underclass of British people who are suspicious of immigrants, ostensibly because the indigenous natives fear for limited jobs, limited benefits, limited heath care, limited education and limited housing, just how long do governments imagine it will be before these two communities, foreign and domestic, British and non-British, English speaker and non-English speaker, entitled and un-entitled, culturally bound and culturally apart, start to conflict with one another?
Screaming "Racist" or "Fascist" every time they hear an argument, or a remark they do not like, is not a legitimate answer to the root cause of the issues that often pre-empt the very same argument, or remark. British workers and native citizens feeling besieged by increasing numbers of foreign migrants is a legitimate concern, one that won't simply be solved by shouting "Racist" at it. Our current open border policy towards EU immigrants which causes many of these native concerns, won't be fixed by the media screaming "Fascist" in their news headlines. Handing control of 50% of our national lawmaking powers to a foreign parliament in Brussels won't be resolved by calling people "Little Englanders" or "Xenophobes". Expressing genuine public concerns about our country's future in terms of its defence, education, health care, education, transport, welfare system and its economy, won't be stilled by simply accusing the protester of being "backward looking", or worse still "anti-European". These issues are not just major concerns for Nigel Farage, or those UKIP supporters who have paid their annual membership fees. No doubt many of these same concerns play on the minds of millions of British citizens, irrespective of whether they're Black, White, English, Scottish, Christian, Muslim, male or female, rich or poor, employed or unemployed. And yet here we are, another year down the road and still the usual political parties refuse to openly acknowledge that there is a problem; and that it requires a solution!
It just never seems to occur to the political classes and their media support network that increased community tensions, whether based on race or ethnicity is inextricably linked to the issue of immigration; and probably even more so, if that foreign immigration is too much and too fast. Our country's immigration policies are inextricably linked to our membership of the European Union; as is the migrants entitlement to jobs, benefits, health care, education, housing, language services, etc., so the idea that these matters are entirely separate from one another; and can be dealt with on an individual basis is a completely fatuous one. To resolve them all, you simply need to resolve the one main point central to the rest, our country's membership of the European Union.
It is way too simplistic to just categorise people's dislike of the European Union as a form of latent racism or fascism, because for most people the argument has never been about the foreign migrants themselves, but the agreements and treaties that have allowed them to come to our country in such large numbers and over so many years. Now, politicians and the media may choose to persist with their well worn thinking that to oppose the four basic pillars of the European Union, the free movement of people, goods, services and capital, is to be outside of the norm, a racist, a fascist, a xenophobe, or a backward looking Little Englander, but that would be to do a huge injustice to a majority of the British people.
Of course there are those who foolishly believe that one race is superior to the other, that one religion holds a greater truth than its counterparts, that one gender is more worthwhile than its opponent, but then again no amount of legal regulations are likely to persuade such people that they're wrong. At the same time, casting general insults in the direction of those who oppose the European Union, is hardly likely to make them look more favourably on the project, rather it will simply harden their opposition to it. Just like the various Race Relations Acts have done little to improve community cohesion and integration in Britain, nor the Sex Discrimination Act eradicated sexism, or the Equality Acts provided real equality, no amount of strengthening of the various European Treaties, or insulting its opponents is going to make the British people feel any more European than we did right from the outset.