Over the Dinner Table…

5 12 2009

Tonight my parents have had a dinner party, with a small band of their friends encircling our dinner table to laugh and talk about various things with a few bottles of wine handy. As seems inevitable, the conversation turned to politics. Having been invited in to grab some pudding, I found myself unwittingly dragged into the conversation (I hesitate to use the word “argument”), and found myself understanding so many things about the frustrations of the older generations.

To say I became scared of some of the stuff they were saying is perhaps taking it too far, but, through the course of the hour or so I spent listening, there was a frightening amount of stuff that the BNP’s publicist would have been proud of. Starting off with the premise that there are simply too many people in the country, thus necessitating a dramatic cull (we moved from Nazi Germany – with echoes of Nick Griffin’s comment about Hitler going just a bit too far with the Jews – to modern day China in the conversation), one particular member of the party exhibited his own take on the state of the country. Those we kick out of the country (roughly the 15 or so million people which would see our population be taken back down to about 50 million) would have to go somewhere else. Anywhere else. It doesn’t matter, as long as they aren’t on British soil. Look after your own first, then see what’s left to share with the rest of the world.

From there we moved through the problems of industry, religion, education, and class. The continuing theme was not, as I was perhaps expecting it to be, the fault of the current government in these issues; but was instead the larger issue of the psyche of the population. The phrase “white underclass” was one which was casually tossed around and seemed to be the common denominator in the matters. Laziness is to blame for the lack of industry in Britain (we have the know-how, so why don’t we do it anymore?). Religion is emphasised by varying gang cultures which is a product of the “underclasses” (I must have spent roughly ten minutes trying to explain that not all knife and gun crime is committed by black people). The education system is too saturated with children who know too much about the dole, about how to play the system to maximise laziness and reward. So ran, in a nutshell, most of the points that were made.

However, it was not only the fault of the white underclass, it is also the fault of immigrants (we take in way too many for our resources to cope). Having tried to explain Malthusian principles of a checking factor to the group, the response was that it will not be disease as we will simply find a cure. In short, for too many years we, as a country, have been to lax with too many things that we are now at a point where we are going to suffer greatly. Our import/export ratio is woefully imbalanced, our manufacturing industry is all but gone, and our gas and oil reserves are all used up. Or, to put it another way, we’re doomed.

Nor is the future any better, as younger generations are being taught too much in the way of other religions (apparently being indoctrinated into them) by our schooling systems, and they are being taught about gay rights from the age of four. They are becoming adults too quickly, a problem exacerbated by shops selling clothing which encourages them to grow up and act more like an adult from a younger age. Kids aren’t allowed to be kids any more. Apparently.

The problem was, that despite all these problems there were no real workable solutions offered. Getting rid of 15 million people to somewhere else and looking out for ourselves was the ideal principle. Cutting our imports down to provide a stimulus for our manufacturing was another suggestion (but failed to ignore the knock-on effects that that would have on various other trades and indeed, other countries who then grow disillusioned with the severence of economic ties). Starting again and establishing British industry once again to its former levels should be the aim. This industry which grew out of the industrial revolution will be pretty east to kick start as we have all the know-how, it’ll just take a bit of hard work. Apparently.

And yet, despite all this, they all freely admitted that they would not be joining their local political party. They would not be taking any actions as there is simply nothing they can do to stem this tide. And it was at this point I began imagining the same conversations happening in living-rooms, kitchens, dining-rooms, or over the garden fence up and down the country. Whilst the BNP are still largely discredited, it suddenly became so much clearer to me why people would want to vote for them. I maintain it would still be a protest vote, but it is not, as I’d thought, a protest vote against politics, it is a protest vote against the country. And it was then I began to feel uneasy. I’m pretty sure most of the party tonight would not vote BNP, as, for all their gesturing and posturing, they are not racist fools. The tide with which politics is battling is not against the BNP, as I’d have thought. Instead, politics must grapple with the consequences of the last 50 or so years, the decline of the empire, the industry, the rising dissatisfaction at all that has come to pass.

The Conservatives will likely come to office next year, and will be faced with the same problems. Industry will still be gone, the number of migrants will still remain “too many”. Bureaucracy and red tape will have to continue as a definition of our society. What seems to be needed is the foundations of stability need to be relaid. Industry played such a large part in British life for so many years, something needs to replace it, or it needs to be re-grown. I’m really not sure what the solutions are, if indeed there are any.

Tonight was an interesting eye opener, and it was nice to have another view of the world. However the hugely annoying uneasy feeling with which I left the conversation as the coffee arrived still lingers in my stomach, and I’m really not sure how to combat it.


Bricks and Beachwood…

31 10 2008

Forget the credit crunch. Ignore the presidential elections. Forget, if you can, Brand and Ross (made much easier now if you don’t watch or listen to the BBC).

Instead there is something sinister lurking on our coastlines. Something big. Something dangerous. Something with a highly unusual message. And it’s yellow.

Yes, today, down on the south coast, a huge apparition has emerged from the sea. The creature, sporting clothing (unconfirmed at this point, it may be skin) with a bizarre message scrawled on it, has appeared from nowhere. Whilst some are speculating it may be part of a Russian terrorist plot (possibly akin to the Trojan Horse), others are wondering if the end is really nigh. Indeed there is photographic evidence of a creature attempting to kill, maim or befriend an innocent bystander.

The creature disappeared as quickly as it came, either returning to its presumed habitat or taken to the British equivalent of Area 51, based, I’m reliably informed, just miles to the east of the location the creature was discovered.

It has been rumoured that the British ‘Creature’ is similar to one found in Holland recently. It has sparked massive debate amongst scientists as to whether there is another intelligent creature, able to use the spoken and written word, on this planet. Sporting the same message, but wearing different attire (the British one was green), some have speculated that they may be part of a family, or that the colours are representative of gender.

More bizarre than its origins though is the message the creature has brought with it. People are confused as to whether to take this as a warning, a sign that, following the downturn in the markets and snow in October, the apocalypse is really on its way. Others though see the creature as a beacon of hope, here to remind people of the bigger picture in life.

Critics have attacked the poor English that the creature uses, and have warned people not to take it seriously until it can construct a proper sentence, but those in the art community have praised the ambiguous message, with someone sporting a slanted beret commenting “this is just, wow. I mean, it’s taken everything we thought we knew about art and…well…made it bigger“. It’s hard to argue. Another commented that “the smile is so significant in art, first we had the Mona Lisa, now we have this. It’s incredible.

The abrupt disappearance of the creature, coupled with its thoughtful message and the lack of governmental comment deepens this in mystery further. Whatever the true story of the yellow man, I’m sure we will find out from Channel 5 in roughly a month. Meanwhile, the photographic evidence of the creature:

To the letter… of whiteness…

7 03 2008

There have been two pieces of news that have rung with me recently. I am more concerned about the second piece of information, but this first one still annoys me.

Pub landowner Tony Blows has been told to pay almost £12000 in fees and charges for flaunting the smoking ban rules. Tony, speaking on Midlands Today this lunchtime, vowed to fight the charges, and claimed that such an amount was indicative of ‘big bully’ type action from the government. Now I’m usually critical of the government, as and when they deserve it, but to me, Mr Blows hasn’t got a leg to stand on here. He got caught breaking the law. He must pay the price. To me, it is that simple. If you see someone littering in public, you expect them to have to pay the fine. If you get a parking ticket, you have to pay the fine. If you break the law, there should be consequences. And most importantly, there should be no exceptions.

Mr Blows now has been forced to sell his pub in Herefordshire to cover the fees, and has pledged to leave the country, but continue the fight. To me this is a case of ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’. Tony will claim he has little choice but to leave because the government has come down on him like a ton of bricks for breaking the law. If he wants to leave, so be it.

Linking on from this in a roundabout sort of a way, last nights Newsnight programme was a really interesting one. To launch a series of programmes detailing white working class Britain, the programme had Culture Minister Margaret Hodge facing off against three outspoken men who felt that the government had let the working class down. I agree that the label ‘white’ working class is wrong, and that the problems go further than race or colour, but it is the one that the wise BBC decided to use. Nor did they define what the ‘working class’ actually was, a serious fault of the report I feel.

However, it showed many things, the results of which are here. The overall feeling of abandonment though shows something much more serious, and something I have already mentioned on this blog. Politicians are not doing enough to engage with the people. Especially the working class people. The Joe Normal Briton is not feeling satisifed with the current government. But that is only part of the tale. They aren’t satisfied with other options either, most agree that the Tories and the Lib Dems are equally bad. They also seem to think that the BNP is too extreme, and would not engage with the rubbish that Nick Griffin spouted on about in the programme last night (immigration of Pakistanis correlates to increased drug use? Are you actually kidding?). The overall feeling of frustration was the most telling point of the whole report, 58% felt under-represented. 88% felt they couldn’t talk about the subject for fear of being labelled a racist. The qualification “I’m not a racist but…” seems highly applicable here.

Now I am not part of the working classes. I would put myself in the upper-middle class bracket of society. But I too agree that there is something wrong with not being able to talk about immigration without being labelled a racist and having the slur hanging over me.

I also embrace multi-culturalism. I have no problem with people from various ethnicities in Britain, but I would like to see more of an effort made to embrace British culture. That does not mean go to the chippy every friday. It does mean do not hide behind religion or race. Do not use that as a reason you didn’t get a job for example. I feel if people come over here they must play by our rules. The trouble from my point of view is that the government are changing these rules to fit the people coming over. There is so much more I could say more about this subject, but for fear of boring you, I will refrain. All I would do is encourage you to watch the programme (it’s on the BBC’s IPlayer for the next week). And then read the website and the information. And then tell me that there is not something wrong.

The working classes are becoming more and more disenchanted with Britain, and are looking to jump ship. Just like Tony Blows.