“Don’t call them bovver boys, what you mean is racists” – Sara Tor in The Times
At the heart of these people (if they can be seen to have one) is stupidity. Blind ignorance leads to many things of which racism can be one. Not all dim people become racists but it’s fair to say that all racists are stupid. What about Nick Griffin an openly racist activist who was educated at Cambridge University ? What about the aristocratic Army Officer Oswald Mosley – an antisemite fascist racist much of his life. Good questions !
The racist thugs have their heroes – check social media if you doubt that. Nigel Farage for one. The Dulwich College educated and minor city slicker Farage was a fascist at his school. Well we all do silly things in our teens. But in Farage’s case the proto-fascist child was father of the Hard Right, xenophobic man. His very apparent respectability gives our fat ageing street urchin “protestors” encouragement. Farage’s opinions are not that much different from the yobs – just somewhat more elegantly expressed.
Mosley led marches through the East End Of London where the ancestors of todays “protestors” cheered. Enoch Powell received much support from the Alf Garnett cohort. They knew the buttons to press. At the high point of his political activism Nick Griffin garnered dozens of council seats for the British National Party and was elected as a Member of the European Parliament. It’s successor Farage’s UKIP, the most successful overtly nationalist political party ever, changed Britains direction, possibly for ever.
In the European Parliament elections of 2014 Farage roused the rabble. Britain’s UKIP representatives in that parliament became political outliers in Brussels who the elected MEPs from 27 nations looked at with puzzlement bordering on contempt. When these rancid Kippers turned their backs on their fellow MEPs in an act of vulgar defiance any reputation Britain may have once had as a credible participant in the governance of a uniting Europe disappeared.
The distinction between a racist and a xenophobe is a fine one. And the distinction between a xenophobe and the Brexiteer peddlers of the mythical benefits of “Sovereignty “ is a fine one as well. They are still at it of course – even a man as educated and urbane as Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is drivelling on about Britain becoming “Independent again” on 1st January 2021. As if the independence our recent ancestors fought for and won in WW2 was a chimera.
So we may all distance ourselves from the fat men with tattoos who desecrated our capital City at the weekend. But we should all look carefully at the political climate which gave them cover for their actions. The political line from Mosely to Powell to Farage is clear. To extend it to Johnson is not too much of a stretch. If you call people of colour “picaninnies” you signal your opinions fairly clearly.
2 thoughts on “The political establishment has given the thugs cover”
What Mosely, Farage Johnson et al; have in common are political ambitions influenced by nostalgia. A deeply ingrained belief of English superiority, a longing for the return of Empire and the Rajah. They know that is impossible of course but there is a constituency across the nation who hold fast to the same ideals. They were ripe for exploitation in Mosely’s time and for today. Racism appeals to the very basic instincts of the twisted notion that pure born white Englanders are somehow different from the rest of humanity. It allows not very bright people living quite miserable lives the chance to feel better about themselves.
Neo-colonialism is a very English thing. The Scots now seek to go their own way and rejoin Europe. Ulstermen are now eyeing the south with a new fraternalism. The Welsh seem to be caught between two stools. One one hand wanting to be Europeans but reject the poverty independence may bring.
Membership of the EU gifted to Britain the very antithesis of neo-colonialism. It supplanted the ideal that we were now all part of a greater Europe. A Europe for the 21st century that turned its back on segregation and race hatred. It gave many people hope for a better world.
In leaving the EU Britain has now declared to the world that inward-looking national superiority is their preferred political philosophy whilst publically labelling it internationalism. The bully-boys seen on the streets last weekend are the attack dogs for the Brexit cheering generation. Brexit has unleashed a bitter struggle in British society that will last as long as its membership of the EU and beyond.
It did not have to be like this. It does not have to be like this if the political opposition to the Tory Party can galvanise a clear message that they represent a Britain that seeks again to be part of the European project.
Thank you. Excellent and illuminating comment.