Friday, 6 January 2012

"No blacks, no coloureds, no Asians, no Irish, no children." Three cheers for Diane Abbott

I don't like the idea that anybody should be "dressed down" by another person and so I was disappointed to learn that Ed Milliband has apparently administered such a thing to his colleague Diane Abbott for her remarks about us white folks. I was disappointed because I have up to now admired Ed Milliband for his  unfashionable take on politics that it is about intelligent discussion and not about the cheap, too often repeated cliched  soundbites, and moral diktats that appeal so much to his immature opponents, the leaders of the Conservative government, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Yes, I did write Nick Clegg and to be sure, I did write  "Conservative government."

Back to Diane Abbott, who in my view has never done herself great favours by her often inconsistent views and actions, but on this occasion I think she got it right. We white people, including my wonderful self, who read The Guardian*  and who think of ourselves as nice non-racist centre lefties  are, it seems to me, just as racist as anyone, whether of white, yellow, black or whatever hue, religion, language or culture.  It mystifies me that those who tell me they know better about all things of import have got so worked up about Diane saying whites "divide and rule" on matters of race, when what she says  has manifested itself so immediately and dramatically in the response to her remarks made by the media and its subservient operatives, meaning, well,  most politicians really. This has been a disproportionate reaction. 

I guess like most white British people I have never been the subject of a racist taunt.

To agitate against Diane Abbott's observation at a time when, we still have not resolved all the issues underlying what happened to Stephen Lawrence and what happened in the aftermath of his murder, when, an Indian visitor to our country is murdered because of what the colour of his skin may have represented to the impoverished and deprived personna of his assassin, and when overwhelmingly  both the most subtle and overt expressions of racism are made against non-white ethnic minorities, the vehement condemnation of Diane Abbott's remarks represents, certainly for me,  a worrying exercise of denial.

When I was a student in the 1960s looking for accommodation I would often see notices posted on the door of potential lodgings which read, "No blacks, no coloureds,  no Asians, no Irish, no children." I sometimes think this notice is still pinned up there on many a door in our country even though it is clothed in a sophisticated disguise.

I am  dubious about my association with The Guardian which now appears to be the official apologist for the Conservative government.
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