Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

MP Claudia Webbe Warns that Hindu-Muslims Riots Could Spread Beyond Leicester

September 20, 2022

This is a sort of follow-up to the piece I put up early today about the Indian news channels now reporting on the rioting in Leicester between Hindu and Muslim gangs. The Guardian has reported that Claudia Webbe, the Labour MP for East Leicester, has warned that the violence could spread beyond her city if the government doesn’t act. She also says it’s being stirred by right-wing extremism. The article by Rajiv Syal, ‘Leicester violence could spread beyond city, says MP’, begins

‘Violent clashes between groups of mainly Hindu and Muslim young men will spread beyond Leicester to other towns and cities without central government and police intervention, a local MP has warned.

Claudia Webbe, whose Leicester East constituency has been at the centre of several incidents over the past month, said ministers need to clamp down on “extremist rightwing ideology” and misinformation being spread through social media.

There was a tense standoff between groups of Muslim and Hindu men, and the police, on Saturday evening alongside outbreaks of sporadic violence.

A demonstration on Sunday resulted in the arrests of 18 people, eight of whom came from outside Leicestershire, the Guardian disclosed.

Webbe said: “The reality is that we have fringe elements led and inspired by extremism and rightwing ideology rearing its head in the UK and in the peaceful city of Leicester.

“If we do not understand the root cause this will spread beyond Leicester to other areas. The government needs to intervene and ensure that social media platforms stop this from getting much, much worse.”

On Tuesday, Hindu and Muslim leaders in the city issued a joint statement calling for unity and calm.

It said: “Our two faiths have lived harmoniously in this wonderful city, for over half a century. We arrived in this city together, we faced the same challenges together we fought off racist haters together and collectively made this city a beacon of diversity, and community cohesion.”

The article notes that the Indian High Commissioner has also written to condemn the violence and attacks on the symbols of Hinduism. But it also describes how Webbe contacted the police force expressing her concerns about the violence and the forces driving it.’

Webbe wrote to Leicestershire police’s temporary chief constable at the start of the month, and then again, before the weekend’s recent trouble, urging vigilance, and passing on reports “of incitement to hate targeting at those of Muslim and of Hindu faith”.

In one letter, Webbe said some constituents had voiced fears to her that violence was driven in part by “underlying Islamophobia in parts of Leicester’s communities, rather than an isolated incident”.

Days later, on 14 September, Webbe wrote to the chief constable claiming “ongoing disturbances” and “incitement to hate” incidents on 5 September, and on 9 September, following which two arrests were made.

She said constituents had told her “tensions in the community may be more long-standing and not narrowly related to the India v Pakistan” cricket match which took place on 28 August as part of the Asia Cup tournament in the UAE.

Writing before the weekend’s latest incidents, Webbe told the police of “incitement to hate being targeted at those of Muslim and Hindu faith, through hastily arranged protests”.’

She also says that there was a protest called against Muslim hate crime in the heart of the Hindu community, even though no crime had occurred. She believes the incident was deliberately staged to provoke trouble. She also describes finding gloves and balaclavas in back streets, evidence that gangs have come in from elsewhere to cause trouble. She also wanted the social media companies to act against the violence:

‘Webbe, who was elected as a Labour MP but sits as an independent after being found guilty of harassment, called for the police to co-ordinate a national response and for social media companies to intervene.

“Much of this violence and hate is being shared on social media and through online communications. It is racism and fascism and it is rearing its ugly head. It is a national problem that requires a national response by the police and other agencies.’

The social media firms – TikTok and Twitter and WhatsApp – are the mediums that are being used and they should bear some responsibility,” she said.’

The article also quotes another Labour politico, councillor Sharmen Rahmen, who also feels that there’s a danger this could become national, and that the violence is partly due to a lack of leadership and willpower among the city’s politicians to nip it in the bud before it started.

For further information, see: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/leicester-violence-could-spread-beyond-city-says-mp/ar-AA122t8g?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=459588adbcd1490280f1b4b8fef7f40f

I have a great deal of respect for Claudia Webbe. She stands for pretty much the same kind of left-wing policies I support. I’ve’ included the details of her correspondence with the police in order to stop any Tory trying to say that it’s somehow all Labour’s fault, as they’ve done with the grooming gang scandal and the Asian sweat shops in Leeds, despite the fact that some of the people trying to stop the abuses in both cases were Labour MPs and councillors.

I also feel that the article bears out my impression that the lack of national coverage of the riots may have been partly done to stop the violence spreading. I can also believe that religious/ racial extremists are behind the riots. I’ve seen allegations on one of the Asian news reports that the Hindu violence against the Muslims was inspired by Hindutva, the Hindu nationalism India’s head honcho Narendra Modi promotes. And I have no doubt that there are similar Muslim extremists on the Pakistani side.

This really needs to be damped down extremely quickly before the violence erupts elsewhere. And I hope the anti-racism organisations will start tackling the hidden prejudices and hatreds in other communities as well as Whites.

Asian News Agencies Now Covering Pakistani vs. Hindu Rioting in Leicester

September 20, 2022

And the Indian government is getting involved as well. A few days ago, Simon Webb of HIstory Debunked put up a piece about the ongoing riots in Leicester between Pakistanis and Hindus. When he blogged about it the rioting had been going on for 13 days and, although covered in the local press, had received scant coverage on the Beeb or the national news. Webb considered that this was because the rioting didn’t fit the narrative that only Whites can be racist. He also claimed that the police officers sent to quell the riots weren’t British because they had Asian names.

Now the Indian news channels are covering the riots. There have been reports by The Quint, the Hindu Times and WION, frequently using the same footage. According to them the riots started on the 28th of last month (August) when a fight broke out after a Pakistan versus India cricket game. Three men were arrested. The fighting broke out again this weekend as Muslims attacked Hindus due to a rumour that a mosque had been desecrated. The rumour was completely untrue, but it didn’t stop the Muslims from seeking revenge. An orange flag was videoed being torn down near a temple. According to the Muslims, this rioting was started by Hindus marching through Muslim areas chanting ‘Jai shri ram’. The Indian High Commissioner has sent the government a strongly worded message condemning the attacks on Hindus and demanding that the British government do everything possible to protect them.

Claudia Webbe, the local Labour MP, has written a message to the city’s people stating that the city is a wonderful example of diversity, and the way different peoples can live together peacefully. She urges people to be calm and not go out and so protect their community. This praiseworthy message has naturally drawn sneers from Paul Joseph Watson. As for the ethnicity of the police at the rioting, the videos show a number of White cops. So, the policing of the riots has definitely not been given over to foreigners. And the foreigners Webb mentioned were likely to be British Asians, whose families could well have been here for three generations or more.

I do believe that Webb has a point when he talks about the riots not being covered because of ethnic minority racial sensitivities. My own experience has been that Black and Asian anti-racist activists do not like crimes by ethnic minorities being reported because they see it as promoting prejudice against them. Hence when the Beeb did start covering the riots, they merely mentioned that it was by gangs of ‘youths’. I suspect another reason may have been to prevent the violence spreading if there was a danger that other Asian communities would also begin to divide and follow suit.

But it also seems to me that the rioting also corroborates a danger to social cohesion caused by the demographic decline of Whites, suggested by Thomas Sowell. Sowell, a Black Conservative, believes that America is in danger of balkanisation. White culture is currently the glue that holds America together. As Whites decline as a percentage of the American population and White culture is challenged by other groups, so there is a danger that America will become nothing more than a collection of different races and ethnicities competing against each other. The decline of White America will therefore result in more ethnic violence as these peoples directly confront and come into conflict with each other. There is some low-level violence between ethnic minorities already. For example, the attacks on Jews that occurred at Christmas weren’t done by White anti-Semites, but by members of Black Israelite groups. These believe that only Black Americans descended from slaves are the authentic Jews and despise White Jews as ‘Khazars’. See the section on the Black Hebrew Israelites in Donna Kossey’s 1995 Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief, published by Feral House for more information. In Britain I remember there being rioting between Blacks and Asians in Birmingham in the 1980s.

I think Sowell’s got a point about balkanisation, which is why I strongly believe that ethnic racism needs to be tackled as well as White, regardless of opposition from Black politicos like Diane Abbott.

Explaining History Debunked’s Nostalgia for the NF

September 17, 2022

Simon Webb’s turn towards outright Fascism has puzzled me a little. Agreed, almost all the material on Video Debunked is deeply critical of Black and Asian immigration and the problems that have come with multiculturalism. So much so that his readers and commenters have implored him to join Patriotic Alternative. To his credit, he refused, and is deeply critical of its leader, His commenters contain people, who can only be described as real Nazis and anti-Semites. There are any number of them pushing the Great Replacement theory, which hold that the Jews are responsible for mass non-White immigration to the West. This is supposedly being done to destroy the White race. It’s American in origin but made its way into British Fascism where it mixed with certain native British strains of anti-Semitism from The Britons and Arnold Leese. Some of his commenters boast names like ‘Talmud ZOGberg’, after the Talmud, the second Jewish holy book, and ZOG, the ‘Zionist Occupation Government’ of Nazis like Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber. Webb isn’t an anti-Semite and is a staunch defender of Israel, which frustrates the Nazis on his channel no end, especially when he puts up videos debunking the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and the arguments marshalled by the Holocaust deniers.

But these past few days he seems to have become overtly far right. Or at least, nostalgic for it. Yesterday he put up a video asking what was wrong with Fascism, citing Portugal’s former dictator Salazar as a benign Fascist regime in all but name. Salazar, he states, gave his country prosperity and didn’t bring it into the Second World War. In another video, celebrating the victory of Sweden Democrats as part of a right-wing coalition in Sweden and the increasingly right-ward turn of Italian politics, he looked back to the 1975 or so when the NF won 5 per cent in the British elections. He could have cited UKIP’s victory in the elections a few years ago, such as it was. That provoked various pundits in the media to speculate about Farage’s party becoming a major force in British politics. Channel 4 even made a mockumentary about what it would be like if the Drunken Financier took power, with immigrants confined in cages in the street. But Webb ignored the Kippers, and looked back to the boot-boys and hooligans of the NF instead. Why so?

I think the answer is that Webb is an authoritarian, who wants a specific political party for Whites. He’s a racial nationalist. He made a video a week or so ago discussing the rioting that has been going on in Leicester between Pakistani and Indian youths. This started after Pakistan won a cricket match against India. The rioting, which then had been going on for ten days, was obviously covered in the local papers but has received no national coverage. It has been covered in the Indian papers, as Harris Sultan and Nuriyah Khan have discussed on one of their videos. Webb suggested in his video that it wasn’t being covered nationally in Britain because it contradicted the narrative that people of Pakistani and Indian descent were as British as White, indigenous Brits. He also claimed that the cops trying to quell the violence weren’t British, citing one officer, who had an Asian surname. Actually, it seems to me to be eminently sensible to have Asian police officers trying to stop the unrest, if only to avoid the accusations of racism that would be directed at the White officers. From Webb’s description, you’d think that these Asian officers were men and women on loan from the Pakistani or Indian forces. But they’re not. They’re just British Asians. The fact that he calls them foreign, despite the fact that in many cases they may well have been here for generations shows his view of Britishness is based firmly on race, like the BNP. But unlike UKIP, who were national populist rather than racial nationalist. They were against immigration, but claimed they weren’t racist and had it written into their constitution that former members of Fascist parties were ineligible to join them. Of course, it turned out there were any number of former extreme rightists in it, but the image they wanted to project was of non-racism. Webb has also called for extremely authoritarian methods to be used against the Channel migrants. He’s pointed to the legislation defining entering the country illegally as an act of war, and asked why we couldn’t be like Poland and have armed soldiers guarding the frontier to makes sure no-one gets in illegally.

I believe that ethnically based parties are extremely dangerous. If nothing else, they fragment countries into competing ethnic groups, resulting in ethnic conflict and violence. This has been the case in many African countries. Robert Mugabe started his wretched reign of terror in Zimbabwe by terrorising and massacring the Ndebele, the traditional enemies of his tribe, the Shona, before moving on to other tribes and finally the White farmers. In Nigeria there was the Biafran War, when the Hausa and other Muslim tribes turned on the Igbo. In Uganda in the 1980s the dictator started massacring the largest tribe, the Buganda. And I’m afraid there’s a danger of ethnic specific parties arising in Britain. There’s the Aspire party in London, which resulted from a split in the Labour party after they deselected Lutfur Rahman. This party’s membership seems to be exclusively Bengladeshi Muslims, who were strongly favoured by Rahman in his administrations on the council. Sasha Johnson was setting up an ethnically specific party for Blacks, Taking the Initiative. This was supposedly because the major parties had done nothing about continuing Black poverty, and she denounced mainstream Black politicians like David Lammy in very strong terms. Whites could support Taking the Initiative, but its leadership could only be Black. From what I’ve heard, it had 40,000 members before Johnson met with a bullet in her back garden.

This is dangerous, because the BNP did well in the parts of London like Tower Hamlets where a section of the working-class White population felt marginalised and ignored by the major parties in favour of ethnic minorities. If Taking the Initiative had got off the ground and started winning elections, then there would have been a real danger of a backlash from some Whites seeking a party to represent them racially. And almost certainly if Johnson had had her way and founded a paramilitary Black militia.

As regards Salazar, he strikes me as having been a reactionary Roman Catholic, the Portuguese equivalent of a Spanish caudillo, or military dictator, rather than an outright fascist. There’s a chapter on his works in a book on dictator literature, and from this it seems that most of the books he wrote were Roman Catholic social doctrines, rather than the secular ideology of Italian Fascism. Webb has struck me as a right-wing Conservative, in favour of small government and private enterprise. I very much doubt he and his supporters would like Mussolini’s brand of fascism, which included state direction with private enterprise, and in which the trade unions were expected to sit in parliament with management to direct the economy. And this is quite apart from the overt militarism and warmongering of Italian Fascism.

What he seems to want, therefore, is a form of authoritarian, racial nationalist Conservatism, centred around the White British, rather than the overt, aggressive Fascism of Mussolini. This has to be opposed, along with other, ethnic parties that threaten to divide ordinary Brits and create more ethnic conflict while promising their people uplift and respect.

Respect to David Beckham and Susanna Reid for Waiting with the Proles at the Queen’s Funeral

September 17, 2022

Credit where credit’s due – I admire Becks and Susanna Reid for refusing VIP tickets and waiting in line with the rest of the hoi polloi to see the Queen lying in state. Susanna Reid was there with her mother, and waited 13 hours, I believe. Unlike some politicos and newscasters, who got the VIP tickets and therefore jumped the queue.

Truth Checkers Gives Us Alex Belfield’s Ten Worst Moments

September 15, 2022

More Alex Belfield. Well, he’s due to be sentenced tomorrow, and just to remind us how nasty he really is, the Truth Checkers channel on YouTube have created this video of his ten worst moments, which they subdivide into the following sections:

CHAPTERS 0:00 – Introduction 0:21 – 10 – Contempt for his fans 4:43 – 9 – Misogyny 7:55 – 8 – Creepy Behaviour 9:33 – 7 – Outing Celebrities 10:19 – 6 – Fat Shaming 12:48 – 5 – Inciting Harassment 15:14 – 4 – Dodgy Finances 24:18 – 3 – Trans/Bi/Homophobia 29:50 – 2 – Mental Health 36:06 – 1 – Racism 38:40 – 0 – Bonus Material.

Belfield shows himself in these incidents to be callous, manipulative, bigoted and actually dangerous. He mocks people with genuine mental health issues, going on about how they’re weak and should pull themselves together and making the old mock crying actions about them. When it comes to the subject of suicide, he thinks it’s funny to cut off one woman who has reasonably objected to his sneering comments about it because her boyfriend took his own life. He then posts pictures of nooses. As regards racism, Black and the ‘dinghy divers’ are dangerous, feral savages. And he really is homophobic. He rants about transpeople and when a transman calls in to challenge him, he cuts him off. Now some of his views on some of the trans issues aren’t unreasonable. I think the gender-neutral toilets in the Barbican were installed to help trans identified people. And some of the criticisms of Drag Queen Story Hour are also quite valid, in my opinion. Modern drag is highly sexualised, and so it is highly questionable whether it is suitable for children. A few weeks ago, a video made by a drag queen, who said that it wasn’t suitable for kids, went viral among the right-wing YouTube channels. But Belfield here is extremely rude about it all. Helen Pluckrose, who’s a critic of postmodern theories like Queer Theory, which is behind some of Trans ideology, believes that there’s a middle ground on which Trans people and gender critical feminists can agree on. And many gender critical feminists complain that they have a problem debating the trans rights activists because they refuse to appear with them, sometimes making the excuse that they don’t feel safe. Well, Belfield had the opportunity to have a respectful dialogue with a transperson, and threw it away with snide remarks. Which makes the gender critical side look bad. Quite honestly, I can’t blame some transpeople not feeling safe if that’s the response they get from Belfield and people like him. The contempt he has for his audience is astonishing to behold. He shouts at them, tells them to hurry up with what they’re saying and generally insults them.

I dare say that Belfield probably sees himself as some kind of shock jock, provoking his listeners with his abrupt and outrageous behaviour. Well, he ain’t Howard Stern, who was genuinely shocking and outrageous, but wasn’t homophobic. Belfield, by contrast, is just rude and nasty. And watching his behaviour here, including the sneers about women’s football and his creepy behaviour towards his female fans, you can see why Radio Leeds sacked him after a year.

Flying In A Paddle-Propelled Blimp

September 12, 2022

This comes from Tom Scott’s channel on YouTube and it’s brilliant! as the lad character always used to shout on the Fast Show. In this video, Scott goes flying with Aeroplume, a French company provides flights from human-powered blimps. These were designed twenty or so years ago by a French artist, inventor and engineer, Jean-Pierre David. The blimps are filled with helium and the human pilot is suspended underneath in a kind of horizontal harness. There are two paddles either side of them, which allow them to propel themselves around and steer the aircraft. It apparently takes a litre of helium to lift a gram of weight, so a blimp must carry 70,000 litres or so to lift a human. Antoine Sibue, Scott’s host from the company, explains that the hangar in which the flights are performed was originally built in 1919 for the military. It passed out of military service in 1999, and a think it was acquired by Aeroplume in 2009. It’s one of two locations. The other is in a cave 50 metres underground. Flight cost 60 Euros for half an hour. The company has three such blimps, lifting 90, 70 and 45 kilos respectively. They’re also open over school holiday, which is tempting fate, one feels. Still, they have had tens of thousands of flights and zero casualties. Sibue teaches Scott how to fly the blimp, how temperature affects buoyancy and how helium leaks from the blimp so that they have to replenish it occasionally, as well as problems when the surrounding air seeps in. But it all seems safe, sedate and rather cool.

The balloon was invented in France in the late 18th century and was enthusiastically taken up by scientists and the public. It represented the victory of human scientific ingenuity over nature. And when Napoleon was invading everyone in Europe, one of his schemes was to create a military airship. However, there was no form of artificial propulsion available at the time, so the idea was to have its crew pulling on paddles rather like those on Aeroplume’s blimps.

The blimps strongly remind me of the 19th century airships depicted by some of the early pioneers of Science Fiction, such as Jacques Robida. I think the French novelist and artist would be highly amused by the way his vision has now been realised.

Black Computer Programmer Wants More Black Men in Maths, Computing and Medicine

September 7, 2022

This is a short from Isaac Smith’s YouTube channel. It’s simply him watching a Black computer programmer, Kwanza Kanju, go through the stats showing that Black boys would stand more chance of a job if they switched their ambitions from basketball to a career in the STEM subjects. He begins by saying that there are a million Blacks wanting to play in the NBA. He goes through the decreasing number that qualify for the sport at each succeeding level, until he shows that there are only seven places available in the NBA that these million aspiring kids are chasing.

On the other hand, there were 100,000 jobs going last year in maths, computing and medicine. He states that if you practise hard and study enough, you become what you want to be. If you spend your time playing basketball from 3 to 6 pm, you’ll be a very good basketball player. If you spend the same amount of time in libraries, you’ll be a brilliant scholar. And he knows that Black people will make excellent mathematicians and medical specialists, as the first doctor wasn’t Hippocrates but Imhotep.

He’s right, and basically saying what Black conservative writer Jason Riley says. Black people can excel academically if they spend the same time and effort on these subjects as they do on sport and music, where they already excel.

I wanted to put this up as a piece of positive, optimistic advice that a Black STEM expert was giving to aspiring Blacks after all the negative stories this week about Black looting gangs, the violence at the Notting Hill Carnival and so on.

Mahyar Tousi: Allin Khan Wants Starmer Out

August 23, 2022

Well, good on Dr. Khan, says I. Mahyar Tousi is another true-blue, Brexiteer Tory YouTuber. I didn’t watch the video because he tends to irritate me too much. But he posted one up this morning stating that senior Labour member Allin Khan wanted Starmer out. I have zero problem with this, though I’ve no doubt that the right are even now going to spin this as the Labour ‘moderates’ – who are anything but – are under terrible threat from those evil Corbynistas. Khan was one of the candidates for the Labour deputy leadership two years or so ago, and I saw her with the others at the Bristol hustings held at Bristol City’s football ground. There were some great left-wing hopefuls standing, and Khan was one of them. If I remember correctly, she’s Dr. Rosina Allin Khan, of mixed Pakistani-Polish heritage. I think she may also be from a working class home. And as a doctor she was particularly concerned about the NHS. It’s too bad that she or any of the other real left-wingers didn’t get.

And I’d far, far rather have her as leader than Starmer. I believe very strongly that Dr. Khan would fight for the NHS, while sleazy Starmer seems to me all too ready to sell it off if it’s politically convenient.

Why Did British Public Opinion Turn Against the Empire?

August 10, 2022

The British empire and its history is once again the topic of intense controversy with claims that its responsible for racism, the continuing poverty and lack of development of Commonwealth nations and calls for the decolonisation of British museums and the educational curriculum. On the internet news page just this morning is a report that Tom Daley has claimed that homophobia is a legacy of the British empire. He has a point, as when the British government was reforming the Jamaican legal code in the late 19th century, one of the clauses they inserted criminalised homosexuality.,

In fact this is just the latest wave of controversy and debate over the empire and its legacy. There were similar debates in the ’90s and in the early years of this century. And the right regularly laments popular hostility to British imperialism. For right-wing commenters like Niall Ferguson and the Black American Conservative economist Thomas Sowell, British imperialism also had positive benefits in spreading democracy, property rights, properly administered law and modern technology and industrial organisation around the world. These are fair points, and it must be said that neither of these two writers ignore the fact that terrible atrocities were committed under British imperialism either. Sowell states that the enforced labour imposed on indigenous Africans was bitterly resented and that casualties among African porters could be extremely high.

But I got the impression that at the level of the Heil, there’s a nostalgia for the empire as something deeply integral to British identity and that hostility or indifference to it counts as a serious lack of patriotism.

But what did turn popular British opinion against the empire, after generations when official attitudes, education and the popular media held it up as something of which Britons should be immensely proud, as extolled in music hall songs, holidays like Empire Day and books like The Baby Patriot’s ABC, looked through a few years ago by one of the Dimblebys on a history programme a few years ago.

T.O. Lloyd in his academic history book, Empire to Welfare State, connects it to a general feeling of self hatred in the early 1970s, directed not just against the empire, but also against businessmen and politicians:

”Further to the left, opinion was even less tolerant; when Heath in 1973 referred to some exploits of adroit businessmen in avoiding tax as ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’, the phase was taken up and repeated as though he had intended it to apply to the whole of capitalism, which was certainly not what he meant.

‘Perhaps it was surprising that his remark attracted so much attention, for it was not a period in which politicians received much respect. Allowing for the demands of caricature, a good deal of the public mood was caught by the cartoons of Gerald Scarfe, who drew in a style of brilliant distortion which made it impossible to speak well of anyone. The hatred of all men holding authority that was to be seen in his work enabled him to hold up a mirror to his times, and the current of self hatred that ran so close to the surface also matched an important part of his readers’ feelings. Politicians were blamed for not bringing peace, prosperity, and happiness, even though they probably had at this time less power – because of the weakness of the British economy and the relative decline in Britain’s international position – to bring peace and prosperity than they had had earlier in the century; blaming them for this did no good, and made people happier only in the shortest of short runs.

‘A civil was in Nigeria illustrated a good many features of British life, including a hostility to the British Empire which might have made sense while the struggle for colonial freedom was going on but, after decolonization had taken place so quickly and so amicably, felt rather as though people needed something to hate.’ (pp. 420-1).

The Conservative academic historian, Jeremy Black, laments that the positive aspects of British imperialism has been lost in his book The British Empire: A History and a Debate (Farnham: Ashgate 2015):

‘Thus, the multi-faceted nature of the British imperial past and its impact has been largely lost. This was a multi-faceted nature that contributed to the pluralistic character of the empire. Instead, a politics of rejection ensures that the imperial past serves for themes and images as part of an empowerment through real, remembered, or, sometimes, constructed grievance. This approach provides not only the recovery of terrible episodes, but also ready reflexes of anger and newsworthy copy, as with the harsh treatment of rebels, rebel sympathisers , and innocent bystanders in the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya, an issue that took on new energy as demands for compensation were fuelled by revelations of harsh British policy from 2011’. (p. 235).

He also states that there’s a feeling in Britain that the empire, and now the Commonwealth, are largely irrelevant:

‘Similarly, there has been a significant change in tone and content in the discussion of the imperial past in Britain. A sense of irrelevance was captured in the Al Stewart song ‘On the Border’ (1976).

‘On my wall the colours of the map are running

From Africa the winds they talk of changes of coming

In the islands where I grew up

Noting seems the same

It’s just the patterns that remain

An empty shell.’

For most of the public, the Commonwealth has followed the empire into irrelevance. the patriotic glow that accompanied and followed the Falklands War in 1982, a war fought to regain a part of the empire inhabited by settlers of British descent, was essentially nationalistic, not imperial. This glow was not matched for the most recent, and very different, conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. These have led to a marked disinclination for further expeditionary warfare’. (pp. 421-2).

In fact the whole of the last chapter of Black’s book is about changing attitudes to the empire and the imperial past, which Black feels has been distorted. The British empire is seen through the lens of atrocities, although its rule was less harsh than the Germans or Italians. In India the view is coloured by the Amritsar massacre and ignores the long periods of peace imposed by British rule in India. He also notes that the cultural and international dominance of America has also affected British ideas of exceptionalism, distinctiveness and pride, and that interest in America has superseded interest in the other countries of the former empire.

Attitudes to the empire have also changed as Britain has become more multicultural., and states that ‘increasingly multicultural Britain sees myriad tensions and alliance in which place, ethnicity, religion, class and other factors both class and coexist. This is not an easy background for a positive depiction of the imperial past’ (p. 239). He also mentions the Parekh Report of the Commission on the Future Multi-Ethnic Britain, which ‘pressed for a sense of heritage adapted to the views of recent immigrants. This aspect of the report’ he writes, ‘very much attracted comment. At times, the consequences were somewhat fanciful and there was disproportionate emphasis both on a multi-ethnic legacy and on a positive account of it’. (p. 239). Hence the concern to rename monuments and streets connected with the imperial past, as well as making museums and other parts of the heritage sector more accessible to Black and Asians visitors and representative of their experience.

I wonder how far this lack of interest in the Commonwealth goes, at least in the immediate present following the Commonwealth games. There’s talk on the Beeb and elsewhere that it has inspired a new interest and optimism about it. And my guess is that much of popular hostility to the empire probably comes from the sympathy from parts of the British public for the various independence movements and horror at the brutality with which the government attempted to suppress some of them,, like the Mau Mau in Kenya. But it also seems to me that a powerful influence has also been the psychological link between its dissolution and general British decline, and its replacement in British popular consciousness by America. And Black and Asian immigration has also played a role. I’ve a very strong impression that some anti-imperial sentiment comes from the battles against real racism in the 1970s and 1980s. One of the Fascist organisations that founded the National Front in the 1960s was the League of Empire Loyalists.

This popular critique on British imperialism was a part of the ‘Nemesis the Warlock’ strip in 2000AD. This was about a future in which Earth had become the centre of a brutally racist, genocidal galactic empire ruled by a quasi-religious order, the Terminators. They, and their leader, Torquemada, were based on the writer’s own experience as a pupil of an abusive teacher at a Roman Catholic school. The Terminators wore armour, and the title of their leader, grand master, recalls the crusading orders like the Knights Templars in the Middle Ages. One of the stories mentions a book, published by the Terminators to justify their cleansing of the galaxy’s aliens, Our Empire Story. Which is the title of a real book that glamorised the British empire. Elsewhere the strip described Torquemada as ‘the supreme Fascist’ and there were explicit comparisons and links between him, Hitler, extreme right-wing Tory politicos like Enoch Powell, and US generals responsible for the atrocities against the Amerindians. It’s a good question whether strips like ‘Nemesis’ shape public opinion or simply follow it. I think they may well do a bit of both.

But it seems to me that, rather than being a recent phenomenon, a popular hostility to the British empire has been around since the 1970s and that recent, radical attacks on imperial history and its legacy are in many cases simply an extension of this, rather than anything completely new.

Did Barbados and Jamaica Really Appeal to Us to Take their Workers to Prevent a Political Crisis?

August 8, 2022

Here’s another unusual claim from Simon Webb of History Debunked about the origins of the first wave of Caribbean immigration here in the 1940s and 50s, if some of the great readers of this blog will indulge me talking about him once again. I know how he and his very right-wing views really annoy some people. This morning Webb put up a video repeating the claim once again that the Windrush migrants hadn’t been invited by the British government, but instead took advantage of the cheap cabins available on the Empire Windrush to come to Britain to seek work. He then moved from this claim to discuss the advertisements London Transport had placed in the Caribbean for men willing to work as bus drivers over here. Citing the Runnymede Commission and something they say on their website, to which he provides a link, Webb claimed that this had been done, not because Britain needed the Labour but for the benefit of the Barbadian and Jamaican authorities. At this period in the 1950s, there had been high unemployment and civil unrest in those colonies, and the British government had made the appeal for workers their to relieve the political pressure by taking the hotheads to Britain. He also stated that the West Indian nurses that came over here were intended simply to study, then go back to their own countries taking their skills with them.

I’m not an expert on immigration or immigration policy, and this occurred well before I was born. But history matters, even when some of the claims about it come from people like Simon Webb. I always understood that there was a labour shortage, and that some sort of appeal for commonwealth workers had been made. Though this wasn’t necessarily for Black workers. I therefore left this comment on the video:

‘I’ve seen several stories in the press about the appeal for West Indian workers to come to Britain. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the Independent a decade or so ago claimed that the British government had put out such a call, but that five Labour MPs had joined the opposition in voting against it. Another version I’ve heard is that the British government had put out a call for commonwealth workers, but were expecting them to come from the White colonies like Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They weren’t expecting the mass influx of Black and Asian migrants. Is there any way to get to the bottom of these stories and see whether they’re truth or myth?’

Webb claims that the story that Caribbean immigrants were invited here is a myth created by Blacks a little while ago, and uncritically adopted by Whites because it made them feel ‘warm and fuzzy’. But from pieces like Alibhai-Brown’s in the press, it seems to me that some kind of appeal had been made. I suspect that you would have to read through a lot of books and documents looking for the truth of these claims. However, I do wonder if any of the readers or commenters here know anything about this issue and so may be able to correct or refute it.

Some of the comments to Webb’s video are interesting as personal reminiscences of meeting Caribbean immigrants and hearing from them why they came here, as well as seeing films in the Caribbean advertising for workers.

53supermojo said:

‘n 1964/5 I went to Football Matches and stood generally in the same place and by same people at every game. Amongst them were a group of Bus Drivers and Conductors from Barbados. Sometimes they came to the Match in their work Clothing , having worked the Morning Shift. They were all friendly and well mannered. They told my older Cousin and his Workmates, that they came here because they were unemployed , they saw advert in local newspaper for people to come and work here. So someone must have known about that in Home Office ? They said they had been here for 3 to 4 years at time and moved from London Area up to West Midlands , they lived in ‘ Digs ‘ and had Girlfriends. If they are still here , they would be in their late 80s or 90s now !’

Gary Dennis commented

‘My parents and many of her friends and associates from Jamaica recalled seeing what that called ‘propaganda’ films encouraging them to come to Britain. It painted a romantic and quant image of Britain, which did exists but not for most people. If you know any elderly Caribbean people ask them about these films and adverts. When Jamaicans came they actually had not intent of staying beyond five year, they wanted to make a bit of money then go back. Life was not as they expected and most were unable to leave and therefore settled in and made the best of it. My suspicion was that my parents generation had been ‘invited’ – or more perhaps more accurately ‘an opening made’ – to undercut the cost of local labour. I believe this was the origin of racial tension but I have no evidence. I remember reading an article in Lobster Magazine where Harold MacMillan was heard to have said in conversation that he didn’t expect so many to come. I began to question the need for immigrants from the Caribbean when I began to take an interest in basic economics and started to question the premise that there was not enough labour available after the second world war. Obviously many people died but I understand that women had already taken up much of the slack in the workforce. I don’t claim to know the truth but there are some of us descendants of immigrants that also question the official narratives about immigration. We need to remember that some of these countries were British territories and these policies and actions would have been arrangements between Parliament and the Governor Generals of the countries and I suspect that the trigger for the movement of immigrants originates from these parties with Barbados only having got it’s independence in 1966 and Jamaica in 1962; well after Windrush. Jamaica had turned violent because of militant unionism during the 1930s and 40s escalating significantly in the 60s so I suspect the worry expressed by the governments was less to do with the welfare of the locals but the stability of the territory. The European Coal Community also took advantage of massive movements of cheap labour after the second world war. Is cheap labour the common theme here?’

I’ve heard that many migrants from what is now Pakistan and India also originally came here to work for a very limited time before going back to their home countries. It was chain migration, in which one set of migrants would move in after the last set had returned. According to this view, the great surge in Black and Asian immigration came after Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech and the imposition of limits on immigration by Ted Heath, as there was a rush of people to come to this country before the gates were closed. So many migrants from south Asia came here with the intention of making enough money to go back to Pakistan or India again that one ethnographic study of the British Asian community I’ve come across was called The Myth of Return.

As for women taking on male jobs during the War, I understood that there was the expectation that after the War women would return to their domestic role, just as they did after World War II, and that this is largely what happened until the rise of second wave feminism in the 1960s.

Also interesting is this comment from david c:

‘Back in the 60’s, I worked at a well known clothing company, who were praised for their charitable efforts to give employment, to about 300 people from Mauritius, with an agreement from their government, so they could work in the basement of the shop, making clothes. Nobody mentioned that they were being paid about 50% less than the the rest of us.’

This looks like a nasty bit of exploitation under the cover of humanitarianism, which makes you wonder what else was going on.