Posts Tagged ‘Cheshire’

‘Kill Whitey’ Joker Sophie Druker Wins Comedy Award Despite Outrage

October 14, 2021

In one of his videos yesterday, right-wing YouTuber Alex Belfield expressed his strong disapproval of Sophie Druker, who has won the Comedy Award, it seems, for her joke on a show with Frankie Boyle about Blacks wanting to kill Whites. She made the joke last year as a guest with other Black personalities on the show talking about Black Lives Matter and its protests. Boyle had opened the programme with a joke about asking his guests why they wanted to kill Whitey. Druker, a comedienne, replied, saying ‘We don’t want to kill Whitey’, then adding ‘Yes, we do.’ Okay, it’s obviously a joke. Druker clearly doesn’t want to kill Whites. It was obviously intended as a throw-away line. But it left a large number of people annoyed, including Belfield himself. And it’s quite understandable why. Belfield states in his video that he’s upset about the double standard. It would clearly be unacceptable for him, as a White man, to tell jokes about killing Black people. But it should also be unacceptable for Blacks to joke about the racist killing of Whites. But the Beeb and the judges of the Comedy Award don’t share that view. The Beeb brushed off the complaints they received about Druker’s comment, while the judges have apparently awarded Druker the award because of it. No doubt they thought it was challenging, edgy, and anti-racist, and so was pushing the boundaries of comedy in a blow against White racism. But it only shows instead the Beeb’s and the judges’ complete complacency and ignorance about anti-White racism.

It would clearly be unacceptable to joke about the racist murder of Blacks because of the real racism and racist violence experienced by Blacks and other ethnic minorities. But there’s also a high level of racial violence and abuse of Whites. This has, at times, been at the almost the same level as that against non-Whites, and sometimes above it, but has not received nearly the same media attention. For example, in 2006 the Guardian ran an article reporting that between 1998 and 2004 Whites accounted nearly half of all murder victims in which race was a factor in the killing. In this period there were 58 murders, with Whites making up 24 of the victims. At about the same time I remember there were reports that for the first time, Whites formed the majority of victims of racist crime, though looking through the internet it seems it was a report by the Committee for Racial Equality published in 1999. I found an article in the Independent that claimed, if I recall correctly, that Whites now formed 60 per cent of victims. And the amount of anti-White abuse and violence still forms a significance percentage of racist crimes. The right-wing Lotus Eaters in a video posted on 26th March 2021, quoted official stats from the government’s own Hate Crimes Unit, which stated that in the year from 2019 to 2020, Whites constituted 41 per cent of all victims in England and Wales. However the amount of anti-White racist crime is not reflected in the media, which exclusively concentrates, with very few exceptions, on abuse and attacks on non-Whites.

Some of this may come from the fact that a relatively small proportion of the White population is affected as opposed to Blacks and Asians. The Lotus Eaters quote the same stats, which show that nearly all of England and Wales’ Black population have experienced some kind of racial offence. But the proportion of Whites who have experienced it is much smaller, undoubtedly due to the greater size of the White population compared to that of Blacks and Asians. At the last census, Whites constituted 85 per cent of the population, while Blacks and Asians were about 15 per cent. The Beeb and other media bosses can be complacent about it, because quite simply they may never have experienced it.

But another factor is that the police and media don’t like talking about it because they are afraid of being accused of racism. The Guardian article quoted Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable of Cheshire and the Association of Chief Police Officer’s spokesman on race, who said ‘The political correctness and reluctance to discuss these things absolutely does play a factor. A lot of police officers and other professions feel almost the best thing to do is try and avoid it for fear of being criticised. We probably have got ourselves into a bit of a state about this. The difficulty in the police service is that the whole thing is being closed down because we are all afraid of discussing any of it in case we say the wrong thing – and that is not healthy.’ It is this attitude that meant the Muslim grooming gangs in Rotherham and elsewhere were left to abuse young White girls horrifically for nearly two decades completely unpunished, despite the police and authorities knowing exactly what was going on.

Some of this reluctance also comes from the fear that anti-White racism will be exploited by the Fascists. This is absolutely reasonable. I remember a report in one of the papers that the BNP did exactly that following reports such as those in the Groan. The BNP organised a competition for children in which they were supposed to imagine themselves as the victims of racism. This was White children, and imagine the racists were Black. Clearly nobody wants to hand Nazis like the BNP a real weapon to justify their race hate and violence.

There is also opposition by Black activists to anything other forms of racism except White from being discussed and condemned. Or even reported. A few years ago Diane Abbott told an Asian colleague, who was worried about racism within the BAME community, that she didn’t want it discussed because ‘they’ would use it to divide and rule. Black activists have also tried to redefine racism, so that something is only racist if it involves institutional oppression. This would mean that a racial assault by a White person on a Black victim would be officially racist, because Blacks are generally more disadvantaged and thus institutionally oppressed. But the reverse, a Black man assaulting a White victim, isn’t seen as racist as the White victim would be held not suffer such oppression. A little while ago there was a stir when three non-White activists, one Black and two Asian, made this argument against the inclusion of anti-White crimes in the statistics of racist offences.

Belfield is a terrible right-winger, who’d like to privatise the Health Service. But in this case, he is absolutely right: Druker shouldn’t be rewarded for her tasteless and inappropriate joke and the Beeb should get down of its corporate high horse and apologise for it. As should Druker. And the Comedy Award has been a non-event for years. I have the impression that way back in the ’90s it used to be the Perrier Award. This was in the heady days when comedy was expanding as the ‘new rock ‘n’ roll’. It even, for a brief period, had its own magazine. That was when the Award was given to up and coming comedians who were actually funny, and who went on to become household names. Now no longer. Perrier have stopped sponsoring it, as has, it seemed, the corporation that stepped in to replace them. And the Award is now reduced to promoting people like Sophie Druker for their tasteless and, some would say, racist jokes.

I was so annoyed by this that I drew this cartoon of Druker and Diane Abbott about it. I have to say, I have mixed feelings about Abbott. I agree with much of what she says, but some of her comments on race drive me up the wall and have me wishing she’d resign. As when she ignored the police’s strong advice for people not to speculate on the identity of the attempted murderer of Sasha Johnson. Abbott jumped to the conclusion that the murderer must have been a White supremacist, although the men actually accused are all Black. Abbott’s comments could easily have provoked a race riot. Instead of apologising for being too hasty, Abbott played the victim and made comments implying that the media instead were being racist for criticising her, because she was a woman of colour.

This is nowhere near good enough. Years ago opponents of anti-Black racism chanted that ‘Silence Violence’. If you didn’t speak up about anti-Black racism, you were also culpable.

But this should also apply to those who remain silent about anti-White racism or seek to close down any discussion of it.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/oct/22/ukcrime.race

The Lotus Eater’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi4pDOjpC1c&t=309s

Radio 4 Programme on Welsh 20th Century Decline

March 11, 2020

This might be of interest to Welsh readers of this blog, particularly as Mike’s a long-time resident of mid-Wales. Next Monday, 16th March 2020, Radio 4 are also broadcasting a programme on how Wales declined during the last century. The programme, Wales: A 20th-Century Tragedy?, is described thus in the blurb on page 131 of the Radio Times:

Simon Jenkins looks at the fortunes of Wales over the past century, asking how it might be possible to restore some glory to its valleys and mountains.

Rather more information is given in the short piece about the programme on the opposite page, 130, by Chris Gardner. This says

Simon Jenkins is passionate about Wales, the land of his father. His 2008 book Wales: Churches, Houses, Castles showcased the beauty and majesty of Welsh architecture, but the author and journalist is now worried for the nation’s future, citing among other factors the rise in the poverty index, while counties just over the border, such as Cheshire, have become richer. Examining Wale’s illustrious cultural, political, industrial and intellectual heritage over the last century, Jenkins uncovers historical reasons for this comparatively recent decline.

I think the major reason for this decline has been decline of the major Welsh industries during the last century – coal mining and iron working. There have been various history programmes on the Beeb that have shown that Swansea and Cardiff were major centres of the copper and iron industries from the 19th century onwards. I think Swansea was the world centre of copper production at one point, so that it was nicknamed ‘Copperopolis’. But this all gradually vanished due to competition from cheaper, foreign products. And this has continued into this century under the Tories, as we saw a few years ago with the proposed closure of one of the last surviving steelworks in the principality.

The country also hasn’t been helped by the fact that we haven’t had a Welsh prime minister, or one whose constituency was in Wales, for a long time. I seem to recall that Cardiff became the great city it is, housing Wales’ national museum, partly because Lloyd George wanted to turn it into a great national centre for Wales, like England and Scotland had London and Edinburgh respectively. The Labour PM, Jim Callaghan, attempted to do something for Wales, from what I recall, by diverting money that was earmarked to go to Bristol’s Portbury Docks to Cardiff. But his tenure of 10 Downing Street ended with Thatcher’s victory in 1979. And the Tories made it very plain that they weren’t going to help ailing industries, so that coal pits, and iron and steelworks up and down Britain were closed. This was partly because she wanted to destroy the coal industry so that a Tory government could no longer be overthrown by the miners, as Ted Heath’s had in the early ’70s.

I don’t know why Cheshire should have become more prosperous, unless it’s connected to the success of Liverpool FC. A friend of mine from that way told me that there’s a district in the county, which has become the country home of rich Liverpudlians, including footballers. Perhaps that’s part of the explanation.

If you want to listen to it, the programme’s on at 8.00 pm in the evening.

 

The Groaniad on how Sanctions Leave Claimants Hungry for Months

March 10, 2015

Last Tuesday, the Guardian published a piece, Food banks: benefit sanctions leave clients hungry for months , reporting the findings of a study into poverty in Cheshire, Cheshire Hunger, carried out by West Cheshire Foodbank, the Trussell Trust and the university of Chester. The report, by the paper’s Patrick Butler on his Cuts blog, begins

A new study finds that vulnerable people who fall foul of benefit rules can be plunged into reliance on food parcels for up to half a year

Benefit sanctions can plunge families into financial crisis, hunger, and dependency on food banks for up to half a year, far longer than the period for which they have had payments stopped, according to a new study.

The study, Cheshire Hunger looked in detail at the reasons why people had been given food bank vouchers and estimated the length of time they would be dependent on food aid.

It adds to a growing body of evidence directly linking welfare reforms with food bank use, and comes as a coalition of major churches call for an overhaul of the “inhumane” sanctions system.

Overall, it found problems with social security benefit payments accounted for nearly half (47%) of referrals. The bulk of these problems related to administrative delays, benefit sanctions and incapacity benefit stoppages.

The length of client crisis triggered by negative interactions with the benefits system typically ranged between seven and 28 days, but in extreme cases up to 26 weeks. Crisis is defined as the estimated period for which a food bank client would be reliant on food aid.

The piece gives the average number of weeks claimants could lose benefits due to a number of causes. They included administrative and other delays, sanctions, changes in benefit and stoppages of Employment Support Allowance. It notes that the largest cause of people needing emergency help for food, after benefit delays and sanctions was low incomes and debt. These resulted in many getting caught up in recurrent debt cycles because of the need to use expensive credit.

The report also notes that there are few, if any safeguards for vulnerable people. It also records that the number of people referred to foodbanks increased by 14% in the period May-November compared to the previous year.

The report adds further details corroborating the findings of the Trussell Trust relating the government’s benefit reforms to the rise in foodbank use. It also indicates that the period in which claimants went hungry went beyond the three days’ worth of food provided by the foodbanks.

The article’s at http://www.theguardian.com/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2015/mar/02/food-banks-benefit-sanctions-leave-clients-hungry-for-months. Go and read it, if you haven’t already.

The article demonstrates the increasing length of time the victims of IDS’ benefits reforms are kept hungry. It’s also good that it’s attempting to provide further evidence to rebut the Coalition’s claims that there is no connection between foodbank use and their reforms. We have seen time and again this falsehood trotted out by government spokesman, including Edwina Currie. As for the lack of safeguards, this was explicitly denied by Esther McLie when she was asked about a case involving a person with serious mental health problems. This is further evidence against both these self-serving lies by the Tories to deny their responsibility for the growing hunger and deprivation in Britain.

Private Eye on the Dodgy Foundations of the Troubled Families Programme

February 17, 2015

I also found this article in the 27th July – 9th August edition of Private Eye criticising the government’s Troubled Families Programme. This was an initiative to tackle the problem families that feature so much in Tory propaganda and the pages of the Daily Mail. They’re the type of neighbours for whom ASBOs were invented, and whom Gordon Brown famously declared to be ‘feckless’.

The problem is, as the Eye reveals, there simply aren’t that many of them to require the massive amounts the government wishes to spend on the programme. Coupled with the fact that the contractor hired to carry out the programme is G4S, with its superb reputation for quality. Here’s the story:

The government’s Troubled Families Programme is itself troubled after coming under sustained attack from critics who argue that it’s simply blaming people who are poor rather than tackling anti-social behaviour.

Ever since it was launched by the unlikely figure of community secretary Eric Pickles, experts have criticised the foundations of its claim that there are 120,000 “troubled families” whose behaviour costs the country£9bn. They point out that the 120,000 statistic is based on an estimate of families with multiple disadvantages, not antisocial behaviour, and that nobody can come up with figures to justify the £9bn stated.

Just as well, then, that extra help is at hand. Under a £200m outreach service run in conjunction with councils and companies delivering the Work Programme, six firms will be staking their own money on their ability to turn troubled lives around under the government’s second big payment-by-results project.

Troubled families and local authorities in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington are especially fortunate to have assistance from a company that specialises in managing and co-ordinating the provision of services “to support workless people into meaningful, progressive employment”. Step forward, fresh from its triumph at the Olympics, G4S.

From this is appears that the Troubled Families Programme has been launched not because there is an actual need for the programme, but to satisfy the ideological and propagandistic needs of the Tories. As well as provide a nice little earner for the welfare-to-work companies.

Tory unemployment policy is based on the principle of ‘less eligibility’. Poverty isn’t due to economics and poor circumstances. It’s due to laziness and poor character of the unemployed themselves. Hence all the stories in the Daily Mail about problem families, and areas of high unemployment riddled with crime and plagued by drugs. The criminality and drug problems in those areas aren’t due to lack of job opportunities and poverty. No, they are the results of the immoral character of the people themselves, who prefer the squalor and misery of their lives to one of honest and respectable toil. and if people like them don’t exist, or exist in much smaller numbers, then it also casts doubt on Tory welfare policies as a whole. Without them, there is much less justification for harassing the disabled and ordinary unemployed. In order to keep up this façade that unemployment is all down to the anti-social bad attitude of the unemployed themselves, the government needs to be able to point to a large number of such ‘problem families’. And these clearly are invented through exaggerated and massaged statistics when they don’t exist. Hence the inflated statistics.

It also shows just how much of a scam the welfare-to-work industry is as well. I’ve posted a series of blogs on the repeated scandals of the welfare-to-work firms overcharging the government, to its marked indifference and even, it has been alleged, support and connivance. Private Eye has argued that the economics involved in government outsourcing means that these firms are only commercially viable through such fraud. It would appear from this that the Tories know this too, and so are desperate to give work to the private contractors in order to maintain the profitable illusion that private enterprise really is more efficient than government bureaucracy.

Quite apart from the fact that these companies may also be able to offer lucrative directorships in their turn, when the terms in power of certain MPs come to an end.