Posts Tagged ‘Reagan’

Farage Demands Abolition of Anti-Racism Legislation

March 12, 2015

The Generalissimo of Golf-Club reactionary bores has been in the news today. As I’ve already mentioned in previous posts, the Fuhrage has gone on record as telling Trevor Philips, the former chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, that the current legislation preventing employers from discriminating on the grounds of race, should be repealed. Philips was interviewing him for a Channel 4 documentary to be shown next week, Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True. The Kipperfuhrer claimed that such legislation was no longer necessary, as Britain had moved past race.

The I also covered Farage’s remarks. It’s article reported him as saying

If we’d sat her 40 years ago, having this conversation, your point [on the need for laws preventing racial discrimination in the jobs market] would probably have been valid. I don’t think it is today.

If I did talk to my children about the question of race, they wouldn’t know what I was talking about.

The employer should be much freer to make decisions on who she or he employs. The situation that we now have, where an employer is not allowed to choose between a British-born person and somebody from Poland, is a ludicrous state of affairs. We have taken our relationship with Europe to a level that, frankly, has gone against common sense and certainly against self-interest.

He was also quoted as saying

I would argue that the law does need changing, and that if an employer wishes to choose, or you can use the word ‘discriminate’ if you want to, but wishes to choose to employ a British-born person, they should be allowed to do so. I think you should be able to choose on the basis of nationality, yes, I do.

When asked whether UKIP would retain the laws banning racial discrimination, he stated they wouldn’t, on the grounds that ‘We as a party are colour-blind’.

Say whaaaat? The Kippers have some of the most frothingly racist membership of any political party outside the openly Fascist parties like the BNP, NF, Britain First and the EDL. It seems that every week there’s yet another scandal in which one of their candidates or officials has been caught making racist, or otherwise offensive or bigoted comments. Like the female Kipper in Margate, who announced she couldn’t stand ‘negroes’, or ‘people with negroid features’. Or the laughing boys in the Kippers’ Bristol branch, who claimed they weren’t Fascists after they were caught were ‘liking’ comments by Britain First and the EDL on Facebook. Or the fact that Britain First have taken to protecting Kipper demonstrations in their armoured car. The list goes on.

Needless to say, anti-racism campaigners have been mightily unimpressed with Herr oberst’s claims. Labour’s shadow Justice Secretary, Sadiq Khan, who was also Britain’s first Muslim cabinet minister, stated

This is one of the most shocking things I have ever heard from a mainstream politician and demonstrates breath-taking ignorance. We have made huge progress in tackling racial inequality and discrimination in this country, partly because of Labour’s strong anti-discrimination laws, but things are still far from perfect.

The direct of the think tank, Britain Future, attacked the Fuhrage’s remarks as ‘quite a throwback’, saying ‘We can debate the content of anti-discrimination legislation, but there is a strong consensus that if you believe in equal opportunities then that means anti-discrimination legislation that gives everyone a fair chance.’

And that’s the point: Farage doesn’t want everyone to be given a fair chance. His party has attacked legislation going back to the Victorians protecting women, the working class and employees, giving them maternity leave, paid holidays and defending them from unfair dismissal.

The I in its report also comments that Farage’s claim conflicts with recent findings that 49 per cent of ethnic minorities have been unemployed for over two years due to the recession, a far higher proportion than White British.

Just this evening I reblogged a piece from The Young Turks show from American television, reporting the finding of the left-wing American magazine, Mother Jones, that Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the recession, and that in economic downturns, White racism becomes more overt and acute. This is directly relevant to what’s happening over here. I even have Black friends, who’ve experienced the same kind of discrimination as that reported by the magazine of Black Americans.

And it isn’t just Blacks. Generally, British Muslims also suffer disproportionately from poor academic results and problems finding work. This isn’t just a problem for those, who did poorly at school. Even well-educated Muslims with degrees may find it harder than White graduates to find jobs. Economic problems are one of the factors behind Muslim disaffection in this country. It is not, by any means, the only factor. Nevertheless, its importance should not be discounted.

Farage is clearly lying about his party and its supposedly anti-racist stance. It appears to be another policy he’s copied from American Conservatives. The Repugs over the other side of the Atlantic have been trying to rewrite history in order to make the repeal of anti-racism legislation more acceptable. One notorious Canadian site, for example, pointed out that George Wallace, the notorious opponent of ending segregation, actually wasn’t personally racist. He was a member of NAACP, and de-segregated his department store before anyone else did. It’s just that as a supporter of property rights, he stood for the owner’s absolute right to dispose of his property and business exactly how he wished.

Similarly, Guy Debord’s Cat has blogged on the raft of Libertarian organisations and think tanks trying to rewrite the history of the American Civil War, so that it wasn’t about ending slavery, but about tariff reform.

The Fuhrage was a guest at CPAC last week, the big, hard-line Conservative conference in America, which features such devastating intellectuals like Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. He’s also a friend and associate of Rand Paul and other notorious right-wingers, who stand for privatising everything that ain’t nailed down and squeezing the poor for every penny they don’t have.

It’s all part of the Repugs’ ‘Southern Strategy’. This was a deliberate attempt to appeal to White voters in the South, who feared competition from Blacks through affirmative action. And they weren’t subtle about. One party political broadcast by the Repugs under Reagan featured a White man opening a letter telling him that he hadn’t got the job, while the voiceover announced that ‘you’ didn’t get it, ‘even though you worked for it’, and that it had gone instead to a Black person through racial politics.

Now British anti-racist legislation makes that kind of explicit approach illegal. Nevertheless, the Tories have also been trying to appeal to ‘angry White men’. The Spectator back in 2004 declared that there was only one part of the population that wasn’t welcome on the streets of inner London, and that was White men. And just like the Tories of the Speccie, the Kippers are trying to appeal to the same electoral base.

It’s a pernicious, dangerous policy. Much of the anti-racism legislation Fuhrage complains about was put in place to prevent racial unrest, like the riots that broke out all over the country in 1981/2. These were fuelled by the acute poverty and racism experienced by the Black population. It’s designed to prevent the kind of racial fears and violence that Mosley stoked up and tried to capitalise on against the Jews in the East End in his campaign to become Britain’s Duce. This legislation hasn’t been entirely successful. It’s still very controversial, and it has worked to make many working class Whites feel left behind and unfairly discriminated against. But despite these problems, Britain’s a better place because of them.

And what the Fuhrage hasn’t mentioned, is that the same laws which protect Blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities, also protect Whites. There have been cases where White British have successfully sued an employer because they were discriminated against because of their colour. The same legislation that protects ethnic minorities protects all of us.

But Farage isn’t interested in that. He just wants to appeal to the racist and prejudiced, in order to create a far more hierarchical, more racist, and more unjust society. And his smooth claims to be non-racist are simply falsehoods to disguise that.

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Movie Review: Black Sea and Mark Kermode on Countdown to Zero

December 6, 2014

Yesterday a friend and I went to see the submarine thriller, Black Sea. I won’t say too much, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. It’s been advertised on the TV, and the basic plot is that a group of British and Russian divers and submariners get together to search for a sunken German submarine lying at the bottom of the Black Sea. The sub’s cargo is a consignment of gold from a loan the Germans extorted from Stalin during the brief period of peace during the Nazi-Soviet pact prior to the Nazi invasion of the USSR. Ethnic tensions between the Brits and the Russians, and personal betrayal leads to a series of catastrophes that eventually scupper the mission and lead to a battle for sheer survival. It’s a taut thriller, with much of the tension derived from the situation of desperate, dangerous men working in a highly confined, dangerous environment, while trying to avoid detection by the authorities.

Despite the ethnic friction between Brits and Russians, I also found the film optimistic in its portrayal of relations between the two nations. The two leading characters, who set it up, one British and one Russian, are friends living in London. Even after the outbreak of violence, the hero and his Russian counterpart continue working together and try to prevent its escalation. Even after the end of the mission, the friendship between the few surviving crew, Russian and British, continues. I liked it, because not only does it show the current reality in that since the fall of Communism, people from the former eastern bloc, including Russia, have come over here to live, work and set up businesses, but that friendship co-operation between Brits and Russians is as much the norm, indeed possibly more normal, than chauvinistic distrust.

Glasnost and the Rise of a Shared Pop/Rock culture

In this respect, it’s a slightly better world than when I was growing up. I was at secondary school during the new Cold War between Reagan, Thatcher and the pre-Gorbachev Soviet Union. It was an absolutely terrifying time, when many people feared that at any second the world would end in a flash of gamma radiation and fall out. There were some truly horrific films, like Threads and The Day After on American TV, showing what a nuclear war and its consequences would be like, along with documentaries about the possibility of a limited nuclear war in Europe. It was very much a cause for celebration when tensions eased when Reagan and Gorby started to talk to each other around the negotiating table in Iceland, and the USSR began to open up to Westerners and western influences. The first pop video I bought was of UB40’s concert in Moscow, not so much because I liked the great Reggae popsters themselves, but because I was fascinated and delighted by the fact that they were now playing live in Russia in front of their fans from that side of the former Iron Curtain.

And the same process happened in reverse too, as Russian bands and clothing became fashionable over here. The USSR always had a very strong youth culture, and they were not as nearly as backward as was often portrayed in the British press. If you believed the Sun – I know, that’s a very big stretch, but go with it – then the young and cool in the Soviet Union had only just caught up with the Beatles in the 1980s. In fact, the Soviets had a large skinhead culture, who were, I was told at College, referred to by the rest of the Soviet press as ‘British horrors’. A massive Heavy Metal rock culture developed extremely rapidly. The greatest and most visible exponents of Soviet Heavy Metal were the mighty Kruiz, who toured the West and whose albums were available over here. I think one of their songs was ‘Heaviest in Town’, in which the singer searches for the heaviest rock band, only to conclude ‘I’ll fly to Moscow for Kruiz’. There were also a number of other Russian bands, who were virtually unknown over here. Martin Walker, the Guardian’s Russia correspondent, tried to make people on this side of the Baltic aware of some of the best and most interesting in his column. There’s a lot of really good rock and pop in Russia and the former eastern bloc states, quite apart from some of the stuff that appears on the Eurovision Song Contest. They’re on Youtube and worth checking out.

Black Sea reflects this changed situation, and I am profoundly glad that it does and the world has moved on and improved just that little bit since the late 70s and early 80s. Moreover, the film’s sympathetic portrayal of the Russian characters shows it’s aimed partly at the Russian market. Its release during this period of strained international relations between Russian and the West over the situation in the Ukraine shows that the friendship and co-operation between Russia and Britain is now considered the natural, normal reality. My deepest hope is that this situation will continue and that our politicians will have the wisdom to build on it, and not let the conflict in Ukraine drag us back to the fear and hatred of the Cold War, that nearly destroyed our world.

Countdown to Zero and the Persistence of the Nuclear Threat

Mark Kermode is the film critic over at Radio 5 live. He’s a very literate commenter, having a doctorate in Horror film. When he was younger, he was the British correspondent for the Horror film magazine, Fangoria, or as he states it was known to aficionados, ‘Exploding Chests Monthly’. His reviews are always interesting and well argued, even if you disagree with him, such as on the subject of the Star Wars films. He dislikes them, while I really loved the first three films, and enjoyed the prequels. He also genuinely appreciates his listeners writing to him and giving their views, even when they take the opposite view to his.

One of the films he reviewed is Countdown to Zero, a documentary about what happened to all the nuclear weapons that were supposedly packed away at the end of the Cold War. The film shows that the weapons and the hair-trigger response systems are still in place. A nuclear bomb is much easier to make than may be thought, and the danger that these could fall into the hands of terrorists and rogue states is very real. The film reveals how at several points after the supposed end of the Cold War, mistakes made by the superpowers could have resulted in a nuclear holocaust. I haven’t seen the movie, but it does sound like a deeply unsettling, thought-provoking movie, and the opposite of the slightly more optimistic vision behind Black Sea. Hopefully, the optimists and peace-makers will win through, and that the world won’t go back to the ideological, economic and nationalistic fears and hate that nearly led to nuclear Armageddon. Countdown to Zero shows that we shouldn’t be complacent, but it does seem that the world is just that little bit better after the end of the Cold War. And we should be profoundly glad of that.

Kermode’s review of Countdown to Zero is on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfkfn4W_hgM. It’s well worth a listen, especially as it shows we still need to get our politicians working on a truly secure peace.