Monday, March 26, 2007

Apologising for slavery...

There's a brace of pieces on the orgy of breast-beating about slavery over at spiked. As you would expect Mick Hume and co find the spectacle faintly nauseating and not a little bit racist. But it's not just the official 'anti-racist' line that is sickeningly racist in perpetuating victimhood, it's also the self-perpetuated wallowing in it from many black commentators.

As someone who grew up in the 70s in London, I can remember what real racism was like. Vicious, pervasive and oppressive. To pretend that we are still in the same place now is delusional. And to blame every ill suffered by black communities on enduring racism and the by-products of slavery is insulting to those who really suffered racism in the pas. It's also a convenient way of avoiding the hard questions about black culture that need to be addressed if things are ever going to change.

The fact is that crime and economic under-achievement are related to economic factors. Working class kids - white, Afro-Caribbean, Bangladeshi - do worse than their middle class counter-parts. Race is almost incidental when the norm is that working class kids (and their families) see little value in education or hard-work. The 'respect or else' culture is endemic to many communities, black and white, and it's bugger all to do with the heritage of slavery.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Gordon Brown - no to food wastage

More from the secret campaign meetings held in 11 Downing Street by Gordon Brown and his team:


Gordon: I'm still concerned that the public don't have the correct impression of me. The 'I'm cute and cuddly Gordy' campaign isn't working yet. We need to do more.

Anon1: It's that bastard Cameron, sir, his team just seems to be fast off the mark. The moment there's a whiff of something in the air he's there.

Anon2: He's out-greened the lot of us in the last few months...

Gordon: That's the trouble, I think. People still have the impression that I'm too cautious. They think I can't do off-the-cuff, spontaneous stuff.

Anon1: We tried with the ad-libs, sir, really we did. We still don't know how the press got hold of the scripts...

Gordon: Well, it's time we hit back. How about some off-the-cuff thinking right now. Come on, let's do what Tony does and make it up as we go along. It can't be that hard, surely...

Anon2: OK...What issue?

Gordon: How I single-handedly stopped us going into the Euro?

Anon1: Does that resonate with the public at the moment, sir?

Gordon: Surely it does.

Anon2: But it's not the sexiest issue of the minute, sir.

Gordon: I see. What is it you suggest?

Anon1: Something green, sir.

Gordon: How about how I will single-handedly reverse global warming?

Anon2: What about this food thing?

Gordon: Haggis?

Anon1: No, sir. The report that over a third of the food on our tables goes to waste.

Anon2: There's a lot of fuss about this one.

Gordon: Has Cameron won this one?

Anon2: Not yet, sir. We've still got a chance.

Gordon: OK. How about this, we'll add an extra tax on every kilo of wasted food...

Anon1: Surely that's one for putting into practice rather than using to score points...

Gordon: Very true. What do you suggest?

Anon2: If we could link climate change and obesity into this we'd be on Cameron territory.

Gordon: I have it. In a bid to reduce this food wastage we'll bus homeless people around to eat the scraps going to waste.

Anon1: Wow! That's good.

Anon2: Well... It's good apart from the bussing around. We'll be attacked because of the carbon footprint.

Gordon: You may have a point there.

Anon1: Besides, I'm not sure how well it will play with the public. Do we really want druggies that smell of pee dropping round to eat our left-overs?

Gordon: You say that won't be popular?

Anon2: That bastard Cameron would probably offer to come round and eat the scraps himself...

Anon1: Got it! Anorexic girls. We could bus them round to eat the scraps. It's a win-win situation - we tackle food waste and eating disorders at the same time.

Gordon: Excellent! And the carbon footprint? Can we supply these girls with bicycles?

Anon2: How about we get obese teenagers to carry the anorexics? No carbon footprint and we tackle childhood obesity. A triple win!

Gordon: Excellent. Now, if you can script some ad-libs I'll make another speech to the city...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

Anyone who missed the 'Great Global Warming Swindle' documentary on Channel 4 (and later repeated on More4), should know that there are plenty of copies of it already out on the web.

It's a great polemical piece, though judging by the furore surrounding the film (which dares to question the consensus that global warming is caused by man-made CO2 emissions) you would think that the film was advocating compulsory euthanasia o something. Whether you agree with the central thesis of the film or not, the fact is that the science isn't all done and dusted. The film includes interviews with many eminent scientists who've dared to voice doubts or to put forward alternatives. Given how tackling climate change is now a central part of the platform of politicians right across the spectrum, it's depressing to see the extent to which the subject has been made taboo...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Silence on Zimbabwe

Yet again there is grim news from Zimbabwe as we witness the latest round of violence and repression from Mugabe's regime. We also see silence from South Africa and most other African governments. The occasion of Ghana's 50th year of independence would have been an ideal opportunity for African governments to make a strong statement on Zimbabwe. But the fact is if attendance had been restricted to heads of state with clean hands then Accra would have been host to very few heads of government. It's one of the tragedies of Africa that its leaders have exploited, repressed and stolen from the population continuously for the last 50 years.

And in the West we've abandoned the people of Africa to this exploitation by turning a blind eye to it, focusing exclusively on colonialism or supporting various 'progressive' leaders on the basis of which superpower they bought their arms from.