Brexit, White, Black, Shades of Brown

 

The EU referendum has ruptured political parties, families and communities, lacerated national cohesion. Black and Asian Britons have gone through the same upheavals and anguish, and more. And worse. The vote was a test of our integrity and identity, political fidelity and pragmatism, personal concerns and wider loyalties. We made choices that will forever mark us CUT HERE.

survey carried out by Lord Ashcroft found that around 70% of  non-white Britons and 46% of white Britons voted to remain. The majority of Brexiters are native whites and a third of them are of  various other backgrounds.

I voted to remain, as did both my children and most of my most trusted colleagues and friends.  In my circle of fervent pro-EU activists are Jews, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Africans, Arabs, South Asians and East African Asians. We cherish the European human rights laws and admire the idealism of the EU post war dream. We empathise with maligned EU immigrants because most of us walked through the same fires of rancour and animosity, sometimes still feel the burn on our skins. More importantly, we feel European and cosmopolitan, part of a connected world. Most of us lived circumscribed lives before moving to Britain. Kampala, the capital of Uganda, where I was born and raised was CUT HERE a stifling TOWN. Our British children, in contrast, have grown up to be  global citizens. Some of them will try to leave and go to more open societies in Europe. Several successful Asian and black entrepreneurs have expanded into Europe. There is an indisputable business case for staying in this vast marketplace. High flying investment manager, Miss Renu Singh, is contemptuous of Brexiters: ‘They are like a village farmer in the Punjab, scared of the outside, without any courage or imagination. I will move to Frankfurt. They can go, but they won’t take me out of Europe’     

The EU gave us equality, real equality. After the empire ended, British passports were handed out to previous subjects to create a virtual overseas kingdom. My father wrapped these precious documents in velvet and kept them in a bank vault. They turned out to be worthless.  After Uganda became independent, Asians, a defenceless minority, were persecuted by black politicians. They tried to move to their Motherland. In 1968, the Labour government passed the jus sanguinis law, which affirmed bloodline citizenship.  Colonial subjects who had a UK born parent or grandparent – Australians, New Zealanders, white South Africans etc-  could come and go freely. Darkies like me needed visas even though we were British. Our blue passports had the letter D stamped on it. I went through decades of humiliation at British airports until I got my red passport, identifying me as a British and EU citizen. The EU has been good to us, good for us.

Clearly a good many voters who share our life experiences and cultures were unmoved by these arguments.

Hundreds of thousands of them backed Brexit. Some because they are savvy and self interested, others because they are selfish, scared, or sadly simple minded. I can understand the first type, hard core Thatcherite operators who detest regulations, fear new tougher EU tax regimes, and want a completely laissez- faire economy. Mr Ram, ( not his real name), for example, imports clothes from India for the lucrative bridal market. He started with a market stall in west London and now has a turnover of millions: ‘Listen, Yasminji ( a respectful address) you have never run a business, don’t understand these things. This EU just wants to hold us back, tie our hands. Look at India- no stupid rules, see how far up it is going. We want to be like India and China. They don’t have unions and very (sic) interfering bureaucrats. We must be free.’  What about Eastern Europeans who work hard for low wages?  ‘Yes, of course. My cousin has restaurants and all the waiters are Polish. But they cannot be really be British like you and me. Better to get our own people from India’ I went to see the cousin, also a millionaire Brexiter. ‘Yes it will be difficult to get the staff, the English are bloody lazy and our young people don’t want to work in the business. But these East European people must be sent back home. Maybe I will have to close the restaurants. ’ So not that savvy or smart then, these Asian masters of the universe.    

The selfish ethnic Brexiter wants to pull up the drawbridge, is dead against admitting any more enterprising or desperate humans who want a chance to make or remake their lives. They have no conscience, no empathy with those who are exactly like they once were. Tough right winger Priti Patel, of Ugandan Asian heritage, is their poster girl. She will now go places. So too expedient immigrant politicians such as Gisela Stuart and Kwasi Kwarteng.

Many immigrants and their families voted for exit because they want to be seen as established Brits, as one of ‘us’ and not ‘them’. With the national mood so hostile, they seek to distance themselves from the story of migration. I do feel for them. They don’t yet realise that xenophobes do not distinguish between Poles and Pakistanis. I come finally to the most pitiable Britons of colour, those who fell for big fat Brexit lies. They really do believe that if we end the EU free movement of labour, their uncle from Trinidad, or in laws from Kashmir will sail in and claim their place. As Trevor, a plasterer, puts it: ‘My girlfriend, she in Jamaica. Mr Farage promised black people will get visas if we stop them Europeans. Brexit is good for us’   

The EU political quake has opened up new schisms between races and ethnicities, and also within races and ethnicities. I have fallen out with a  dear childhood friend and also a distant cousin over this. They voted Brexit and I will not forgive them. Things can only get worse after the effects of Brexit are felt in households and communities. These cuts and wounds may never heal. The nation is broken into many parts.    

Blog 25th Jne 2016

 

 

 

Hounded by Stupids

There is a group of white men who accuses me of wishing the extinction of white men. They have pursued me with this rubbish for years and keep adding it to my Wiki entry. I am married to a white man for starters and IT WAS A JOKE guys, a reply to a question I was asked by a presenter. We were both laughing. Are they really that dim not to realise that? Or do they just want to bully me?

You Love My Food But Hate me Being Here?

I cooked for some people just before Christmas- some mates, some acquaintances, some allies, some foes. One thing they ALL AGREED on was how great the food was. How boring food used to be in the 70s. Then came a very divisive conversation on immigration and class. they were eating my food and blasting away at how British culture and cohesion had been ‘destroyed’. How so? I asked? Even now not one of them has a child who goes out with a plumber’s son or daughter. The North-South chasm is bigger than ever. So what is this united nation they dream up? Two people left crossly. Before the pudding. Good. I saved the best till last. Sweet and bitter do not mix. Here is the pud.

Indian Bread and Butter Pudding

6 slices good white bread

1/2 tin evaporated milk

1/2 tin condensed sweetened milk

1/2 cup full cream milk

3 eggs

2 tbsp. toasted, shelled pistachios and the same amount of flaked almonds and golden raisins

1/2 tsp saffron and cardamom powder

Mix the milks

Add saffron and cardamom and leave for an hour

Cut out crusts from bread

Beat in eggs into milk mixture

Lay down bread in two layers

Leave for ten mins

Bake in medium oven for twenty minutes or until the top starts to brown.

Rest for ten minutes and serve

 

 

 

Saint Margaret

The woman who destroyed society and communities, ripped the fragile tapestry that is our nation, has been cannonised by right wing politically correct warriors and ordinary folk who have bought into the myth of her greatness by the media. See my column in the Independent this week for some reminders of her real wrethced legacy. We have a technological revolution, oceans of information passing between continents, and increasingly sceptical world population and yet see how easy it is to dupe millions and get them behind one of the most repugnant political manipulations of all time. In North Korea they force people to mourn a dead leader, here they compel them through propaganda and a frightful censorship of dissent. There is a difference of course in method, but the result is the same.

14th April 2013

When Did Racism and Fascism Become Acceptable ideological ‘Choices’?

Sunderland has appointed Di Canio as manager, knowing full well his previous sympathies for Fascism. What does it matter if he is good at football? That’s what his groupies say. Some even add that his political ‘choices’ should not stop him getting a leadership role. Morality, then, is relative, depends whether it interferes with profits and ambitions. If it does, why, obviously, it must be binned and forgotten. There was a time when sports and sports men and women understood that the political context mattered even more then their cups and dosh. Well, some did, like those who boycotted South Africa under Apartheid. This wave of global capitalism has not only created great inequalities, it is spreading the idea that the only good in the world is money and nothing, nothing else matters. Di Canio is a perfect symbol of this ammorality. He doesn’t understand what he did wrong. Nor do his many supporters. Somehow, over the years, they forgot the lessons of the last world war. That is scarier than Fascism itself.

Hilary Mantel for President!

This Monday, in my column in the Independent- which you can read online and is reproduced on my website with some additions- I asked why if Ed Milliband wants a mansion tax, a policy that I agree with, why not a palace tax? In these hardest of times the Royals keep expecting and getting more and more. Child poverty is up, suicide rates among men too and young people are losing hope as unemployment goes up. We are told to do our bit but not the Royal family, with its inherited privileges. The Queen got a 16% increase in her income in 2012; Prince William got a 10 million pound birthday present too and his dad is getting a specially protective BMW worth £300,000. Yet most Britons won’t hear a thing against them.

Well, you can imagine the fury that followed my column- always does. You are not free to question this institution or clan even though we know all that is wrong with it and them. Now the redoubtable Hilary Mantel, novelist and winner of two Booker prizes and other accolades finds herself in hot water, burning hot water, for a speech she made at a London Review of Books event. Hers was an intelligent, feminist critique of Kate, a young woman whose job is to smile, look like a perfect doll and make babies for the voracious nation. They say we have freedom of speech, but not when it comes to the monarch and her large, often ill behaved extended family. They say we are a democracy and yet we must succumb to the Royals and behave like devotees of some dark cult. Ms Mantel has spoken truths which may enrage the nation but are still truths. What a terrific President she would make. If only.

Lazy Blogger

So I made myself a promise- come 2013, I would blog lots, try at least and catch up with all those ceaseless, tireless tweeters and sleepless bloggers like my Tory mate Iain Dale who always looks as fresh as a newly picked, pink apple and has interesting views on everything, views I rarely share but do note. February already and I still have to keep that promise. I like silence and sleep too much and anyway was ill and have been wretched and enervated. Dale asked me to present an award to the polemicist of the year at the glitzy  Political Book Awards. It went to Nick Cohen, the Observer columnist who drives me to distraction with some of his hard line comments on Muslims, western liberalism and of course why the war on Iraq was necessary. But that is what they do, good polemicists. They annoy, infuriate, provoke, are stubborn and brave, especially in these times when internet drone attacks target writers. The award was about him, not me. A number of presenters seemed to forget that and spent too many words on their own books and good selves. Tedious and rude. Oh and Anne Widdicombe wore leopard skin tights and skittishly waved her blonde locks. Strange but true.

 

More news…The book I have been writing on England is finally done and with the publishers. I feel the same anxiety I did when waiting for results. Some things don’t change. It is a love story. That’s all I can say at present.

And finally, am off to India next month to make a radio programme about two legendary playback singers, Lata and Asha, who between them have sold more records than the Stones and Beatles put together. They’ve been going for decades and are popular in South America, Russia, the Middle East, most of Africa. Shame that most westerners are clueless about them. I hear though that Hollywood, chasing after Bollywood success is tuning into these Hindi songs. At long last.

Wait for the next ramble. Coming soon.

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