« Syria: the knowledge problem | Main | On thin predictions »

April 17, 2018



An appalling spectacle of bullying, racist, or contemptuous treatment of groups is a defining feature of Government 2010 onwards. This is a particularly grievous example, but Conditionality (government representatives deciding, via electronic box ticking, on basic rights of an individual) won't stop being the future because now, at this point in time, Windrush has made it to the top of an agenda.
The thing is, you say “if you give power to the state” the fact is we have; and as ever, it will be inordinately difficult to regain. Modern Tories/'Conservatives' losing elections would be a start. They no not what they do....

Matt B

"Myth one is that racism is confined to the “white working class”. Of course, some of these have backward attitudes which they express crudely. But equally, very many or more have lived happily with and alongside Windrushers."

This x 100.

As an academic who comes from a council estate, my anecdotal experience is overwhelmingly that the Sun-reading working classes are far more open-minded politically than they are often given credit for: they can smell the bullshit of politicians; they might be nationalistic and anti-immigration in the abstract, but they mix on a daily basis with those that have come from abroad and are the ones who have to find - sometimes fraught, in a context of limited resources - ways to rub along together. There are far more mixed black/white relationships amongst the urban working class than the suburban middle class.

The real problem is the Daily Mail-reading Hyacinth Bucket tendency in middle England, something personified in our Prime Minister, and under whose watch the seeds of this awful episode were sown in the Home Office. Another great piece Chris, cheers.


I'm not an economically-expert commenter, very obviously, but for me this is where Marxism & all its zoological permutations fail the hardest.

Firstly, I would like to say that when I read this story in The Guardian this morning I was horrified; it sounds like the season-end cliffhanger out of a high-end soap opera. It's almost impossible to imagine that anybody but the US, which is demonstrably and preferably run by racist morons, treats immigrants this way (we are currently in the midst of official pogroms against the DREAMers, who are our version of the Windrush generation).

Also: Nobody but well-off white people (who write magazine articles) think that the only real racists in the world are poor white people. In America, the 'worst' racists are middle-class suburban ragepigs who have never even interacted with brown people, and who imagine that everyone gifted with more than an incidental quantity of melanin was put on the Earth to drain the welfare coffers and financially burden good white folks. These people, much more than poor or working-class whites, are Donald Trump's "base." Also, most of us are aware that everybody struggles with some kind of irrational internalized prejudice, even people of color and other minority groups. For example, the most virulently anti-LGBT bigots I am personally acquainted with are Jesusy African-Americans. Battling racism and other forms of discrimination isn't a question of outing the Death Eaters, who serve the Dark Lord because they were born in privilege. It's about, let's say, disincentivizing certain kinds of behavior in order to flatten oppressive hierarchies and extend the protection of the state to former victims.

Very few people consider that racism is a question of "mean words," either. The intense white obsession with slaying the dragon of political correctness is a constructed parody of the actual issue, which is that certain kinds of speech are both the product and a reinforcement of racist behavior (and racist violence). Straight white dudes have no problem complaining about how feminists Other them when complaining about the patriarchy, but those same white dudes are completely completely incapable of understanding that calling people "n*ggers" as a 'joke' is the exactly same thing but much, much worse. Calling out the patriarchy reminds people of their unearned cultural superiority; racial slurs remind people of their unearned historical subjugation.

« The case for liberty is, in large part, that the state is not to be trusted with extensive powers. »

In my country, and despite its massive problems, the extensive power of the state to regulate human behavior is almost solely responsible for such racial equality as actually exists. In a perfect future of flat market socialism, who will compel people to treat Others fairly? Who will enforce workplace equality in those dark cultural corners where class doesn't reach? How is this attitude any different from the poxiest version of libertarianism? I'm not advocating for the application of fascism to complex social problems, of course. But I don't understand how removing central authority from this issue improves the outcome in any way.


The law allowing this abuse was passed in 2014 under the coalition. So another sell out from clegg and the formerly liberal party. Will we see demonstrations by the blairites and a picket of clegg and his colleagues? Off course not.

Yes the state can abuse its power. But this is really a consequence of the political parties having lost their coherence and embraced a form of top down sound bite politics. Hypocrisy and anti democratic manipulation by a corrupt westminster elite are to blame. Cable privatised the post office, and now the waits are horrendous, but he does not have to wait does he? Where were cable and clegg when the bill drafted by the evil hag Maybot was going through the house? Did they speak about it? I bet they voted in every division for it. Name the guilty men why don't you? Bad laws do not appear out of thin air.

Ralph Musgrave

There's not necessarily anything wrong with racism. Racism is defined in my Concise Oxford dictionary as basically the idea that some races are "inferior or superior" to others. Some psychologists claim that some races have higher IQs than others, indeed it would be odd if every race had EXACTLY THE SAME IQ, given the large number of other differences between different races: average body weight, skin color, susceptability to different diseases, etc.

So what do we do with those psychologists: lock them up or something? Plus I saw some research recently indicating that Brits were more honest than southern Europeans. Do we lock up those researchers as well or ban that sort of research?


I realise that arguing with Ralph on race and IQ is a sisyphean task, but firstly IQ is not a robust measure like height or weight, and secondly, so what? People have a right to be accepted on their individual merits, not on the basis of arbitrary classifications. For example, if there was a minimum height requirement for joining the police, you wouldn't reject an applicant who exceeded that height on the basis that the average height of their particular race was less than the minimum height?

Ralph Musgrave

I realise that arguing with Dipper on race and IQ is a sisyphean task, but the fact that IQ is not a robust measure, like height or weight is wholly irrelevant. (Moreover, the average three year old has tumbled to the fact that IQ is not a robust measure.)

My point was that there are VARIOUS measures of what can loosely be called the “inferiority of superiority” of different races, and my question was whether those doing those measurements should be prosecuted for racism. My answer is “no”, because while some measures are clearly a bit vague, they are nevertheless of interest.

Next, I’m deeply grateful to Dipper for his second statement of the obvious, namely that “People have a right to be accepted on their individual merits..”. Whoever suggested they shouldn’t be accepted for their individual merits? I didn’t. I’d guess that 99% of BNP members accept that if blacks have lower IQs than say Orientals on average, a black with a high IQ or obvious academic talent nevertheless has a right to go to university.


I'd guess that 99% of BNP members don't give a hoot if "blacks" or "Orientals" have a lower or higher IQ, they just don't like them because they look different and have strange accents.
That's what racism is, you silly old fool.

Ralph Musgrave


Normal procedure is to use words (e.g. "racism") as per dictionary definition, which is what I have done above. "Not liking them because they look different" does not remotely accord with the dictionary definition - you silly old fool.


Interesting article, thanks.

But the trouble I have with 'Myth 2' isn't so much that I don't think it applies in some situations, but that I think it doesn't apply in this one.

The thing is that the government's conduct up until yesterday suggested that this was not a malfunctioning policy but a completely deliberate policy. Maybe now they've changed their mind, they prefer to pretend it was a mistake. But it wasn't; as anyone who's been observing the system put in place in the last 15 years knows, the purpose of the system is to keep people out of the country on any available grounds. I think the government was 100% on board with that including Windrush migrants. They don't oppose deportations of minorities. Only mad unelectable leftists do that.

What changed everything last week was the Daily Mail came out against it on the grounds of basic human decency. I don't think it had ever occurred to Theresa May that this policy might not be what right wing voters wanted, and it seems to have caused panic. This may be a case of the government assuming voters are more racist than they are.


«The Daily Mail came out against it on the grounds of basic human decency.»
«the government assuming voters are more racist than they are.»

Affluent Middle England tory voters (most of them old ladies) are rather mean in general, but they are also "sentimental".
The "Daily Mail" understands this better than the Conserveatives, and I guess that they also would understand it is better described as "sentimentality" than "human decency".

PS How many readers here are familiar with the (true) stereotype of the "hang and flog" old aunt/uncle who are however also "sentimental"?
They are increasingly electorally important, and the core of Conservative support.


Part of the "sentimentality" displayed by affluent Middle England older voters is that the "Windrush" generations are nowadays "respectable oldies" too, and often play cricket.
They are not "young thugs" or "adult scroungers" whom should be deported forthwith. Consider this classic case from the Daily Mail:

“Richard Stewart is deemed 'an illegal', ... The 73-year-old came from Portland, Jamaica to Britain aged 10 .... Stewart was a young cricket star - playing for Gloucestershire and Middlesex”

Note that as the story is reported by the "Daily Mail" it is absolutely clear that he was an illegal immigrant who broke immigration law (in 1968), as he:

* Arrived in the UK in 1955 as a Jamaican citizen and stayed until 1968 (legally probably) but without applying for permanent residence or naturalization.
* Left the UK for 2 months for a family illness.
* Then re-entered the UK as a Jamaican citizen on a tourist visa and overstayed 50 years.

Ignorance of the law is never an excuse -- unless "sentimental" tory voters get sad thanks to "Daily Mail" campaigns. :-)


I think there is a bigger context in relation to the Windrush Scandal. It was a mistake for the New Labour Government to suddenly allow for a dramatic increase in immigration - most notably with the decision to go alone and not put in transitional controls with the EU expansion and then not to expect consequences. OK, if the economy was chugging along nicely - no financial crisis, no Tory Government, no austerity, than perhaps all would have been well. But you were naive if you thought that such a dramatic increase would not have political consequences and that you were not skating on thin ice. It was also different to Merkel's policy: people could understand that - there was a strong moral case for letting in desperate refugees - even if people did not really want immigration, they accepted that as decent human beings they had to. But In the UK's case it was economic migrants; the case was made that it was good for the economy; but much of Britain which has long had high unemployment just could not see the benefits of importing what looked like infinite amounts of cheap labour (eg the Mrs Duffy incident).

So anti-mass immigration sentiment is about jobs and job and wage/income security, the effects on communities and a feeling whether elites are working for their own people. It is not driven about racism or worries about foreigners going on benefits.



Ralph Musgrave,

For a former BNP candidate preoccupied with racism, you don't seem to understand it.

You say 'there are VARIOUS measures of what can loosely be called the “inferiority of [sic] superiority” of different races'

The point is that these measures are irrelevant to a racist. He may use them as a convenient fig-leaf, or crutch, for his views, but that is all they are: a post hoc justification.
His prejudice is based on RACE, not on any comparative metric. That's the whole point. That's why it's called rac-ism.

A white racist will despise a black professor just as much as a black binman, indeed probably more, because the professor's apparent career success will be a greater affront to his sense of superiority.

Average IQ scores across genetically close population groups are ultimately irrelevant to a racist. He could care less.

Here to help.

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad