Monday, 23 March 2015
Things we won’t say, but are true...
I’ve been watching the debate unfold since Trevor Philips’ documentary on race relations in Britain, which was shown last Thursday night on Channel 4. He told us what we always knew, that his team thought – as did Ingsoc – that if you can prevent people from expressing ideas, they will stop thinking them. Oh, I well remember the New Labour days and saw 1984 being played out in front of my eyes on the telescreen daily, but as hard as I shouted out, the party faithful shouted me down. I thought then that it was only a matter of time before the book-burning began.
Phillips says now that he and his cohorts were wrong, but the book-burning has been underway for some time now, or it may as well have been. If you don’t have the attention span for in-depth analysis in print, where you can ruminate, cogitate, challenge, write in the margins and develop an understanding in your own time, how can you rear responsible adults with a real understanding of the world we live in? The Internet, for all its fabulous content, is largely used to disseminate information in pre-packaged, pre-digested, spat-out chunks of polemic and propaganda. That, porn, poker and pictures of kittens, natch.
One thing that Trevor Phillips said was that – shock horror – stereotypes are often largely true. He then went on to say some things that a white presenter would still have to couch in the most cautious of terms; basic stereotypical facts about race, nationality, socio-economic background – all the new-taboos. And while he disagreed with much of what Nigel Farage had to say he nonetheless recognised Farage’s charge that many on the left of politics had helped bring about the current shitty state we find ourselves in. Actually, I have some sympathy for Philips’ crusading because, compared to the seventies, we are in an undeniably more harmonious balance now, with young people far less likely to hold hideously racist feelings.
Unless, of course, that racism is turned on their own. There is a peculiar urge in the soundbite-attuned young to rebel against what wiser heads have organised; the very society that has raised them thus far. And such knee-jerk urges should debar them from a say in proceedings until their heads have levelled out and they have seen the true contradictions of human nature. The internet and social media of course, manages to maintain those child-like urges well beyond the age of majority nowadays, with yesterday’s attack on Nigel Farage and his family a typical example of a political agenda driven by sheer ignorance and none of the maturity of Phillips' stance.
Predominantly juvenile white protesters said: "We will not succumb to Farage's prejudice. We will create the world we want to live in. A world beyond UKIP.” Marvellous, kiddies. And do you have any idea what such a world would look like? A world where the expression of opinions with which you disagree are prohibited and such prohibition enforced by the threat of violence? You may have thought you were having a bit of fun and attacking ‘the Nazi’, but your own actions were far more Hitler Youth than anything Ukip has ever inspired.
It's happening again...
Things we won’t say but are true? Some people are stupid. Some people are ugly. Some people are idle. Some people work harder than others. Some people steal. Some people succeed and some shouldn’t breed. Some people are black, white, brown and yes – some people in Ukip (as in any party) are afraid of a world changing too quickly for those changes to be assimilated. But some people are too ignorant of anything that matters to deserve to live in a tolerant world that decent people have built and want to preserve.