This Christmas send the gift of understanding to your nearest and dearest by exposing the vilest of our political establishment. This Christmas card, created by Cold War Steve, casts the likes of Farage, Rees-Mogg and my own MP, Mark Jenkinson in their true, narrow-minded and mean-spirited colours. Even better, 100% of the profits from sale of the cards goes to the charity ‘Refugee action’ whose work supports those desperate individuals who so many of our politicians would abandon despite our international commitments and legal obligations.
I’ll be off to pop one in the post to my local constituency tory club shortly. I’m sure many of them will enjoy the joke just as much as the rest of us will.
Now all of these rights are at risk – which of them do you want to lose? Which do you want other people to lose?
Would you like suspected foreign criminals to be deported without conviction in court?
Would you like to go to prison for crimes you were merely suspected of without being found guilty?
If your answers to those questions are different you’re falling for the propaganda.
Home secretary Priti Patel even stands by a system of immigration that would have excluded her own parents who were kicked out of Uganda during Idi Amin’s purges and fled here for their own safety.
She’s also presiding over the mass deportation of EU and other immigrants, many of whom have lived their entire lives, or close to their entire lives here in the UK.
Those granted leave to remain will be forced to do so under new regulations effectively making them second class citizens in the land they have always called home. Swap the word Jew for Muslim and it’s a move that could have been taken straight from Adolf Hitler’s 25 point plan.
I’m not exactly religious. Actually I’ve been an atheist for just over half my life but I found myself wondering just what this God bloke might have to say about allowing so much evil into the world. What would it be like to ask Him? Would He actually explain Himself? I wonder…
Me: Our Father, who art in Heaven
God: You called?
Me: Why do you allow so much hatred into the world?
God: It’s good for humans to have something to believe in – a just cause to keep them occupied.
Me: Are you saying that things like racism, religious hatred and oppressing vulnerable people are just causes?
God: Not at all, my son. Opposing hatred is the just cause I was thinking of.
Me: I see. So what about Christians who hate because they’re defending a Christian land? Haters like Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins and Nigel Farage?
God: Hmmm. Good question. Hang on a tic – I’ll ask my lad, Jesus.
Me: Twiddles thumbs expectantly for a bit
God: He said He never knew them. Never even heard of them in fact. They don’t come to visit on Sundays and He’s pretty sure that they don’t know too much about Him either.
ME: So they’re not really Christians? Is that what you’re saying?
God: Only God knows who is true and who is not.
Me: But you are God.
God: Yes but I’m not telling you!
Me: Well, what can you tell me?
God: I can tell you that Haters often hang on to religion’s shirt tails. They think it gives them an air of respectability but in reality it just shows them up as hypocrites.
Me: Is that what Allah thinks about all those Muslim terrorists? Will you ask Him for me?
God: Don’t need to. I’m Allah. Allah is the Arabic word for God.
Me: But Middle Eastern Christians don’t call you Allah.
God: They bloody do!
Me: Did you swear then, God?
God: Just a little bit. Anyway – it’s in the Bible.
Me: So what about Muslim terrorists?
God: Islamist terrorists are no more Muslim than Anders Breivik is Christian.
Me: That’s good to hear but how can I be sure?
God: Easy. Go and visit your Muslim neighbours. Get to know them. You’ll see that they want peace just as much as you do.
Me: What if they try to kill me?
God: There are 1.7 billion Muslims on the planet right now. If they all wanted you dead I don’t think there’s be any doubt about it, do you? You’ll be fine. Trust me. I’m God.
It’s become a familiar trope of the far right over the last decade to claim that all Muslims are rapists – child rapists at that. Paedophiles. This is because of the grooming gang scandals in places like Rotherham, Derby, Greater Manchester and Oxford. Presented as they were with genuine, actual scandals that really did happen the country’s racists and neo-Nazis lost no time in distorting the facts even further to fit their vile, discriminatory agenda.
So what exactly are those facts? Well…
It’s true that in these and other towns across UK gangs of men conspired together to groom and abuse vulnerable girls, many of whom were below the age of consent and almost all of whom were plied with drugs or alcohol, raped whilst unable to consent, either through intoxication or youth and intimidated into silence before being trafficked around and repeatedly hired out for non-consensual, even forced sex with older men. Several were beaten and threatened with death or serious injury and many continue to suffer psychologically as a result of their traumatic experiences. This is a matter of public record.
It’s also true that the majority of men involved in these grooming gangs were Asian, Muslim and predominantly of Pakistani origin.
It’s also true that the authorities showed remarkable reluctance to confront the issue and there are many sworn affidavits testifying to the fact that girls were either not-believed or even blamed for having ‘asked for it’, as though an under-age girl can ever ‘ask for it’ in any meaningful way. Sex with a minor is, after all, statutory rape whatever her particular, immature judgement might be. Children are children and they need to be protected, often especially from themselves and always from adult sexual predators.
So there we are, those are the facts and they’re particularly sordid facts, to boot.
As a result, far right flag-shagging rabble-rousers from Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson to Paul Golding and Nigel Farage jumped on their discriminatory band-waggons and descended on the towns, especially Rotherham where the scandal first broke, denouncing all Muslims which they tended to define as brown people and non-white taxi drivers and generally using the scandals to whip up religious hatred.
They characterised Muslim citizens as vermin much as the Nazis had characterised the Jews. They denounced anyone who objected as paedophile sympathisers or even as paedophiles themselves.
Lots of people were taken in by this scam, not least because of the abhorrent nature of the crimes concerned and the characterisation of the victims as white, Christian girls which boosted their fantasy agenda of racial and religious warfare. But let’s take a closer look, shall we?
I’m not about to defend the actions of these predominantly but not exclusively Asian men. The crimes were and will always be repugnant and it is right that they are serving long prison sentences as a consequence. And this is equally true regardless of religion or of skin colour. There were a number of white Christians among the gangs and they’re no less guilty for that. All of those who participated in the grooming and abuse of these young women and girls are equally culpable. And there’s the rub.
All the perpetrators are deserving of punishment. But their families and neighbours are not. Just as not all white Christians are paedophiles, neither are all brown Muslims. There is an issue with some sections of the Pakistani community, a problem which the British Pakistani community is well aware of and is actively seeking to eradicate. This isn’t unlike the problem that exists with some sections of the white Christian community in North America where girls as young as 8 or 9 are still formally and informally ‘married’ to older men.
In both cases the practice is cultural, rather than religious. Yet we wouldn’t accuse every resident of Kentucky’s Appalachian mountains of paedophilia any more than we should blame every Muslim of Pakistani origin. Pakistan is a huge country and cultural practices vary enormously across the regions.
Crime is committed by criminals and every demographic has them. I’m not going to get into extensive whataboutery here but it’s worth thinking just a little about the hard work going on in the mosques to eradicate child sexual exploitation and contrasting that with the letter sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to every Roman Catholic diocese worldwide ordering clergy to cover up child abuse within its ranks, to move offending priests to other parishes where they would be free to abuse more children and to refuse to cooperate with local police. A few short years later cardinal Ratzinger became Pope benedict XVI.
The Church of England and the Methodist churches have each had their own paedophilia scandals but nobody complains that all Anglicans, all Roman Catholics or all Methodists are paedophiles. Why is that then?
I think it’s because it’s obvious. I also think it’s because British people have no cultural reason to discriminate against members of our own, traditional religions. Actually we have no reason to discriminate against other religions either except that certain flag-shagging fuckwits see it as a useful peg to hang their racism on. And there’s the rub.
There’s nothing especially unique about Islam when it comes to child sexual abuse. All the major religions have issues with that. In fact, you might argue that Islam is doing more than most to eradicate it. It’s only of interest to these ‘crusaders’ of child protection when it’s brown people doing the abusing though so Islam gets it.
If the likes of Robinson, Farage, Hopkins and Golding really wanted to eradicate child sexual exploitation they’d begin with the Roman Catholics but that’s hardly their aim. It’s brown people they dislike. Abused children can go hang, for all they care.
What a decade it’s been. We began 2010 in the throes of recession thanks to a global recession that began in 2008 with the American sub-prime mortgage and investment fiasco and quickly spread across the globe. By 2010 our economy here in UK had suffered massive damage but we had a working welfare state to protect our citizens from the worst of the crisis.
Then, in May of 2010 the real British catastrophe began, The ConDem government introduced austerity and so began a decade long process of starving our social safety net of funds while throwing massive tax cuts at the wealthy. Ten years on and our vital services are almost unrecognisable, they’re so depleted by years of Tory and LibDem cuts and back door privatisation. And now, in the closing weeks of 2019 a new disaster has begun to bite.
Boris Johnson has such a huge parliamentary majority that he can do whatever he wants and make no mistake, he will. He’s already made it clear that he plans to ‘review’ the relationship between the government, parliament and the judiciary in such a way that he and his ministers will be able to rewrite any law they choose without recourse to anyone – not even the law. Privatisation of the NHS is increasing quickly now and manifesto promises about minimum wage rises and working peoples’ rights are already being fudged. The new decade looks set to be a whole lot worse than the one we’ve just left.
If this nation is to survive the next ten years and still retain even a modicum of decency, if we are to maintain anything close to the social safety net we have taken for granted for so many years we need to come together as one. We need to put the differences of the last few years aside, forget the petty prejudices and paranoia centering around race, religion, country of origin or social status and work together for the good of the whole community.
Many of us are working hard to do just that. Join us – help keep UK society together until the storm of this far right government is over. It’s a storm we need to face together or few of us will survive it at all.
It’s a common phenomenon. Sick and tired of hearing far right tropes at work, in the pub, on social media and pretty much everywhere else, decent people, armed with only a sense of justice and the best of intentions eventually decide that is enough is enough and decide to give the Fash a piece of their mind. And then the trouble starts.
Like trench warfare but without the guns, like the German assault on Verdun or General Winter’s relentless destruction of Napoleon’s forces in Russia, the war of attrition begins. Anyone daring to suggest that desperate refugees might need some help or who has the temerity to suggest that Nigel Farage might not have the best interests of the working class at heart is instantly depicted as (tick as appropriate)
ÿA closet Muslim
ÿA race traitor
Such people are apparently deserving of (tick as appropriate)
ÿDeath by hanging
ÿLife imprisonment (without parole)
ÿDeath by firing squad
ÿDeath by various other creative but ultimately highly impractical alternative methods.
Understandably enough, when faced with these daily tirades from relatives and former friends, as well as complete strangers our intrepid heroes aren’t always as indefatigable as they might have hoped. It’s easy to become despondent in the face of so much undeserved abuse for the crime of showing a little compassion and understanding. The decent people grow tired. They develop Fash Fatigue.
But take heart. This little article is intended to help lift the spirits of the decent folk. The ordinary people who know intuitively that so much bitterness and hatred is the wrong way to go. Those who can see the need for a little compassion in the world, who aren’t frightened of the fact that not everyone enjoys Jellied eels and Melton Mowbray pork pies, who are quite able to walk past a Mosque or a Synagogue without feeling the need to set it alight.
If you don’t see brown people as the enemy. If you understand how ludicrous the idea of miscegenation and race replacement is. If you can’t stop laughing whenever anyone seriously suggests that white genocide is a thing then this is for you.
Keep your chin up, keep plodding on and have faith in the fact that British society, despite having lost its way for a brief moment in time, is better than all that.
We’ve come a long way in the last 100 years. Yes, it’s true that racism and fascism is rearing its ugly head again within these islands but it’s only a blip. It’s only ever a blip when this happens. Hold your nerve. Another few years will see the current batch of racist, fascist bully boys fade into the same insignificance their predecessors of the National Front, the British National Party, the English Defence League and the New British Union of Fascists currently ‘enjoy’.
Far right parties never last here. We gave Mosley and his Black-shirts short shrift in the 1930s, we laughed the NF and the BNP into obscurity in the 70s, 80s and 90s and we’ll ridicule UKIP and the Brexit Party into oblivion too.Not that this is a Brexit issue per se.
There are many non-racist, non-fascist Brits who want us to leave Europe and that’s OK. That’s democracy. But I have never met a single fash who didn’t want us out of Europe. I’ve never met a single UKIP or Brexit Party leader who cared about anyone but himself and I never heard of a UKIP or Brexit party leader whose political career isn’t smeared with the foul-smelling defecant of racism and far right bigotry.
So when you get despondent and exhausted by Fash fatigue, take heart. The journey is never as long as it seems and most of the ordinary Brits screaming abuse at you aren’t really the hard-core Fash they appear to be. They’re our brothers and sisters who, duped by a sustained and deceitful media campaign have come to believe that the only way to ‘save’ UK is to close our borders, to leave the EU and to vote tory. But they’re not the enemy. They’re ‘us’. They’re our friends and neighbours and they will come to their senses soon enough.
Even now, for the most part they genuinely want what’s best for everyone. They’re not usually racist and they’re not usually fascist. But they are for the moment sitting on a tiresome, abusive bandwagon because they haven’t yet sussed where it’s heading. They’ll jump back off it soon enough. When that happens it’ll be up to us to rebuild the bridges that are currently burning. It’ll be up to us to realise that only a small minority of the apparent Fash really are Fash. The rest are decent people who’ve been swept up in the storm. If the UK is ever to get beyond this conflict, this divisive, bloodthirsty civil cold war it’ll be up to us, the decent people to make the first move.
One day, in the not too distant future, we will need to reunite our nation or lose the rights our ancestors fought and died to win for us. The people of Britain, especially the working class cannot survive if we remain divided.
So don’t worry about your Fash fatigue. Take a break – do something enjoyable and calming. Read a book and then, when you can, come on back and keep on arguing for peace, for compassion and for good sense to prevail.
I worry that the Gammon, the sweaty, self-satisfied, self-important but ultimately ignorant footsoldiers of this nationalistic rise, themselves working class Britons, are blissfully unaware of the wholesale oppression that their violence could bring about – not only upon those whom they mistakenly think of as ‘the enemy’ but upon themselves and their families.
The current nationalistic, racist fervour is the thin end of a very large wedge. It’s a slippery slope that threatens to devour working people of all colours, creeds and backgrounds. Even the gammon – although maybe, just maybe they actually deserve it.
I worry that our working class youth is being hijacked into supporting the very same people who kept their ancestors downtrodden in the past. The divisions being created by right wing opportunists, aided and abetted (however unintentionally) by the alienated, the downtrodden and the disenchanted threaten us all.
Apparently my time will come when all the real Brits, the ones with bald or nearly bald heads and pink, gammony cheeks will rise up, their sweaty little heads glistening in the sunlight and hang me in the street. How gleefully they’ll chant as they winch me aloft and watch me writhing and choking for daring to disagree with them, the self-styled guardians of free speech who want to kill anyone who dares to say things they don’t want to hear. Snowflakes!
If you’re angry at the way working people have been treated by this callous government and its wealthy supporters – So am I. I hate how my society has been torn apart in the interests of corporate profit and the rich. If you want things to change for the better – so do I.
But if you want to scapegoat the innocent Muslims and immigrants who live around the corner just because the Gammon-wranglers, the bastard bankers, corrupt cabinet ministers and multinational company directors are out of your reach then I will oppose you and your stupid, shiny-headed, gammony hatred in every way that I can.