A documentary, "The Secret Policeman" on BBC TV last night (21/10/03) sent a journalist undercover into the police force and revealed what any right thinking person knows, that English society is riddled with racism from top to bottom. The doccie included a cop putting on a white sheet aka the Klu Klux Klan, comments about Hitler having "the right idea" and so on and so forth, that shocked the established media and predictably, the powers that be reacted with suitable cries of outrage. But not before the doccie had been branded by our racist Home Secretary Blunkett, who described it as "created news", before it had even been flighted. Today, he thought it was "horrendous". Five of the cops in the programme resigned today.
Ten years after the Lawrence inquiry into the death of a young black man and the failure of the police and the prosecuting authorities to bring anyone to book, concluded that the police was "institutionally racist", a description that can be extended to every aspect of the British state and its institutions.
For example, young black men are 18 times more likely to be committed to mental institutions than their white counterparts. In spite of entering school with higher than average potential, Afro-Caribbeans end up with educationally lower qualifications and, no doubt, lower expectations.
Blunketts initial reaction tells us a lot more than his subsequent expression. The rise in racist attacks and the growth of the extreme right over the past few years are directly related to Blunkett and the Labour governments exploitation of asylum seekers and aliens, and comments about the thousands pouring over the border as "swamping" the educational system and that theyre "mostly fake asylum seekers".
The state sets the agenda and creates spaces for racism to openly express itself and capture the support of largely poor and working class communities who because of the governments xenophobic policy, see the asylum seekers as in competition for scarce resources. The BNP for example, has captured votes in some northern and midlands cities and towns with high unemployment and depressed economy. Sometimes the communities are mostly white; sometimes theyre mixed.
In addition of course, theres been the overt and covert demonising of the followers of Islam, who are coincidentally, mostly Asian or of Asian descent.
Terror alerts, raids on Mosques, arrests without trial under the Terrorism Act, joint media and police operations against people traffickers have just added to the rising level of hysteria. Historically this has always been the case when the state wants to divert peoples attention away from the real issues and the problems that confront us, or to justify a policy.
The media of course has played a major role in disseminating the xenophobic message the state wants broadcast and its been the tabloid press, with its largely working class readership, thats taken up the cudgel with a vengeance.
Received 'opinion as reported in the tabloids pushes the line that most people (they mean their readers, or at least the ones who write them letters) think asylum seekers are a bunch of spongers and thieves, who are stealing resources from us. That theyre not really genuine asylum seekers; they just want to get a piece of the good life.
There could be no clearer example of the way the state and its partner the corporate media uses racist ideological methods in order to sell its policies. And across Europe, as the established political parties adopted barely disguised racist policies that singled out mostly people of colour, this gave the green light for the ultra right to come out of the closet.
And spokespeople for the Home Office have become very adept at playing the media, emphasising the legalistic aspect of their immigration policies to the exclusion of the human and moral obligations, let alone their legal obligations under the EUs Human Rights legislation, which conveniently, most of the EU countries ignore as well. In fact, the government spends an awful lot of time and money trying to get around the legislation whenever it gets in the way of their own policies.
I might add that almost as many people leave this benighted land every year as those who, by hook or by crook, make their way here. But logic flies out the window and the fact that weve got an aging population and that the current birthrate 1.6 per family is not enough to replace those who die, is simply ignored.
But its the principle and the reasons that are the issue here, not numbers. England is and always has been for thousands of years; a nation made up of immigrants. Its the nature of being an island, a sea-going nation and our location. Its what made London for example, what it was and is, a cosmopolitan city full of people from many cultures. My own grandparents were immigrants, who spoke no English, were poor and struggled to survive.
But the danger doesnt just come from the far right but from the governments we have in power right now. Building special camps out in the middle of nowhere and using aliens as an excuse to introduce biometric ID cards for all of us, are just two of the methods the Labour government is using in a creeping totalitarianism, that they are sneaking up on us under the guise of "fighting terrorism" or the alien menace. This is no Gestapo knocking on the door yet. This is keeping tabs on the population before they do anything brash and untoward.
So no doubt, the upshot of the "Secret Policeman" will some more breast-beating and mea culpas, until its conveniently brushed under the carpet, and like the Lawrence murder, I suppose well have to wait another ten years before the next exposé makes us feel uncomfortable.
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