Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Lawrence’
A dry day with the guarantee of several wet ones to come. Thus tempted we decided on a show of hands on painting the ‘stores’ shed instead of going our various ways this afternoon. Most in favour, Albert and Bill definitely against. Albert, who had planned to watch his local non-league team in action, was miffed and bumbled around muttering about ‘bloody democracy’. In reality it exists only in small groups such as ours. At national level we constantly lecture troubled countries about the aim of democracy, but tend to ignore the fact that our system of government is anything but democratic.
Every week brings examples of politicians pressing on with policies that were not so much as mentioned at the general election, and this government is no worse than its predecessors. Lansley’s decimation of the NHS is an obvious example, but the daddy of them all is Europe. Demands for a referendum on EU membership have rumbled on for years, all three major parties have invariably produced one cock-and-bull story after another to avoid allowing the populace to express an opinion.
Today we have the result of a special constituency poll conducted by the multi-party ‘People’s Pledge’ organisation. Over 47,000 ballot forms were distributed across the Thurrock constituency and the ‘turn-out’ was over one-third, higher than that in many local ‘democratic’ elections. No fewer that 89.9% backed a referendum!
Ian McKenzie, the campaign’s communications director, said that the outcome is “unignorable”, and added that the sitting MP and her Labour opponent cannot “stick their fingers in their ears”. The number voting for a referendum was almost equal to the number that elected Jackie Doyle-Price, the Conservative candidate at the general election, but she continues to vote against any move in parliament to trigger a referendum.
The question asked on the ballot paper was a simple one; “Voters should be given a national referendum on whether the UK remains a member of the European Union. Agree or disagree?”. Of course it doesn’t follow that those in favour of a democratic process are necessarily against membership, but many people are beginning to ask what benefits we actually derive.
Perhaps the biggest negative is the right of any EU citizen to come to the UK. Our population growth is out of control and our infrastructure overwhelmed, yet each month sees large numbers arrive from Eastern Europe. Close behind this negative is the enormous cost of membership and the obligation to help fund struggling economies within the Euro, plus the constant implications of control of our courts and employment laws.
But I musn’t bang on about negatives for supporters of EU membership will have their own counter-arguments. The point is that neither the pros nor the cons are ever allowed to voice an opinion. The Labour party and the Lib Dems seem intoxicated with the European dream and are both determined not to risk the electorate disagreeing. The Conservatives are divided and its leaders are perfectly happy to use the Clegg factor as an excuse for refusing the people a voice.
Of course politicians study polls in the way that Albert studies certain pages of The Sun. They know that the overwhelming public view is anti-EU membership and they have no intention of risking that becoming a formal statement.
There is nothing we can do about it other than accept that we do not live in a democracy. Bit of an overstatement? Hardly. If an MP votes against the expressed view of almost nine out of ten of the people she represents, it seems a very reasonable accusation!
THE MOST ALARMING QUOTE OF THE DAY!
“Here we are 14 years later with the worst kind of blatent and violent racism by police. Even worse is that the officers appear to be doing it openly in front of colleagues. Such a group of constables could not be routinely racist like this without their seniors being aware and telling them to stop. I fear this is more than just a few bad apples!”
Yesterday; Dr Richard Stone, a former member of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry panel.
Another wretched morning on the allotments. Whether damage to hen-runs qualifies as the ‘structural damage’ so beloved by weathermen I know not, but either way our little world is in chaos. And to tip the balance in favour of emigrating to Australia, whoever controls the water tap up there has decided to turn it on again. Baths may be prohibited in Surbiton, up here in’t north you can have one without bothering to go inside. Mind you, the bankers of Surbiton probably bathe in champagne.
Despite all this we are all much cheered by the sight of justice being done at last in the Stephen Lawrence case, at least in trespect of two pof his ghastly assailants of eighteen years ago. One can only admitre his parents who never gave up in thir search for justice. It was no surprise that Stephen’s mother spoke out in condemnation of the police, whose perfromance has been truly appalling. And part of the explanation is the fact that many of the officers of the day were racists. Since logic dictates that anyone holding racist views is inevitably moronic that tells us a great deal about the quality of many of those to whom we entrusted the task of law and order. The Met? Keystone Cops!
It has always seemed to us indisputable that no one of even moderate intelligence can possibly believe that the colour of someone’s skin makes him superior or inferior to another human being. It simply defies logic. I recently travelled to an away match in support of a non-league soccer team and witnessed a classic example of the point. During the first half a small group of white louts constantly taunted a black player. At half time a formidible lady confronted them. She remarked that they clearly saw themselves as superior to the victim. He had just earned his doctorate in science and she asked how their degrees could posssibly be better. She, of course, knew the answer which was that they hadn’t a brain cell between them.
Many of today’s papers claim that the sad case of Stephen Lawrence changed Britain. I beg to differ. If anything, it made things worse in that it heralded an age of political correctness in which the implication was that all non-white skinned people are hard-working and beyond any allowed reproach. Illogical. The colour of our skins is an irrelevant fact of nature and conveys nothing about behaviour or character. As a long-term employee in the NHS I worked with people of every conceivable race, each one included good and kindly people and bad and unkind ones. The only route to sanity is to drop labels and to marginalise morons.
The whole subject seemed to me to have considerable relevance to the death of Ronald Searle, which was announced yesterday. The cartoonist was best known for his spiky comic drawings depicting the outrageous antics of the St Trinians girls, and for his illustrations of the Molesworth series. But he rightly wished to be remembered for much more than those. He created an alternative to the conformity of Harold Macmillan’s Britain and he ridiculed any form of authority or behaviour that we were supposed to accept and follow.
Searle gave the Britain of the 1950s a sense of anarchy, a healthy scepticism and a plea to think for ourselves and to do so in a logical way. Race relations had not then become an industry but had it done so there is no doubt that the great cartoonist would have found eye-catching ways to show the stupidity and illogicality of any importance placed on what coloured-skin this person or that was landed with.
I have yet to meet any sane person of even average intelligence who believes in superiority based on race. You may raise an eyebrow here and point to many powerful dictators who were, or are, driven by just that. But I did add the rider ‘sane’!