Now It's Fashionable to Berate Asylum-Seekers ; There Is Now a Thriving Group of Pedlars Selling Anti-Immigration Theories and Sinister `Research'
Alibhai-Brown, Yasmin, The Independent (London, England)
I am not going to lose any sleep over the BNP winning its fifth seat in local elections. The happy winner of 679 votes in Mixenden, Yorkshire - Adrian Marsden - was once a strident member of Combat 18, the violent neo-Nazi group which threatens to kill, among others, black British sports stars who have the impudence to win medals for their country. But the BNP is only a useful distraction, just as the National Front was in the Seventies when Margaret Thatcher was ripping to shreds all ideas of social justice and equality.
Oh yes, everyone from right to left will wholeheartedly and piously agree that this is a very poor show indeed and that the BNP is very wicked. But this moral chorus is a cover, a fig leaf. The denouncers of the BNP are worthy people, yet at the same time they hold views on immigration and asylum-seekers which I find to be quite repugnant. Others do nothing while the country slides into a more hate-filled place than it was during the days of Enoch Powell.
Many of them are shameless too. They come up to me at parties - usually where there are hardly any other black or Asian invitees, which makes them believe, perhaps, that I am an honorary white - and discuss their anxieties that the national identity of this country cannot tolerate any more immigrant invasions. They regurgitate old civil- disorder arguments (echoing the discredited views of duplicitous politicians, past and present) that if we let in too many "ethnic minorities" True Brits cannot be blamed for rising against the incomers. Honestly, the number of canapes I have choked over recently. Do these appeasers not understand that for inconsolable small-minded nationalists, one black immigrant is one too many?
We have seen this before. These are the folk who rushed to enlist with the right-wing warriors who rose to fight against "political correctness", defined by them as any idea or policy that challenged the status quo. Today the same people appear to have found a new freedom, permission to express their distaste for the multi-racial Britain which they used to pretend to adore. Do they not understand that this nation has a restless soul which has forever sought diversity? The making and remaking of any nation is not an easy task, and you need real guts and conviction to press on with it. This country has never appreciated the extraordinary contributions of immigrants, the true stories about our collective histories, the need to make a new social contract between all the citizens and the state so that we know what we stand for.
Admittedly these are very hard times for black and white Britons with enlightened views on immigration and our national identity. Too many immigrants and their children are giving succour to racists by rejecting the best of British ideals, democracy for one. If I were a white pensioner living on a street in Bradford where Asian men, braggarts and brawlers, pimps and dealers, had taken over, of course I would reach out for the meanest part of me and hate the whole lot of them. The endless stories of Albanian and Turkish warring gangs; of black men and gun crimes; of hideously deformed (in their heads more than their limbs) mullahs who think they have the right to incite, in the house of God, young Muslim men to hate; and Algerians accused of making poisons and killing policemen, have created a new anger and hostility to our presence across British society.
Many of these anti-social activities are or have been carried out by white people, but it is always worse when non-white people are accused in a world where white power dominates. That does not make any of the above right or understandable. Criminals and zealots need to be condemned and I do that every day. …