Discrimination has always upset me; yet another use of the word suggests radical examination and does not. I have never lived or worked anywhere free of prejudice and, of course ‘birthright’ is an explicit manifestation of it. The cultures of other peoples have often taught me about my own. We don’t notice much that is mundane to us.
The three aspects of Britain that bother me are ‘religionisation’, ‘ghettos’ and lack of ‘manufacturing’. I’m uncomfortable with the association of what was the Labour Party with Islam, but also wonder what the stripping away of a core proletariat has been about (was it really right-wing?) and the promotion of immigration as an ‘economic good’. Lots of questions arise in this, including why we should need immigration when our education system is so brilliant. Valid complaints from those who really suffer as a result of immigration are routinely vapourised as racist. And quite who is leaving and with what?
In the past, the term ‘proletariat’ has been associated with fantasist Marxism and I believe current debate is now more properly concerned with an older notion of labour value and currency. We are in the midst of inflation and making our poor poorer. There is much talk of knowledge society economics and we have had a period of money just making more money; just as our society in Britain has developed an under-class and lost representation of its own majority.
Many of the jobs I’ve done over the years on farms, in brick factories, shipyards, taxis and textiles (mostly between other jobs) have gone, or tend to have brown, black or eastern European occupants. We have not much in the way of armed service or merchant navy in the old job sense either. How many of our own have ‘better jobs’ because of our super education system? ‘Our own’ includes many not ‘ethnically British’.
Plenty of men and women over 40 have skills that will never be in direct demand here again – sewing machinists to engineers – if we continue in the current fantasy politics of global economics. If my son was off to university now, I’d probably be paying for some US outfit that invests in buying African land and evicts its tenant farmers (modern Enclosures). My sense of what is happening is not one of increases in skill or real education, but of ejukation and monotonous jobs that create little. Paper-filling and its electronic equivalents are hardly skill-laden, and I buy nearly everything without a shop as intermediary these days. Now they want to outsource Town Hall jobs to India.
None of this could happen if we had politics. Sadly, they are likely to come back via unrest and the street. I’m not interested in skin colour – the issues are not ‘little Englander’.