Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The forgotten people

Leo McKinstry has a good comment piece in today's Telegraph about the white working class.

Once regarded as the backbone of Britain, the people who saved our country in two world wars, the indigenous, less affluent, sector of the population is now treated with contempt by liberal elitists, who sneer at the supposed idleness, vulgarity, xenophobia and ignorance of so-called "chavs" or "white trash".

This kind of repellent snobbery and prejudice was captured in an extraordinary outburst from newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Condemning white working-class Britons as "either too lazy or too expensive to compete" in the new era of multi-racialism, she wrote that "tax-paying immigrants past and present keep indolent British scroungers on their couches drinking beer and watching TV".

Most of us on the reality-based side of politics are familiar with Alibhai-Brown's rhetoric and are happy to dismiss it as the usual ranting of the Guardianista, but it shouldn't be forgotten that she writes for the paper which is most read by the liberal elite - and it is they who run the country. So what she says is not only influential, but is often uncriticised within her own circles. McKinstry exposes her bigotry with a simple statistic.

Such comments are not only offensive, but also factually incorrect, since levels of unemployment and welfare dependency are actually much higher in certain immigrant communities. According to the Office of National Statistics, 35 per cent of Muslim households have no adult in employment, more than twice the national average, though no liberal columnist would dream of ever writing about "Muslim scroungers".

Since when have liberal hacks like Alibhai-Brown worried about things like "facts"? McKinstry goes on to highlight the problems now being faced by white children in schools - particularly boys - and the white working class in employment where "instead of having their plight recognised, they are condemned by the nanny-employing classes for their insular racism and reluctance to struggle on minimal pay."

The public sector is now filled with initiatives geared towards blacks and Asians, whether they be special housing, positive action training schemes, or community grants. No less than 10 per cent of all Arts Council funding, for instance, is explicitly given to ethnic minority groups, while the BBC makes a fetish of minority recruitment, reflected in the famous comment of the former director general Greg Dyke that the corporation is "hideously white". That is the attitude that prevails in our civic institutions. The celebration of diversity is a one-way street, with every culture treated with reverence except the traditional British one.

It's not just a one-way street, it's a street that increasingly has a "no-entry for whites" sign.

In his book The Likes of Us: A History of the White Working Class, the author Michael Collins recalled coming across a municipal leaflet in a library in south London, listing every group that had settled in the borough, including the Germans, Dutch, Afro-Caribbeans, Somalians and Ethiopians. As he read this, Collins sensed an elderly white man looking over his shoulder. "They don't mention us English," said the old man, "You wouldn't think we existed, would you?"

No you wouldn't, would you.

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