Had an idea – an inter-Blogger house swap group where we switch houses for our holidays. I somehow think I’d get the better end of the deal.
8.2m viewers of Question Time on Thursday evening – not to mention the iPlayer watchers who couldn’t face staying up beyond 10:35pm - wow! And some people have the nerve to say the BNP isn’t voicing any valid issues? Having said that, I’m sure a goodly percentage were watching just for the Lions vs Christians aspect of good old car-crash TV. I’d hazard a guess, however, that most BNP supporters would rather be watching X-Factor than Question Time.
"OK, Nick Griffin, apart from the abuse of women, legitimising rape and intolerance of other religions.... what have you got against Islam?"
I had to admire the man for appearing when he clearly knew he was being set-up – but there again, if he knew that then he used it to his advantage and I am vindicated in my assessment of him being a skilled and articulate operator, and thus very dangerous. There’s no denying, if you read the BBC website comments and those on newspaper websites, that he’s garnered massive sympathy, if not outright support. Griffin clearly has his ear much closer to the UK’s heartbeat than most politicians, as do all demagogues who prey on prejudices and fear.
Martin McGuiness was convicted for being caught in a car containing 250 lb of explosives and nearly 5,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as for being a member of the IRA. He is now Deputy 1st Minister of Northern Ireland. The Pope was a member of the Hilter Youth and therefore aactually a de-facto Nazi. So you can’t necessarily say that a leopard can’t change its spots. For Christ's sake, Regan was a bloody actor!
As for the rent-a-gob studio audience – pathetic! As for the other panel members – incoherent, especially Jack Straw, who rambled on like a drunk fell-walker and avoided answering a pointed question as to whether the rise of the BNP is due to Labour’s failure to address the immigration issue. Warsi and Huhne were essentially agreeing that there’s an immigration problem, but then rounding on Griffin for having the temerity to say so, and even worse, having a plan to address it - which they apparently don't.
Shame on the BBC for allowing this charade to proceed in the manner it did. All power to the BBC for not kow-towing to the jack-booted forces of anti-racist fascism, for silencing those with a different view to you is itself fascism.
Definition of Groupthink:
- Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
- Rationalising warnings that might challenge the group's assumptions.
- Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
- Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, disfigured, impotent, or stupid (ad-hominem attacks).
- Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of "disloyalty".
- Self censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
- Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
- Mind guards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.
That has a resonance on two fronts; the recent banking fiasco and the failure of successive UK governments (or their opposition) to adequately address the immigration issue through the illogical fear of being labelled racist by a voluble minority of mind-police operating for the anti-racism industry (for an industry it certainly is).
You could almost say that being anti-racist is the new black, if you’ll forgive the pun.
I think, however, that the first question we have to ask of our politicians is whether the country is indeed full (we stand at 61.4m). I admit I don’t know the answer. Many are touting this as a valid reason to halt or slow down immigration – but we need to know the facts before we go spouting dogma. There’s no doubt that people who come here and work add to our wealth through taxation – and service some critical sectors of the economy that the common or garden Brit wouldn’t touch with a didgeridoo.
Some facts about UK population growth in the last year from official statistics (allegedly):
- 791k births – 24% of which are to mothers who were not UK born,
- 512k immigrants, and
- 395k emigrants.
Not sure how many deaths there were, but they must logically be fewer than the number of births, or else the population wouldn’t be growing – innit?
That’s an overall increase of 908k heads per annum (less deaths), 54% of which are either foreign-born or born to mothers who are foreign. Is that sustainable? Is that enough to keep our pension system going? I simply don’t know and will therefore refrain from judgement – unless forced to through the absence of an answer.
Once the question of whether we are full has been answered we need to know the true effect of immigration on social cohesion. Obviously, again, there’s a lot of unsubstantiated dogma flying around, but from the viewing figures of Question Time and the mutter from the gutter, many indeed think it an issue.
What we must bear in mind is that in matters such as these, perception unfortunately has a habit of becoming reality, no matter what the facts are, as perception informs judgement if facts simply aren’t available, aren’t corroborated, or simply aren’t promulgated widely. Again this is a question to which I don’t know the answer and will refrain from judgement – unless forced to.
What I will say is that I’m an immigrant. I will also say that we are by nature tribal creatures; evolution has made us that way for survival and expecting millions of years of evolution to change within a couple of hundred years is asking rather a lot from it. There’s a thin veneer of civilization keeping us all in check, but I fear it’s only wafer thin and more cultural than evolutionary.
In 1968 Enoch Powell – he famous for his Rivers of Blood speech – prophesied that by the year 2000 10% of the UK’s population would comprise immigrants and their descendents. According to the 2001 census it was actually 15%. It is an issue for many and it can’t be swept under the carpet any longer, or else the far right will take advantage of it.
However, as Hay pointed out to me yesterday, global warming may render a mass influx of immigrants a fact of life that we can’t hide from by trying to lock the country down. Perhaps Prime Minister Nick Griffin has an answer to that one.
Have you ever analysed your signature? Mine evolved to its current state during my late teens and became autonomic in my early 20s. I physically cannot replicate my signature if I consciously think about the strokes as I do them.
The two dots at the end (none genuine without the two dots) are a mystery even to me, although I suspect they may be vesitgial, surreal, pointillist, impressionistic representations of the final two letters of my surname. I’m a bloody artist and I never knew it.
This signature could be worth a fortune – if you managed to get it on one of my cheques.
Looks a bit foreign, doesn’t it?
If I take a while answering any comments, forgive me. I'm currently on the M5 motorway - probably somewhere around Exeter - headed for Truro to collect No.1 son.