I wanted to say something about this article in The Times, especially the argument (which the author, Sathnam Sanghera, does an excellent and nuanced job of demolishing) suggesting the English countryside must be racist because while an entire, mind boggling, simply staggering 9% of the British population is a minority (I don’t know if I count among the 9% or not, but I’ve got to be walking a fine line given my American-Irish background) only 1% of visitors to “the countryside” are minorities.
Even I can see that there is a pattern here. So while I’m reading along, and considering several possible alternative hypotheses (like, erm, perhaps the minority population of the UK tend to be a hell of a lot poorer than the “indigenous population” as Nick Griffin, MEP, likes to refer to the white people) I come across this paragraph, which in my experience (a mere six years) captures the average construction of “the other” on this island succinctly:
As Richard Younger-Ross, the Lib Dem MP for Teignbridge, has put it: “One lady in Widecombe said she was fed up with all the foreigners moving in . . . But she didn’t mean people from different ethnic backgrounds, she meant people from Newton Abbot.”
Some context. Newton Abbot is about 35 minutes up the A38 from Plymouth, in Devon. Widecombe is a small village, about 10 miles WNW, from Newton Abbot, on Dartmoor, still in Devon. Both reside within the aforementioned MP’s constituency.
There’s not much more I can do with this.
ADDENDUM: I don’t mean to imply above that either Nick Griffin, MEP, or the BNP are racist. It’s an easy, cheap shot. To their credit, they state several times on their own web page that they are most certainly not racist. (But Labour are racist thugs, according to the BNP). So now that I’ve afforded the BNP equal time, I’ll dispense with implying, and move on to an explicit statement. They’re racist. No, really.
Born in San Jose, grew up in Seattle, received a Ph.D. in poli sci from University of Washington in 2000. I worked for three years at Universiteit Twente in Enschede, Netherlands, and have worked at the University of Plymouth for 16 academic years now in Plymouth, United Kingdom. I also currently serve as joint campaign coordinator for the Plymouth Sutton & Devonport Constituency Labour Party.