Friday 20 May 2016

Wherever This Is

Yesterday's news story about Pat Glass, shadow Europe minster, came as no surprise. While drumming up support for the EU in Derbyshire, she was heard to say 'The very first person I came to was a horrible racist.' Well, we should know by now that many senior Labour politicians - those supposed friends of the Working Class - tend to be thoroughly appalled when they actually meet a specimen thereof, unless said specimen belongs to an approved ethnic minority or client group. Ms Glass's remark was almost an exact replay of Gordon Brown's 'bigoted woman', and in the same fine tradition as Emily Thornberry's snide tweet of an 'Image from Rochester' (a blameless white van and England's national flag).
 Over recent decades, white working-class people have been done over by governments of every stripe (see Michael Collins' The Likes of Us for a brilliant account of this). They've been done over by de-industrialisation and globalisation, done over by mass immigration, and done over by membership of the EU (which, for them, means mass immigration and low wages). Over the first two of these they have had no say, but, by a bizarre twist of fate, they will have a say in our continuing membership of the EU - and I suspect they're going to speak loud and clear and quite possibly swing it for Brexit. We'll see...
 Meanwhile, back to the ghastly Ms Glass. What she also said, having denounced the 'horrible racist', was 'I'm never coming back to wherever this is.' Wherever this is. Some hideous place where white working-class racists live, get me out of here... 'This', in fact, was the southeast Derbyshire village of Sawley - not exactly a picture-postcard village, but, like so many in Derbyshire, it has a fine church. All Saints has a grand five-light East window, a chantry chapel, several 15th and 16th-century monuments, and some fascinating fragments of a demolished monument, including an angel swinging a censer.
 Wherever this is, it is continuous with a deep past, a history of life and death and faith. It is platonic England, a country unknown to the likes of Ms Glass.


  1. This chimes with the hugely entertaining Rod Liddle, a man with an impeccable working class pedigree and a member of the Labour Party for 37 years. He's just been suspended from the party for backing the wrong client group in comments about the hard-left's anti-semitism. A complex world we live in - the dispossessed working class you cite sound a lot like Donald Trump's constituency and I have to say I bremain a Bremaintic with misgivings about white flags - don't feel the same as tricolores in France somehow but I'm sure you don't want to get into THAT debate).

  2. "Nasty bit of echo on your mic,'s called the truth." Rod Liddle in the ST today. "Sawley, where the Derwent and the Trent merge and Derbyshire shades seamlessly into Nottinghamshire" Text below

    My favourite comment caught when the microphones were supposed to be off came from a German television newsreader, at the end of his broadcast. “Lü gen, lauter Lü gen,” he muttered. It’s lies, nothing but lies.

    My father, had he been alive, would have felt wholly vindicated, as he had a habit of randomly contradicting newsreaders simply because he did not trust the stuff they were telling us. “The prime minister met union leaders today,” Kenneth Kendall would announce, and my dad, sitting in his armchair, would shake his head and reply: “No, he didn’t.” All the way through the news. Pointless oppositionism that, to some degree, I have inherited.

    There’s a lot more of this mic-left-on shenanigans these days and very entertaining it is, too, most especially when it highlights the gap between the bland, platitudinous drivel the great and good utter for public consumption and what they really think. Just recently we learnt that the Queen thought her Chinese visitors quite ghastly and the prime minister was overheard suggesting — incredibly — that Nigeria and Afghanistan were grotesquely corrupt .

    And now we have the Lump from Durham to cheer us up still further — Pat Glass, a Labour shadow minister on Europe and one of the leading lights of the “remain” campaign. At the end of a call-in show for BBC Radio Derby, she ranted to an aide: “The very first person I come to is a horrible racist. I’m never coming back to wherever this is.”

    Well, Pat — it’s Sawley, where the Derwent and the Trent merge and Derbyshire shades seamlessly into Nottinghamshire. The caller in question had raised objections to unlimited immigration and, rather wonderfully, Pat’s apology for calling this bloke a racist and not understanding where Derbyshire is was funnier than the off-mic idiocy.

    Here’s what she said: “The comments I made were inappropriate and I regret them. Concerns about immigration are entirely valid and it’s important that politicians engage with them. I apologise to the people living in Sawley for any offence I have caused.”

    This is what we might call a barefaced lie. The Lump does not think concerns about immigration are remotely valid. She believes, as does much of the Labour party (sadly), that people who harp on about immigration are indeed racist and shouldn’t be engaged with at all. The fact that these people make up an enormous chunk of the Labour vote, especially north of the Wash, cuts no ice — they’re racist and vile and there’s an end to it.

    Labour has just announced an inquiry into anti-semitism in the party. For many on the party’s left, and within its growing core Muslim membership, racism is indeed the greatest of all crimes — unless it is directed at Jews or, perhaps, other white British people. Then it’s OK. This perception is tacitly shared by the leadership. The inquiry, then, is no longer concerning itself solely with anti- semitism but also with “racism and Islamophobia”, and one of the first people to be suspended from the party was kicked out not for being anti-semitic but for trying to explain where this repulsive anti-semitism came from.

    That’s me, incidentally. I mentioned that a dislike of Jews was an ingrained part of the unpleasant ideology shared by many Muslims. Controversial, I know, like suggesting Nigeria is a bit corrupt.

    Perhaps I should do a Pat Glass apology and announce that the Muslim world is incredibly kindly disposed towards Jews, always has been. Except when I said what I said, I knew the mic was still on.

  3. Thanks Guy - I (nearly) always enjoy Liddle. Beats me why he's still in the Labour party, albeit in suspension...