Posts Tagged ‘london’

Well, one of the many reasons.

On the 11th July, the ‘newspaper’ ran this story. A perfect example of the Mail’s faintly sneering style, the term ‘plastic Brits’ is judgemental and superior (who wouldn’t want to be British?) Heaven forfend that a furrener should compete as a representative of our sceptred isle. The phrasing that 11% of our “542-strong” team was born overseas smacks of that 11% being the weaker element of our strong Team GB.

And so to this morning’s coverage of yesterday’s triumphs. Not only does Mo’s name make it into a pun in the headline, but he is adopted without question into Our Great Race (TM) – did you know it’s “the first time a British man has won in the Olympic 10,000m race”? Well, colour me astonished. No plasticity mentioned at all. The article does mention that he is Somali-born, but he’s certainly British these days.

It might seem a petty gripe, but it’s just another grubby page in the Mail’s misogynistic, racist, and judgementally right-wing history. The danger, as far as I’m concerned, is in the way the distasteful opinions are stated as self-evident fact. Palatable fascism for the easily outraged.

As a nice counterpoint, have you seen this lovely article in the Guardian? A celebration of the good bits of the Olympics, Britishness, and what’s making us proud.


Read Full Post »

London’s burning

Do you ever feel like you are watching history?

I’m watching BBC News channel (still can’t bring myself to watch Sky News, too hysterical), and seeing astounding scenes of buildings burning out of control. Scenes of shops being looted, and police attacked. It’s terrifying, and breathtaking in terms of the speed the violence and disruption has spread.

It’d be easy to name-call and pigeon-hole the perpetrators. Of course the violence is utterly unwarranted, of course the destruction is devastating. It must be terrifying for both police and for those living nearby the flashpoints. I can’t help but look at it sideways, though, and wonder why people are so disconnected from their communities and their culture that these riots and such destruction seem like an appropriate response.

In many areas of London, almost one in four of working age are unemployed. Young men, particularly young black men, are more likely to be unemployed than any other group. There is no immediate prospect for many of them of that situation changing. Participating in mass action such as we are seeing tonight, using social media as a principal method of communication, may be giving many a sense of purpose and belonging they haven’t experienced for years, if ever. And yet these are the areas which are experiencing, proportionally, the worst cuts in government spending. For the rioters, their actions are an expression of discontent and futility. Mindless thugs they may be – but that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg. Writing them off does nothing to solve the problem.

As a country we are failing our youth, failing our minorities – and tonight we are seeing the results.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: