Monday, January 29, 2007

Polling the prejudiced

Shock! Horror!

There is new poll out on Muslims. Researchers approached 327,547 Muslims who live in London and 3 who live in Luton to ask them about life in Britain and the ongoing war on shampoo.

They found:

3% said their cats preferred Whiskers.

97% said they didn't have cats.

58% agreed that it's grim up north.

40% said that they had more in common with the Irish than the Italians.

43% said they'd vote Italian.

10% said they read the Daily Mail.

38% said they only look at the pictures.

3% said they lie when asked questions over the phone.

84% said that Tony Blair would be remembered for his speeches.

39% said that Gordon Brown would make a great football manager.

98% said they had never heard of the Big Sister programme.

67% said they felt that they had more in common with those who advocated peace.

33% said they voted Labour at the last election.

22% said that David Cameron was a really great film star but couldn't remember his last film.

100% said that they didn't trust polls on Muslims conducted since 9/11.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Where have all the tolerant people gone?

Sometimes, in everyday life, I meet some very nice and open-minded people. Sometimes, I don't, and in moments of measured concern, I wonder 'Where have all the tolerant people gone?'

Abroad? Millions of them. The Institute of Public Policy Research, a key left of field and government supporting think tank, published a decent report on this. The BBC has also published its research on Brits abroad, the case studies for each continent/area make for very interesting reading. Yahya Birt discussed this in relation to a book that discusses the Muslim presence in Britian and the Guardian's magazine interviews some of those that have left. I blame Channel 4.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Thieving from Baghdad

I've been looking for a report like this for a while now. Self-explanatory.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Alf Garnett is not the only racist

‘Is this racism?’ This is a question that has been oft-repeated over the past week. It is asked because in the questioner’s mind, there is only one kind of racism: Alf Garnett’s. That is, blatant, up front, no holds barred racism. But as most people on the receiving end know, Alf Garnett is not the only racist in the land.

So let us now, with thanks to Celebrity Big Brother, introduce a second prototype of racism: Jade Goody’s. This is not about the individual as much as it is about what it represents within our culture which is obsessed with language and symbolism. That is, this is not racism as the racist individual – Alf Garnett – but racism as culture.

The racism that has been shown on the TV screens for the last week or so is the racism that is present in British society today. It is a generalised, less-directed, more cultural form of racism that views others as unclean, threatening and different in a dislikeable sort of way. But this view towards difference is not unfamiliar to many. I have been surprised how the scenes from the TV programme have brought back childhood memories of racism amongst friends. It has certainly touched a raw nerve.

The worrying aspect is that Jade Goody is 25 years old, she was 15 when New Labour came in to power. As such, she is a product of New Labour’s Britain. So are the other two who joined in the racist bullying with her. And I cannot think of any time since the launch of the MacPherson report that racism has been so extensively discussed in British society. And so the detour through Ouseley and Cantle has led us to where we are today, back at square one. (The commentators who have come out to defend racism or apologise through idiocy are the same commentators such as Rod Liddle and Carol Sarler who have made much of the cultural difference argument in these past few years.)

So as Tony Blair examines his legacy over a decade of policy, one thing he can consider is the lack of progress in anti-racism that has been shown up so clearly this week.