Saturday, 1 May 2010
Bigotgate and Golliwogs
One of the things that’s always drawn me to Cornwall is the friendliness of the locals. On one childhood coastal walk into Hayle from St Ives, an elderly man tipped his hat to my parents and wished us “Good morning.” “Who was that?” I wanted to know, my city expectations utterly flummoxed by the revelation that human beings could greet complete strangers without disaster ensuing. No aberration: everyone we met did the same. In town, little old Cornish ladies always had time to chat to us. I was suddenly “moi ’andsome” or “moi lover”.
It didn’t matter that my father was Chinese, and I largely took after him. We were as welcome as anyone else.
So it’s with considerable dismay that I find a new range of tourist tat in the gift shops. Remember those golliwogs you thought you’d seen the last of? Well, they’re back, and this time it’s personal.
Jolly Golly now brings you golliwog dolls, keyrings, mugs: all making the most of the new foreigner paranoia and celebrating the end of PC, if PC means being nice to people.
Gillian Duffy may indeed be a 'sort of' bigot, but she’s only expressing fears stoked up by media owned and run by the larcenous rich who’d rather you looked over there than at what their own friends are up to here. Dyson ditching the factory workers who helped make his cleaners a success and chasing the cheap labour in Malaysia? Bearded Virgins and ticket-pricing cartels? Billionaire non-doms who don’t pay tax? Down-sizing, cost-cutting, record profits going straight to directors? No, your job losses and lack of housing are, according to the pundits, all the fault of ordinary people trying to make an honest living. Having pandered to ‘concerns’ about ‘immigration’ during New Labour’s thirteen-year tenure, Gordon Brown is merely reaping what his party have sown.
The shop-owners would probably feel mortified if visiting black children were distressed by these parodies of who they are. Face to face, flesh-and-blood humanity is never the same as the demons inhabiting your own head. I doubt they’d be happy to do emotional and psychological damage to those children, but such is the poisonous climate fostered by the race and nationalist agenda that the Redneck Tendency is being nurtured to the abandonment of some of the best race relations in the world.
Recent polls show that the areas where the BNP are strongest are those where there are smaller immigrant populations (or none at all!), indicating that this is all based on projection of fears rather than actual threats in the real world. So while we face economic meltdown and the destruction of our services, anger is set to be deflected onto those deemed “foreign”, whether of colour or Eastern European. I’ve already been told by one Cornish local who’s hardly ever set foot outside the county that it’s “immigrants” who are wrecking the country. The only immigrants she ever sees are the English (non-white faces being a rarity down here), but of course, these are not the immigrants to whom she refers. Even though some Cornish folk used to apply the term ‘foreigners’ to folks originating from across the county line …
In the words of Joe Strummer, ‘it’s up to you not to heed the call-up.’ Not THIS particular call-up, anyway.