Racism as Populism
The Tories are desperate to find a scapegoat, and distraction, for their failing economic program and their tactics are sickening.
This week’s stop and searches, ordered by the Home Office, represent a rising prominence of institutionalised racism. In the week that Doreen Lawrence was made a peer vowing to tackle racism whilst in Parliament, the Government have succeeded in showing that nothing has changed when it comes to racial prejudice.
Stop and Search has been an ever-present display of racial profiling and unwarranted bigotry since the very day of its inception in 1994. With black members of the public twenty-six times more likely to be stopped in the streets, it comes as no surprise that there is a common misconception that black people are the UK’s criminals. Yet, according to Parliament’s latest report on prison figures, only 26.2% of prisoners are from an ethnic minority, and 13.2% are Black or Black British. This is hardly representative. Looking at these statistics, it hardly comes as a surprise that of the 1.1 million stop and searches that took place between 2011 and 2012 only 10% resulted in arrest.
What the Government’s recent ‘crackdown on immigration’ forgets is that illegal immigrants cannot be defined by the colour of their skin. An illegal immigrant is any person that enters the country without permission and declaring that they have done so – not a black person. A white American could just as easily be an illegal immigrant as an Ethiopian. Despite this, their recent anti-immigration tactics involve prowling areas of the country where there is a higher proportion of black people, and then demanding information and compliance from, in majority, black people. You’d be mistaken for thinking that non-white people could be British!
The Government is intent on using scare tactics to drive away anyone who threatens the homogeneity that Britons should have. In the run-up to the General Election and the wake of the dramatic increase for supporters of the EDL and Ukip, who champion British exclusiveness, the Tories have knowingly introduced populist policies. These are most certainly designed to round up any lost supporters to their ideologically similar counterparts and unify the country around an issue that appeals to all – an issue that has been constructed by the media (by the demands of politicians) to seem even more widespread, and with potentially disastrous consequences, than it is. As Derek Laud describes it, the “government is drowning in the vulgarity of opportunistic spin-doctors.”
This is certainly not good news for the Tories’ coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, who promote tolerance (a relatively negative word as it is – what is there to ‘tolerate’?), inclusiveness and celebration of diversity. Allegedly, senior politicians within the party, Nick Clegg and Jeremy Browne (Home Office Minister) were not made aware of the intentions of the Conservative Party in their campaign against immigration figures. This is just another smack in the face for their unwitting and ill-used ‘partners’.
Whilst the Conservatives and the mainstream media buddy up to provoke black citizens and migrants into going ‘home’, they are creating a problem that never existed. They are creating racial tensions in communities, breeding the misnomer that black people are not British and are immigrants and that immigration is a key issue that desperately needs to be tackled.
The only positive that this disgusting display of racial prejudice has brought out is the willingness of people across the country uniting to openly criticise and protest the blatant racism of ‘the nasty party’.