11 December, 2011
Emma West and Rhea Page
The first is that even a retired old duffer like me with too much time on his hands has to keep at least half a foot in the real world, so that he can continue to leech his inflated final salary pension from your pockets (or, depending how you look at these things, from his own accumulated and collectively invested savings — but that's a row for another occasion) in order to sustain the meat entity a corner of whose brain hosts Edwin. The real world (domestic division) has been demanding the meat entity's largely undivided attention over the past few weeks, leaving little time or extended concentration for blogging.
The second is more pertinent. I don't think I'm deluding myself if I say I'm very much a "water off a duck's arse" sort of person. I have, as you may have noticed, opinions, and there are aspects of our society which I greatly dislike, nay despair of, but I don't work myself up into a permanent conniption fit about it all.
The Emma West incident however, exacerbated by the exquisitely timed counterexample of the Rhea Page trial outrage, has left me uncharacteristically incandescent with anger. Bitter experience teaches that rage and self-expression are not a wise combination, so I have avoided committing myself to "print" over these topics.
I am no longer incandescent, though I do still glow in the dark a bit. Pretty well everything that needs to be said has already been said elsewhere, so rather than risk reigniting myself, I will confine this post to throwing a couple of personal anecdotes onto the pyre. For now, anyway.
You don't see him so much these days, the neatherization of South East London and the consequent negrification of the train ridership having reduced his potential audience, but there used to be a middle-aged West Indian chap who rode the Greenwich and Woolwich line trains. As the train approached his stop, he would stand in the vestibule and, in a penetrating basso profundo which would make Willard White himself envious, would apostrophize the carriage at large about our oppressive White colonial sins and how Whitey was responsible for all evil — he was a sort of downmarket Daniel Waweru. It was an outburst every bit as racist as that of Emma West. Or for that matter of her Black antagonist in the video.
Did we attack him? Did we video him? Did we report him to the police? Was he taken into police custody for his own protection and subsequently charged with being publicly unpleasant to White people? No, we ignored him and he eventually "ran down" and buggered off.
I have had an Emma West experience myself, as it happens, albeit at a somewhat quieter level. I recall the Nigerian invasion of Greater Woolwich in the noughties very well. I was still working full-time for a living and commuting to central London, and while waiting on the station in the mornings I would frequently see Africans arriving on the other platform, dragging their wheeled suitcases behind them. OK, I can't be certain they were arriving off the night flight from Lagos; they could just have been migrating from Peckham. But whatever.
So it was that, coming home one evening, I was sitting in a train carriage already filled to the gunwales with Africans when a middle-aged Black couple boarded at London Bridge. They were hauling wheeled suitcases with Lagos baggage tags. I wasn't best pleased and thought "Nigerians!" in a less than friendly tone of voice. Actually, I hadn't just thought it, I had inadvertently muttered it, and obviously not sotto enough voce either, for a young man nearby introduced himself as being a Nigerian and, er, what did I have against Nigerians anyway.
He looked more mixed-race West Indian to me, and his English was accentless British or international, but what the hell, he wanted to stand up for his fellow Black men. I explained that I had no automatic animus against Nigerians as individuals, but that their numbers in my country were too great — by dint of numbers they had ceased to be welcome guests and had become colonizing invaders. A couple of well-behaved nignog families in the district, who obeyed our laws and accepted that they were foreigners was one thing. Most of Nigeria moving in to South London, dancing naked in the streets, opening voodoo clinics and setting up bush-meat takeaway stalls in the bleedin' station car park was a different matter, guvnor.
That was the gist of it. He didn't disagree as such. He simply didn't understand. I might as well have been talking in Martian. He muttered something about globalization and the inevitability of international migration. Our discourse was pointless and was concluded politely but unsatisfactorily.
Oh yes I well understand the reaction of Emma West and others like her. These days I have largely learned to "grey out" non-Europeans in my environment. It still gets through, though, and I have to admit that sometimes when I get off the train I have been known to vocalize one or two choice phrases that wouldn't go down too well on CiF.
And it all gets progressively stranger. The other day I travelled by bus from Greenwich to Charlton. In addition to the usual mob of pushy endomorphic Afrian women and their baby buggies, there was an old man and babushka, dressed in deepest Russian peasant style and with a battered squeezebox. They paid their fares in very small change. She had clearly been shopping while he busked in Greenwich. They'll be setting up fucking yurts in Greenwich Park next.
I have not yet seen anyone attempt to board a bus in London with a goat in tow or carrying a crate of live chickens. But it's only a matter of time.
I generally say that "London has gone to the dogs" and let them make of that what they will.
Just tell 'em you're following in the footsteps of that well-known champion of multiculturalism, Billy 'What, Me Live There? Perish The Thought!' Bragg...
your 'd' and 'w' keys may have become transposed at the end there.
Speaking of which, not a single mention on the Guardian ("the paper that supports our looters") of Danny O'Shea, murdered by a gang of ,er, dogs.