31 October, 2009


Neathergate: the rearguard action

Tony Travers, an LSE academic specializing in local government, has a piece in yesterday's Een Stannat. He tells us, without actually explaining why, that the large-scale immigration of the last decade has been a wonderful boon to London. He takes a few sideswipes at the evil BNP and regrets the stupidity of the white working classes, particularly those in the leafy White outer 'burbs, who have clearly not understood the script properly.

But what the article is leading up to is this paragraph:
However it happened, the increase in immigration since the mid-Nineties was never properly explained to the public. Ministers did not tell people why a major increase in overseas-born residents was occurring nor, for a while, what the benefits to the economy might be.
So then Neather was right even if he did rather let the cat out of the bag, letting the Unwashed Masses in on subtle policy decisions they couldn't possibly understand. Unfortunately his attempt to backtrack failed, and even Jack Straw's soothing words failed to persuade the cat to re-enter the bag.

And so Tone rewrites history for us. Of course it was a grand deliberate plan, but it was all done in your best interest. We didn't tell you because, well, we didn't want to you to worry your little heads with grown-up business. But clearly the Forces of Darkness have taken advantage and have spread malicious counterrevolutionary propaganda. They are being dealt with. Rest assured, all is well. Return to your posts.

What? Yes, of course we have always been at war with Eastasia.

At the Speccie, resident open-borders enthusiast Alex Massie takes a different tack. There was no conspiracy, he assures us with his accustomed supercilious self-certainty, it was the office boy what done it. He puts the startling policy positions reported by Neather —

Eventually published in January 2001, the innocuously labelled "RDS Occasional Paper no. 67", "Migration: an economic and social analysis" focused heavily on the labour market case.

But the earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.

— down to some apprentice policy wonk on a work-placement from school getting a bit overexcited. (Actually the document was attributable to one Jonathan Portes.)

Move along, nothing to see here.

What do I think? Certainly I don't agree with some of the more febrile Right-wing conspiracy aficionados. I definitely don't suspect the New World Order, Bilderberg, the Illuminati or Purple Lizards. On the other hand I don't go as far in the other direction as Steve The Pub Philosopher's world-weary cynicism

[Andrew Neather is] right about this though:

The Right see plots everywhere and will hyperventilate at the drop of a chapati.

Dignifying this policy with terms like 'conspiracy' and 'plot' creates an impression that it was part of some grand plan. It wasn't; it was just another self-interested, short-term ruse from a bunch of politicians who are incapable of seeing further than the next general election.

I don't think this is just cynical machine politics. It's much worse than that. Neather and his masters actually believe they are right. Our leaders are of my generation. They are baby-boomers whose politically formative years were in the Sixties, the late Sixties in particular. They are Socialists of one or other stripe. They are also Internationalists. They are suffused with post-colonial White liberal guilt and post-Holocaust European Gentile guilt. Added to this ideological burden, the current mob, NuLabour, have in their desperation for re-election not only aped but absorbed into their very psyches the Managerialism and Neo-Liberalism of Thatcher.

Truly a toxic combination.

They are not out to destroy Britain as such. They just don't see the British nation and identity as particularly important. Actually they do find it a little distasteful to be honest. Those nasty Little Englanders with their unpleasant saloon-bar and working men's club attitudes.

They are genuinely very much in favour of multiculturalism and diversity. I suspect that this is mostly down to White Liberal guilt. They see all those formerly colonized peoples of the Third World as morally superior, more deserving than the nasty White men who caused all the trouble. They genuinely do see multiculturalism and the decline of national identity as a Good Thing.

Most of them are also, I very much suspect, sincere adherents of the "all the same colour under the skin" school of internationalist multiculturalism, which supports the impressive doublethink of celebrating the wonderful vibrant cultural diversity which immigrants bring to our shores while simultaneously believing that our new chums (or their UK-born kids at least) are really coconuts, fully assimilated White liberals in their habits and attitudes, abandoning their ancestral tribal, ethnic, cultural and religious loyalties, but who assume a sort of superficial mental blackface when required to "do ethnic" for the diversity tourists. You believe that if you like; I'm not so sure.

And following their wholehearted incorporation of Thatcherism into their doctrine, perhaps they genuinely do see this country as UK plc. Existing workforce too stroppy or too pricey? No problem, a spot of onshore offshoring will soon solve that.

No I don't think there's a cynical conspiracy: these people are Believers.

UPDATE 01-11-2009

Minette, as so often, is right on the money, with a clarity and restrained forensic anger which I have so far been unable to achieve.

28 October, 2009



I normally leave this sort of thing (via Al Jahom) to the Libertarian swearbloggers to cover, but this is truly frightening, even more frightening than "Neathergate" (over which the BBC remains remarkably reticent).

Powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act are being made available to local authorities and assorted quangos.

Last time my council tax bill went missing in the post (or more likely was never even sent in the first place by the slave-labour organization the council have outsourced the billing process to), the first I knew of the matter was when the county court summons arrived. That was sorted out fairly quickly with a couple of stroppy phone calls and an even stroppier letter.)

Next time the first I will know is when the front door is broken down and the council's appointed thugs come to confiscate my computing kit for non-payment, probably closely followed by the Old Bill arresting me for economic crime and sedition.

V for Vendetta and Nineteen Eighty-Four are beginning to look like documentaries.

Come to think of it, Searchlight/UAF is effectively an arm of Government. Perhaps I ought to be a bit more circumspect about criticizing them.

* "Jesus fucking wept." (John 11:35 (Unauthorized Version)).

26 October, 2009


And today's smear is...

Sunny gleefully points us towards today's shock horror BNP revelation from the Mail

Nick Griffin: Video that proves BNP leader joked about black people 'walking like monkeys'

Well now, I took the trouble to read the Mail piece and watch the video clip. The background noise on the clip renders the words barely audible, but the Mail kindly provides a transcript and some context:

The crucial comments come in a segment when Griffin is reminiscing about the jokes he shared with a fellow boxer when he was studying at Cambridge University.

During the excerpt Griffin recounts a conversation he had with a Nigerian student called Dr Larry Amure, who is quoted as talking about West Indians.

Griffin says: 'He said 'these West Indians, they make me ashamed to be black and they walk like monkeys", which is quite funny.'

So Griffin did not actually describe Black people as "walking like monkeys". He was quoting someone else, someone who indeed was a Black man himself. Though it is fair to say that Griffin clearly enjoyed and approved of the "joke".

The Black man who apparently originated the comment was a Nigerian and he was talking specifically about West Indians (Afro-Caribbeans to younger readers). I wonder if Dominic Carman, the journalist who originated this juicy little titbit about the country's second most "popular" one-eyed politician, has ever met any Nigerians. Like most West Africans, they despise Afro-Caribbeans. "Monkey" is a comparatively mild slur. West Africans are more likely to dismiss West Indians as "Slaves", a particularly nasty reference to the fact the West Africans' ancestors sold the West Indians' ancestors to White men for transportation via the Middle Passage.

Conclusion #1: If we're handing out black marks (if you'll pardon the expression) for racism, let's distribute them fairly, shall we?

The other point worthing making is that young Afro-Caribbean males do walk like monkeys. Many of them walk with a bowling gait, rocking exaggeratedly from side to side with each step and trying to look simultaneously cool and menacing. It's an affectation, probably imported from the US. Go on. Admit it, you've seen them doing it. It looks stupid and it is remarkably reminiscent of the gait of a chimpanzee. You'd need a heart made of pure refined righteous political correctness not to want to laugh.

This reminds me very much of the fatuous furore surrounding ageing but cuddly shock-jockette Sarah Kennedy, who claimed to have difficulty seeing Black people in the dark. The world and his editor duly reared up in righteous affront.

Of course it's harder to see Black people than White in the dark, or more precisely in conditions of very low ambient light. This is because their skins, being darker, reflect less of such ambient light as is available. Basic O-Level physics, FFS.

Conclusion #2: Take care to distinguish simple observations of fact from insults, particularly if you are a hypersensitive victimhood junkie.

In the run-up to this year's Euro-elections, the whole MSM conducted a steady smear campaign against Griffin and his cohorts, with at least one smear a day being issued by the Government's Anti-BNP Propaganda Agency, commonly known as Searchlight, for publication "exclusive to all newspapers" (© Lord Gnome). You'd have expected that after the elections the flow would ease up a little, but it has continued at almost the same rate. Are the political elite scared of something, one wonders.


You can always trust Auntie

Just heard a piece on the Today programme about the increase in asylum-seeking in Australia following the election of a Labor government and the relaxation of immigration rules. Illustrated with a suitably heart-rending story of an Iraqi man who upset Saddam's regime and (successfully) sought refuge in Australia after a terrifying journey across land and sea. I hesitate to ask, "If the trip across the Timor Sea was so dangerous that you still have nightmares about it, what was wrong with seeking refuge in Jordan, FFS?", as I suspect I know the answer.

Anyway, the package is padded out with some general condemnation about rising hostility to asylum seekers and immigrants, including a reference to "the race riots four years" ago and "the ugly face of Australian nationalism." The latter point is illustrated by a very angry male Australian voice shouting, "go home you filthy bastards and don't come back".

All the fault of intolerant Whitey, innit? I presume the race riots the reporter is referring to are these, you know the ones where fun-loving righteous youths of Lebanese origin quite reasonably objected to the provocative presence of White people at Cronulla Beach and peacefully attacked them.

24 October, 2009


The Greatest Show on Earth

The consensus among the commenting classes seems to be that Griffin won on points. While some of the more self-obsessed among the Righteous are gloating at Griffin's dismal performance on Thursday evening's Question Time, a surprisingly large number question the BBC's tactic of turning the show into a bear pit, with the supposedly balanced audience, the other panellists and even MC Dimblebore himself ganging up on Griffin, shouting him down, interrupting, bullying and haranguing him. That egregious bullying earned Griffin maximum victim points and probably did him absolutely no harm among his target demographic.

Guys, the plebs — the disaffected White working classes and the disgruntled Daily Mail reading lower middle class — couldn't give a monkey's toss about Holocaust denial. If they think about the Ku Klux Klan at all, in its present-day incarnation at least, it is as little more than a comic turn, a quaint thing that Merkins get up to. They think Muslims are sinister, alien, ill-intentioned and unwelcome. And as far as gay men kissing in public is concerned, well yes most people do regard it as creepy. The popular attitude to homosexuality is much more accepting than it used to be, but tends to align with the views of Mrs Patrick Campbell: not in the street where it might frighten the horses.

What they do care about is their kids suffering educationally and getting racially bullied into the bargain in schools which actually celebrate the fact that their pupils speak 4,000 languages between them. About the failing economy and a preference among employers for cheap foreign labour, preferably illegal so it can more easily be intimidated and underpaid. About districts — often places where they or their parents grew up — districts which have been turned into Third World no-go areas.

The political outcome of Thursday evening's shambles remains to be seen, be it the coup de grâce for the "fash" or more votes for the BNP. Time will tell.

But I can tell you something now with absolute confidence. I am typing this post at home. When I leave the house shortly, I am still more likely to hear Yoruba on the street than English, as I walk along the local "main drag" past the Chinese convenience store, the South Asian convenience store, the several "effnick" take-aways, the drivers of all nationalities lounging outside the cab office, all will still be in place. Downtown Woolwich will still be a Third World Somali-Nigerian slum. If I take the bus down to Greenwich, I will be totally unsurprised to find myself the only White passenger on the bus. And if I go into London I will still have to deal with sales staff in major outlets who do not speak English beyond the very limited repertoire needed for a simple successful transaction: any complications and you are totally screwed.

You might succeed in destroying the BNP and its ilk, but unless you address the issues — deal with not make soothing noises about — unless you address the issues that drive people to the likes of the BNP, then either a replacement movement will arise or, failing that, a frustrated indigenous population, seeing no hope of change, will turn to disorder. In the late 1970s, Margaret Thatcher defused the threat of the National Front by adopting some of their rhetoric. But she reneged on the implied promise of action, and that has not been forgotten. The situation now is much worse, and neither the governing Labour party nor the plausible opposition have any credibility. I never used to believe the hyperbolic mutterings in the Rightish blogosphere about an impending "civil war". Now I'm not so sure.

By the way, if you missed the programme and can't be bothered watching it on iPlayer, Constantly Furious gives us an excellent summary.

23 October, 2009


The mind boils over

If this is true, if NuLabour really did engineer mass immigration out of political spite, then polite language fails me. I have been swearing steadily and creatively, probing the darkest nooks and crannies of my, if I say so myself, extensive vocabulary, for the past half hour. I have calmed down sufficiently to write this post.

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo India November Golf — Charlie Uniform November Tango Sierra.

UPDATE (24-10-2009)

The linked Telegraph piece leaves the impression that Labour-party insider Andrew Neather has experienced some kind of Damascene conversion and is 'whistleblowing' on his former bosses. Now read the original Standard piece. He heartily approves of Labour's social engineering project and just mentions the background planning in passing, including the elite's cynical awareness that the people would be strongly opposed to it, as if this were an interesting titbit of no particular significance.

The solipsistic arrogance of these people defies belief. I have never really believed the conspiracy theory of mass immigration — that the Government is deliberately seeking to eradicate the native population, to "elect a new people" as someone (Brecht?) put it. — perhaps I was mistaken. Bastards!

13 October, 2009


Een Stannat

I started to boycott paid-for newspapers some months ago and to my surprise have not failed in my resolve, but now that the Evening Standard has gone freesheet, I have an extra source of free newspapers for wrapping potato peelings and the like in.

The Diamond Geezer has an interesting post (and comment thread) on this development and its consequences.

The only thing that saddens me about the passing of the paid-for Standard is what is going to happen to the street-vendors. Diamond geezers indeed, many of them. It looks as if, in the short term at least, many will be employed as "hander-outers". I can't see that lasting.

Oh, and why Een Stannat in the title? It refers to a Two Ronnies sketch in which Corbett, dressed in his flat-cap and muffler chirpy Cockney chappie costume, was a newspaper vendor calling out "Een Stannat! Een Stannat!" Barker walked by and bought a copy. As he held it up, the masthead of the paper became visible and it did indeed read,



Perhaps the BBC is getting it right after all

Bloggers of a Rightish tendency tell us that the BBC is dominated by anti-Semitic Marxists who distort news coverage and are systematically economical with the truth about the UK's multicultural paradise. Indeed the Biased BBC blog is entirely devoted to providing examples of this behaviour.

You might think that the Righteous Left would be happy with this state of affairs. This increasingly appears not to be the case. The always value-for-money Lenin is not at all happy. Mehdi Hasan at the New Statesman and Sunny Hundal at Pickled Politics (passim) express incandescent displeasure at Auntie's counterrevolutionary lapses in a) inviting some junior BNP types onto the wireless and then b) failing to scream at them in the approved manner, and finally c) not getting sufficiently agitato when some Spanish-Hungarian gyppo called his Moroccan-Indian dance partner a naughty word off-camera.

Now the good folk of the UAF are getting upset too. The comment thread of this post at Lancaster Unity gives a flavour. The comrades are not happy with the Beeb's treatment of the English Defence League, or should that be the racist neo-Nazi fascist EDL scum. Screening footage of the UAF screaming their lungs out at Manchester while failing to show important images of EDL thugs picking their noses and biting police dogs. Inviting EDL representatives onto Look North and treating them like real people, indeed. And as for that pussy Paxo on Newsnight...

The OP of the linked Lancaster Unity item is interesting in its own right and worth a read. The UAF are exercising their divine right to determine on our behalf who shall and who shall not be allowed to address the electorate at local election hustings by organizing their followers to intimidate the manager of the venue, followed by a demo at-site should the intimidation fail to achieve the desired cancellation. These people perform a valuable and necessary service in support of democracy. Perhaps they should receive a Government subsidy.

But this comment from that ubiquitous contributor Anon E Mouse is, if it is to be taken at face value, a cracker:
Anonymous said...

Dr Mathew Goodwin speaking tonight on Newsnight (the government adviser to the Far Right) glossed over the neo-Nazi activists who take part in EDL Casuals marches, nor their football hooligan connections.

It's about time the BBC were privatised, and stop promoting fascists.

11:12 PM, October 12, 2009

"The government adviser to the Far Right", eh? Now there's an interesting thought. And "It's about time the BBC were privatised...". I think you're getting your ideologies mixed up there, son.

So Auntie is pleasing neither the Left nor the Right. Perhaps she's beginning to get the hang of this impartiality stuff after all. Or perhaps it's all just a terrible mistake.

12 October, 2009


So that's another propaganda win for the BNP, then

BNP frozen out at the commons

Harperson is going through with the threat to withdraw the Palace of Westminster passes formerly granted automatically to British MEPs, citing "growing pressure on facilities". Presumably the need to provide separate eating and sanitary facilities for Griffin and Brons to avoid cross-contamination.

I do like this gem though:
But one Labour whip said of the far-right, racist BNP: "These are not people you want around. Some of their supporters are not beyond doing physical harm."
I think the only reaction I can muster in response to that is that old web standby: WTF?

Do they not realize that every petty victimization is a propaganda victory for the BNP? On two fronts: firstly, in that the BNP can rightly claim victimization and secondly, because the BNP demonstrate that they have an impact, if only a reactive one, on Government, demonstrating that voting for them is effective even if they have no real hope of attaining direct power.

And every concocted smear too. Remember when the nation was shocked by those dreadful revelations about Julian Leppert's number plate?


11 October, 2009


Navigating the Multiculture

As the train stood at London Bridge, I was approached by an agitated young woman of East Asian apect, at a guess Thai, Burmese or one of the better-fed class of Indo-Chinese. "Ang go king coat", she said. Within the limitations of English orthography, that is a pretty fair attempt at a transcription; I am not "camping it up" to create a stupid-foreigner effect. If I could be arsed I would attempt a proper IPA representation, but the foregoing is close enough.

I looked suitably puzzled. "Ang go king coat", she repeated, with some urgency. I struggled manfully to interpret her intent. "Ang go king coat", she said a third time, with some insistence. An inspiration struck me. "King's Cross?", I ventured. She nodded enthusiastically.

Now this was a Charing Cross-bound train, and the doors might close at any time, so I directed her to leave the train promptly. The further complications of whether the connecting Thameslink service from London Bridge to St Pancras was actually running (engineering works being the bane of weekend rail travel) and even if it were, how she might elicit the necessary directions from her next interlocutor, well those were questions far beyond the available resources of time and language.

I hope she got to King Coat eventually, wherever it might turn out to be.


Living dangerously on the DLR

Following its recent rebuilding, the Tower Gateway terminus of the Docklands Light Railway has only one track, but with a platform on either side. The idea of this odd arrangement is that doors on both sides of the train will be opened, with departing passengers entering from one platform as arriving passengers leave via the other.

All very clever, but it does mean that passengers have to be instructed in the expected procedure. So as the train approaches the terminus, the conductor, or "passenger service agent" to give them their full title, announces that "customers should leave by the right-hand doors".

Except for one chap who, for a bit of variety, added, "For those who can't tell their left from their right, it's the side where there are no passengers waiting on the platform". A good-natured chuckle rippled through the carriage, but even as I joined in I found myself thinking, "Brave but possibly foolhardy man. It will only take one humourless disability-rights tosser to complain about abuse of the dyslexic, dyspraxic or dys-whatever it is causes people to confuse left and right for you to be out on your ear."

What a sad world we live in.

Going off at a tangent, we seem to have a new station announcer on the DLR. If "station announcer" is the correct term, for presumably she's actually sitting in the control room at Poplar. The new speaker is from Norn Iron, and on the scale of impenetrability which runs from Kathy Clugston to John Cole, her accent is definitely more towards the John Cole end of the spectrum. Personally I don't have much trouble understanding the Norn Iron dialect — a skill doubtless passed down in the genes from my Belfast great-grandparents — but I have to admit my inner racist thug does derive a certain malicious pleasure from watching the assorted Bengalis, Nigerians and Chinese passengers around me obviously struggling to to understand what she's saying.

Seems a fair return for the number of times I've had to put with platform announcements
which might just as well have been in the announcer's native Yoruba, Urdu or Trenchtown Patois.

08 October, 2009


Presumed consent

The just-released impressive figures for the number of people voluntarily carrying organ donation cards in the UK is unfortunately insufficient to meet the ever-rising demand. The news provides an opportunity for interested parties to call once again for the introduction of presumed consent, ie the requirement for those who do not wish to have their organs taken post mortem for transplant to explicitly opt out.

It occurs to me to wonder how this would play with medical staff. If you are a medical practitioner with experience of patients dying for lack of a transplant, how will that opt-out card, the one that says — for all manner of possible reasons that you have no access to and cannot and should not judge — that "I don't want to have my still-working bits nicked if I snuff it in A&E or in theatre, thank you very much", how will this impact, even subconsciously, on your attitude to and care for the "selfish bastard"?

Just a thought: slopes in the rear-view mirror may appear less slippery than they are.

06 October, 2009


What's in a name?

On Tooley Street in London SE1 stands the Shipwrights Arms, a run-down but friendly pub which I believe is still run by 'cheerful' Andy Bishop* and his wife Julie, and next to it some former railway offices housing something called the Battle of Britain exhibition, an exhibition of wartime memorabilia which, like many attractions in London, I have often been tempted by, but as a resident there is always another day. (Until all of a sudden you run out of days, of course.)

Between the two buildings is a narrow alley, a cul-de-sac (or more precisely a dead end) no more than thirty feet in length. Southwark Council has taken this humble and scruffy alleyway in hand and has set about laying new flags and posh cobbles. When it's finished, it's going to be a...


* Andy is blessed, or cursed, with a naturally lugubrious expression. I did see him smile once. It was so unexpected, I had to order a second pint of Guinness to help me recover from the shock.


Dear Imam...

A frequently asked question, I'm sure, but it's only just occurred to me. How does a devout Muslim manage during the Holy Month of Ramadan if he is resident somewhere signficantly north of the Arctic Circle and Ramadan falls during high summer?

If a devout Salafi or Wahhabi Muslim is obliged to fast during the 24 hour days of sunlight, would this be a solution to the Gitmo problem?

Just an evil thought, and I felt like thinking it. Perhaps Andy Choudary might like to join them.

02 October, 2009



From a comment thread at Pickled Politics

  1. dave bones — on 2nd October, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    hypothetically there is a hypothetical link on incurable hippies blog here (which is also making its way round fuckface)

  2. Kismet Hardy — on 2nd October, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Nice one dave. I called the number from my mobile and left it on to go for a smoke but I’ve come back to find my entire £10 top-up for the week has gone. It better had cost the BNP a lot more than £10.

The Incurable Hippie's post linked by dave bones points out that the BNP has an 0800 telephone number and muses on the possibility of people dialling it and racking up call charges for the BNP to pay. PP regular Kismet Hardy decides to have a go.

The Incurable Hippie did suggest calling from a payphone, Kismet. In my experience, 0800 numbers are rarely free from mobiles and can in some cases be quite expensive.

Serves you right.


That's win for small values of win, I presume

Rumbold at Pickled Politics tells us that Gurmeal Singh wins turban case. News outlets such as the Manchester Evening News adopt a similarly triumphal tone.

But as Rumbold is honest enough to add, Gurmeal won only 2 out of the 15 grievances listed, hardly a famous victory then.

To paraphrase the inimitable Frank Carson, it must be in the way you tell 'em.

And what's this from the MEN piece?
Julia Rogers, assistant chief officer for GMP said: ...

"We welcome the introduction of the newly formed British Police Sikh Association and will be looking to work closely with them via ACPO, in an effort to resolve any ongoing issues."
Here we go again.


That's his career finished then

In this quintessentially Daily Mail piece, Michael Palin is quoted as standing up for the reputation of the British Empire.

No doubt the Righteous will scoff patronizingly and uproariously. Who am I to begrudge them their fun, but I will offer one personal observation.

Much of my final year working for the multinational company whose blushes I will continue to spare by referring to it under the pseudonym Megacorp Inc was spent in training up two young Indian chaps whose task was to learn my job and take it back with them to Bangalore.

Keen and intelligent young men both of them. That it took nine months to complete the "knowledge transfer" to even a barely satisfactory level was less an indictment of their competence as IT professionals (and indeed of mine as a "teacher") than of the fact that the work in question was totally unsuitable for offshoring. But that's another can of worms entirely, and my second-line manager got his bonus, so that's alright then.

Let no one tell you, incidentally, that one of the great advantages of offshoring to India is the country's near-universal English language skills. After daily contact with these two chaps over a period of about nine months, our communication in spoken English was as laboured on the day I left as on the day we met. The fact is that Indian English, the language that Indians use among themselves as a politically neutral lingua franca throughout the Subcontinent, is syntactically, morphologically, lexically and phonetically very different from British English. Other colleagues reported similar experiences, and at least one team, based in Southall and partly staffed by folk who had themselves immigrated to the UK from India as children or young men 30 to 40 years earlier, finally refused to communicate by telphone with their offshore colleagues in Bangalore and Hyderabad, preferring to rely solely on email communications, which could be deciphered at leisure.

Anyway I digress, as ever. These two young chaps were intelligent, keen, patriotic, proud of India's recent progress on the world stage and, as much as they enjoyed their stay in London, keen to return home. Two comments stand out from that time.

The first was when one of "the lads", marvelling at London's vibrant diversity, expressed amazement at how foolish we Brits were to let all these bloody foreigners in, in such uncontrolled numbers and taking the place over. It would not be tolerated in his native Madras.

The second was when the other young Indian turned to me rather shyly one day and formally thanked me, as a representative of the British people, for the good the British had done in India. I am not making this up, and he was deadly serious. It was the British, he said, had among other things created the infrastructure — the railways, the civil service and other administrative structures and, in its localized form, the English language which provided a Subcontinental lingua franca which was politically acceptable in a way that Hindi, say, could not be — the infrastructure that made the modern unitary state of India possible.

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