29 September, 2010


It's that Emma Thompson bint off the telly, innit, like?

Emma Thompson, it would appear, is not too keen on the 'sloppy' language used by kids today. Well, she is 51, innit. By the time she gets to my age, she'll probably be, lahk, demanding the death penalty for double negatives.

So BBC Breakfast decided to illustrate the news item with a visit to a West London school, where the kids are invited to provide samples of their current slang. All very interesting, but get over it Emma, girl. Kids always invent their own cryptolects to exclude adults and assert their independence. Most grow out of it when they have to deal with the grown-up world in earnest.

But there's a consolation available for Emma in the BBC's package. Remember her earlier outburst, when Exeter and its university proved altogether too hideously White for her Rwandan adoptive son's peace of mind? Well, I'm sure she'll be suitably overjoyed by the ethnic composition of the class who were quizzed about their slang on this morning's show:

26 September, 2010


Send 3s 4d we're going to a dance

Shock horror story in the Scottish Sun.

Apparently some excitable British tourist has found a bin of cycle or light motorcycle helmets in a shop in Turkey which were labelled
Siyah nazi kalkı
which apparently translates as "Black Nazi helmets". Said tourist decides to get his name into the paper has a conniption fit of righteous outrage, as does the Currant Bun, the noo. Now, I no speaka de Turkish, but that didn't stop me from doing a quick Google from the results of which I gain the definite impression that nazi kalk is just a Turkish colloquialism for this kind of light helmet, based on its shape and with no negative historical resonance. Ultimate owners of the Turkish shop, our very own Tesco, have donned their corporate jackboots and had the sign removed, doubtless to the puzzlement of the locals.

I wonder how the Grauniad would deal with this. Would their righteous disgust win out in the struggle with their desperate concern not to trample on the cultural sensitivities of a non-European, and hence victim, people. Tricky.

22 September, 2010


Guardian totally predictable shock

At the Delhi Commonwealth Games site, living accommodation turns out to be filthy and shoddily built and a pedestrian footbridge and the roof over one venue have collapsed. We await further interesting disasters almost by the minute. Athletes are in danger not only from disintegrating structures but also apparently from disease (such as dengue fever), filth and God knows what else.

I have seen plenty of building projects over the years which looked barely half-finished a couple of weeks before the target completion date, but where the outstanding work was actually quite superficial and the whole thing magically came together seemingly overnight. Basically, you don't install the fancy oak pannelling and the plaster elephants until all the hairy-arse work is complete and the hairy arses themselves are safely off site. If that's what was involved here — a bit of embarrassing dog crap and some broken tiles — we might give some credit to Indian promises that it will all be alright on the night.

But it's not, is it?

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Games should be called off or, failing that, that they should be boycotted. So, does the Grauniad recommend this sensible response? Does it roundly excoriate the incompetent kleptocrats and preening fools who have permitted this situation to arise? No, instead we get an article on CiF which seems to be attempting to set our athletes up to take the blame. If they refuse to get involved with the Deathtrap Games, they will it seems be failing to show solidarity with the poor and oppressed of India. If so many of our track and field athletes weren't Black, I expect the dippy tart who wrote this piece would be accusing them of racism too.

So what's the betting the finest minds of the Guardian are not at this very moment burning the midnight oil trying to think up arguments to blame this whole sorry fuck-up on the Raj?


Still fancy a curry down your local Indian?

Lalit Bhanot (secretary-general to the Delhi commonwealth games organizing committee) explained
"Everyone has different standards about cleanliness. The Westerners have different standards while we have different standards."

19 September, 2010


It pays to increase your wordpower

You too can improve your vocabulary just by surfing the Internong.

Earlier this year some Man City fans were discussing Moston, the once delightful and innocuous little settlement halfway between Manchester and Oldham where I was born and raised back in mediæval times. It seems to have gone down hill a bit. In an exchange of insults, one contributor ripostes
Dickhead i live in Moston not all here are arseholes but i will give it you 95% are dickheads.
Clearly there are some particularly subtle distinctions to be drawn here. Personally I always assumed a dickhead was an arsehole who was too thick to realize that he was an arsehole. Maybe I'm wrong.

Later on another contributor summarizes the decline of the district, adding
Plus there has for too long been economic depravity there.
I'll bet there has.

Meanwhile, over on CiF they have been discussing first-cousin marriages among the "British Asian" communities, and one commenter knows just what to blame.
I think this is because of areas of duplicity in the genome. Less duplicity, less likelihood of a disorder. The differences between parents within a family could change the likelihood.
Untrustworthy buggers, those genomes.

16 September, 2010


Quote of the day

I was minded to say something very angry indeed about this piece of venomous sanctimony in today's Guardian, but on reflection I'd better allow my response, if eventually any, to simmer gently for a while. For now I will confine myself to this quote:
Right across Europe, including in Britain, casual anti-Gypsy remarks are simply not taboo in the way that slights on other ethnicities mostly are today. Some of this, it is true, can be explained by distinctive facets of Roma culture, which do not fit comfortably within contemporary capitalist societies. Rolling caravans do not lend themselves to rooted integration, and especially when they are decoupled from standard western ideas about property rights.
Now isn't that just the dandiest periphrastic euphemism you ever did see for
Contemptuous thieving freeloading bastards who think they're above the law.

Mind you I do like this riposte from commenter MoveAnyMountain


Sarkosy is of Hungarian stock, and they have always treated their Roma worse than second class citizens, helping to deport many to Nazi concentration camps in WWII, and paying for the privilige. So no surprises there then.

So all Hungarians are to blame forever are they? The blood of those Roma is on the hands of all Hungarians for all time is it? That sounds a little familiar. Where have I heard that before? And Sarkozy is Hungarian is he? You mean like Lenny Henry isn't, you know, really British?

Is this really what you're saying?

Touché! Or possibly even threeché!

11 September, 2010


Where were you when...

... the twin towers fell?

Like a lot of people, sitting in an office in central London. Actually quite an isolated office, stuck in a far corner of the building and which I shared with one colleague. I suspect that MegaCorp Inc were rather ashamed of the fact that some rather more important than generally realized midrange business support systems were running on legacy hardware and/or software platforms and preferred to pretend that my team, which specialized in looking after such odds and sods, did not really exist.

Such news as filtered through to us in our shunned eyrie was that something very nasty had gone down somewhere. The Internet had more or less imploded and reaching news sites like the BBC was effectively impossible. Later in the afternoon I popped out to a nearby pub for a breather to find an unusually subdued clientele watching rolling television news.

What makes my experience of that day slightly different from most Londoners', I guess, was the death threat.

A bit of context is needed.

Firstly, in September 2001 I sported a beard. As a Unix-wielding middled-aged IT techie this was almost a religious prescription. In truth said beard was in need of a trim and had grown out to a rather untidy mid-length which I suppose to a distracted person across the street, squinting through the red mist of rage, might have looked vaguely Islamic. Very vaguely Islamic. Very vaguely Islamic indeed. But clearly Islamic enough in the event.

Secondly, I was working — topographically rather than institutionally — in the City of London. Nearby buildings housed international bankers, reinsurers, dealers and other practitioners of the evil arts of high finance.

And so that evening as I was threading my way through the quiet lanes of EC3 towards Cannon Street station a voice came from the other side of the street threatening to kill me. It emanated from a young man in his mid twenties, wearing a sharp business suit. Fortunately his female companion quickly calmed him and both parties to the exchange hurried on in their separate directions.

It was disconcerting at the time but reflecting on it afterwards I could scarcely condemn his momentary verbal aggression. Many international financial firms have offices both in London and New York. Maybe he had spent part of that afternoon in impotent telephone contact with colleagues trapped in the WTC, good friends perhaps or even loved ones, saying a final goodbye before seeing the towers fall on TV.

Oh, and a footnote for any reader of a righteous persuasion who is tempted to use this anecdote as a typical example of White Islamophobia. The distraught young man who lashed out verbally at a mistakenly presumed Muslim was Black. His companion was a young woman of Indian appearance.

10 September, 2010


Oh, FFS!

Match-fix Pakistan cricketer seeks asylum in Britain over 'safety fears'

08 September, 2010


Playing the card once too often

Some chap oop North has been convicted of having a racist ringtone on his mobile. The short of it is that Martin Smith had installed a clip from the soundtrack of Rita, Sue and Bob Too as his ringtone, to wit, a clip including the phrase "I can't help being a Paki". An uncouth choice, perhaps. Insensitive, maybe. Racist? Within the context of the fillum, probably not, but to be fair the offendee may not have seen it.

Now I hear annoying ring tones every day. I'm not sure which are worse, the cutesy homebrews like this one or the downloaded popular tunes. My pet hates are people who insist on listening to the entire tune before answering, or those people who spend ages fishing in the bottom of their bag for the ringing phone and then, at last retrieving it, spend what seems like hours squinting at the screen as if they'd never before seen such a device in their life, before timidly pressing the answer key and offering a tentative "Hello". Such people should be punished by chaining them to a wall while a just out-of-reach handset plays the whole of Mahler's fifth as its ringtone (with the option of commutation of the sentence to public hanging if there are mitigating circumstances).

But Mr Smith's ringtone is hardly in that class of genuine disruptive offensiveness. Not to an irredeemable racist thug like moi, any way. Unfortunately the unnamed offendee, apparently a lady of mixed heritage, thought otherwise. As I read the newspaper report, she didn't collapse in tearful horror and fear of imminent racist mayhem in the shop where she overheard Mr Smith's phone. Instead she went home to allow her victimhood to simmer for a while before reporting the crime to the police. And in due course a couple of coppers felt Mr Smith's collar and an outraged beak handed down a suitably stiff penalty.

So then, will the firm judicial handling of this incident demonstrate and reaffirm the national will to clamp down on racism; will it allow and encourage people of colour to walk freely with pride and without fear in our streets? Will it promote commuity cohesion and brotherly love? Or will it just piss people off, exacerbate White resentment and promote segregation and mutual hostility?

Let me tell you a story.

Back in mediæval times, or the late 1970s as they are commonly known, I was working as, among other things, a team leader to a group of technical clerks.

Now there are some jobs which are fulfilling and which engage the worker's ready enthusiasm. There are some jobs which are mind-numbingly tedious and repetitive but which, with practice, you can more-or-less delegate to your autonomous nervous system. (How does the old joke go? (Warning: sexist filth alert!) Q. "Why do women knit?" A. "To give them something to think about while they're talking.")

And then there are those jobs which are tedious but require ongoing concentration from a reasonably bright worker, such that you cannot ever quite get to the stage of doing them on autopilot while devoting your attention to riding a mental unicycle round the office, balancing a beachball or your nose. Not unnaturally there was a fair old turnover as staff moved on to more interesting work or into work at a higher grade.

When replacement staff were assigned to me, I would groan (internally, of course) when I learned that my new clerk was from an ethnic minority. If you have read this blog before you will now be thinking, "No surprise there then. This Greenwood fella is a racist thug of a particularly vile stripe." Well, not so fast. For one thing, this is 30 years ago when I was still a paid-up Labour-voting Guardian-reading Lefty for whom yer Darkie was self-evidently the relentless victim of racist neo-colonialist White oppession and to be abjectly propitiated and appeased at every opportunity, innit.

No, this reaction was born of real-life experience, the experience of both myself and other team leaders, including the modest sprinkling of South Asians then at my level. The unfortunate truth was that ethnic minority underlings brought with them a significant probability of the race card being deployed. How significant? Hard to say, I wasn't keeping stats, was I? But from my own direct experience and from anecdote, I would put it as high as one-quarter to one-half of cases.

Deployment of the race card was not generally directed at me, for I'm a lovely fella what gets on well with everybody, innit geezer, but at the "The System", at "Institutional Racism". But deployed it would eventually be with tiresome predictability.

And with the best will in the world, forever having to find diplomatic ways of communicating
— Actually, you didn't fail the promotion interview just because you're a Spade, Winston. You failed because you're a chippy Spade who sees a racial slur in every interaction. You failed because you would be more trouble than you're worth.
— I'm sorry that HR have valued your Indian degree at equivalent to one A-level, Sanjay. Fact is, they quite genuinely don't rate your "BA" from the Dirtpur Academy of Applied Tantric Yoga, Karmic Homœopathy and Accountancy all that highly.
does tend to lose its sparkle after a while.

Even by the 1970s and 1980s, the race card as a weapon had come to be viewed as an entitlement for ethnic minorities much as the Whitley quota* was, and possibly still is, for staff of all shades in the UK civil service. I have had conversations with colleagues of colour (obviously not people in my own management hierarchy) who have openly boasted of their intention to deploy the race card in order to get their way.

So where does this leave us in 2010? How have the last 40 years of official legally-enforced Anti-Racism contributed to race relations and "community cohesion" in wonderful multicultural Britain?

I can only speak for myself. Fortunately for all concerned, the likelihood of me starting a business with employees is vanishingly small, but if I were to do so I have to say that I would go to considerable lengths to avoid employing non-Whites (with the possible exception of people I have known well for a long time and have come to trust). Frankly, the overhead of perpetually watching out for their precious sensitivities is not worth it.

And as to the racist ringtone incident, well it merely exacerbates my increasing instinct to avoid going anywhere near, let alone interacting with, people of colour. I'm sorry, guys, I just can't be bothered tiptoeing round your preening hair-trigger victim sensibilities any more.

Welcome to the Happy Multiculture.

* Negotiations on routine staff terms and conditions in the British civil service have traditionally been mediated through bodies called Whitley Councils. One such T&C was the certification of sick absence, where it was agreed that, to avoid adding unnecessarily to the workload of GPs in documenting trivial self-healing complaints, staff should be allowed to "self-certify" sick absences of up to 3 days, up to a total allowance of 10 working days in any one year.

Not unnaturally, such self-certificated days off became known as taking a Whitley and in some quarters this 10 days' worth of unvalidated sickies came to be seen as an entitlement, a form of supplementary annual leave, and as the year drew towards its end local staff groups would even informally contact members of staff to remind them that "they hadn't taken all their Whitleys" for the year.

06 September, 2010


Compare and contrast again

7.1-magnitude earthquake hits New Zealand. A few days later, they're fretting about the delay in getting the buses running again.

7.1-magnitude earthquake hits Haiti. Six months later (selection of links), the locals are still sitting around amid the uncleared rubble with their thumbs in their mouths.

OK, so I exaggerate slightly. But only slightly.

04 September, 2010


Compare and contrast

1. Pop singer with penchant for outspokenness who is not St Geldof or St Bono is unimpressed with the way the Chinese treat food animals and in his anger makes insulting generalization about the Chinese.

Result: Sanctimonious bollocks on CiF.

2. "Australian" fruitloop with beard incites murder of Dutch politician. Said fruitloop carries sufficient prestige among fellow fruitloops for threat to be realistic.

Result: General silience in British media. Passing mention in Torygraph.

02 September, 2010


Nostra culpa?

Apparently the High Commissioner of Pakistan is convinced that the three chappies suspected of "spot fixing" in the recent test match are all innocent, 'cos they like told him so, innit. And they are not dropping out of the forthcoming minor matches of the tour because the unresolved accusations of wrongdoing make it inappropriate for them to play, but because of the "mental torture caused by being under suspicion".

So what's the betting that by, say, Monday, the whole thing will be a racist and/or islamophobic plot dreamt up by the evil British ex-colonists, then?

Ain't victimhood poker wonderful? Can I be a victim, please? I'm a Northerner and slightly Irish and I, er, have to wear glasses and, er, that's it for now but I'm sure I'll think of something.

Update (later same evening)

It seems that the ICC has put the boot in by suspending the three players and instituting charges. Haroon Lorgat, head honcho of the ICC, is a South African of Indian (Gujarati) descent. How does that one compute under the victimhood rules?


Mitigating circumstances?

In my time I have worked with a colleague called John Thomas and done business with a supplier called Richard Head, and I was not surprised that a colleague called Miss B'Stard, whose forename escapes me, was one of the very few people granted ex-directory status in the company's internal telephone directory. So I find myself feeling a certain grudging sympathy for this miscreant

A spurned boyfriend ran over the man he suspected of having an affair with his girlfriend.

But Billy Anker, 26, was trapped by police after the imprints of his car's tyres matched the wounds on his victim's leg.

He isn't 'alf going to cop it off the other inmates if he goes down.

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