I haven't blogged for a few days now. There are a couple of reasons. Firstly, I've been struck with a wave of IT glitches. My PC has taken to locking up and, more insidiously, my Palm Pilot has acquired a loud, high pitched buzzing noise that, after only a few minutes use, leaves me with a headache and vulnerable to suggestion. The cure for the Palm Pilot issue was a tad surreal. After searching around on various forums I found that this is a common fault that is not acknowledged by the makers. In response to a forum suggestion, I downloaded a Palm Pilot system utility application which includes the following option in its preference dialogue:
'Stop Annoying buzzing sound'
I ticked the box and the noise went away immediately. It was that simple. This opens up a whole new vista of possibilities. Could it be that for all of life's problems there is a straightforward tick-box solution? The trick is, of course, finding it. Right now my PC sometimes decides to take 10 minutes loading-up applications. The PC has been intensively screened for viruses and such and is clean. We've all been here before. The fact is that somewhere, hidden amongst a baffling array of menus and sub-menus, there is an option entitled 'Randomly hang computer YES/NO'; only it won’t be called that exactly and there's no clue to where I can find it.
But that's not the main reason why I haven’t blogged. I haven’t blogged because my mind has been filled with ugly, impure thoughts. Right wing thoughts.
In themselves and properly managed, Right Wing thoughts are arguably positive things. When conceived in carefully controlled doses, Right Wing thinking adds spice to one's sense of humour and love life. In the words of PJ O'Rourke, no-one has ever fantasised about being taken roughly by someone dressed as a liberal.
Consider this joke …
What's the difference between a INSERT MINORITY GROUP OF YOUR CHOICE
The pizza can feed a family of four
However, if uncontrolled, Right Wing thoughts can become very ugly indeed. Whilst looking for details of a particular news story this week I came across some Ultra Right Wing US and European web sites. I didn't like what I saw. Not one little bit.
The news story I was researching was about this year's British National Party Christmas party in Central London. Apparently, someone had accidentally booked a Black DJ and quite a few people walked out. However, a lot a people stayed and boogied on down. No-one said or did anything unpleasant to the DJ and they even removed potentially offensive material out of their speeches in case they upset him. The quote of the week came from the guy who hired the DJ, 'Well, he sounded White on the phone'.
Given that our No.1 fascist political party is currently debating whether or not to include ethnic minorities I find it hard, really hard, to be constantly told by the media that the UK is a racist country. .
The television and papers are full of it and there has been a noticeable 'spike' over the last week or so. The message is clear. Britain is institutionally racist and radical reform is needed. To help with the enormous task of keeping up with the almost infinite number of incidences of racial discrimination, various web sites have been established to report stories in real time as and when they occur. I particularly enjoy this page hosted by the Independent Race Refugee News Network
The most recent story on that page opens with the line 'Afshin Azizian, 36, an Iranian asylum seeker who has been homeless in north London since his appeal failed 18 months ago, is refusing to cut his hair until the Home Office reconsiders his case' ...
I also enjoy The Voice, 'Britains Best Black newspaper'. Their site is here:
Strangely, for such an institutionally racist country, nobody has seen fit to publish or to read a magazine that proudly proclaims itself to be 'Britain's Best White newspaper'.
I'm dwelling on these issues because on several occasions over the last few weeks I have witnessed Black guys giving my local Indian corner shop owner a very hard time indeed, apparently on the grounds that he's rich enough to have stock in his shop. This reminded me of an incident about five years ago when a black teenage boy and two girls forced themselves pass me into my parents' shop as I was leaving it. It was a Saturday afternoon and the shop was closed. They demanded to be served and I politely told them the shop was closed. The Black guy accused me of refusing to serve him because he was Black and he pushed his way to the back of the shop saying that he was looking for a knife so that he could 'cut me'. He then took off my glasses, jabbed his fingers an inch or so from my eye and insulted me.
I learned a few things that afternoon. As well as myself, Tracy and a friend of mine were standing in the shop. We could more than easily have kicked the shit out of this little wanker but we were rooted to the spot. Why? Because we were afraid that we would be prosecuted. So, I stood there with this guy forcing his way onto private property, threatening me with a stabbing and committing technical assault. We edged him out in the end, mindful of the extreme need to avoid anything that could be construed or misrepresented as a blow.
Why do I tell this story? Is it because I believe Blacks are worse behaved than other races? No, not particularly. My problem is that particular little twerp knew he had the edge on me and could, and did, behave appallingly. Or were his actions justified on the basis that I'm white and I deserve to put up with a little crap because of the sins of my race? Off the top of my head I am unaware of any plantation owners amongst my ancestors. Which is a shame as I wouldn’t have grown up in a tiny airless flat over a poxy sandwich bar in South London. Racist country? Balls. Anyone who genuinely believes that is more than welcome to try and find somewhere less racist. They won't.
Having said all that there's the story this week of a 38 year Latvian who was wounded with a screwdriver in Salford this week. Apparently he was attacked by a group of local youths because he was speaking Russian. That's not good. OK, Salford is a run down area and it's probable that the locals are resentful that, for some reason, what little they have to go round has to be shared with half of Eastern Europe but that's still no cause to stab someone.
But is it accurate to describe an attack like that as being racist, as is being done in the papers? The victim was white. The attackers were white. When I think of the term racist, my understanding is that racism is based on a belief that people are inferior because of their genetic differences. Attacking someone because they have a different language or upbringing is culturalist behaviour, not racist. I'm not being pedantic. This deliberate confusion of race and culture issues serves a particular political agenda and obstructs honest consideration about what needs to be done to improve the situation, for everyone.
The use of a screwdriver in this assault raises another interesting question. There has been much talk about the rise of knife crime in this country and there are rumblings that’s stricter laws against carrying knives will be introduced. At present it is illegal to carry a folding a blade longer than 3 inches and even smaller implements can be classed as offensive in certain circumstances. Many years ago, a guy I used to work with in a bar was arrested by the police in Russell Square. He was utterly off his face and was just a teensy weensy bit abusive to the police. On his person they found a 'waiter's friend'; a combined corkscrew and foil cutter. Even though it was a necessary tool for his job and the foil cutter blade was less than an inch long, he was still prosecuted for carrying an offensive weapon.