Anthony Walker – 12th anniversary but racism still stalks our streets

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/anthony-walker-murder-twelfth-anniversary-13404822

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above

Goodness me is it really 12 years since this appalling crime? Sadly racist crimes are still around and in recent times have been showing a worrying increase. Do some people learn nothing? Hate crime has no place in a civilised society.

Farron, religion and Liberalism

That a thoroughly decent man has been forced from public office is a given and I say that as an atheist.

Yes I was very uncomfortable watching Tim contort himself into knots when asked about his religious views and yes the media were out to do him harm over his religion. Just think about it, how many other leading politicians have strong religious views and how many of them have been hounded out of office for holding them? Blair got some stick because he was Roman Catholic but I struggle to think of many others in recent times.

Did Tim bring trouble upon himself? Well yes to some extent because of this contorted answers that had us all scratching our heads. And you know despite his odd answers he actually did a lot to back minority rights and the LGBT community have acknowledged that apart from what I will call their more militant fringe.

Can you be a Liberal hold religious views? Well you must be able to as there seem to be many people out there who do. Anyway one of the significant strands of liberalism comes from ‘Chapel Liberals’ and Methodism. I am sure my dear old Mum was a Chapel Liberal and I personally know many Lib Dem’s who hold strong religious views and I count them as my friends.

The crunch issue as I see it is this. As a Liberal your guiding light is the rights of others and your being willing to stand up for those rights even when you personally do not subscribe to them. That’s what Tim Farron tried to do, that’s why he stood up for LGBT rights even though his religion was seemingly telling him otherwise. His problem was being unable to publicly reconcile his liberalism and religion when the contradictions were put to him by the media. And once he had shown weakness the first time he was asked about the matter it was always going to be where the media homed in.

Were the media involved in bullying and intimidation? Yes of course they were, indeed they were acting as though they were from the 1950’s and steeped in intolerance with more than a hint of the Spanish Inquisition thrown in for good (or is that bad) measure. It’s as though Farron were being treated as a criminal for holding religious and political views, it’s a sad reflection on our reactionary media and the intolerant times we live in.

Yes of course opposition politicians also exploited Tim’s inability to answer straight forward questions on the potential conflict between his religion and his liberalism. I picked up what I viewed to be political trolling comments on this very matter.

Brexit has split us very deeply because it has brought back into focus views that people used to be ashamed of talking about – racism, intolerance, homophobia, etc. Farron in my view became a victim of that new intolerant culture and it shames our society greatly.

One last thing, the schism on the left of British politics is not actually so much about policy but about libertarian versus authoritarian approaches. In general terms socialism is more authoritarian and liberalism is obviously libertarian. Tell you what is good for you as opposed to giving you the facts to make your own mind up you could say. Quite obviously our society is by its nature these days far more authoritarian and less libertarian. I hope it goes without saying that Conservatism is also authoritarian.

Authoritarian societies don’t tolerate differences from the norm and the norm is usually set by the ruling classes. Farron is, like many Liberals before him and those who will follow him, too libertarian to be tolerated by a media and a political establishment that see most things very black and white, right and wrong.

Don’t look upon Farron as someone you liked or disliked in party political terms, look upon him as someone our society showed the door to because he was not conforming to the norms as interpreted by the media and the establishmnet. Then look at other minorities and think about them too, who will be next?

Oh yes and Farron stood in 2017 General Election on a policy of tolerance!

The hate of racists – Croydon asylum boy assault

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-39470487

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

What on earth does this recent incident say about our deeply troubled society? It says to me that racism has been let out of Pandora’s Box again and it is becoming mainstream. We all know that racism was a motivation for some to vote for Brexit. Of course all Brexit voters are not racists but I am pretty sure that most racists were Brexit voters. But Here’s Jen Robertson’s take on racism and Brexit:-

‘I don’t think all racists voted Brexit because I don’t think racism is quite what we’ve been taught to view it as. It’s not just morons shouting slurs and refusing to sit by people on the bus, it’s a deeper problem subtly endemic within our entire society. And I think it perfectly plausible that there are well-off business owners who voted remain because it makes economic sense while still harbouring racist tendencies that just aren’t as high a priority for them as their money.’

Our right wing press, which strangely seems a little disturbed by the appalling attack in Croydon, has been stirring the pot for a long time now with their overblown headlines blaming everyone that is not British and white for most if not all our troubles. Their influence over certain sections of our society is truly worrying, their lies have plunged us into a quite ridiculous Brexit crisis that will last for years and they have made some folks think that it’s now OK to abuse those who don’t look white or talk the Queens English. Some of us are are descending into the sewer just because the rich and the powerful are printing lies to get us to vote for what they want.

I don’t know about you but I really do worry about the future.

Football in black and white? A remarkable story from 1979

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-37924448

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

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This was less than 40 years ago! Goodness me what a strange thing to do from the perspective of 2016, it certainly makes me feel very uncomfortable.

If we did things like this in 1979 just imagine how our society would regress if we really did go back to that 1950’s view of the world that some seem to crave!

This football match was, considering the time, probably well meaning. The segregation of black and white players into what were racial/ethnic teams was not seemingly seen to be an issue even though it was taking place at a time when South African apartheid was high on the world agenda.

So glad we have moved on, well most of us have anyway………….

Picture credit Laurie Rampling

Angry & Intolerant – A response from someone who knows me well

My recent posting regarding my own anger and intolerance over Brexit brought back this insightful response:-

Anger can be a useful tool if it can be directed, it can fuel difficult actions and hard campaigns. As long as you have control of it a little anger can take you a long way, sometimes further than you thought you could make it.

I don’t think Anger is an inherently bad thing, there are things that SHOULD make us angry. You are angry not because you got beaten but because you watched too many members of a generation who won’t be around to see the consequences of their vote to make life harder for their grandchildren, because you saw vulnerable people lied to and exploited, manipulated into voting for something that won’t benefit them in the least. In their case the anger they were entitled to feel at the neglect of the system got used by someone else, perhaps partly in fear of those people directing their anger towards the right targets and the people that had consistently failed to help them, or worse still failed to really try.

You are angry because there has been a backlash of hate, of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, the list of rising hate crimes is too long to go on with. You are angry because a young woman trying to work for her community got savagely murdered in the streets.

You SHOULD be angry, we should ALL be angry, but anger is only useful if we direct it into purpose. This may be the biggest threat to our country, to the liberal values you and I both hold dear, in a very long time. It should be fought. Tolerating other people’s views doesn’t mean you stop fighting them when you think they’re wrong. It means you fight them in the right way, that you don’t stoop to name-calling, to slurs and intimidation. You treat them with the respect owed to all human beings while fighting against the effects of their views and trying to convince them they are wrong. That’s where anger starts to get in the way, you don’t change anyone’s views by shouting at them.

We need to remember that more important than politics, than economies, than anything, is our relationships with our fellow human beings. Events like this make us want to retreat to the safety of those that agree with us, make us want to get behind a barricade and throw projectiles at the enemy but that isn’t really going to help anybody. Martin Luther King quite rightly said “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”.

We need to be careful about indulging in some feeling of moral superiority and feelings of blame, how we got here is important but how we move forward is even more so. All far easier to say than to do, but I grew up with a good example of all this so somehow, occasional shouting aside, I think you’ll do just fine.

Well, it seems like I could consider an apology to those I have insulted over the Brexit vote following this advice. But, I will have to sit on that for a while as the anger is still very strong and the full consequences of that vote are unknown. Put it this way, if my genuine fears about the future of the UK prove to be unfounded and that Brexit ‘visionaries’ were right in saying leaving the EU will be the making of the UK then maybe I will apologise. However, based on the evidence that I saw before the referendum and what I have seen since I still can’t understand why Brexiters pressed what I see as the self-destruct button. Yes, still very angry indeed!