hms iron duke

hms iron duke

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Is Britain Going Mad?

Alphen, the Netherlands.  22 December.  Is Britain going mad?  Please someone tell me it is not so.  Sitting here on this side of the Channel I have been following over the past couple of days what passes for a debate on racism in English football.

On Tuesday Mr Luis Suarez of Liverpool Football Club was found by the Football Association to have used language against an opponent that may have had racist overtones.  He was banned for eight games.  If he did indeed use racist language then the sanction is just as such language does indeed have no place in modern society.  However, what is dangerous about this incident is that it appears that it is simply the word of Mr Suarez against that of his accuser Mr Patrice Evra of Manchester United.  There are no other witnesses. 

If that is the case then it would appear to mean that a black person can now make a career-damaging accusation and all that matters is that the accusation is made.  That would go against all tenets of natural justice.   

On Wednesday formal charges of racist abuse were laid against the England Football Captain Mr John Terry by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).  I will not comment on that case as it is sub-judice but the way in which the press reacted had all the hallmarks of a witch-hunt.  Sadly, the CPS seems increasingly political  and politicised and I really do hope Mr Terry gets a fair trial.  

Today, Mr Alan Hansen, a football pundit, is being hunted down by the PC wolves.  Last night he referred to black people as 'coloured' on the BBC's Match of the Day, a soccer programme, although clearly no offence was intended. Mr Hansen was clear in his message that racism is wrong even if his use of language was perhaps out-dated. 

What is behind all of this?  First, the derided media are trying to prove their PC credentials by attacking individuals for what are in many cases the slightest infringement of race rules and laws that have become now so draconian that ancient liberties are at stake.  Second, the London elite seem determined to ram this issue down the throats of Britons as a warning and because of profound failures of policy.  Indeed, these witch-hunts are becoming so shrill that they reflect the steady and dangerous shift of hitherto irritating political correctness into something far more sinister; socio-fascism. 

Sadly, this PC madness will only make community relations more tense, not less so as a non-racist but nevertheless fed up English majority feel that implicit in this frenzy is the suggestion that a) they are all racist by association; and b) a precedent is being established by which the law will be applied in favour of one section of society against the rest. In recent polls 85% of the population object to the Establishment obsession over race and racism believing it to be over-reacting.

Racism is wrong and must be dealt with but in a patient and common sense way, not the kind of public show trials that now seem to be the norm and which seem to be taking place almost weekly.  Remember, I know what damage discrimination can do to a person and a career and I oppose all forms of such behaviour as I have myself suffered from it.  The real danger is not that people will stop saying racist things, but that they will stop saying anything anymore for fear of being accused of racism.  If that happens they will join the many millions of Britons who have retreated into sullen silence at work and elsewhere for the very same fear.

Where are the British going with all of this? Maoist-style re-education classes? Thought police?  The Dutch think the British are going mad over this issue.

Britain used to be renowned for common sense, tolerance and balanced thinking.  On issues of race and racism that is clearly no longer the case.

Julian Lindley-French    

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