Bridges and Walls

Blogging, as I do, from High Wycombe is an interesting perspective at the moment. There’s an air of disbelief at the arrest of bomb plot suspects. There’s still a trickle of pro-BNP comments arriving in my inbox in reply to a post I made a couple of months ago. There’s so many misconceptions and falsehoods among those comments that it leaves me shaking my head in despair. The final comment reads “Rather then calling the BNP racist why don’t you actually look at their policies?”- so I did (not that I didn’t have a good idea anyway). You don’t need to dig very far into their website to find policies like “We also call for preference in the job market to be given to native Britons” and “we, the native British people, will be an ethnic minority in our own country within sixty years”. For the term “native British”, I presume they mean “white”, and whatever way you dress it up, “white supremacy” is racism – or even Naziiism.

I’d be interested to know if the term “native British” refers to “all white Britons”, or just those who are short with red or black hair – since the majority of us “white Britons” will be a genetic mixture of Roman, Viking, Germanic and Norman? Because these islands have been enriched by peoples from futher afield for some two thousand years! The British Isles must be populated by the most culturally and racially diverse mix of peoples on earth. Quite clearly, the most recent immigrants – those of the last 60 years – are still viewed as “different” by some. I suppose the BNP would claim that they are the “least British”. But the fact remains that most of those who attend the mosque at the end of my road were born here, and have just as much right to call themselves “British” as I do.

I am naturally shocked to find that a handful of my neighbours feel so alienated that they could be tempted to support extremists. But whose failure is it? Who built the walls? I contend that we all did. In our democracy, we are lucky enough to elect our representatives and legislators. Every British Citizen has a voice, and every British Citizen can put himself forward to become involved in the political life of his or her country. We have to find ways to reach out to the disaffected and the alienated. We have to build bridges of mutual respect and understanding, and break down the walls of suspicion.

The alternative does not bear thinking about