Oliver Letwin’s memo was a Thatcherite document, not a racist one

Oliver Letwin, September 2013 by Policy Exchange

The annual cache of old Whitehall documents provides much-need rations for the starving press over the quiet weeks around Christmas and New Year, and this year a memo from 1985 concerning race riots is proving particularly nourishing.

On the menu is Oliver Letwin, current chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (a trust fund for Lizzie Windsor) and former policy wonk in the Tory government of Margaret Thatcher, for penning a memo in November 1985 on the social malaise in inner cities that led to riots in Tottenham and Brixton.

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Bahar Mustafa and #KillAllWhiteMen, or when equality activists don’t understand racism

Bahar Mustafa, No White-Cis-Men Pls

Racism, n.

A belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group is superior, or that other such groups represent a threat to one’s cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being; (also) a belief that the members of different racial or ethnic groups possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities, which can be compared and evaluated. Hence: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against people of other racial or ethnic groups (or, more widely, of other nationalities), esp. based on such beliefs.

Oxford English Dictionary

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The Racism Awakens: The New Star Wars Film and the Dark Side of the Internet

Image Credit – John Boyega and Daisy Ridley as Finn and Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Lucasfilm

Ahead of the release of a new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer last night, Twitter was swarmed by the Dark Side’s #BoycottStarWarsVII in order to prevent what they deem “white genocide”.

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The ugly face of the British electorate: From #WhyImVotingUkip to #RefugeesWelcome

Image Credit - Renegade Inc. via Twitter

Apparently a couple of hashtags is all it takes to persuade Britain that immigrants are okay. Right now it’s all #AylanKurdi and #RefugeesWelcome now, but it was #WhyImVotingUkip not too long ago.

Ever since the heart wrenching pictures of Aylan Kurdi – the three-year-old who died trying to travel to Europe – appeared on the front pages of national newspapers, Britain suddenly welcomes people. Furthermore, we talk of having a “moral obligation” to help refugees – one many British people apparently forgot when they voted for closing our borders in the general election.

This kind of hypocrisy infuriates me. There’s a fairly simple rule everyone could try to live by: “Don’t be a garbage human being.”

I’m not infuriated by people supporting refugees, I’m infuriated by how fickle they are. It’s a genuinely worrying issue because it makes them just as likely to turn on the refugees they’re happy to support for now.

What happens if, say, the terror threat level rises? Or if there’s an attack somewhere? Or, god forbid, these refugees come over here and take all our jobs, women and benefits?

Sadly, I don’t think I’m being cynical to point these things out. Many people are but one news story away from hating foreigners again. If and when that day comes, it’ll be all #SendThemBack.

Overnight, everyone seemingly agrees with prime minister David Cameron that the immigration crisis is a moral issue. But that’s clearly not the case – if it was, more people would have supported helping asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants in the first place. Morals, last time I checked, were fairly deep seated and not prone to dramatic shifts.

But the Tories are not the only ones to have come out of this looking hypocritical; I’m not particularly enamoured of Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon either.

To her credit, she has applied consistent pressure to Cameron over the immigration crisis. However, she announced this week that Scotland could immediately take 1,000 refugees, which invites the obvious question: Why make that announcement this week instead of four weeks ago? The answer, of course, is political opportunism.

It’s a horrible thing to say, and I’m still relieved that the events of this week have opened people’s hearts. What I fear is that the same events haven’t opened people’s minds. Forget Twitter – we should have meaningful discourse about the entire situation now, before beguiling fears and putrid hates reinfect the electorate.

Image Credit – Renegade Inc. via Twitter