This should be added to “The Coming of Fascism” http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/zb038.htm
It maps onto that article perfectly. Ivor Catt 26may02
The Sunday Times - Review
May 26, 2002
What the poor whites are telling liberal Britain
The handouts given to immigrants in places like Burnley do not look like such
a fair deal to poverty-stricken locals, says John Lloyd
Burnleys reputation has been taken to heart. When I was looking over the
files at the local newspaper office, a young man came in, amiable and
feckless, and began talking to the woman at the counter Im just out for
a walk, me, and theres nowt to do. Theres nowt to do in Burnley. You dont
want to walk out at night ere. Its not a great place, is Burnley. It could
have been a comic parody.
Burnley, in a valley between Leeds and Manchester, has been put on the
political map by its resentful whites and an ethnic conflict over public
funds; a case study in how not to manage industrial decline and racial
integration. The British National party has three councillors.
Burnley is a town that few know or visit. The textile industry faded, the
nearby coal mines closed, the brightest and the best left. Quite a few of the
post-1997 political elite have Burnley, or near, roots: Alastair Campbell,
the voice of the government; Ian Hargreaves, the former editor of The
David Wild, a former head of communications for Nirex, is from nearby
Todmorden. I was brought up on a totally white council estate in the 1970s,
my dad worked for the gas board. He had his routine: dinner on the table when
he got home; a settled life. That life disappeared for a lot of people in
places such as Burnley in the 1980s, he says.
Official unemployment is low (3%) but the black economy is big. Most of the
money on bad estates is drug money and its mainly white-controlled. The
working-class sense of equity, of whats right, on these estates went in the
1970s and 1980s.
Burnley Wood, a district of late 19th-century artisans dwellings, is as grim
and violent a place as you can see in Britain, with streets in which in
the middle of the day men wander in vests and women in slippers,
surrounded by burnt-out cars. The faces are all white: this is poor white
Poor Asian country is another region of similar houses. There is a ward
called Daneshouse, which has had some money spent on improvements to the
pavements and the lighting, and it is much livelier. Many more children are
on the streets as well as elderly men and women who appear to have roles
rather than mere existences.
Burnley Woods complaint about Daneshouse is that it gets the money from the
council which it does not: that larger Asian families make claims on the
social security and other budgets which their taxes cover; that Asian
children, who have poor English, take up the time and funds in schools denied
to their often struggling kids. In the junior school where Helen Clarkson
teaches, where there are three Asian children out of 220, there is some
sympathy for the BNP: They are just fed up with the situation.
Do immigrant communities take money and resources away from the indigenous
population? Liberals tend to see this claim and the rest of the
anti-immigrant litany as racial prejudice. But if you talk to alienated
whites in areas of high immigration, what often emerges is an idea of justice
that is at odds with the modern liberal state. They cling to a notion of
justice based on the reciprocal obligations of a particular local (usually
white) community which is acutely hostile to free riding, especially by
This local idea of justice has been in retreat over the past 30 years,
eclipsed by a more universal notion of rights and needs that assumes an equal
affinity towards and between all citizens. And it is thanks to this that
immigrants sometimes do better out of the welfare system: their needs judged
by incomes, number of children and so on are greater even than those of
many poor whites. The conflict between these notions of justice has been at
its most acute in public housing.
Waiting for a council flat or house was, until the 1970s, part of the
inherited package of rights for the respectable working class in big cities.
Getting on the waiting list often required connections which, by definition,
discriminated against immigrants. Municipal socialism worked for our people;
until the rules were changed.
The mills in Burnley were its backbone and wealth. They produced a large and
cohesive working class. The mill owners put up model housing what are
now the Burnley Wood and Stoneyholme districts. The Asians who came to
Burnley and other mill towns from the late 1950s were an expedient by the
textile manufacturers to stave off low-cost competition. The early immigrants
were men: their need was for low-cost housing and they found it in the old
Victorian quarters of these towns.
In Burnley, as elsewhere, the whites tended to move out. When the rest of the
immigrants families came in the 1960s and 1970s, the Asians were often
allocated council houses on grounds of need: today Daneshouse, ranked as the
eighth poorest ward in Britain, benefits from a range of programmes that
include housing grants for large families, which pay to convert two houses
Immigrants have often been accused of putting whites out of jobs: that
complaint is not loud in Burnley. It may be that the experience of mill work,
taken by Asians when the wages were forced below what most whites would
accept, has negated this kind of resentment. Asians and whites say that the
drugs industry is employing a lot of young men. It is said to be strongest in
the Stoops estate, which is almost wholly white.
Masood Ahmed Mirza, who stood as a Liberal Democrat in Daneshouse to keep out
the BNP (he did), attributes the youth violence and riots last year to
unemployment and drugs. A member of the local taskforce that produced a
report on the riots in Burnley, he says: I dont think the riots were at root
racist. When we dug into it we found that an Asian lad had been selling drugs
and claimed he hadnt been paid by a white lad. Then the thing escalated and,
of course, it became racial because there was a white gang and an Asian gang.
The most contested area after housing is education. The schools in Burnley
are increasingly either white or Asian. Clarkson says white parents make it
clear that they do not want their children to go to Asian schools and appeal
if they are allocated to them: Parents say, The Asians get extra help in
class for their English and thats taking away from my child. Its true there
is language help, but its an extra resource and the white kids dont suffer.
Burnleys Asian schools have better results than many of the white
comprehensives. Asian children tend to be hard working and striving. Mirza,
himself a graduate, has five children all of whom went to British
universities. Asian families seem to care more than the demoralised and
sometimes fractured white families, whose sense of abandonment spreads to
indifference about childrens attainments.
Ted Cantle wrote a report after last summers riots in Burnley, Oldham and
Bradford that for the first time identified the white working class as an
oppressed minority. The BNP also uses this idea, aping the language of
Steve Smith, the local leader of the BNP, believes much of what is happening
in his town is natural everyone prefers their own. He confirms the view
expressed by many that the BNP stood not so much on a racist programme as an
anti-council one: The local council is Labour. The county council is Labour.
People turn to us because they feel no connection with them. We, the BNP, put
up councillors who everyone knew, local people. One BNP councillor is a
former paratrooper who served in the Falklands; another is an engineer; the
third is an office worker.
The BNP does not deny it is racist in the sense that it believes in the
separation of the races and negotiated repatriation for Asians. It sees
events such as September 11 as demonstrations of the truth of its views. Many
whites dont seem to like, or want to try to like, their Asian neighbours.
Mohammad Rafique Malik, the senior Labour Asian councillor in Burnley, thinks
the divisions in the town have worsened since the 1970s: People have
withdrawn into their own areas.
Like some of the loyalist communities in Northern Ireland, the white working
class in places such as Burnley lacks leaders produced from within, except
those who lead gangs. By contrast, there are Asian councillors and public
figures such as Malik and Mirza who form a political elite in the town.
Net migration into Britain is rising (it fell in the 1960s and 1970s) and the
children of recent immigrants will account for most of the population
increase in the coming years. This will change the nature of some corners of
the country and some whites will resent it.
Politicians cannot simply dismiss such grievances as illegitimate, even
though they will often be expressed in unacceptable language. They need to
acknowledge the truth as people experience it, including the fact that some
immigrants do qualify for more funds than whites. They need to explain why
this is without expecting poor whites to be happy. They must, above all, try
to avoid race-based competition over public funds.
Some whites feel strongly that they have been the losers from
immigration and point out, not unreasonably, that they were never
consulted about it. Although the BNP vote goes into the middle class, it has
its roots among poorly educated, low-income whites. So far, thanks in part to
its extremism, the BNP has not made national the sense of desolation and
betrayal on which it thrives. Someone more respectable might try. Then we
will discover how widespread the Burnley effect is.
This is an edited version of a piece in the June issue of Prospect. www.prospect-magazine.co.uk