Thursday, 24 November 2011

The most stupid speech about Race I have ever heard - by Nick Clegg, naturally

“But how many black managers are there in the Premier League? Zero.” That’s what Nick Clegg told his Scarman Lecture audience earlier today. To which many commentators have responded with another question: “But how many black MPs are there in the Liberal Democrat Party? Zero.”

 The BBC (while I worked there) was in a constant froth about what it called “Representation” – i.e. the supposed lack of black faces on our TV screens. Greg Dyke even described the organisation as being “hideously white” (in much the same way as the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation is, one presumes,  “hideously black”?) And yet the racial make-up of the BBC's board of directors during most of my time there – if not their unremittingly liberal political views – would have found favour with the BNP. (My last director-level boss was an enormously clever and hard-working Sikh – but we’ll ignore him, as he doesn’t fit the Clegg narrative of unrelenting ethnic helplessness.)

In today’s “speech”, Clegg highlighted the achievement of the state sector, where black workers are, on average, paid more than white workers (thanks to years of systemic anti-white discrimination, one presumes). This didn’t seem to strike him as worryingly unfair. White bad – black good. 

But the fact that blacks in the private sector earn an average 11% less than their white colleagues was, of course, cited as evidence of rampant racism. Naturally, as we are all born equal (or, if we aren’t, we jolly well should be!) it couldn’t have anything to do with differing levels of educational attainment, natural ability, or the fact that 48% of young Afro-Caribbeans are brought up in single-parent households (Dad having long since buggered off) – or the fact that many blacks have arrived from countries where their education and experience won’t necessarily have suited them to holding prestigious jobs in the UK, or the fact that, in recent years,  the UK has been flooded with extremely competent, hard-working Poles (who have almost entirely replaced blacks as shop staff on our local High Street).

I mean, I shouldn’t have to be explaining this to a child – let alone to Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister. Can he really be this wilfully stupid? (I'm about to answer that question.)

The main problem I had with Clegg’s “thoughts” (if that isn’t putting it too strongly) is the sheer lack of logic or sense to them – in fact, the absolute intellectual nullity of what he was saying. There was no evidence adduced for his view that “more needed to be done” by the private sector to redress “the sins of the market”. Sins?

"Why is it that members of some of our ethnic communities want to start their own businesses, but their success doesn't match their ambitions?"

Because that’s life, you bloody idiot! Just wanting something doesn’t mean you get it without proving you deserve it (although, to be fair, you seem to have managed it).

"We know, for example, that 35% of individuals from black African origins say they want to start a business, but only 6% actually do. Are they having problems accessing the loans they need?"

It isn’t even worth picking apart such a moronic pseudo-question. 20% of all young people probably want to appear on The X-Factor – it’s nobody’s fault they won’t achieve that tawdry ambition. How many whites want to start businesses but can’t get funding? 

"Past evidence shows that firms owned by individuals of black African origin have been four times more likely than so-called 'white firms' to be denied loans outright. And that Bangladeshi, Pakistani, black Caribbean and black African-owned businesses have been subject to higher interest rates than white and Indian-owned enterprises. Anecdotally, we hear this is a problem time and time again."

Maybe experience shows that businesses started by members of those ethnic groups fail more often than those started by whites . Or that they don’t have the relevant business skills to instil confidence in investors. Or that their business plans suck. Who knows? Certainly not Clegg.

“Why are there over 400 more young black British men in prison than at Russell Group universities?"

Because 400 more young black men committed serious crimes than had sufficient intelligence or worked hard enough to get into a Russell Group university. Maybe their state school teachers were too busy convincing them that they were the victims of social injustice to teach them anything useful, or to convince them of the need to work harder.

This is all so intellectually pitiful, so lazy, so ill-thought out that it simply beggars belief that one of the country’s most senior politicians  could come up with it (if indeed, he did: there might be one or two speech-writers who need firing – unless, of course, they’re black, in which case they should be instantly promoted.)

Clegg singled out banks and Premier League football clubs for the harshest criticism. (We all hate bankers at the moment, and posh chaps are convinced that talking about football is the only means of getting oiks to listen to them.)  Given what banks just did to this country, the idea that they should promote executives on the basis of skin colour rather than pure ability is simply terrifying. As for Premier League football clubs – who they appoint as managers is entirely their own business: it has as much to do with the leader of the Liberal Democrats as what I choose to watch on TV tonight.

Mind your own business! Leave us alone!

Maybe all that frenzied youthful shagging addled Clegg’s brain. Maybe it’s hanging out with Liberal Democrats that did it. Or working for the European Commission. Or perhaps it’s sheer panic at the near-certain prospect of leading his little pimple of a party to electoral Armageddon that has turned a young Englishman who has had so much privilege shovelled his way into a blithering idiot. Or maybe he always was a blithering idiot but everyone was too embarrassed to point it out. What I do know – and I apologise for my language, but I just can’t help it – is that he is undoubtedly the silliest, most meaningless prick ever to reach such a senior position in British politics in my lifetime. And that really is saying something, given that John Prescott was Deputy PM for many years!

If I belonged to any of the ethnic groups Clegg mentioned today, I would be disgusted to be told that I couldn’t make the grade unless the odds were stacked in my favour by some patronising white toff. I’ve met and worked with any number of industrious, clever, talented blacks and Asians (and Arabs and Iranians) who were more industrious, a damn sight smarter, and far more naturally gifted than me – and I’d be extremely surprised if they weren’t outraged by this sort of insufferably patrician de haut en bas twaddle. How dare he!

Here’s the deal, Clegg. If you actually believe the things you said today, order your local party organisations to select at least half of all Lib-Dem parliamentary candidates – in winnable seats, mind you - from all-ethnic short-lists. Given the appalling quality of your current representatives at Westminster, and your well-deserved lack of support amongst the electorate, this is one area where positive racial discrimination might actually do some good. Star with your own seat – and sod off to Brussells, which is your spiritual home.

I broke off a short while ago and caught an item about Clegg's speech on Channel 4 News. They did some vox pops with blacks and Asians in Lambeth. They all dismissed Clegg's idiocies. As any sensible person would.

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