We’re all strands on the web of life. And whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
Racism under the guise of immigration has been blamed for all the ills in Britain by the main political parties. From the use of food banks to the cost of the welfare state. The Labour Party leader, Ed Milliband, the self acknowledged son of an immigrant has not had the courage of his convictions to defend his heritage. Nor has Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, who usually gets away with most things in politics. The fear of immigration has been well played to advance careers and for monetary gain in all walks of life.
The problem with using prejudice and hate as weapons is that they will come back to haunt the citizens. Nazi Germany is proof of that. The German people collaborated with the deportation and extermination of the blacks, disabled people, Gypsies, Jews, gays and other Untermenschen1. Then the German people also found themselves being marginalised. In Britain, what began as an attack on immigrants, then muslins, gay people, the disabled and then the refugees has now spiraled down to the Scots.
Just six months ago the leaders of the major political parties fought against the cessation of Scotland. The matter was of fundamental constitutional importance. The Queen, herself of German heritage, even made a rare intervention about the Union.
The goodwill for Scotland has evaporated with the prospect that they may hold the balance of power on 8th May. A hung Parliament may provide seats at the table of power for SNP2 as it has with the Con-Dem coalition.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, may be a multi-national state but the power has always been wielded by the English. The reverse however is a “frightening prospect” for the English according to Prime Minister, David Cameron. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has issued a warning that a coalition with the Scots would be the “biggest constitutional crisis since Edward VIII abdicated in 1936”. In her racist rhetoric Mrs May said that the electorate would not accept a coalition government with the SNP as legitimate. This is absurd. Scottish MP’s whatever their political hue are as legitimate as any other MP’s in the United Kingdom. They have the same right to serve in a Government once they are elected to office.
Boris Johnson, claims that the SNP “have no interest whatsoever in the political health of …the UK”. To prove his case he points to the SNP’s desire for welfare reform3 which in his opinion shows that the SNP are holding the UK to ransom. This is most extraordinary from a man whose party has extracted the price of austerity from the poorest people in society whilst providing generous tax breaks for the richest. Even at the cost of the Premiership, Ed Milliband has stated he will not work with the SNP. Naturally, UKIP does not want Britain ruled by foreigners; except the Queen of course.
Our national newspapers encourage this brand of racism. The Daily Mail’s headline called a Labour-SNP coalition “A match made in hell”. According to Piers Morgan, Nicola Sturgeon leader of the SNP, is “the world’s most dangerous woman”. The Sun, in England, declares “Stop the SNP!” Even the left wing Guardian’s cartoonist, Steven Bell, sketched a cartoon featuring Nicola Sturgeon. It suggested that incest was part of Scottish culture.
The Government has cast the foreigners, the poor and the disabled in the role of the villain. Not one of the main political parties has challenged it. The newspapers have encouraged this political stance. This trend in British politics reminds me of the provocative poem First They Came by Martin Niemöller. It is about the persecution of groups and what happens if we fail in our responsibility to speak out against prejudice, hate and injustice. Written about the rise of Nazi Germany, who would have guessed at its relevancy to Britain in 2015.