Wednesday 11 December 2013

Running The Straight Race

Trenton Oldfield is not an attractive character.

But it has been ruled that Tony Abbott's Australia, the country very largely created by Lynton Crosby, is so racist that non-white or mixed-race British Citizens cannot be expected to move there in order to continue their family life with a deported Australian husband and father.

No wonder that, for all Tim Stanley's relatively rosy right-wing depiction of the new South Africa, white supremacists who cannot bear to live there are moving to Australia.

It must be said that quite a few of them are also moving to Britain, to the extent that there is now even a congregation of the Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk in London. That body seceded from the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa when the latter gave up its former theological justification of apartheid. It now finds a happy home in the Britain of David Cameron and Lynton Crosby.

White South Africans are, with Australians and New Zealanders, the biggest overstayers in this country after visas have run out. Yet Crosby did not send any Go Home vans into their centres of population. The more of them, the merrier.

Yes, I know perfectly well that by no means all white South Africans were ever racists. The ones who were not, often but not always Jews, were radical to an extent otherwise matched only by the Coloureds and the Indians.

But let us be clear about the English-speaking, British-descended two fifths or so of the whites. They hardly ever elected anti-apartheid MPs, and the old story had it that if a black migrant worker stopped at an Afrikaans farmhouse to beg for a glass of water, then the farmer's wife would shout at him, swear at him, spit on him, and then give him a glass of water. If he stopped at an English-speaking farmhouse, then she would slam the door in his face. The English-speakers produced valiant heroes of the struggle. So did the Afrikaners, a fact which is routinely overlooked.

As for attacks on farms, those are overwhelmingly just robberies. Since most commercial farmers are white, and the majority of those is Afrikaans ("Boer" means "farmer"), whites in general and Afrikaners in particular feature heavily among the victims. For that reason alone, though. In any case, the victims of physical assault in these cases are mostly the farm labourers, who are black. The motivation might be poverty. But it is far more probably plain, old-fashioned greed. And plain, old-fashioned greed has no skin colour.

Neither Margaret Thatcher nor her party, as a party, was in favour of apartheid in principle. But both were compromised by it. While she is dead, it is not quite, and it remains compromised by that period. In a few hours' time, David Cameron will answer Prime Minister's Questions.

Who will ask him why, after their remarks since Nelson Mandela died, the Conservative Whip in the House of Lords continues to extend to Norman Tebbit, while the Conservative Whip on Runnymede Borough Council continues to extend to Terry Dicks? Will Peter Hain? Will John McDonnell? Will Ed Miliband?

On the fringes of the fringes of the Labour Party, mostly in London, there are people who continue simultaneously to defend and to deny the crimes of Stalin and Mao, to whom Labour was never allied, either in Government or in Opposition, just as even the Thatcher Government was never formally allied to apartheid South Africa; Pinochet's Chile was a different story. 

But if a Labour member of either House of Parliament, or elected representative at any level, were to give voice to such views, then the withdrawal of the Whip would be immediate, and expulsion from the party would follow rapidly.

If David Cameron will not do the same to the continuing defenders of the old South Africa, in and of itself rather by reference to any subsequent faults or failures, then he and his party are unfit for office. He needs to be asked this directly and immediately, on the floor of the House of Commons.

Labour is in a position to do that, because Mandela was released before John Smith died, meaning that support for his release could not be branded "Old Labour" and discarded. But that would otherwise have happened. The Anti-Apartheid Movement had already achieved its objective, so that noisy opposition to it could not be made a defining mark of the self-styled "decent Left". But that would otherwise have happened, too.

Apartheid South Africa would have been a classic neoconservative favourite state, and did in fact have the closest possible relationship with the other one, which even gave her the Bomb. But do not mention how, along with three former Soviet Republics including ever-reviled Belarus and now-reviled Ukraine, South Africa achieved unilateral nuclear disarmament, thereby proving the possibility of such.

How very Old Labour.  How very indecent Left. And what a standing contradiction of the theory that any of them was or is some kind of Communist dictatorship. Communist dictatorships, or aspirants to such status, do not give up their nuclear weapons.


  1. The question was not asked because you were not there to ask it. Blame the racist former Chief Whip and her racist staffer who has gone on to greater things but not as great as he wanted.

    Tebbit has not been on Telegraph Blogs for a while. Madiba's death seems to have made him as unemployable as Kelvin MacKenzie.

  2. Can either of the four third persons to whom you refer account for his or her whereabouts during yesterday's ceremony, while Desmond Tutu's house was being burgled? Can Terry Dicks?

  3. Can Damian Thompson and Oliver Kamm?

  4. "there are people who continued to defend and deny the crimes of Stalin and Mao".

    Which doesn't remotely compare to what Norman Tebbit or Terry Dicks said.

    They both said the ANC as terrorists, during the period when Thatcher used to call them that.

    Which is to say they repeated the conclusions of Desmond Tutu's Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

    Why should they have the whip withdrawn for stating historical fact?

  5. Because we won.

    But you are wrong about their views, both then and now.

    Even Ian Smith said that he had been, "right about Mugabe, but wrong about Mandela." He ended his days in the new South Africa rather than in the entire country that Thatcher left to the world, which was not Britain, but Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

    You, Tebbit and Dicks are therefore more hardline, more right-wing, or however you want to put it, than even Ian Smith.

  6. I do think, however, it was paleocons more than neocons who defended the Old South Africa, at least in the United States.

    People should not have the whip withdrawn for their personal views about historical regimes and events, not least because those withdrawing the whip are wholly ignorant of history and guilty of similar crimes to the ones about which they moralise. I don't think insisting blindly that Stalin killed 10000000000000000000000 people should be a prerequisite to be an MP.

  7. Dick Cheney not only voted against sanctions, but even voted against overriding Reagan's veto of them.

    But the categories were not clear then. If the old South Africa had been in place by the Dubya days, then the neocons would have seen it as a valued ally, while the paleocons would have dismissed it as an unworthy recipient of tax dollars and military entanglement.

    The historical opinions point is about party membership, not public office. Although I wouldn't vote for anyone who held such views, and nor should you. Not, mercifully, that you are likely to run the risk of doing so.