At present in Britain, the tone du jour is the so-called "Brexit" referendum, called for June this year. A referendum seemingly called by the Conservative Party to claim back votes that might've been lost to EU sceptic party UKIP.
Now, for some time in Britain, there has existed the claim that we are being overrun with immigrants. Being that I am middle class, work in science and university educated I don't see this. I've never seen it. I grew up in a village in Northamptonshire. A village where we could count the people of differing ethnicities on one hand. A village where, upon reading the record of the "Board School", there was a delightful account of the time the "Negro came from Northampton."
But, also I've never seen immigration as a problem. I've lived in Bradford and Leicester which are 2 of Britain's most ethnically diverse cities. I've always embraced multiculturalism, sought to learn more about my neighbours and enjoyed the benefits of living with different people. It creates a global atmosphere in my own back garden, so to speak.
My childhood was interspersed with long phone calls with "Uncle" Ghulam in Kashmir, and I learned the Arabic greetings before I started at secondary school. And I loved it. It wasn't cultural misappropriation, it was necessary to allow cohesive discourse with those who I lived with. I knew my Hindu Gods, and aspects of Brahma by the time I was 10 and I made my first Holy Communion in the Roman Catholic church at the age of 11.
Now building back to my initial point, I have encountered in more recent times, an alarming streak of xenophobia running through this country. The type that we mock our elderly relatives for, is rearing it's ugly head. But why should it be? I mean, we seem cohesive. Living in Leicester, I always enjoyed seeing the men in the town in their mosque hats, and occasionally bumping into a Dominican Friar. There was no "us and them", it was all us.
Yet, certain newspapers and internet media seem to fan the flames. The Daily Mail runs a non-story with the headline "THE NARBOROUGH ROAD IN LEICESTER. OVERRUN WITH 40 SHOPS FROM 60 DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES"
and the comments,
"It's political correctness gone stark raving mad."
"White people are a minority in Britain"
"My Grandad died in the 2nd world war for this..."
This statements can be handwaved away. The vast errors can be pointed out. Now, it seems as if the press wants to link the exit from the European union with the "immigration problem" - which it isn't.
But why are they doing this? What do they have to gain. Well, the press are unfortunately now in the employ of the power hungry ones. They understand that the European Union, with it's regulations that do such pointless things as securing maternity pay and equal rights for men and women and fair working hours and prevents child labour. Oh only the cornerstones of civilisation. But not something that really sits well if you're trying to turn a profit.
And that's really what it comes down to. They are fostering their own interests at the expense of their fellow man. It is how history has always been. We have hoped that perhaps it had been overthrown but the foul taint of monarchy and plutocracy are rearing their ugly claws once again.
And it is for this reason that a free press is so essential. To call out the media in the employ of big business. It is why magazines like Private Eye are so important. It is why inquisition like institutions like the recent enquiry into the actions of the News of the World are appalling. They tear down any semblance of a sane and free democracy.
"EVERYTHING FINE" reports newspaper in employ of authority.
Tony Benn said "The people in power don't want the public to know too much as they might challenge what they decide themselves."
If we know this, and we understand it, we must move to protect our free press before it is totally bought under the control of the Murdoch's and the oligarchs who have no interest in morality, freedom or society but in turning a cheap profit at the expense of human misery and life.