Friday, 29 February 2008

BBC suddenly cares about the working class

I was intrigued when watching BBC2 the other day to see a trailer involving a white man being drawn on in a variety of languages by a variety of hands to the music of Billy Bragg's version of 'Jerusalem'. My interest turned to horror as I realised it was advertising a series of programmes entitled 'White' with the tagline: 'is the white working class becoming invisible?'

The implication is unmistakable: Britain is becoming swamped by dark-skinned people to the detriment of others. And why specifically the working class? There are chilling echoes here of Margaret Hodge's two recent bouts of racism in which she said white working class people in Barking in east London would vote BNP because they felt ignored. Actually, people in Barking voted BNP because either (a) they are extremely racist, or (b) because they are sick of New Labour privatising the NHS, education and so on; wasting billions of pounds of taxpayers' money killing innocent people in the middle east; and refusing to build council houses. The link between the two is being fuelled by the BNP, New Labour and now, it seems, the BBC.

Why the sudden concern for the white working class now? The BBC have never shown any concern before. During the miners' strike in 1984 the BBC colluded with the government to make an incident where mounted police charged picketing miners look as though the miners had started it.

This series of programmes is being shown at a time when reactionaries in our society are trying to argue multiculturalism hasn't worked, that muslims are all evil and maybe racism isn't that bad after all. It is pandering to the government's agenda and it stinks. This is simple old fashioned divide and rule tactics. The government is trying to divide the working class at a time when the economy is going into recession, Gordon Brown is trying to enforce a 2% wage freeze on the public sector and billions of pounds of taxpayers' money is being used to prop up an ailing bank.

It is the working class that is being ignored regardless of their skin colour, ethnicity or religion and this is a blatant attempt to stir up racism to shift the focus away from class issues onto race issues. This is deplorable and should be condemned by all working class people.

We need to continue to build the left in Britain to fight against all forms of racism as well as the attacks on working people and the war.