L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

31 October 2006 Blog Home : October 2006 : Permalink

Riot Rinse Repeat

Last year at about this time I wrote a post contrasting Newcastle with Nice and England with France. I was reminded of this because it turns up as hit #8 in google for the phrase "scanty halloween costumes" as I discovered by taking a look at my referer logs today.

Given that we are having more fun and games in the banlieues this year - and given that, despite the French being ever so proud of their 8.9% unemployment rate for September, for the residents of the banlieues nothing much has changed, I thought it might be worth suggesting that it be reread because I suspect that the ladies of Newcastle upon Tyne will be venturing out in sexy halloween costumes tonight in a way that won't be happening in France. However, though, I do wish to point out to any N American readers that, contrary to what you may read at Ed Driscoll, Gates of Vienna or Michelle Malkin, France is not in fact burning down or collapsing into anarchy. In the overwhelming majority of France you could take a bus, park your car or walk around in a skimpy halloween costume and be completely unmolested, the biggest problem is that you'd also be almost entirely alone in your fancy dress except for a few other merrymaking expatriates. There are disturbances in a few suburbs, primarily around Paris, and a significant motivating factor this year (as last) seems to be Sarkozy's attempts to crack down on drug dealers and other sorts of petty crime, so if you want get raped or have your car burned you can do it - but you are going to have to work at it and I reckon you could get equally mistreated parking or walking in select quarters of a number American cities.

If you don't read all of last year's post, at least take a gander at the conclusion as it is still true:

However my deeper point, and I'm getting to it finally, is that there is one other difference between England and France and that is that, despite attempts by the multicultis and the police, people in England persist in fighting back when they see others trashing their property or their friends. Furthermore, as we have seen in now and again, while English people are generally law abiding and tolerant, there is a long history of fighting which means that immigrants who want to have a riot get attacked by native rioters who are just as deadly. I do believe that on the whole England will not suffer from the French disease even if the rest of Europe succumbs. The threat of retaliation, unfortunately demonstrated in the increase in "paki-bashing" after July 7th, is also key. If the "muslim community" in the UK starts burning things outside its own ghettoes it will face a spontaneous response that will require that the police actually defend the immigrants.

I think the key difference is that the English don't fear their immigrants and do value their contributions, from curryhouses to cricket, in a way that, despite the presence of Zidane et al, the French do not. A national that likes a scrap and likes a curry bought from its immigrants is unlikely to find any reason to block them up in a ghetto. And a country that offers everyone the opportunity to work and get ahead, buy their own house is simply not the sort of place that makes it easy for an immigrant community to feel discriminated against.

I note that the statement I made there as part of the conclusion about the English fighting back has been thoroughly vindicated by the events last month in Windsor. However, despite that, and despite my basic feeling that Britain is doing relativey well in terms of assimilation of immigrants I am rather saddened by the excellent post found at last Sunday's Britblog round up about the way that racism still goes on in the UK:

...When the police refused to turn up when a mob was smashing in our door with a metal girder, I was still integrated and never wanted anything more than tolerance. I didn’t want them dead. I didn’t want them to move elsewhere. I wanted to be accepted. Not liked. Not loved. Just accepted.

I went to a church school. I sang the hymns. I played the recorder. I was the only kid in my primary school to play the tenor recorder and I played “Once in Royal David’s City” solo to the entire school. In fact, when carol singers came to my door in Fulham a couple of years back, I gave them a few quid to sing “Once In Royal David’s City”.

I went through decades of my classmates and some friends being deliberately, or inadvertently racist. I was never attempting to assert any kind of individuality or profile. It was not me who asked for special consideration. I just asked for the right not to eat pork, not to drink alcohol, not much to ask.

When my kid brother was thrown into thorn bushes and scarred by racist thugs on our estate, we still were not listened to, the police were still not interested. “Just grin and bear it” was their advice....

There is a problem when Britain can make people like this gentleman, a person who sounds like he ought to be the ideal candidate for a successful life in England feel like he is uner threat for his religion and/or his skin colour. This gentleman is the guy we need to have on "our" side fighting with the rest of "us" against the people who pervert the tenets of his religion and try to kill innocent strangers indiscriminately. Unfortunately we seem to be losing him and we seem to be doing so, IMO, because of the abysmal behaviour of the media and the politicians who fail to make the clear case for who we are fighting and why they are bad.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin