26 November 2007

David Irving & Nick Griffin

David Irving and Nick Griffin have been invited to address the Oxford University debating society. Two more odious characters are hard to imagine. The former is a Nazi sympathiser and a denier of the gravest collective crime in modern European history. The latter is a vicious inculcator of racist filth into Britain fragile ethnic social fabric.

Argument has become centred on whether these two men should have the right to speak to Oxford University students. This discussion, however, misses the main point; the key issue is not whether these men speak or not because, after all, their views are widely known, but rather what should be done to counter the influence of their ideas in society. Building organisations, media and other forums to defend internationalism, anti-racism and human rights will do far more than sweeping the problem under the carpet by silencing Irving and Griffin.

14 November 2007

Social Class in Britain

One almost axiomatic claim of New Labour, which is endorsed by the wider political establishment, is that social classes have disappeared in Britain. This is indeed a strange assumption when juxtaposed with the facts.

First, while during Labour’s second term there might have been some levelling around the middle of the income range, overall social inequality is greater today than at any point since 1945. At the top, the income and wealth of the super rich is accelerating while a new layer of impoverished East European workers is formed at the bottom. Second, following the American model social mobility is slowing down. Schooling is becoming ever more selective, university ever more expensive and communities ever more divided. Third, it would not seem, unlike the US, that class consciousness has not fallen away with the proportions of people calling themselves ‘working’ and ‘middle’ class hardly changing over the New Labour decade.

So the only real change is not in the social topography of Britain, but in the abandonment of reference to social class in British politics.