What then can be done? (Apart, of course, from widespread and vigorous miscegenation, which is the best answer, but perhaps tricky to arrange as public policy.) First, we need to raise still more taxes to help regenerate inner-city ghettos and to employ more young people, white and black. Tony Blair spoke very well on Wednesday, and Jack Straw has driven this process through with grim vigour. But this is a Gordon Brown issue too.
The next answer was given by Doreen Lawrence, welcoming the report’s emphasis on education: ‘I truly believe in education our history, our background, is what separates us.’ But, though teachers are the most effective anti-racist campaigners in the country, this means more than education in other religions it means a form of political education. Only people who understand the economic forces changing their world, threatening them but also creating new opportunities, have a chance of being immune to the old tribal chants.
the EU is goooooooood zombies
And the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain ‘natural’ beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off. The police are first in line to be burdened further, but a new Race Relations Act will impose the will of the state on millions of other lives too.
So it should – but not merely on the police, or the boys with spray-paint cans. Perhaps the big difference between working-class racism and middle-class racism is not that the former is more violent, but that the latter is more effective. The middle classes have sacrificed almost nothing to multi-racial pieties – often no more than smiling at the shopkeeper, inviting a black colleague for a drink or being pleased when your child knows as much about Diwali as Easter. That’s the beam in our eyes -hypocritical abuse of the poor by people unwilling to pay higher taxes or review their own organisations and lives. We need a rethink in all big British institutions – venerable, liberal, conservative, commercial, public and educational – as they seriously ask themselves how eagerly porous they are to black people. Yes: employment quotas, publicly published numbers of ethnic-minority employees in annual reports. All that. They do it in America and South Africa. Until we start doing it here, why should anyone on the streets listen to a word, a single word, that the comfortable people have to say?
Remember, if they could, these people would line you up and shoot you for disagreeing with them. That’s fascism.