10 July 2016

Monoculture

A wedding in Gainsborough. Shirley has a large extended family with enough cousins to fill a double decker bus and yesterday cousin Elaine was getting hitched to an abattoir worker called Steve. It was his third marriage but her first. They are both in their mid-fifties and as poor as church mice.

Gainsborough sits on the eastern bank of the River Trent and has been an inland port for hundreds of years. Vikings came here and medieval wool traders from The Low Countries. It is still a bustling town.

The wedding ceremony was in the town's register office. Then we moved on to the supporters' club at Gainsborough Trinity's football ground. There were almost two hundred people there and as I looked around them, I realised that they were all white and Anglo Saxon. Not one member of our Asian community. Not one Afro-Caribbean and not one person of mixed race. 

If I had undertaken a survey of those seated at tables I am sure I would also have discovered that there were no Poles, Latvians, Romanians or indeed French. No this was the white Anglo Saxon English heartland and these were the kind of English people who have experienced a sort of sidelining in recent years. Britain is meant to be vibrant and globalised with an exciting rainbow patchwork of interconnected cultures but in the Gainsborough Trinity supporters' club a different kind of England was represented.

It reminded me of growing up in East Yorkshire. I lived in an entirely  white Anglo Saxon village and after passing my eleven plus went on to a totally white Anglo Saxon secondary school. We just didn't see people of colour though I once saw a Chinese sailor on Alfred Gelder Street in Hull. 

There are still huge swathes of England where the multicultural melting pot seems like a metropolitan fantasy. You can see this in demographic statistics. 92% of our people belong to the white Anglo Saxon host community. Yet watching the BBC or listening to the London politico-intelligentsia you might be forgiven for believing that every other house is home to inhabitants whose origins lie overseas. But this is most definitely not the case. You might also have witnessed evidence of  this at The Gainsbrough Trinity supporters' club yesterday evening.

The wedding guests were decent people - the backbone of England. People whose parents and grandparents were born here. Tolerant and fair-minded people. They all had family members who fought in the trenches of the Somme and all could trace their English roots way back in time. As I say, lots of these people now feel sidelined and I am sure that many of them voted to leave The European Union because of that feeling. They were cocking a snook at the establishment and yelling in the only way they could - "Look at us! We are still here. Why did you forget us?"

24 comments:

  1. These two groups probably live in precisely segregated areas that will maintain the separation and limited communication.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are not really two groups. It's more complicated than that Red.

      Delete
    2. I know I oversimplified this one. People tend to isolate themselves.

      Delete
  2. I think the Remainers are the ones who should think again. The ones I know are in jobs where there is little or no competition. The EU is protectionist, suits the mediocre but building barriers solves nothing it just allows those that fall into the mean demographic to survive and prosper. I am left of centre but do think that government employees are generally plodders who talk a good act and need protection from the real world and so many of the big companies have fallen into the same mindset.
    This is a real chance for brave and enterprising folk to give the establishment a good kicking and the wedding guests or their issue will once again learn skills that allow them to prosper.
    I am daft, I sound like that bloke from the Sit-Com shouting. "Power for Tooting." Not as daft as our so called leaders and experts. Never heard so much drivel during the referendum since I did Latin at school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who knows what the future holds? I firmly believe that if there was a second referendum "Remain" would win. People have seen the chaos and looked down into the abyss and they are rather scared. I know several people who voted "Leave" and now tell me they regret it. Besides, we don't fully understand what "Leave" means.

      Delete
    2. We won't be leaving with May in charge.

      Delete
  3. The bit about the abattoir and the church mice made me think of Nora Batty- but in a good way.The second part of your post was wistful and sad.It made me thoughtful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would rather have Nora Batty as PM than Leadsom or May.

      Delete
  4. And they can't be blamed for think the way they do...for wanting to hold onto their country and their culture...to hold onto everything that is near, dear and important to them. I can see nothing wrong with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shhh! You must say such terrible things quietly Lee. Like a whisper... if you don't want to be accused of racism or intolerance. That's the crazy logic of the multiculturalists.

      Delete
  5. I grew up in a multi-cultural city where even the whites were mostly immigrants: from Ireland, Wales or Scotland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - Liverpool - a bit like London, Bristol and Cardiff in that respect but very different from Gainsborough, Sleaford, Scarborough, Burnley, Beverley, Taunton, Redruth, Ludlow and a thousand other significant English towns.

      Delete
  6. I spent my teaching life in Wolverhampton in a hugely multi-cultural Comprehensive school. I loved every minute of it there and was always pleased with the way the various cultural groups got along with each other. We had a lot of Jamaican boys and girls, mostly well behaved and very respectul of their teachers and parents too, we had large influx of boys and girls from the Punjab and the same went for them too.
    The rest were a mixture of not very well off white children - of various nationalities - from a large council estate. I honestly do not remember any incidents related to racial tension.
    Here in The Dales it is most unusual to see a face other than white. There are quite a lot of Eastern Europeans, particularly in the building and catering industries - and they are hard working, pleasant people.
    I get very saddened by racial attitudes.
    It has taken me a long time to get the farmer to actually call a black faced person 'black' - which is what they like to be called. They are proud of their colour and why should they think otherwise.

    As to whether we should have voted Remain or Leave - it is an irrelevant question now. This is a Democratic country and we have had our say - now it is important for us all to do our best to move forward.
    Sorry for the rant.
    End of story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoyed your "rant" Mrs Weaver. Why did I imagine you taught in The Miss Jean Brodie School for Young Ladies and not in a Wolverhampton comp. Good on you! Regarding Brexit, we still don't really know what "Leave" means. It could mean so many things. I hope it doesn't Mean Mumsy Leadsom as PM. Clearly, she isn't up to the job.

      Delete
    2. Well, clearly Leadsom had some lead in her feet and she decided, too, that she wasn't up for the job....come what May. :)

      Delete
  7. There really are two Englands. Because around me in London, I have Russian upstairs neighbors, Indians next door and Germans next door to them. And I, of course, am American. Talk about multi-culti!

    I don't blame people for wanting to hold onto what the know and understand and hold dear. But I think tangling that up with the racial and ethnic identity of their neighbors is a mistake. I would call my street very British, despite the varying ethnicities. There will always be an England, even if people who live here come partly from other places. Don't you think?

    I also think it's a mistake to stick a fork in the eye of the "establishment" without regard to the consequences. Americans are facing that same issue in the United States -- a lot of people leaning toward Trump partly out of protest. But if we wind up with him, god forbid, the consequences could be grave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that sticking a fork in the eye of the establishment was not how the Brexit vote should have been approached. I don't condone it at all. Regarding the character of England, London provides a very inaccurate impression. There will always be an England - physically at least - but any sense of Englishness in the future remains unclear.

      Delete
  8. It does change peoples' attitudes when their own families become mixed. Forty years ago, both sides of my family were pure white, from a single culture. Now there are some Mexican, Korean, and Indian (from India) members who have married into the family. BBQs, potlucks and family events are so much more fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. America became a melting pot with the arrival of its first European settlers. England is rather different in that respect. Like most of my friends and neighbours I am 100% English - no Cherokee, Albanian, Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, Russian or Polish and we have wild barbecue parties and other crazy shindigs.

      Delete
  9. Somewhere on youtube YP there is a speech from the Guardian journalist/film maker John Harris about people just like the ones you describe and why they voted out...quite interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that Libby. I will seek it out.

      Delete
    2. I read it libby, sobering read

      Delete
  10. I lived in Hull for a couple of years and its true you never saw any black people ( never even saw your Chinese sailor, ha ha. ) As they say...Hull is a port, we'll let you in as long as you keep on walking. Very prejudice town. City of Culture next year, ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hang on. I know Hull well. Where ever there is poverty you will find prejudice and Hull is a poor. often neglected city. The "City of Culture" status was ascribed partly to enrich the city and to help to lift it out of the doldrums. I love Hull.

      Delete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.