The Edge of Reason 176

Until the time, not too distant, when we achieve Scottish independence and a moment of political flux where we can attempt to build a fairer nation than the one in which we now live, I am entitled sometimes to get depressed by the appalling injustice and inequity against which I see people struggle daily. Sometimes that depression binds my typing hands and prevents me from writing for days on end. I have been feeling this lately rather acutely.

A couple of days ago I was buying some coal with my son Jamie and reminisced about the days when I worked on a coalyard, shovelling coal into hundredweight sacks. I then explained to him a hundredweight was (strangely) 8 stone or 112 pounds, and tried to express a hundredweight in kilos. By chance it was a fraction over 50 kilos. As we were straining to carry 25kg sacks, I was puzzled how at age 16 I had dealt with 50kg ones. Harder times.

The memory of this conversation led me this morning to decide to write a satirical piece about crazy Little England Brexiteers now being able to bring back Imperial weights and measures and get rid of these awful foreign kilos and metres. Then a little research this morning told me that, about the time I had the conversation with my son, a conservative Minister was mooting exactly that.

You just can’t out-crazy the Tories at the minute.

I was visiting England over half-term and was truly shocked to hear the experience of an Italian friend of mine who lives in London. She had been buying vegetables at a stall and had asked for zucchini. The vendor had replied “They are called courgettes. Use the proper English word or I am not serving you.” She decided to take this as a joke, smiled and said “sorry, courgettes” but the man then said that he couldn’t wait for Brexit when she would be kicked out of the country.

After a couple of days, she decided to report the incident to the police as the upset had not died down. The police were ostensibly very friendly and offered to take action, but they impressed on her the matter was very serious and would lead to the man being arrested and put in the cells. I was, from her account, dubious whether the police had not been emphasising the nuclear options to persuade her to withdraw the complaint while ostensibly doing the opposite, ie taking her complaint at its most serious. They did not outline other possibilities, ie a good talking to and a caution on his record. Not wanting to risk sending the man to prison, she withdrew the complaint.

This is only one piece of anecdotal evidence. I am not yet convinced by evidence that Brexit has created more racists. But that it has socially empowered racists and brought racism into mainstream political discourse is undoubtedly true. That is likely to create still more racists eventually.

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176 thoughts on “The Edge of Reason

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  • giyane

    I gave up my short-term contract this week. On Friday an Asian man of half my age and a quarter of my trade experience spent the day yapping at me how to do my job, while he completely messed up his. Just as Craig used to be able to carry 50 kilos of coal, I used to be able to deal with much larger amounts of pure cheek.

    I didn’t rape or pillage the Indian sub-continent, nor my father nor anybody so far as I can tell to whom I am remotely related, so why do I have to put up with a community which is raised to despise the British with its mother’s milk? Have they observed who is doing the raping and pillaging in Syria? Yes it is Muslim mercenaries of the Anglos Saxon world to whom I strongly object. And whom they strongly support.

    Rum thing that, me hating agents of the West pillaging the Muslim world for money and power, and the UK imams and their followers all thinking this terrorism is the real Islam. It is a totally false premise that all the racism is one side. The Asian community collectively blames the UK and collectively hates its citizens. This hate solves so many problems for them about their superiority to us that it is carried down from generation to generation.

    A building site is an intrinsically dangerous place. I was watching out for my Asian fellow worker, but he wasn’t watching out for me. I left my job because while I was being insulted , I didn’t feel safe. A loss of maybe £500.00 per week.

    • RobG

      I wouldn’t mind five hundred quid a week at the moment, and I’m a ‘pure’ Brit who’s heritage goes back to Alfred the Great, more than a thousand years ago (although Alfred wouldn’t have been so ‘great’ if you and your loved ones were being butchered by him and his troops).

      The murder and mayhem for profit has never stopped across the millennia. The really sickening thing about our present age is that they now dress it up as ‘humanitarian intervention’ and all the rest of it.

      The world really could be a half-way decent place, with plenty for all, if only people could understand that they are ruled by complete, total and utter psychopaths.

    • K Crosby

      What’s being an “Asian” got to do with incompetence? Either 70% of the managers I’ve met are Asians or you’re a racist twat.

  • KCTan

    Courgette…surely a French word? Ah…”Borrowing from French courgette, diminutive of courge ‎(“vegetable marrow, marrow squash”).”

  • giyane

    Can I have a kilo of Zuccones please mate? They’re called Toss-pots. Use the proper word or else.

  • RobG

    If you’re still reading comments, Craig, try not to be too depressed. The world has always been a crazy place. Just think of Slim Pickens in the Dr Strangelove movie, as he gleefully sat on an H-bomb and dropped to his death.

    In a similar vein, Robert David Steele has been doing the rounds just lately in the alternate media. Steele is a former CIA bod and does know what he’s talking about. The following is a recent interview by the Hagmann Report (way on the right of politics, however you judge that thesedays). This interview is 50 minutes long, but I guarantee that you won’t notice the time because of the absolutely jaw-dropping things that Steele says about the CIA and Donald Trump and democracy in America. If you’re not familiar with all this stuff you might want to strap yourself into your chair…

  • Soothmoother

    I had an Egyptian friend who was a GP. After 9/11 he had to shave off his moustache when travelling to avoid being hassled by airport security for looking muslim. In the meantime his brother, a pilot, took his black American girlfriend to Egypt to visit his mother, who refused to meet her due to his colour. I was a victim of race crime during my younger days. Despite being a Caucasian male, but due to my swarthy look, I was quite often picked on and called various names including Paki, Elephant Boy, Chocco and Sabu.

  • Ann Jamieson

    I can imagine your Italian friend’s sense of violation. It is awful to be on the receiving end of this kind of irrational hate. Dealing with it, not letting it get the better of us is not a doddle. As is so etimes said it takes a whole village to educate a child. Maybe it will take a whole country to drive our bigotry but Scotland is making a start. Keep writing.

    • K Crosby

      Try being working class; I’ve been on the receiving end of class prejudice for the last 50 years. They thing that non-working class people hate most is the thing they can’t deny – I’m still here.

  • michael norton

    Ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage has backed recent criticism by US President Donald Trump of Sweden’s liberal immigration policy by calling the city of Malmo the “rape capital of Europe.”

    Speaking on his own LBC radio show on Monday night, Farage claimed Malmo had the highest rate of rape in Europe because of its liberal stance toward immigrants.

    You can always rely on Nige.

  • J

    I made a similar observation a few weeks back. The shop manager asked me if I meant grams or pounds, I did my Darth Vader voice and said “I prefer measurements in Imperial.” Never thought the mad dogs in Westminster were listening. They should be put down before they can bite anyone else.

    On cruelty, there’s one homeless guy in my city who has spent the last fifteen months sleeping in a car park. Not a bad lad, he’s legless most of the time, but that’s only because he had one of them amputated a couple of years ago. Sleeping in a car park, in his wheel chair. He got sick of being patronised last time he was in sheltered accommodation, stood up on one leg and put his hand on the shoulder of one of the staff. He was evicted then prosecuted for assault. The council have refused to accommodate him since, they say he made himself homeless. They’re nothing if not vindictive round here.

    Spent a few of the last six years homeless myself. On a positive note, the kindness of, both strangers and friends, was at times overwhelming.

  • michael norton

    Macron slipping

    The pronouncement by agriculture minister and government spokesman Stephane Le Foll came as opinion polls pictured a wide multi-candidate race, in which extreme-far-right leader Marine Le Pen was holding onto recent gains, keeping debt and foreign exchange markets on edge.

    Two polls showed ex-wanker Macron neck-and-neck with conservative rival Francois Fillon as favourite.

    Marine for president, first woman of FRANCE

    • Jo

      I wasn’t comfortable with it either to be honest. I’d have thought the first anniversary would be a very private thing for Brendan and the children plus Jo’s parents and sister, not something to party about.

      What happened to Jo Cox was absolutely horrific and terrible. The event, however, appears to have turned her into some sort of perfect MP and I don’t believe she was that. I thought that, like many of her colleagues, she had a very one sided view of what was going on is Syria and was pretty up for regime change herself when it suited. I didn’t like that at all.

      It particularly irked me that so many of her “sisters” in the Labour Party trotted out her “Far more unites us than divides us….” (surely nicked from JFK?) quote even as they were banding together to haul their own leader out from his job and plot against him endlessly! The sisters also, in my view, hijacked Cox’s awful death to justify their own claims that, as women, they were endlessly bullied. I thought that was particularly low especially when, within a pack themselves, they dished out a hell of a lot of bullying towards Corbyn and pulled every dirty trick in the book to undermine him. Then, if they were criticised for that they cried, “Bully!”

  • John Macadam

    I want a return to rods, lippies and poles, and the right to pay my council tax in bags of grain – the good old days!

  • michael norton

    The rising popularity of anti-Brussels candidate Marine Le Pen is shaking confidence in the Eurozone, along with the ongoing Greek debt crisis and ongoing debt crisis in Italy.
    More and more the Bigwigs in Euroland are shitting themselves that Marine will soon be the first woman of France.
    Then the E.U. game is up.

  • K Crosby

    Craig, are you feeling all right? For the first time the British people had a democratic vote and all you can do is bleat like a liberal. The EU is a billionaires’ masturbation club and you reduce the debate to anecdotes about vegetables? What about the gang rape of the Greek working class? What about the EU breaking its own laws to collaborate with the US-z occupation of Palestine? What about the EU collaboration with the US-Ukronazi putsch regime in Ukraine?

    Get a grip man.

  • Winkletoe

    Too hilarious for words. The barrowman wants the customer to use a French import instead of an Italian one, because his brain is too overcome by gut hatred to assist his tongue to formulate the English name, (baby) marrow?

    Reminds me of the right-winger bovs who took up We Don’t Want No Education as an anthem because they thought it was about our not wanting any education.

    • K Crosby

      I remember a taxi driver in Hull in the early 2000s blaming refugees for violent crime and getting irate at the gale of hollow laughter I emitted, after asking him if there hadn’t been any GBH, rape and murder in the town before they began to arrive. When I got my breath back I pointed out that two migrant families lived in my street had done a lot to improve the moral tone of the area.

      That shut ‘im up.

  • Becky Cohen

    “I was visiting England over half-term and was truly shocked to hear the experience of an Italian friend of mine who lives in London. She had been buying vegetables at a stall and had asked for zucchini. The vendor had replied “They are called courgettes. Use the proper English word or I am not serving you.” She decided to take this as a joke, smiled and said “sorry, courgettes” but the man then said that he couldn’t wait for Brexit when she would be kicked out of the country.”

    Things can only get worse post-Brexit, Craig. My French friend went into a British sex shop asking for ‘le vice Anglais’ and they directed him to the B&Q nextdoor! Seriously, really sad about what happened to your friend. That guy was so stupid that as many have pointed out on here he didn’t even have a clue that the word ‘courgette’ is French anyway – pretty obvious to most of us really! Also, way to go on alienating customers and driving them away…perhaps that’s why he’s never been able to progress from having a stall to having a business empire like a certain immigrant who started M&S. Of course, even then, bigots like this can never accept that an immigrants overtake them when they happen to be more intelligent and hard-working and actually nicer as a person than they are. The bigot can never look at their own inadequacies because they are too scared to look in the mirror and so they have to project their own failures and frustrations onto other groups of people – like immigrants, Muslims, Jews, women, LGBT people etc. imagining that they must be getting special treatment if they’ve got something that the bigot hasn’t got and wants. Things are ten times harder if you already belonged to a marginalised community and the fact that even then people have the talent to get on annoys the white privileged gendernormative heterosexual male because even though they have all the advantages they STILL cannot get on which actually makes them think they are stupid, or something.

  • maureen mccann

    I totally agree with you Craig I too feel so depressed about the hardship some people are forced to live with. I just watched Ken Loachs film I Daniel Blake which mirrors how people are treated by this Tory Government .It is cruel degrading and humiliating .Oh how I wish Ian Duncan Smith could be tied to a chair and made to watch it. Perhaps then he would understand really what it is like to be so inhumanely treated.

  • J

    A story that should come from The Onion. Unfortunately not. “Woman with no hands had her benefits stopped because she couldn’t open a letter.”

    The neo-liberal faux ‘left’ and their Tory kin are caricatures of themselves.

    Meanwhile they are in full swing, privatising our National Health Service, essentially so that they and their families can bask in the profits for generations to come. And so their bastard progeny can ooze their way into the corridors of power unhindered by scrutiny. Meanwhile the NHS our parents paid to build and for which we all pay adequate upkeep is being starved and ransacked for the benefit of these slugs. Who among the cultural guardians is willing to stand up and be measured?

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I have personally completed many Attendance Allowance forms in discussion with clients. I firmly believe they are deliberately structured in the hope that people with tear them up in disgust rather than claim what they are entitled to. There are fifty questions on the form for a start. The most intimate and embarrassing ones (do you have any problem using the toilet? Do you need someone to wash you?) are placed at the start. There s no reason why they have to be.

      Unfortunately for the DWP, there are plenty of support workers like me around and it’s not our job to give up in disgust.

  • DG

    When we are all racists in your eyes, will the word still have any meaning?

    Are the Italians a different race (given the Roman invasion) or is the proper English word in this context xenophobic?

    The ignorant one

  • michael norton

    Police Scotland in debt to the Scottish tune of Two Hundred Million Pounds.

    Police Scotland officer recruitment to be cut by 400

    47 minutes ago
    From the section Scotland
    Ministry of Truth

    Something is going on with the BBC and Police Scotland, they keep putting stories up on the BBC, then, they are taken down, straight away.
    This is a serious crisis.

    • michael norton

      Welcome to Hate Crime Awareness Week 2016. During October there will be a host of events taking place to raise awareness about Hate Crime, how to respond to it and encourage victims and witnesses to report
      “There is no place in Scotland for any crime motivated by prejudice, be it racial, religious, homophobic or any other form of intolerance. I want every victim of such crimes to be willing to come forward and work with the police to ensure the perpetrators can be pursued and punished appropriately. “
      Michael Mathieson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice
      S. N. P.

  • Vince

    No, Craig. The Brexit vote hasn’t created more racists.
    It has merely emboldened them to express sentiments they had hitherto suppressed.

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