Monday, January 12, 2009

Against racism from royals

The latest rubbish from the third in line to the throne reminds me of just why, for as long as I can remember the capacity for thought, I have been a republican.

New Labour began claiming all sorts of "modernising" credentials, but the most elementary modernisation of the British state was, of course, beyond them. The Prime Ministerial patronage which reduces the Commons to bovine complacency rests on the sovereignity of the crown in Parliament, so the abolition of the monarchy is, and remains, an important demand for socialists and trade unionists.

That said, criticising the lazy and stupid racism of an unappealing member of the aristocracy (with or without royal blood) is hardly demanding or cutting edge criticism. The ignorant casual racism of the Prince is the tip of the iceberg of everyday racism in our society.

Racism in the workplace is a daily reality for our members - and we must all be able to look to UNISON representatives to stand up against that racism and to represent our members.

It would be very much worse in some ways - and more relevant to our immediate concerns as trade union activists - if a UNISON representative, particularly one trained by our Union and therefore familiar with our strong anti-racist policies, were to associate openly and in public with racists views and their adherents.

That would be a very serious matter and complaints which were made about it would need to be treated with the utmost seriousness (whoever made them).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a union rep and was amazed at the dialogue I heard from a colleague in my office yesterday (non-member - she claims she won't be in a union as she's "a true blue" aka a Tory).

White and middle-class as she is (as well a Tory, and a vocal Christian, believe it or not), she announced yesterday that she didn't find the term racist at all, as its simply an abbreviation of Pakistan.

As we all responded in disbelief and pointed out the obvious offence, she tried to explain how it was that it couldn't be offensive and that she used to chant "I'd rather be a n***** than a scouse" at football matches some years ago.

This isn't a woman who grew up knowing no better/ living at a time where there was seemingly less exposure to other cultures (whatever excuse people use...); she is in her early fifties and genuinely believes she's right.
She is also a royalist; so no doubt she thinks the Philip is a great hoot too.

The sooner we get rid the better. Sue Townsend had it right in her novel The Queen and I. They should try their living off the State in the same way everyone else does....!