Brockley's Chattering Classes

Not that anyone's ever invited Brockley Central to a dinner party locally, but if they did, we like to imagine that it wouldn't be like the one described in this ludicrous bit of navel-gazing in The Telegraph today.

"Picture the scene, and mark it well, for it will be coming soon to a dinner party near you... Where once the idle chit-chat might have been of a lavish basement extension or a holiday finca in Andalucia, now the talk is of crippling school fees, tumbling house values and the scandalous cost of commuting by rail. Or car. Or, for that matter, staying at home and putting the heating on... We are the Coping Class."

This is surely the silver-lining to the area having more than its fair share of rehab centres. It ensures we all maintain a sense of perspective, whatever our political persuasions or financial status. And it means that, when writing this blog finally earns us a seat at the most illustrious tables in Brockley, we expect the conversation to be a little less hellish than that described by The Telegraph.

234 comments:

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ElijahBailey said...

Wow I don't think I have read anything that has made me feel less sympathy for anyone.

Bea said...

Some of this article I can relate to i.e.

“Hard-working, astute and competent, we in the Coping Class are happy to take responsibility for our own lives; we rush home from the office to read to our children at bedtime, we save as best we can ...”

and, yes, my childcare fees are £100 a month more than my interest only mortgage!

but, in my opinion, a large part of this is article is too self-pitying. I suspect coping on tined products from the local Co-op, rather than fancy Italian ham from Lidl however cheap is may be compared to M&S, is much tougher and is something many, many people in the UK have to do.

If people lived more within their means i.e. used local schools (rather than private education), bought a smaller house etc then they wouldn’t have to “cope” as much.

Headhunter said...

With the state of many local schools I can't blame people for paying to send their kids to private schools and if you want to send your child to a good state school you end up paying inflated prices for property in the area. Also if you want decent healthcare rather than a GP who fobs you off telling you to go home with painkillers or antibiotics rather than actually treating the cause of the problem, you need health insurance. So whilst some families pay huge chunks of their admittedly large salaries in tax, in many cases they do not exactly get value for money by using state funded medical care and/or education, effectively paying twice. Whilst the tone of this article is self pitying and the middle classes are usually told they have never had it so good and to shut up and put up, in fact a lot of it rings true.

Hugh said...

I'm not sure what I get for my Council Tax except rubbish collection.

Can anyone enlighten me?

If that's all I get it's very expensive.

I'm not in rehab and never use Lewisham's delightful library.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

If you live in Lewisham, you also get a planning committee consisting of people employed on a 3 year basis only (NOT actually seeing anything through to completion), an elected council who outsource everything to 3rd parties such as NCP and NEVER take responsibility for anything going wrong and ludicrous policies such as promoting a 'black celebration month' but refusing to promote, even for a weekend, local english history in the borough.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

and by the way, the black celebration month costs ran in excess of £1m.

Lets think about this, I wonder if lewisham contributed at all to the cutty sark refurbishment?

Headhunter said...

Black celebration month? Well I suppose that the majority of Lewisham's population is black so I guess this isn't completely out of line, however I must admit there often seems to be a basic dereliction of basic duty by Lewisham council. When I moved into my flat in Islington they supplied a "welcome pack" pointing out anything from local facilities and their locations to what can and can't be recycled in the weekly recycling bins. When I arrived in Lewisham all I got was a series of increasingly aggressive demands for council tax very soon after I'd moved in, then.... Nothing. With regard to facilities in the area, I have an idea that there is a large library in Catford, but no idea what else my not inconsiderable council tax bill provides and still have no real idea what I can and can't stick in the recycling bin...

Brockley Nick said...

@Headhunter - according to the 2001 stats (and no reason to think that they've changed much since) the population of Lewisham is 2/3 "white" and only 23% black.

http://www.lewishampct.nhs.uk/index.php?PID=0000000144

Brockley Nick said...

@Andy - I'd like to see the source for that claim please? Do you mean Black History Month? And a celebration of black history is compatible with a celebration of English history - the two things are, after all, intertwined, particularly in a place like Lewisham.

max said...

A few threads ago somebody pointed that it was the commercial classes that built Brockley rather than the artists and that's true, what's also true is that quite a significant part of their wealth came from slave-trade that by the way had its headquarters in nearby Greenwich, so in my opinion black history is nothing more than one side of english history that's been overlooked until recently.

Monkeyboy said...

We should all celebrate St. George's day. Perhaps pop out for some German largers or perhaps some tapas? Personally I like a good Indian.

We could all then sign a card to our Royal Family, the Saxe-Coburgs. Perhaps go to a CHURCH OF ENGLAND service? After all what better way of celbrating our 'Englishness' then worshiping a spin off from a Middle Eastern religion...or did Jesus come from Stoke? I was never really paid attention at school.

The only constant amongst the'English' is that our nation and traditions are a mix from every corner of the earth.

By the way I'm English (but my parents are Italian)

Graeme said...

@Hugh - Don't we get to philanthropically contribute to the council workers' (and local emergency service providers') pension fund on an increasing level, through our CT?

Rather annoying though, because I have no money left to contribute to my own.

Sol said...

Well put, monkeyboy, once again. Let take it a step further (with apologies to you, since you're clearly joking - but others, i suspect, are not): if you'd like the council to pay for that rollicking fiesta of englishness, best start lobbying them. They don't really care whose whimsies they pander to, after all: they just serve the loudest voices in their immediate vicinity. So, go ahead and persuade them that they have more to gain from an Englishiosity month, rather than a month with a skin colour appended to it. For clever arguments to put to them, you could even consult your local library (the one in Lewisham has a dedicated local history section, complete with local history librarian). Or maybe just cut the library's budget, & burn the archives to heat your home, since such services are obviously a waste of money and your heating bills are rising. Simliarly, go ahead and continue to declaim the local crime levels and feral youth, while at the same time, undermining the initiative someone's taken to establish a sense of awareness and pride in what most be the most dominant, and most deprived, local minority ethnic community.

REally nick - taking cues from the Telegraph??? I'm disappointed.

Brockley Nick said...

@Sol - I pretty much agree with everything you just said - apart from the bit about me taking cues from The Telegraph.

Pete said...

That's a bit hard on Nick, Sol. He was criticising the article, not agreeing with it.

Headhunter said...

Nick - Interesting to hear that in fact the black population of Lewisham is only 23%. I'm sure I read somewhere yesterday that it was higher.

Monkeyboy - if we can have Black Celebration MONTH, I seriously think we should do more for mere St George's DAY. When are we going to get a national holiday? Everyone, black, white, whatever colour under the sun could enjoy that!

Max - slavery was abolished in, what, 1834? Most of Brockley, New Cross and Lewisham was farmland at that time, and not built up for another 40 years at least, so unless you have evidence to the contrary, I don't believe there is a direct link between slavery and the houses in SE4, SE13 or SE14. In fact I would be genuinely interested to hear if you know about these links - quite interested in local history...

sol said...

okay okay, that last bit was unfair: i happily retract it....

Headhunter said...

Oh and Graeme, I think you're right about council and other state pensions, most of which are gold plated/guaranteed. Pension fund losses, including state pensions, (largely through the decline of the equity markets) have meant that pensions funds have to fund their liabilities through other means, for the good old council that means another couple of percentage points on the old taxpayers CT bill. In the meantime, as you say, the average bod in Brockley can probably barely afford to contribute to a stakeholder...

Monkeyboy said...

Is it just me that dosen't give a f**k what proportion of Lewisham is black? Is there a correct ratio?

There seems to be an unpleasent undercurrent to all this that no abount of awfully polite organic food stores can hide.

Get over it guys, it's 2007, we live in London. What would you prefer Morris Dancers?

max said...

Hugh, although it is true that when Brockely was built slavery had been abolished the revenues from it came to be part of the British GDP for a long time after.
Slave trade was abolished but the sons of those Africans transported to the British plantations overseas kept on doing what their fathers were brought there to do.

Brockley Nick said...

Monkeyboy, I think it matters to the extent that it's important to get one's facts right when talking about any subject. It's irrelevant to the original subject, but it wouldn't be the first discussion that's veered off topic!

Headhunter said...

Max! It's Headhunter, not Hugh! I guess you're right that a lot of money flowing through British coffers at that time and paticularly round the docks can be attributed to slavery. Just wondered if you were aware that any of the building in the area could be directly attributed to it, like the Tate Gallery for example...

Monkeyboy - What's with the knee jerk, "right on" reaction! We're merely having a discussion about the local area, stating facts. No one said anything about correct percentages of black vs white populations! Seem to be alot of people here reading non existent sub texts into what's being said! I still think we should have a bank holiday on St George's Day though...

Brockley Nick said...

The thread I'm planning on the mayoral race should be interesting, anyway...

Tom said...

Interestingly, St Johns was largely built by the Lucas family, which grew wealthy in the southern states of the US in the first part of the nineteenth century.

According to this source:

"The Lucas family were originally from Cumbria but owed their prosperity to business activities in America. They were based in South Carolina where they built and managed water-powered rice mills."

However, the area to the south of Lewisham Way was not built until later, from the 1830s/40s by speculative builders leasing land from two local landowners.

On the other point: yes, if celebrating authentic cultures is important, why does London reverberate to samba bands (a 20th Century Brazilian musical form) and not morris dancing?

Tom said...

Another local historical fact - much of Deptford was built up because of wealth from servicing ships for the Napoleonic wars.

That'll explain Degustation then!

Hugh said...

Nick, any chance of a 'What you get for your Council Tax in Lewisham' thread?

Monkeyboy said...

Fair point Headhunter, didn't mean to get all self righteous. It's just that APs horror at 'Black History Month' got my liberal antennae twitching.

St. George’s day? OK in principle but it has the potential to attract those far to the right of Norman Tebbit. Shouldn’t be the case but it just is.

When I was in Australia they celebrate Australia day – seems to go off with out too much grief. They also have Italian, Lebanese, Vietnamese cultural festivals. All seem to work OK.....unless you’re Aboriginal, but lets move on shall we?

Bought some nice jam from that French bloke...

max said...

Headhunter, your hint to some direct slave trade link for the Tate Gallery sent me round the net in circles.
Please give me some further clue.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

@ Monkeyboy, I'm not in 'horror' that we had a black history month, merely that there is other parts of the population, sometimes the majority, in our borough being completely ignored.

If the statistics are correct (and I by no way think they are) then we should be devoting about 3 months to celebrate other parts of the population, for which, i'm afriad lewisham council is ignoring.

There is also the risk that if a person is not from a certain minority then they are immediately declared 'racist' merely for pointing out things which are cleary unacceptable. This is, by the way, what you have implied in response to my post, which I find rather offensive.

I do not think it is racist to have an open discussion about council spending.

Secondly, please quote in my original post where I said I was in 'horror' I also do not like scare mongering.

Thirdly, you state that St Georges Day may attract 'people to the right of norman tebbit' why is that a reason to not have it? Or, are you implying that it could attract facisits? If that is the case, then I do not recall anyone saying 'we shouldnt have a black histroy month, it may attract gun crime or gang fighting' Its quite ridiculous.

@ Nick, please clarfiy, what part of the source please?

tyrwhitt michael said...

Goody I like a quiz......

So Max

Tate = Tate & Lyle = Sugar = Sugar Cane = West Indies = Slaves.....

Hence Jamacia Road in Bermondsey

Anonymous said...

Andy -- is it not appropriate to make some attempt to redress historical, and current inequalities through publicly-financed initiatives? The various ethnic groups we've been discussing aren't on an even footing, in terms of socio-economics, physical & mental health, education, or any other way, to start with (for a range of very complex reasons, including historical phenomena like slavery): so why would public money be divied up soley by present-day head-count? The public purse is there to help even things out. If that's unacceptable, i'm not sure where we go from here.

max said...

Gosh, wasn't that simple?

nicola name said...

I agree with Andy - we all know there are underprivileged people around in this area but the majority of them work hard, get on with life and are completely respectable.

The problem with directed council initiatives is that it gives excuses for those who don't behave to be "understood" and other idiocy. Unfortunately middle class bleating hearts join in. All very well to be sympathetic but they/we (as I am often in this category I must admit) need to understand that they/we do the hardworking respectable poor a huge disservice by such nonsense.

And while I agree with much of what you said, Bea, I have no problem with those who want the best for their child and sending him/her to a private school? I sat next to a builder on a plane last year who was flying back home on a Sunday morning for the day as he'd been delighted to get overtime (Terminal 5) to help pay for his daughter's school fees. My windowcleaner sends his child to private school. THese are not privileged people; simply parents who are prepared to make sacrifices for their children.

I'm not sure i'd be as unselfish but it certainly impresses me.

nicola name said...

woops meant to say bleeding heart not bleating heart but on reflection they both work quite well....

Headhunter said...

Monkeyboy, you're perhaps right that a holiday on St George's Day could perhaps attract the attention of the far right, but isn't it about time the general populous reclaimed it from the far right? In the past decade the Union Flag and Cross of St George have increasingly made it out of hiding largely due to international football competitions perhaps, but they both appear increasingly and tentatively accepted. Would be nice if our flags/anthems/patron saint could unite us not divide us (God I should write speeches...)

Re the Tate Gallery... Damn T-Michael got there before me on that! Now do we think that the Tate Britain should be disolved and all its artwork sold off with the monies split between the descendents of slaves? Discuss...

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

@ Anon, I agree with you on the need for it change. However, no amount of public money will address everything that is wrong in society and it is silly to think that it would. Some help has to come from the people themselves and this means also learning from others.

To quote 'The various ethnic groups we've been discussing aren't on an even footing' - how much of this is the responsibilty of the uk state or nation? Will public money really make up for this? Isnt there an arguement that people really should begin to look after themselves by 'learning from others'. This by the way, means promoting the successful aspects of other social economic catergories and educating the poor or at least some type of education.

Here is a horrible question: Maybe it is cultural differences that somehow made our nation successful? (just trying to raise a discussion topic).

tyrwhitt michael said...

Sorry to steal your thunder H-H.

On the subject of quizzes does anyone know if the Tuesday night Wickhan Arms quiz is still being held?

If so what time and how often?

Thanks

max said...

Headhunter, that's a good point, compensation for slavery is very difficult to work out, I believe that there was relatively recently an attempt in the States to claim that.
What it is not difficult is instead to recognize that an historic unbalance in opportunities has been produced and that therefore public investment in measures to even that out should be pursued and I think that recognition of black history could well be part of it.

Kate said...

At the request of Monkeyboy, here is a (hopefully) intelligent contribution to the debate:

Firstly, Black History Month isn't Lewisham-specific, it's a national initiative:
http://www.black-history-month.co.uk/

Identity politics concerns me, as in my experience it is divisive; however I have also experienced the benefits of cultural/gender/special-interest-only spaces. It's a tough balance, and I sympathise with where Headhunter's coming from.
On the other hand, as Sol says, it makes sense that events are only organised for groups whose existence is visible to the organisers.
In this case, the council saw a group of people and a potential event and put the two together (with some help from the national Black History Month people).
To my knowledge there is no national St George's Day campaign that could add weight to local campaigners (if there were any, which again, to my knowledge, there aren't).
So is it really a surprise that the council doesn't think there's any demand for a St George's Day event?

This debate is interesting because it's a microcosm of the rows that erupt every year about the lack of a central London St George's Day event organised by the mayor's office, yet it arranges events for Diwali, Chinese New Year, St Patrick's Day, etc etc. (Last year there was a 'celebration of English humour' by showing some films on a big screen in Trafalgar Square - a sop to the complainants!)

Looks like the drinks evening should be interesting, if this debate carries over into real life!

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Some opportunities are available due to being in the right place at the right time, other opportunities are created by wanting something so badly that you go out and get it yourself.

Whilst african tribes were bickering and fighting amoungst each other, we as a nation had strong leadership under a king or queen. How are the present day english responsible for tribes fighting amoungst themselves over a century ago?

In the end, its either that no one is responsible or everyone is. The UK has blame for 'not putting others first' over a century ago, whilst the africian tribes are to blame 'for not helping themselves'.

I'm guessing that the UK did try to help its territories but the strain was too much and our empire crumbled. I think it is probably unrealistic to think such a small country could support so many countries that are in need.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

...and i'm not very good with history :o)

max said...

A P, P & P rejoice!
Every year on 23rd April boy scouts all over the world, even in Africa, celebrate St George's Day and that is really a celebration of traditional British values that are at the core of the scout movement.

Kate said...

Andy, I don't know if that's directed to me or to someone else, but my response to you would be:

- I don't believe in reparations (actually, since I'm female, I reckon you blokes each owe me £5 for the millenia of oppression my female forebears have suffered ... ridiculous, no? Think on.)

- Black history is a valid part of our (puke-alert) island's story, and as such I have no problem with having an annual focus on it. Black people in this context aren't 'African tribes', they're British.

(Apols if none of this is relevant to what you were getting at.)

Sarah B said...

@ Tyrwhitt Michael
The Wickham quiz is every Tuesday and starts sometime between 9 and 10 - I went a couple of weeks ago with local celebrities Brockley Jon and Brockley Sarah...Anyone can have a go at setting the questions and MCing - if you go along you're likely to be signed up to host the quiz at a later date.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

No, not really directing my comments at anyone anymore, just killing time at work

Heres another interesting question - maybe a poll for Nick, should we have a monachy in the 21st century? Yes or No.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Or, should we erect a statute of the founding brockley families on the new breockley common? Or some yucky modern art that has no meaning at all and looks like a pile of dog poo?

nicola name said...

Slavery existed, black countries were indsputably exploited and LEWISHAM COUNCIL HAS TO MAKE UP FOR IT?????

hmmm.

bonkers

Sol said...

nicola, "black countries"? Do you mean the "dark continent"? (please watch your language). And yes, the council has a clear obligation to address inequality, through all of its activities. The black history month movement is one tiny, largely symbolic part of that. No one is saying that lewisham council, or any other single person / institution, can "fix" or make up for historical issues (I'm with Kate, on most instances of restitution) but the council does have an ongoing obligation to make address to these issues.

Headhunter said...

Max, as you say compensation is difficult to calculate. How long does the UK (and indeed other past imperial European powers) hold itself responsible for past errors? We have seen prominent figures publicly apologise for slavery over the past few years, is this enough for something which took place over 200 years ago? If we choose to financially compensate the descendents of slaves, what about the Irish? The Scottish victims of land clearances? Are we just opening ourselves up to claims from just about everyone who has been done an injustice by Britain as a nation? Talk about compensation culture!

Personally I think that perhaps the artwork in the Tate can be considered to be owned by modern day Britons of all creeds and races. All of us can wander into the Tate for free to admire its works. Also it earns money by attracting tourists to this country which can be used to fund things like Black Celebration Month or whatever. Is it right that this art should be sold off and in many cases money sent overseas to the US where many descendents of slaves probably live?

Tom said...

Kate, there is some evidence to show that pre-Roman Iron Age Britain was matriarchal (not just Boedica but that's interesting in this context).

So I claim my five pounds back!

Tom said...

My tuppence worth on the debate is that because history is endlessly reimaginable, anyone can claim anything at any time - it just depends on the present-day context as to whether claims have traction.

Kate said...

Tom - that sounds a bit relativist for my liking, to be honest ...

Monkeyboy said...

Lewisham council ignoring other parts of the population? really? gosh.... they seem to pick up MY rubbish. Mind you I'm a bit foreign.

Looks like my liberal attanae were right. What ARE you so scared off? and which arbitary point in the past were things sufficiently 'english' for you. 1990? 1928? 1600?

Sorry to be rude, and I'm breaking Nick's politeness rules but you're talking bollocks.

If i was celebrating Englishness it would be because it's tolerant, black, white, atheist, christian, muslim...that's not 'right on' thats what we've been for hundreads of years. The mix of people change that's why it's interesting.

Bea said...

@ nicola name

regarding private schooling - I have no problem with private education either (had one myself) but my point was – if you can’t afford it why cripple yourself financially with it. There are good secondary schools out there and if there is support and encouragement from home it should be possible to do well even if the school in question doesn’t have an “outstanding” score from Ofsted.

As we live in a society that thinks it has to “have it all” but in fact can’t “afford it all” you end up with a “coping” society that sadly feels a desperate need to keep up appearance.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

The mix of people change? I dont really know what that means.

Sounds like you want the UK to be big melting pot, a fusion of different cultures and tastes!

Well buddy, thats what every country is going to look like in about 50 yrs due to globalisation. I really dont think theres anything british or unique to the UK in that comment.

monkeyboy said...

But it is? like I say, what are you scared off?

Anonymous said...

Well of course Andy, every country is a melting point to a certain extent. It's just that our country is great enough to attract people from all over the world - a cause worth celebrating with a national day.

Whilst hard-working people affording to send kids to private schools seems like a choice made in isolation it is not. It has a further impact which is to create sink schools for the vast majority that really cannot afford it. These schools struggle to attract the better teachers, standards decline, vicious cycle ensues. It's applicable both nationally and locally.

Coincidentally an interesting article in the NY times today about effects of slavery: http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/14/the-consequences-of-slavery-in-africa/

nicola name said...

Bea, a local schoolkid just cannot compete in terms of preparation for university entrance with children who have attended Westminster, St Pauls, Putney Wimbledon etc. I can see why poorer parents make these sacrifices and I applaud them. They shouldnt have to, of course, on top of massive education spending but they're dealing with the reality that to give their children the best chance in a very tough world they need to.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Ah ok, i think i get what you're trying to say. You are saying that the UK is already a mix of different cultures and traditions, so thats the bit that we should celebrate right? Well, i'm sure thats correct.

It is also the case then we shouldn't celebrate unique black history as that was way in the past...

Cant have it both ways - either we celebrate everyones heritage or none at all.

Tom said...

Kate, not relativist but postmodernist. The two are not the same!

nicola name said...

Anonymous,

very easy :

the answer is:

pay those inner city teachers more. a lot more. they deserve it, they're working a damn sight harder doing crowd control than the middle class teachers who have a smaller class of rapt attendees or the private school teachers who are often, in my experience at least, quite useless but very well spoken!

ElijahBailey said...

The thing which really annoys me about stuff like 'Black History Month' is the oversimplification of history ie. whites went to Africa and made people into slaves. What fails to get mentioned is that in some cases it was African leaders selling their own people into slavery, and that it was a very specific kind of white person going to Africa.

Also many of the statistics to do with 'how well' various ethnic groups are doing are distroted by the fact that ethnic minorities are concentrated in urban areas, whilst whites are spread out all over the country. Within an inner urban area and below a certain level of income everyone, no matter where they are from or what colour they, will suffer a certain level of dissadvantage. It is not helpful or productive to try and compartmentlise groups along ethnic lines.

Monkeyboy said...

We can (and do) celebrate black britishness, the Queens silver Jubilee (I ate too much jelly and was sick) In Ealing they celebrate Diwali. So we do celebrate lots of different things. All the groups above can celebrate that and be British?

Didn't say we shouldn't celebrate any particular thing - why not celebrate them all?

I take you think we shouldn't do the black history month thing? Why is that Andy?

Headhunter said...

Nice try at switching the debate back to nice jam from that French bloke, Monkeyboy - just when you think you're out...they drag you back in....

nicola name said...

elijahb,

Completely agree. The haves should be helping the havenots regardless of ridiculous superficial distinctions like colour which only developed in any case owing to geography and the need to protect the species from a very hot sun.

Come on, it's 2007, we are all a mixture and we are all BRITISH. anything else is, as you say, horribly divisive.

Monkeyboy said...

French jam! in ENGLAND!! English jam makers unite and drive those foreign condiments from our shores.

I'm going back to downloading porn....ciao

ElijahBailey said...

As for sending kids to private school my beleif is fine if you want to do it then do, but don't whine about the cost. No one is forcing you to do so.

Anonymous said...

Dammit, we're really getting some common sense going now!

Tom's post-modernist slant is bang on for my money.

Nicola, yeah, there probably should be an economic solution to it as that is the only way to change things often. However, are you willing to pay for increased wages for teachers through more taxes? Or maybe we could pay for it through scrapping the charitable status that places like Eton and Charterhouse ludicrously enjoy? And of course, there is a limit to what the best teacher can do. Often the damage is done before the age of 5. It's a tricky one. All I know is that economic segregation is not a good thing for social cohesion and applying it to more walks of life in a misguided belief that we benefit from 'choice'isn't helping things.

elijahbailey - again, bang on. It's a socio-economic problem we've got here now, that applies to everyone regardless of ethicity.

If only I could remember my username and stop being so anonymous...

Tamsin said...

Several disjointed comments.

Crossways recently got at least one person into Oxbridge.

I am personally really irritated by those educated and articulate people of West Indian origin who bleat (and present their bleeding hearts) in this country for financial compensation for their forebears being enslaved. Legally the essence of compensation for a tort is to attempt to restore matters as if the wrong had never been committed. Rather than financial compensation perhaps the state should offer repatriation to West Africa...?

A notable relatively local connection with the Slave Trade is that All Saints in Hatcham is dedicated not to the usual hagiography, but the "Saints" of abolition. Joseph Hardcastle lived in Hatcham Manor and Wilberforce wrote much of his important work while visiting him there.

For a national holiday - what about restoring Empire Day (only joking!!)

Headhunter said...

Tamsin... I thought about Empire Day, anyway it's known as Commonwealth Day now isn't it? That certainly might offend and in any case if we have hols on St George's Day, then May Day, then Empire Day and then Whitsun... Not to mention Easter, no one in the UK would work between April and May!

max said...

Tamsin, perhaps not.

ElijaBailey, how does the fact that many slaves were bought by European from African leaders make it any different? During the second world war in Italy and France many Jews were handed in to the Germans by nazi sympathizers? Was it the Jews' fault?

I agree with Monkeyboy that what's particularly good in Britain today is the integrated mix of people from all over the world.
But integration doesn't come out spontaneously, you have to work at it.
I also believe then the results are not just enjoyed by the ethnic minorities, all disadvantaged people benefit by this frame of mind and this in turn makes a society more competitive.

Where I come from (Italy) there's no integration and very little effort to pursue it, if you're part of an ethinc minority, disable or whatever you get no support and mostly you can't get a job, the result is that the privileged got lazy and the country is going to the dogs.

Maybe one thing to celebrate is that Britain made itself and inclusive society and as such is maintaining quite some competitiveness even in this shaky times of market globalization.

Monkeyboy said...

A small PC point...The commonwealth is sort a voluntary club for countries that used to be part of the Empire, also gives us a chance of winning some medals without the Yanks, Germans, Chinese and Russians bagging them all. Not sure opting out of the Empire was encouraged, unless you wanted a bayonet up the Khyber pass?

Graeme said...

At this level of response for a thread surely the whole forum should be renamed Brockley's Chattering Classes!!!

(Apologies.I might be getting ideas above my newbie station..)

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

hehe!! Brockley's Chatering Classes - I like it!

Monkeyboy, I dont have a problem in celebrating Black History Month but its the fact that the council organisers do not promote white history. And guess what, the council organiser in charge of these types of council events is black and when my partner asked why the council isnt doing anything about promoting english history, she tol my partner its easier to organise something you know about.

We also enquired as to the funds spent on promoting the black histroy month and it was made from 400k (local council income) and the rest from government grants (in total > £1m). They also said that all the money allocated for these projects had been spent, and if they had anything at the end of the financial year they 'may' decided to do something to promote english history. Oh, and by the way, they expect at the maximum to have around 40k at the end of year. I just think this is unacceptable.

ElijahBailey said...

Max not sure what you are trying to say but my point was something as complex as the slave trade is often grossly oversimplified.

Hence you end up with muppets like this: http://snipurl.com/1yjeq

max said...

Elijahbailey, seems like we agree that knowing history is useful.

A P, P & P: there's vast numbers of Black British that if it wasn't for initiatives like Black History Month would know nothing about where they come from.
It's important for their identity and self-respect that their origins, that are intertwined with those of the rest of the Country are given acknowledgment.
It is also important for all the rest of us to acknowledge that history is not just a European business but that whilst we were at something other people was doing something else. This is to the benefit of white British too.
I don't believe that celebrating black history negates English or European history, it complements it and it widens it by removing its self-centred limit.

Anonymous said...

History! When are we going to celebrate the casting off of the Norman Yoke? Those cruel invaders who enslaved the English to build their poncy castles?

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Max, i think you are way off the point.

I will save this only once more - I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST BLACK HISTORY MONTH, but WHY DONT WE HAVE A WHITE HISTORY MONTH TOO? MAYBE WE CAN LEARN FROM EACH OTHER - Is that clear enough?

..... said...

We live in a predominantly white country, white history is all around us and integral to our art, literature and music. A white history event would be plain daft....'they have one' so 'we should have one' is weak argument. There is something quiet unique about how black people came to be in this country via the west indies, it's not self flagalation to learn about it. Andy get over it...

Anonymous said...

Taken from the 2001 census

Ethnic Group (KS06)
Lewisham
London Borough
All People 248922

White: British 56.97
Black or Black British: Caribbean 12.27
Black or Black British: African 9.07
White: Other White 6.14
White: Irish 2.81
Black or Black British: Other Black 2.07
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 1.91
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 1.46
Asian or Asian British: Indian 1.4
Chinese or other ethnic group: Chinese 1.38
Chinese or other ethnic group: Other ethnic group 1.32
Mixed: Other Mixed 0.99
Mixed: White and Black African 0.64
Mixed: White and Asian 0.63
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 0.49
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 0.44

..... said...

If your mixed race can you vote for a Black History Month but refuse to go out of principle?....what ever the principle is????

Can I just say I'm NOT gay! said...

I dread bringing this up but here we go....

For years the Gay Pride movement was a way of saying to the rest of the country that yes we have an identity but we are as much a part of the mainstream as you are. Hence parades, music events etc. It wasn't some plot to make every one else feel guilty.

Now we COULD have a Straight Pride march but that would be silly.

max said...

Maybe it's because it is hard to claim that white English people in England need to be reminded where they come from with a specific celebration of their "white" history.

To me everything speaks of British history, it's here everywhere and there are constantly celebrations of one or the other event, mostly wars but also jollier events.

Celebration of black history is in part a different thing and finds its justification in an inclusiveness agenda.

If the black part of Britain feels more integrated because of events like that then we'll have a better society and those would have been money well spent.

Monkeyboy said...

Max, did I disagree with you about something a week or so ago? Must have eaten a bad batch of fair trade muesli, awfully sorry.

Good point well made….

max said...

Did we disagree Monkeyboy? Can't remember it.

Anonymous said...

I am all for celebrating History (there is so much of it) but divvying it up the cash along ethnic lines seems a pretty difficult business. It is a bit like Queen sharing out the cash at the beginning of a game of monopoly by using the Civil list.

The Mariner said...

Readers may be interested in the article "Lewisham - A Barometer of London's Black History" by Stve Martin in the Lewisham Local History Society journal No. 13 2005.

"Lewisham is where the English slave trade had its formal and informal orgins."

According to the article the earliest record of black people in Deptford was 1501 when Catherine of Aragon arrived at the Royal Dockyard with a couple of African slaves.

A number of Blackheath residents (SE13) are sid to have been deeply involved in the slave trade. The founder of Baring's Bank claimed he made his fortune as a slave dealer aged 16. By 1815 it was Britains largest bank, the Mannor House, Lee was the family home.

I wonder if Thomas Lucas who lived at Manor House in the late 1700's had connections with the Lucas family who developed St. John's?

Thomas Lucas took on his uncle's buisiness dealings in the West Indies.

spincat said...

Black history began to be taught or emphasised for reasons that have nothing to do with 'guilt' or 'apology' but because it was a hidden history relative to what was then being taught - and because it is often a lost history : the dislocation in the personal/family of many black people coming to this country.

A common response to this concept seems to stem from a feeling that there is an over-emphasis on trying to find or reclaim 'roots' (partly a misunderstanding of what is taught). And the need to find 'our history' seems to be something deep and common to all of us. - Cecil Sharp and the folk revival in early C20th for example, where the association of Morris men and Britishness begins.

Hugh said...

I seem to have shown up after the deluge. Could someone summarise the entirety of the above in no more than 30 words? Thanks awfully.

Kate said...

Or you could come to the drinks, Hugh, and watch a live re-enactment of this virtual discussion?!

Anonymous said...

We were discussing the amount of dosh has been spent on Black history month in Lewisham.

The main historical theme seems to be Slavery and Abolition. There seem to be some historical links with local landowners and the fact that Deptford used to be a ship yard.
This does not seem much in comparison with other places. We do, of course, have a large West Indian and African community settled in Lewisham in the past couple of generations, but then we have lots of other communities as well.

I love history, it is such a rich subject. But a version inspired by current local political sensibilties? How narrow is that? The number of inconvenient truths to be glossed over renders the whole business meaningless in historical terms.

max said...

What an incredible comment.
Anonymous, you either have been reading another thread or you have some serious problem with objectivity.

Here we discussed the merits of Black History Month and I think that powerful arguments were put forward in its favour.

To write:
"The main historical theme seems to be Slavery and Abolition. There seem to be some historical links with local landowners and the fact that Deptford used to be a ship yard."

and immediately after:
"I love history, it is such a rich subject. But a version inspired by current local political sensibilties? How narrow is that? The number of inconvenient truths to be glossed over renders the whole business meaningless in historical terms."

is plain incredible.

History is made by the documents that it leaves behind and here it was reported from the local records at our library that in fact much of the wealth that built this part of London comes ultimately from the revenues of the slave-trade and this gives an indication of how much black history is part of British history.

The large black minority in Britain needs their identity and background to be acknowledged if this wants to be a cohesive society and that's why we have black history month.

Hugh said...

Surely history is made by events, not documents.

max said...

Yes, but if you weren't there you must rely on documents of those events.
I wasn't in Egypt 3000 years ago but the Pyramids "document" that an architect was tehre.

Kate said...

*cough* ... written by the winners, is I believe the usual platitude ...

Ed said...

I agree with max in that our view of history relies entirely upon our subjective interpretation of known surviving documents. Often something new is discovered or our interpretation changes and thus 'history' changes. In many cases we never fully understand the past as documents are lost or are not created in the first place.

Is it just me that thinks the need for a Black celebration/history month highlights our educational failings on this subject? I went to a school named after Macaulay (a good friend an ally of Wilberforce) and we were taught about the British empire, slavery, Wilberforce and other black British history.

There is a good episode of the West Wing where Josh has a heated discussion on the subject of slavery reparations which is a more mainstream topic in the US.

Anonymous said...

haven't had time to read the whole thread but a celebration of black history sounds ridiculous to me (and no, not just because I am white.) Events shouldn't, by their very name, 'favour' different sections of society above others. The UK has gone PC mad in my opinion. Money would be better spent on schools, street lighting, tree planting etc and I'm sure most people regardless of the colour of their skin would agree! Its common bloody sense after all!

Tom said...

This is the debate for and against multiculturalism in microcosm.

The multiculturalists take Max's view: minorities should be recognised, celebrated and promoted, and that this is the way to a cohesive society. Black History Month corresponds to this.

The whites, as the majority, do not need their identities strengthened because of their dominant role in society.

The mayor and his advisers strongly take this view, as do many London local authorities, heavily influenced by 1980s-era left-wing thought.

On the other hand, there is a growing reaction against multiculturalism, not just on the Daily Mail Right, but more progressive types too.

Such people often mention places like West Yorkshire and worry that strong multiculturalism leads to segregation because communities are encouraged to identify themselves along ethnic/racial lines and then compete for scarce public resources – hardly a recipe for community cohesion.

Such a stance is taken by Trevor Philips, head of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights, and – interestingly – bitter opponent of Ken Livingstone. (The recent Dispatches programme on the Mayor claimed that Ken's advisers used taxpayer money to discredit Philips, as well as to feed public funds to friendly ethnic-focused London charities and businesses.)

I lean towards the latter view. While we cannot pretend that there are discriminated minorities in our society, badly-crafted (and cronyistic) solutions may just make a difficult situation worse. I don't know enough about BHM to comment.

Tom said...

oops, there should be a "not" in the last para - "while we cannot pretend there are NOT discriminated minorities ..."

as you were!

max said...

To anonymous (that of the common sense)
Maybe you already know black history so well that you think that everyone else knows it as well as you do and there's no need for it or maybe you think that you don't know it but live well like this.

Whatever the reason, please read the thread of comments and make a contribution to the discussion, to say that you don't need to read other people comments because you're right and that is just "common bloody sense" is really not good enough for an adult discussion.

Still, if you write a good rant to the local press and keep within 250 words, they'll probably publish it.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I think there is a great deal that we should promote with regard to 'white history' it has, after all, shaped the UK and encouraged immigration to the levels that we are seeing now.

We no longer get taught anything substantial about 'white history' (I hate that terms but seems to be the equivalent of saying bkack history') in our schools so where else should people learn about our heritage? Surely the reason why people come to our country is to enjoy the benefits that native english people have had for a long time, how many immigrants do you think are educated about the plight of the suffragetes or the fights internally we have had to protect our current day freedoms?

jon s said...

History is about reporting unbiased facts, obtained from any relevant source. If you want to read the father of "history" read Herodotus.............

As to black history month, it helps for any minorty group (ethnic, social or religious) to celebrate and document it's involvement in the formation and support of the state. Often, once they are fully integrated in a pluralist state (and usually the middle classes), the minority event just becomes an excuse for a party. Before black history events, who had heard of Mary Seacole?

Anonymous said...

history is socially constructed!

Anonymous said...

history is socially constructed!

Brockley Nick said...

You know, I really didn't expect this whimsical article to prompt a lengthy debate about historiography. That is why I love writing this blog! Next week, an update about The Talbot will be the perfect excuse to talk about String Theory.

max said...

Recent contributions from Tom, Jon and Ed make me want to try to make a distinction between multiculturalism and pluriculturalism.

I would contend that it is pluriculturalism that we should aim at, a society where everybody feels at ease with its background within a society that acknowledges them all.

Multiculturalism as you described contains the risk of isolating groups along ethnic lines.

To A P, P & P, may I make an example of a choir.
In a choir Tenors, Altos, Baritones, Sopranos and Basses need to sing different parts for the whole thing to work. If you don't acknowledge the difference in voice and you give everybody the same part, for example that of the tenors because traditionally everyone was a tenor around there then you'll end up with some singers that don't really feel part of the choir. They will eventually either be singing out of tune or start a choir of their own.
End of harmony.

Anonymous said...

applause for Jon S! I think your comment is well argued, positive, inclusive and informative (I looked up Mary Seacole - we did not have black history month when I was at school and I would have loved to have learnt it). The abolition of slavery was an amazing time in history - it was effectively the first political and commericial campaign with Josiah Wedgwood doing the first campaign awareness badge. A true Englishman.

Re History - architecture, archaeology, anthropology, oral history, imagery (rock carvings or photographic evidence) geography, biology and physics all enrich our understanding of the past not just documents.

jon s said...

@ tom

What you are referring to is multiculturalism (and pluralism) vs multighettoism.

Almost everyone is against multighettoism, but relatively few against multiculturalism. Often cac-handling of multicultural attempts result in multighettoism.

There is a simple way to measure the impact of any event or initiative - social capital (essentially what binds society together). We have two types:
bonding - strengthening ties within a group;
bridging - strengthening ties between groups.

What often happens is a bonding event is undertaken, or in the absence of any event bonding occurs naturally in and sub groups form, youth gangs, evangellical religious groups (through external funding), etc.

A simple solution is to implement a bridging event. Look at Australia, one of the most multicultural countries in the world, that had race riots last year between Lebanese and Anglo - Celtic Australians at Cronulla beach. This happened is they didn't understand each others culture. To overcome this, the bridging event of Lebanese (and Muslim) Australian lifeguards being trained and patrolling the beach. All is calm now and both groups better understand each other. They even invented a new swim suit, the burquini.......

What we often get is poor (or a lack of) public policy developed at a local, regional and national level.

Bea said...

"Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, who officially launched the festival on September 27th at the Horniman Museum, said: “Abolition 200 has given us an opportunity to reflect on our past and have a better understanding of how we can work together in the future.”

So the Lewisham Black History month was a bridging process - which surely should be applauded.

I've never considered it a case of them and us or even multiculturalism vs. multighettoism. Black history (as in the contribution made by black and ethnic minority cultures) in Lewisham is British history and therefore makes it my nation's history – something I am interested in and want to learn more about.

In effect it would be no different if Lewisham decided to have a "Anglo Saxon history month". It would seem that because the word “black” has been used to describe the event it has got people all riled up.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I dont really care what they call it, but I do object to Lewisham Council not arranging/ignorning the promotion of other non-black historical events.

Like you say bea, its a bridging process, maybe the ethnic minorities should be educated about the history of the country they have chosen to live in. -

I think its much more justified that minorities should be educated to integrate within the context of the country they live in rather than the mass population of the domestic country be required to integrate into respective minority histories. (As a matter of principle, I do however accept both should be promoted equally in a balanced society).

Tom said...

Jon S, I like your terminology. I do see, however, that given its name BHM can easily be seen as an ethnically-exclusive event rather than - as Bea claims - a 'bridging' event between groups, or simply a broader project to examine our shared history.

(I am becoming so language sensitive in this thread as to become wary of even saying there are different communities in London. I prefer saying there are lots of people, and some of them have shared identities, to a greater or lesser extent (!), which can be manipulated politically. Many wish to have no community identity at all ... which is why they came to London in the first place!)

Brockley Nick said...

Andy, if you feel so strongly about it, I suggest you work up a detailed proposal, explaining the purpose of the event you want to stage, showing its costs and other sources of funding, the partners with which you would deliver it and the benefits of staging such an event. It would probably help if you had some credible partner organisations on board first too. If you can do all of that and demonstrate a clear demand for such an event, then I would hope you would get a proper hearing from the Council.

You also complained that stalls run by ethnic minorities were given first option at the Xmas Market and I was told categorically by the organisers that that was not the case. In fact, the event was undersubscribed, so there was no need for any priority system.

Anonymous said...

andy pp etc - the contribution of black people is celebrated in black history month - a contribution that extends over 200 years and is entrenched in the culture we grew up in. This is not about immigration in the current sense. its about acknowledging the previously unacknowledged who made a positive difference - a legacy which has probably enlightened your life without your realising

max said...

Andy P...
You are positively affirming your right to ignore history if that means learning about non-anglo-saxon people.
Good luck!

JonS, thanks.
You've articulated with the right arguments what I was in an uneducated way trying to explain to myself.

Monkeyboy said...

We're never taught anything about 'white' history? eh?

I seem to remember a fair few things on the telly recently, 'Monarchy' was a good one 'simon schama - a history of britain'Very good, Adam Hart Davis 'what the Tudors/Elizabethans' did for us (he also did one about what the 'romans did for us' but I guess that's not british so can be discounted) Also there was that BBC2 program about the greatest Englishman, Time Team is a good way to use up a Sunday evening...I could go on? There's plenty of british history out there, visit a museum or buy a book if you feel that you've been short changed.

Anonymous said...

It must be very nice to have public funds spent on addressing the issues of identity and background. I am sure there are many sections of society who would like to feel better about themselves. However importing a formula inspired by the American history of slavery is hardly relevant in Britain. The fact is the plantations and the work was in the tropics, not here. We have some grand houses built on fortunes made before abolition, and they are mainly in the hands of the National Trust, but else to connect this borough that sets it apart from anywhere else in the UK. This is not Liverpool or Bristol. Black history, like Indian history or Chinese history is largely in the Caribbean, Africa , India or the Far East. The communities we have in Lewisham now arise from the fact that the UK has always been a major trading nation with a colonial empire. The wonderful diversity we see now is product of that economic system. A fact that we prefer to forget rather than celebrate . Why? Indeed, it is the only thing connects the diverse communities here. What part of the great moral struggle of the 19th century, the Abolition of Slavery has any relevance to the large section of the community that emigrated from West Africa in the last few decades? They were not the decendents of Slavery in the Caribbean. Far from it. After abolition the British led a campaign to eliminate the slave trade in West Africa by force of arms, much to the dismay of the local rulers.

So in this borough we have a selective history contrived to make people feel good. A sanitized parade of heroes and villains with tenuous local connections that reinforce the current political ethos that sees everything in terms of a in history as a struggle against oppression.

Far better to celebrate culture than history.

Stating the bleedin obvious.... said...

We do not have entrance fees for museums and galeries...public money is spent on english/roma/greek/black history. Our culture is a product of our history or am i missing something?

And I susspect you'll finfd that most black britains can trace their family from the influx in the 50's and 60's from ex british colonies in the west indies. Now they didn't pop over there for a nice holiday and decide to stay. They were chained up and shipped over. Then they were invited over to the uk to drive our busses and clean our hospitals. That's black history and English history. Black history/culture has influenced us, look at ska music and the like.

max said...

Anonymous, may I address some of your statements that I find are the product of some mislead idea.

"It must be very nice to have public funds spent on addressing the issues of identity and background."

It is quite good actually. I appreciate that money is spent on acknowledging the diverse background of the various components of this society.

"The fact is the plantations and the work was in the tropics, not here."

Yes, but a lot of people here are the descendants of those slaves that worked there to build the fortunes of Britain.

"What part of the great moral struggle of the 19th century, the Abolition of Slavery has any relevance to the large section of the community that emigrated from West Africa in the last few decades?"

Well, I think that they may be interested in African history, I think that many africans visit Elmina Castle for example.

When I was a schoolboy I went with my school to visit the former Dachau concentration camp near Munich. I'm not a Jew, I'm not a German but it is relevant enough to me as an European.

"We have some grand houses built on fortunes made before abolition, and they are mainly in the hands of the National Trust, but else to connect this borough that sets it apart from anywhere else in the UK."

Two things, abolition did not eliminated the exploitation of those africans transported to the overseas British plantations.
The fortunes made during the slave-trade did not only build some grand houses but made the foundations of the local economy, including banks. (Baring is still going)
By the way, the National Trust bought Manor House for a tidy sum, did not receive it as a donation.

"So in this borough we have a selective history contrived to make people feel good. A sanitized parade of heroes and villains with tenuous local connections that reinforce the current political ethos that sees everything in terms of a in history as a struggle against oppression."

That's quite an impressive description of what is actually an initiative to promote the understanding of history beyond the traditional Anglocentric point of view.

"Far better to celebrate culture than history."
Sorry, I need this one explained. How do you place history outside culture?

Monkeyboy said...

Max, how do you manage to give such polite and sucinct answers? I just fire off smart arse comments, not sure it helps but makes me feel better.

It was me stating the bleedin obvious but yes, the separation of culture and history had me a little confused.

The good things and bad things that we were involved in in the past have made us the country we are today. Just like our past good and bad experiences shape our individual identities. History is just information, learn about it or be doomed to repeat past mistakes....or something

brockley mutha said...

I am amazed and not a little concerned at the level of animosity towards black history month displayed by so many people here, and at the tone of some of the comments.

Black history month is not simply an event aimed at apologising to african and caribbean people for slavery.

In my memory its a wide and varied portfolio of activities, exhibitions and events designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. It includes music, art, theatre, children's activities, exhibitions etc etc.

all those anons who seem to see black history as a long period of slavery from which they were effectively rescued by the forward thinking British empire should perhaps pay a little more attention to it next time it comes round. You might learn a thing or two.

spincat said...

well said, mutha - would be money well spent on black history month if it counters some of these misunderstandings (to put it kindly) and prejudices

tyrwhitt michael said...

Whilst we don't have a white history month in Lewisham, we do have an annual white history event sponsored by both Lewisham and Greenwich Councils.

It called the Blackheath firework display and very good it is too....if usually a bit cold.

brockley mutha said...

That's the cue for any catholics out there to ask how long they have to keep apologising for Guy Fawkes.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I think for some reason a number of people have decided to take my comments as 'anti-black' and that is very far from the point (and actually quite offensive).

I was trying to make the point why isnt lewisham council providing funds to celebrate the historical achievements of non-black events?

Any way I look at this, there is solid reasons to promote such activities - whether you look at population proportions or lack of celebration stemming from the far-right claim on the st georges flag there are concrete reasons why lewisham council should aim to at least spend some money promoting other aspects of our cultural heritage.

I have no idea why this is taken to be anti-black as far from it, it isnt. Thinking about it, I can understand why people are getting agitated from my comments as the media has hyped up racism as such a wide spread issue, the majority of people are generally frightened to say anything against certain minorities for fear of being branded a racist.

Monkeyboy said...

Anyone been to the Lewes fireworks? they build a huge fire, stick a dumy of the pope on top and scream "BURN THE POPE!" at the top of their voices. A weird event, but great for us born again atheiests.

And yes some of the comments have a rather unpleasent smell about them.

Monkeyboy said...

See? told you it was funny.

brockley mutha said...

it's hilarious

Anonymous said...

The Kingdoms of West Africa had a rather direct and profitable involvement in the Slave trade.

Indeed, it took a military campaign by the British to eliminate the slave forts.

In fact it was in an effort to counter the slave trade that the British encouraged alternative trades and this led directly to a trading company, and a colony that later became Nigeria.

It is all connected. It is also devisive, it depends very much on your perspective.

The Abolition of the Slave trade was one of the great achievements of the British Empire.

However, this seems have little to do with Lewisham, save for the fact that it has a large number of residents that hale from the West Indies and West Africa.

I believe that spending so much public money on a partisan view of history is wrong. It is divisive, it leads to resentment and suggests that one section of the community is being conspicuously favoured over another.

It would be far better if the council confined itself to encouraging the cultural development of the community rather than contriving politically appealing history lessons.

Monkeyboy said...

erm...ok.. we helped dismantle salvery and yes, some black people profited from slavery. But we we're also instrumental in setting it up and provided a ready market for slaves? or am i wrong.

P W Botha helped dismantle Apartheid, only after a certain black guy explained that it was no way to run a country.

Honestly are you really saying that slavery was a black problem and we galloped in on our (white) chargers and saved them from themselves

You sir, are an idiot.


Where's Simon Sachma when you need him....

Have I hit 50,000 yet?

max said...

AP, P & P, I second Brockley Mutha and advise you to take part in a few of the events of Black History Month next time round. It'll do you good.

max said...

The revisionists are amongst us!!!

Monkeyboy said...

Cor! Max! just checked out your blog...you're a proper artist and everything. Like your stuff, I'm an Engineer so can't draw for toffee unles we're talking straight lines and protractors.

You sell stuff as well I presume? I've got a blank wall needs filling.

Also see you have Animal Farm on your fav book list? George Orwell is one of my hero's. Ever read The Road To Wigan Pier? Down And Out in Paris And London? Homage to Catalonia? The man's a genius. And incedently AP & P VERY english. He wrote a very amusing essay about the perfect cup of tea.

max said...

I wrote that last short comment in horror at the reading of the last anonymous comment.

Well done Monkeyboy, I second your judgement on the author of that phenomenal nonsense.

You know what this thread of comments shows to me? That the far-righ/fake-mainstream press that curses Britain has managed to make their readers believe that their comments are acceptable.
Nooo! They remain beyond the pale!
You should feel ashamed!

"I believe that spending so much public money on a partisan view of history is wrong. It is divisive, it leads to resentment and suggests that one section of the community is being conspicuously favoured over another."

Again, let's say it, Black History Month is not a partisan view of history, it's an initiative that aims at improving understanding between people of different backgrounds and at acknowledging the background of many of our community.
Evidently you don't know what you're talking about. Why do you speak then?

The very last paragraph of that comment was:

"It would be far better if the council confined itself to encouraging the cultural development of the community rather than contriving politically appealing history lessons."

That's exactly what Black History Month is!
Or is it the word Black that you (anonymous) object to?

jon s said...

Sigh, how come historians, professional or amateur always cherry pick the arguments they like when reporting something?

Was slavery an abomination? - absolutely.
Are many descendents of slavery still disadvantaged today? - unfortunately yes.
Does slavery still exist? - again, unfortunately yes.

Why was slavery abolished? - Several reasons including, moral, geopolitical and economic.
Abolishing slavery hurt the competitors to the British Empire more than it hurt the British. So the moral abolishonists (who had been aroung for a while) found themselves some new allies.

Again, historians train in gathering and reporting facts, it is social scientists that train in analysing them.

Runs for a bunker...........

andy pandy pudding & Pie said...

Well i guess we are never going to agree on this thread, issues are far too complex for debating to its full extent on a blog.

So although I disagree with some comments (which although implied never actually say DONT fund non-black history and thus dont actually dis-agree with what ive said) its time to conclude on this thread otherwise we will reach 100,000 hits !!! (hmm... maybe nicks ploy unravels!)

Just for the record, I am more than happy to organise some event to celebrate english histroy and the couuncil have said they can contribute 40k (1/10th of council funding for black history month).

So if anyone is interested in getting involved, or would like to know more/have any suiggestions then post your ideas.

max said...

Well, since you ask if anybody wants to know more, I do.
You said that the Council is giving 40k to Andy Pandy, Pudding and Pie to do what exactly?
What have you written on your request for funding?

Anonymous said...

What happened to this website????

Reading these postings is pissing me off.

Can we stop trying to solve the 'Big Issues' and get onto the stuff that in some way is connected to Brockley? I started logging on here because I thought it was Brockley Central. Now i'm beginning to wonder if it is in fact just another site for 'bloggers', a group of society I regard in the same way as people who are into battle re-enactments and fantasy fiction role play adventure.
Tell me you are all on here because it's about Brockley and not yet another outlet for you to avoid real social contact?

APP+P. I'm going to say what no one else dares to. You sound racist pal. That on top of the history of wild outrageous claims (cafe nero for mantle road??) is not a great cv. You'll be pleased to hear that I shall not be attending the BC drinks....

Anonymous said...

I am very annoyed with the way the word 'history' has been abused.

More annoyed at being an idiot by someone who calls himself monkeyboy.

And really very annoyed indeed that this debate has now descended to such a low level that it has started to attract social scientists

So I am taking my ball back.

Anonymous said...

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/LeisureAndCulture/Libraries/Abolition200/SlaveryInLewisham/Timeline1800.htm

Anonymous said...

Our heritage

max said...

Also at this link the excellent Transpontine makes the facade of Deptord Town Hall tell a story:
http://tinyurl.com/yq64br

neanderthal d said...

Guy Fawkes was one of the more honest people to enter the Houses of Parliament.

As far as the poor dears in the "Coping Classes" article go; they may moan about their mortgage payments, but apart from keeping a roof over their head, their mortgage should also provide them with an asset (assuming that they are not unlucky enough to have an endowment mortgage of questionable quality) once they have paid off their mortgage. Furthermore, increased utility bills and bank charges affect everybody regardless of income.

Black History Month provides a useful counterweight to the more mainstream history that most people have been taught or are otherwise aware of (though it would seem that many folks' awareness of history is lacking somewhat). The more perspectives on history that are available, the better it is for all of us in trying to understand the events that have shaped this country, continent or planet.

Monkeyboy said...

Anon @ 00:27...

Don't let the door hit you on the arse on your way out.....

Anonymous said...

Oddly there is a connection between slavery and Guy Fawkes....

The Winters, the Hawkins' and slavery:

"The Hawkins' are regarded in many books, and now on many websites, as the "founders" of English involvement in the slave trades. Which is a simplification. A similar role for the Winter family has been somewhat veiled from history by the engagement of members of the Winter family in yet another feisty historical matter - the question of blowing up Parliament - the plot involving Guy Fawkes!"

Click for more details.

Kate said...

Toys ----------> pram!

Calm down everyone. Yes this is a site predominantly about Brockers, and there are plenty of locally-specific ongoing discussions, but I for one like the fact that debates sometimes spiral out into the wider world in a (mostly) intelligent fashion.
I for one can't wait to meet some of the other site regulars next week, if only to see whether Monkeyboy & Max become the site's first official 'couple' - there certainly seems to be a lurve thang going on there ...

Monkeyboy said...

The trouble is when you get two bleeding heart liberals in a group they can never make a decision on where to go to eat because they don't want to alianate any particular group. Could go for an English?

I can't make Tuesday, I'm getting my back waxed.

Trixie said...

I know that this thread is VERY long now but I had to add my bit...
Black History Month (as I understand)is mainly aimed at young people, Black and White, to celebrate and educate about the history and achievements of Black people. It hopefully gives disenfranchised teenagers role models that they can identify and aspire to be like and who, without Black History Month they may not have heard of.
I also note that the 2001 Lewisham census has been used to show Lewisham ethnic breakdown. This may be accurate for the population as a whole but the 2006 School Census shows the following breakdown:
66% Black Minority Ethnic (this includes Black Caribbean, Black African and Mixed Heritage pupils)
40% White (all White groups including Turkish and Eastern European)
In my mind these figures support the money spent on Black History Month....

max said...

That also support a couple of mathematics months since 66% + 40% = 106%

Trixie said...

or bring back compulsory typing classes! DOH!
I've left the figures at work but I think it should have said 30% White

Monkeyboy said...

My god....we have 4% of indeterminate race. Not sure I'm happy with that, anyone have The Daily Mail's number?

Anonymous said...

I wonder where all the Asian kids go to school.

max said...

At the same school that the others go.
You're right though, they're missing from the count.

I have a confession to make, have you ever filled a form, usually Council consultation questionnaires where at the end there's the ethnic profiling and you have to tick your box?
Do you answer straight?
I've got a problem with those actually, I always just write "human race".
Am I doing something bad?

Monkeyboy said...

Excellent, something I can disagree with Max about.

That question always makes me uncomfortable too. I was stoped on the tube a while back for a random search, just after the bombings. The policeman was polite and professional ,in the circumstances I couldn't really complain. After he did his thing he asked me to tick the box on his form for the ethnic origin I felt best described me. It's by collecting acurate figures like this that we can demonstrate the proportion of of stop and search between different bods. Also whether black/white/ asian or whatever are more/less likley to live in certain condidtions. We can then make decisions based on facts rather than hearsay and Daily Express headlines. On balance I'm OK with it.

I ticked the stop and search form as White British, other origin I think?

max said...

Well, I was wrong!
In fact, on reflection, it's even a bit silly to make a point that will not be registered after all.

Bea said...

Monekyboy – it’s an interesting point that you make re police statistics. The only place I’ve had to do it is on NHS forms. I think it’s a good idea as different medication is sometimes required for different ethnic groups who are at risk of different diseases.

I, like you, have non British parents (well one actually). My Dad is white British, my Mum is white German – so I tend to tick “White – other origin” (no mention of British there!). Funnily enough, my son is “British - Mixed Asian” so we get to cover the forms in ticks :-)

However, I have heard that in the States they decide at birth what your ethnic origin is and I’ve read of one sibling being certified as “white” and another as “black” just because they looked darker at birth! (Parents were of mixed heritage).

At least here we get to choose what we want to / if we want to tick a box!

Monkeyboy said...

I think that's why the police chap asked me to tick the box. It I was in too minds which box to tick, it shouldn't mattter. One day it'll be as relevant as whether you have ginger hair and they'll stop asking.

Mind you gingers are asking for it frankly, after all hair dye is only £5 a bottle.

JPM said...

The ethnic box tick questions annoy me greatly. And they belong back in Nazi Germany where they were created.

I was recently filming the box junction at Lewisham Way/Parkfield Road (opposite Goldsmith's) for a case I was bringing against Transport for London.

The Yellow Junction Box there is nothing more than a cash cow and toll gate. I was caught in at, and have since noticed how easy it is for drives to get trapped.

Imagine my surprise when I was approached by three community police officers asking what I was doing.

I explained... but they would have none of it. It was 'supicious'. I may have been a 'terrorist'. I was 'invited' to state my 'ethnicity'- but refused. [African-American-Cherokee-Irish-Welsh-English hybrid, not a mongrel please.]

The community police radioed in for the real police who contented themselves that I was indeed a potential terrorist threat. [The form later stated that I was filming the Venue nighclub, which I was not. It was way down the road.]

What did they do...? They ticked the 'white' box. As a police officer once told me, "No matter what the Governemnt does the police will always find a way of making the job work... for them."

No, the cops ain't really stopping darky. Honest.... take a look at the ethnic box.

I think I'll dye my hair ginger.

max said...

Scary stuff jpm, I think that those community officers need some training. They may be a useful service but there's always the risk that you unleash a group of nutters in the streets.

How many are following on Private Eye the incredible actions of the Newham Community Officers?

Last year I too had very minor issue with one vigilant citizen, it prompted me to draw a comix page about it, you can read it here:
http://tinyurl.com/3x8amx

ElijahBailey said...

Max the Newham lot aren't, as far as I can remeber, actually plastics. I think they were something even dodgier and more vauge. They started as gorified park wardens.

Broddie said...

I think I brought it on myself, by allowing my mother to fall in love with a black man.

For a more detailed explanation see...http://thebigretort.blogspot.com/2007/12/working-together-for-safer-london.html

JPM said...

PS... I was being ironic.

Headhunter said...

JPM reminds me of when I went to New York a few years ago. I was on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan taking some photos of the bridge with Manhattan behind and was approached by some security bloke with a gun who demanded to know why I was taking photos of the bridge, who exactly I was etc etc... It was a little scary

Headhunter said...

JPM reminds me of when I went to New York a few years ago. I was on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan taking some photos of the bridge with Manhattan behind and was approached by some security bloke with a gun who demanded to know why I was taking photos of the bridge, who exactly I was etc etc... It was a little scary

Monkeyboy said...

JPM..... it's a tricky old question. It is optional if you want to answer the question (at least i think it is) I can see why people are offended by being classified - why should it matter? well it shouldn't and I'm sure most of the time it makes no difference. But the the police do their policing by consent. We give them their powers and it's only right that they be accountable to us in how they excercise that power. How do we know that they are using those powers fairly? by monitoring them and knowing who they stop and if they are stopping one group disproportionatly (wish I could spell)

Still think Gingers are asking for it mind....

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Interestingly, I caught a cab the other day and my taxi driver (who happened to be black) started mentioning to me about some sort of new law about stopping people on the street?

He told me he was happy that the new law was being introduced and that it is only right they stop more black men as they is disproportionately alot more black men who commit gun/knife crime.

I kept quiet when he said this (unusual for me), but considering he is saying this and hes black, do people think there is some truth to this and therefore somehow it is justified to stop people 'fitting that description' more?

I know non-black people would be critised for being racist if they said this but black people cant legally be racist.

Monkeyboy said...

My point is how do we know any of this? how can we decide policy? by monitoring both the victims of gun/knife crime (who are dispropotionatly black by the way) and monitoring those who are stopped and searched.

This article is interesting standard

Monkeyboy said...

And andy, yes black people can be charged with racial crimes. Would be a difficult case perhaps but not ilegal.

..... said...

AP...I find it helps to apraise ones self of the fact before making weird comments... to quote:

Race Relations Act 1976, as amended by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone on grounds of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), or ethnic or national origin.

Black British could be racist against white folk or black africans for example and be charged. Black Africans COULD be racist against other Black Africans. How you would demonstrate that could be hard but to say it's not legal again demonstrates your profound lack of knowledge about...well anything really.

max said...

To stop and search people because they're black (or 'fitting that description' as you elegantly put it) would be racist. That's what they used to do in South Africa once.

I'd say that one that objects to public money being spent on Black History Month (that is an initiative that also aims at preventing black kids going astray) but favours the police stopping them for no other reason than being black is a racist.

But that's not you AP,P&P, it's just your black cab driver taht said that.

..... said...

Honestly, listening to AP & P struggling with these ideas is like watching a monkey try clean a rifle.

No matter how careful he is he still manages to shoot himself in the foot.

JPM said...

When the race law was first introduced it was brought - successfully - against three black people. So you are incorrect that a black person cannot be legally tried, they still are. [In fact, I have met black racists in my time, it's a human condition not colour coded.]

However, that said, I think that you should comment first hand on what you feel rather than use a black proxy. If you want a police who stop non whites more than whites then just say it. [A police with a public mandate only reflects the views of the people giving it anyway, because they are those same people. However, in my case I suspect that two of the officers themselves were what present day humanity styles 'mixed race'.]

Actually, I don't really care if a cab driver who is black believes it is acceptable for someone to be stopped because he fits the 'bill'. So what? [Thank god you didn't say, Some of my best taxi drivers are black though.] However, I do feel that a first hand comment is needed rather than a black proxy. Sometimes suspicion can be guided by that little French cousin petty prejudice, and it is this, in the wrong hands, that leads to injustice, and that is a point for discussion.

Whilst I don't say this happened with me, I did wonder what led the officer towards me. Was he just down from the sticks? Was it really just my video camera that caught his attention? Or was it that and a few thing besides? [The besides bit is where the prejudging slips in.]

Actually I think many people often get quite offended if you say they're prejudice confusing it with racism. I have been and no doubt will be prejudice... but it's how I challenge it or react to others when they point it out that matters. Actually though there is a gulf between prejudice and racism, and the problem is when you allow that gulf to be bridged by laws that may be racist in their formation and/or execution.

Yes I want to feel safe. Yes I want terrorism to stop. Yes I want young black youths to stop murdering themselves. And Yes I want to see a hoody's face. I certainly don't mean to say that any of the FIVE officers who dealt with me where racist. The wonderful thing about the tapestry that makes up life is that we are all different. It's how we welcome or reject those differences - and tame our prejudices in defiance of them that counts. That's why I moved to London, because it's a place where no one can come up to me and say: You don't belong. Fill this box in here. And, oh, have a nice day... chief. [God I hate when they call me that.]

Unfortunately, or fortunately in some circumstances, we all pre-judge. [That's how we all evolved from that species called amoeba.] I just feel that when people are given special powers - the Terrorism Act whatever - then that power must be employed responsibly. The law should be given and administered by keeping that old prejudice gene in check. Take that away, and, as Max said succinctly, you're left with South Africa.

The real question of course is why did this police officer place me in the (wrong) 'ethnic' box?

WHITE...?

Answer: because the race stop ans search figures need to be massaged, and the police always make a new law work in their favour, whatever the loss to democracy.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

The black cab driver isnt a proxy. Hes employed by Speedycars and I use them to get to the train station (not brockley by the way!) in the morning.

I can only suggest that if he takes me again, i tell him about this website so he can post a comment? but then again, you probably wont believe it anyway! maybe you shoud get a cab from speedycars?

Its quite ironic, i do seem to be stumbling and shooting myself in the foot, but most things I have said regarding legal matters have come from what I thought was a reliable source.

Regarding my last comment, for instance, I was told this by an associate who happens to know a senior female black judge that that was the case. i.e. black people cannot be racist. This is apparently what her view is in her court (the one next to more london place). If she has said this , then its what i thought would be reliable.

(and by the way, if my associate friend of the senior black judge was racist, i'm sure she would of locked him up!).

Does the above help or confuse things? Unfortunately, I cant really disclose much more as this would be disrespectful.

Oh, and just to clarify, I have loads of black friends and have dated quite a few more :o)

Lastly @ Max, i dont object to black history month (as i have said many many times now) but i do think we should celebrate other historical aspects too - english, european, chinese, indian, after all - we are all equal right?

max said...

So A P, P & P, what's YOUR opinion then?
Should the police stop and search black kids because they're black?

---

I'm bored to my eyeballs of your winging about Black History Month, you already said the same thing and you received extensive and clear replies. Go and read what's been written, if you still don't understand it ask your cab driver to explain it to you.

JPM said...

Andy

I did use Speedicars until the swineherd refused to pick me up at Heathrow. They wanted the cash uo front before coming out to get us, even though they were the ones who dropped us off there when we went on hols, and we had used them for years.

Agree with you absolutley about Black History month. I'm due to have a similar conversation with my child's school. Why do they insist on gangstrap at every school party? [It's mixed and should reflect a number of cultures, the teh country in which it's situated. [PS. Don't use that bit about having black friends and girlfriends. It doesn't stack up your credentials, doesn't buy any browny points, and is what people call embarrassing.]

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

No, not because they are black as i dont think race should come into it. I do, however, think a person should be stopped if there is reason to believe they have committed a crime irrespective of colour.

I also have an issue with regard to children being stopped but i'm not sure why, just seems to be abit wrong.

@max, it is interesting to me how you dont give a sh@t about lewisham promoting other histories other than black histroy. Its also interesting how quick you are to call me a racist based on 'your own conclusion that ive said dont promote black history' even though that is far from the truth.

It's quite clear to me based on your comments how some people are quick to excuse others of being a racist because it suits them to scare the other person into agreeing with what they want to hear.

By the sounds of it max, you are quite a racist!

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

@jpm. point noted!

max said...

Andy, if you weren't coming out with borderline racist argument you wouldn't get back from me the comments that you get.

I do support Black History Month because I support anything that broadens people's minds regarding history.
What people get at school is one kind of history, we're lucky that we live in a diverse society and this gives us the opportunity to expand our understanding of other points of view.
Black History Month is a wonderful initiative, well established and that produces good results.
If other ethnic groups want to start other initiatives they're welcome to do so and they get fundings, in fact there is a lot of different initiatives centred on other groups around London in the areas where those grous are larger.
And I don't object to any of them.
And I don't object to english history.
It's YOU objecting to it with arguments that are preposterous and keep on repeating them carefully avoiding to address those arguments that have been put in front of you.

You are saying that those money should not be spent on promoting the understanding of a side of history that promotes the understanding of the background of a lot of Londoners because what about the other cultures.

There are celebrations of other cultures and when they're not it's because nobody started one.

The difference between me and you is that I'm happy for other people to promote their history, it's an opportunity to learn, you see it as something that takes away from yours, in fact you started this debate on Black History Month saying that Lewisham Council should have instead spent those money on the Cutty Sark instead.

The Cutty Sark runs for other fundings and at the end they find all the money they need, a struggle sometimes but they're not that hopeless that Lewisham Council should start cutting its own cultural activities to help rescue the Cutty Sark.

I'm sorry AP, P & P if you're offended by my comments but your arguments do look preposterous and to conclude I'm not going to answer to you about me being a racist.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I think you just need to be a bit more careful what you say max, you just said that i wanted lewisham to give funding to the cutty sark instead of black history month? well, thats putting words into my mouth i'm afraid.

Scroll up, refresh yourself. and then read again and try to be less offensive.

max said...

Actually, on second thought I will answer to you calling me a racist.

I was born in Italy, in Trieste, a town that used to be in the Austrian Hungarian Empire, my surname is Jew, I'm not a Jew but there are a few through the bloodline, my grandfather on my mother's side was Croatian, my grandmother had a french surname, because of the napoleonic wars, my father was one of those men from the south of Italy with ginger hair as a result of the Norman occupation, then there is the usual hellenic stock that is the common italian one, I married a black woman and therefore my daughter reunites the genes of Shem, Japheth and Ham.
She's beautiful and I hope that she grows a citizen of the world.

max said...

No you didn't say that, you only wondered what Lewisham Council had spent on it as you considered the money spent on Black History Month.

Here's your unedited ponderings:

"and by the way, the black celebration month costs ran in excess of £1m.

Lets think about this, I wonder if lewisham contributed at all to the cutty sark refurbishment?"

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been following this site since last april i can see a pattern emerging with almost everything APP+P posts - it's all utter bullshit. The litany of lies is too long to list but I do not for one minute believe you know a black judge - or even any judge for that matter. And this fictional judge certainly doesn't know her law -ANYONE can be racist, black, white or green. that's not even a very good lie. APP+P YOU ARE AN IDIOT, stop infecting this site with your bollocks please.
JT

Monkeyboy said...

Max, take a break from trying to reason with AP. You’ll find that the average pot of Bio yoghurt has a better developed intellect. Your history sounds interesting. I recently applied to be a part of a study sponsored by the national geographic. It’s a study to try and map migration patterns right back to the year dot, it’s done by studying genetic markers – all very technical and beyond me. Cost about 80 quid I think, it’s fascinating. Here’s the link…. National Geographic well worth the money

Apparently my marker is M172, a subset of J2….(eh??) It is found in North Africa, the middle east and southern Europe and first appeared out of the ‘fertile crescent’ about 10,000 years ago.

Ultimately though it demonstrates that we are all African……

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

That sounds great max, i'm happy that you have found someone special to spend your life with.

None of it means you're not a racist though. But to save you the trouble, i dont expect you to answer to me im only a random blogger on a internet site who happens to live in Brockley.

Just think twice before you twist others peoples comments as it can be very offensive and be counter-productive.

Hugh said...

New thread summary please. No time to plough through the above.

Have we had a thread about me yet?

Monkeyboy said...

Thought you were off to Ealing?

This is a LOCAL blog for LOCAL people, there's nothing for you here.....

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Well apparently Hugh, we have summarised that i'm a liar, a racist and someone who is completely unreasonable and has an intellect of a yogurt

Not bad for an auditor/accountant, school governor, charity giver and fully paid up member of the liberal democrats eh?

@Hugh, you're a lawyer, do you know anything about whether or not black people can be charged with being racist?

Monkeyboy said...

It's the 'monkey cleaning a rifle' scenario all over again....

..yes that way my comment

max said...

Wow Monkeyboy, that's great!
I'll do the test for sure, I think I could actually get two kits, one for each parent-line.
And the National Geographic website is full of fantastic time-wasting stuff.

Anonymous said...

auditor/accountant, school governor?
sounds par for the course to me...

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Monnkeyboy, just curious - did you work under the old british rail before privatisation? I just wondered how it compared to the privaite or ppp arrangements that we have now.

Anonymous said...

Black people CAN be racist you dick!

max said...

And when you thought that he had finished the ammos...
...congrats for the lib-dem line. A stroke of genious.

Anonymous said...

...this reminds me very much of the quality of slanging match commonly found on urban75.

I am sure some of you are veterans at this sort of rebarbaritive knockabout. But please remember that all the people who read this are going to take away the impression that Brockley is full of opinionated loudmouths who shout down anyone they disagree with accusing them of all sorts of ists and isms. It is not big and it is not clever. It is ruining the chance of this becoming a proper forum for discussing issues relating to Brockley.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

@anon. i agree. sorry for any offense i may of caused you. We should really be talking about brockley above all else.

max said...

ouch, my wrists hurts.

Hugh said...

Andy asked whether black people can be charged with being racist.

I'm not a criminal lawyer but there won't be an offence of 'being racist', just as there's no offence of 'being a bigot' or 'being a BNP member'.

'Incitement to racial hatred' is an offence and of course anyone could commit that.

Haven't read the thread beyond some random entries so I realise these remarks may not add.

Hugh QC said...

Here's a link to the relevant part of the legislation (Public Order Act 1986):

http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?LegType=All+Legislation&title=public+order+act&Year=1986&searchEnacted=0&extentMatchOnly=0&confersPower=0&blanketAmendment=0&sortAlpha=0&TYPE=QS&PageNumber=1&NavFrom=0&parentActiveTextDocId=2236942&ActiveTextDocId=2236999&filesize=24885

Hugh said...

http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?LegType=All+Legislation&title=public+order+act&Year=1986&searchEnacted=0&extentMatchOnly=0&confersPower=0&blanketAmendment=0&sortAlpha=0&TYPE=QS&PageNumber=1&NavFrom=0&parentActiveTextDocId=2236942&ActiveTextDocId=2236999&filesize=24885

Hugh said...

Oh well. See section 17 onwards.

andy pandy pudding &pie said...

Ok, thanks Hugh.

I'll have a good read of it later :o)

You enjoying Ealing?

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