Brickbats and Bouquets Government Style
The comment below is what I wrote at the beginning of April in response to an invitation to a service in Westminster Abbey in June to mark 70 years of the arrival of the Windrush. Needless to say, I will not attend the service or I will have to publicly call out the C of Es and RCs, not to mention representatives of the government, on their hypocrisy and hubris.
It would appear that among the essential criteria for being in government, the Cabinet especially, is to have a brass neck and a surfeit of shamelessness and cynicism. In the middle of the Windrush deportation scandal, Theresa May announces a Stephen Lawrence Day. She is the same Home Secretary who saw more black people murdered while in the custody of the police and the UK Border Agency under her watch both as Home Secretary and as Prime Minister than any of her precedessors, with not one of those responsible being found guilty of criminal conduct, or even criminal neglect. As such, descendants of the Windrush generation have been killed by the police in far greater numbers than by neo-fascists or ferret eyed racists.
Unsurprisingly, there is no suggestion of a Roger Sylvester Day, or a Sean Riggs Day, or a Azelle Rodney Day, or a Christopher Alder Day. Yet, there are many among us who regard May’s co-optation of Stephen Lawrence as a victory, no less than having the state recognise ‘the contribution of the Windrush generation’ in a service in its ‘inner temple’, Westminster Abbey…, so enamoured are we of the blandishments of the system.
History reminds us that ancestral African ‘cargo’ destined for plantations in ‘the new world’ was bought with handfuls of trinkets.
But then, one of the things imperial and post-imperial Britain has always been cock sure about is that it has God on its side, if not in its pocket.
Keep the faith!
70th Anniversary of Windrush 1948
A Point of View