It is sad that of all the members of the House of Lords, only two had the guts to make a stance against the enforced anti-bullying and sexual harassment training course which has been inflicted on all Peers. For the powers that be in the House of Lords, to insist all our Peers take part in this training, is presuming that all 800 or so members of our upper house in Parliament are all potential sexual predators, which is extremely insulting to each and every one of their Lordships. The two brave souls who have stood up to this pointless and rather crass enforced training are Lord Kalms and Lord Willoughby de Broke. Because these two honourable men refused to take part in this derogatory politically correct programme they have been punished by not being allowed to use Parliaments bars and restaurants, presumably in case these two Lordships, both in their eighties, pounce on an unsuspecting victim and sexually harass that person due to them not going on the course!
It is not just their Lordships having to put up being branded a threat simply by being who they are, anyone who is lighter skinned, especially if you are older, are automatically presumed to be a racist, which is an insult to the vast majority of ordinary decent people. Staff at many companies are having to take diversify training, we are all being told that the UK is institutionally racist and no one seems to be saying: 'hang on a minute, take a look at just how good we are in the UK compared to the US and other parts of the world'.
As an Englishman of very impoverished roots born in 1947 in the Slums of Birmingham, and definitely not of a privileged birth, as often presumed due to me being white. I was raised to be very proud of my country and Birmingham itself which at that time was a city of a thousand trades. I remember sitting on my dear old dad's knee in our backyard slum house and he telling me that everything from a pin to a car was made in Birmingham, he was very proud of where we came from.
Before the war, in the 1930's living in the slums, my dad had been a member of the Communist Party, however, when they asked him to go and fight in the Spanish civil war that sounded too dangerous so he gave up Communism and took up weight lifting instead! But he stayed loyal to his left leaning roots right through to the 1950's, when running his small business, it began to dawn on him the left of politics usually hold people back rather than helps to improve their lives.
I was born to the same part of Birmingham and lived there for the first seven years of my life. My Grandparents lived up the street, when I would often go up there to play in their back yard with friends. Occasionally, a warning shout would come from from one of the kids: "The black man is coming" and we would all run and hide as he was the only black person we ever saw and were scared of him. It was not until one day I saw my aunt talking to him, they were having a good chat and a bit of a laugh, as she would with anyone she was friendly with, which was when it dawned on me he was just a very nice normal chap and nothing to be afraid of.
Kids in those days were often fearful of the unusual, even my dad used to scare many children due to him not only having a short goatee beard, which was not common at the time, he also had a glass eye due to being shot in the eye when he was 12 by some lads messing about with an air rifle. Kids used to find his eye scary and would ask me what it was like to have a dad with a glass eye. I would tell them it was no different to their parents having false teeth, they would take them out at night and put them in a glass of water, my dad would do exactly the same with his eye.
Growing up in the 1950's meant I lived through massive change during those days, we went from when a person of colour was a rarity and a novelty to some areas becoming totally Asian or black in a relatively short period of time, it was a rapid and massive change and a cultural shock not only for the indigenous English but also for the black and Asian immigrants. No one asked the British people if they wanted such a massive cultural change and the immigrants were told how the 'Motherland' needed them and their skills. Sadly, when they arrived they found a dull, wet, cold miserable country still recovering from the ravages of the war, slum clearances and a population who did not know how to interact with them.
As usual this was all orchestrated by useless, out of touch, politicians who did not have to live with the consequences of their actions. Considering how this massive change was thrust on the British population without their consent they coped remarkably well. Yes, there was racism and racist organisations such as the National Front came into being, but just like Oswald Mosely's Black Shirts of the 1930's they did not get the support of the British people and have since faded into obscurity. On the whole the indigenous population adapted well and now everyone, apart from a few, take it as normal seeing people of differing races and cultures in their towns, cities and neighbourhoods. We should be celebrating how the nation adapted rather than presuming everyone is a racist.
I was raised to be extremely proud of our long history and the fact it was us in Great Britain that led in the abolition of vile slavery with the campaign to abolish it by William Wilberforce and many others. It has to be asked, why are so many organisations being critical our past and picking on inanimate statues of obscure people from history, or even such things a parkin pie just because it contains sugar and ginger and a few centuries ago those items were produced via the slave trade? The chances are anyone producing parkin pie today will have purchased the ingredients via Fairtrade which helps people in other countries sell their produce and improves their lives. Banning those products today, just because in the past they were linked to slavery, will not change the past but will do more harm than good today as it will remove much needed trade from poorer parts of the world.
When at school in the 1950's we had to learn the long history of our nation, our kings and queens, the good and the bad. I was taught to be extremely proud of our Empire and the Commonwealth that had sprung from it. Now the kids are taught to be ashamed of every thing I was taught to be proud of - confusing or what?
As a teenager in the 1960's during my 'Mod' period we all went mad for black music, tamla Motown and black American soul music. It was us baby boomers who are now branded old, white and institutionally racist who, by purchasing the music of many black artists such as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Martha Vandella, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations and many others who made these people famous and wealthy. We would flock to theatres, dance halls and clubs to see them. I remember the wonderful night I saw Ike & Tina Turner performing in the Mojo Club in Sheffield when my parents thought I was staying at a friends locally in Walsall! How can those of us who loved all this black music in our teens be classed as racist now we are in our seventies?
It is seldom mentioned that many white people from the South coast of England and Ireland were taken several centuries ago by Arab slavers, also that many African's also took other Africans to sell into the slave trade we all, no matter what race, have slaving blood on our hands. But this is in the past and what we should be worried about today is modern slavery by international crime gangs. We can't change the past but should be making the future and this moment better now.
Yes, there maybe racist yobs in the country, but these are a minority, not the norm. The great majority of ordinary decent people go about their daily lives doing their best to get along with everyone they encounter. It is time to stop presuming people are racist and have to undergo Orwellian training programmes, we just need to get on with our lives without being insulted by a politically correct, out of touch, minority.