Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Racialism and stuff, innit?

Now I'm not a fan of targetted searches based on skin colour, even though I can see the logic behind them. They stir up all kinds of racial tension and resentment, plus help create an "us" vs. "them" feeling which is never helpful. So it's quite heartening to see first Peter "useless twat" Hain and then Hazel "dozy nonentity" Blears speak out against them.

But it must be said, Hain's assertions that racially-tagetted searches would help terrorist recruitment, coming as they do so soon after the Dear Leader's dismissal of any suggestion that anything other than their EVIL nature helps terrorists recruit, seems a tad odd. ("Nope, this guy didn't blow himself up because he'd witnessed two years' worth of images of people being killed in Iraq and repeatedly saw Blair and co ignore the public and the opinion polls over the war, it was because some policeman held him up for five minutes to rummage through his sandwiches... Oh yes, and because he's EEEEEVVVVIIIILLLL")

It also seems a tad odd that no one has yet explained why searching random people with bags is less likely to cause suicide bombers to detonate than a bunch of plain clothes policemen rushing at them with automatic guns, ready to shoot them in the head. Krishnan Guru-Murphy tried to get an answer on that very question on Channel 4 News last night, and it was not so skilfully avoided.

But this does start to show the next line of argument for ID cards. Much as with the right to lock us all up without trial, they're going to start off targeting small groups (then it was foreigners, this time it's ethnic minorities) but then say "hey guys, it's unfair and prejudiced to target small groups - we'll target EVERYBODY! Just for the sake of fairness, you understand?"

ID cards will, for some reason which they'll no doubt have worked out by the time they launch this, enable us merely to flash the things at the rozzers and go about our business unmolested. (Because it's not as if the 7th July bombers were - just like the rest of us - British citizens with no previous history of terrorism, is it? Oh... Erm...)

And, of course, the fact that our Ethiopian chappie currently held in Rome used a false identity will also heighten the government's assertions that we should all have official ID. The likes of the Sun and the Mail will doubtless jump in straight behind it due to their ongoing hatred of all things asylum-seeker.

But the major question the government needs to answer - if our dear terrorist chum managed to convince the Home Office that he was a different nationality, had a different name and sucessfully applied for asylum under false pretences without anyone knowing - is how exactly they're going to make sure that this doesn't happen during the process of issuing us all with ID cards in the first place?

10 Comments:

Blogger snooo said...

With racially targetted searches, we've been here before. In the early 80s the Met Police organised searches "based on intelligence" to stop a media-hyped "wave" of muggings and crime. Usually this meant swamping an entire community with huge numbers of police officers.

Result? Brixton riots, and over 20 years of distrust between the Police and quite a few Black people.

Hopefully we're not seeing history about to repeat itself.

8/02/2005 11:09:00 am  
Blogger Phil said...

it's quite heartening to see first Peter "useless twat" Hain and then Hazel "dozy nonentity" Blears speak out against them.


Hazel Blears, March 2005:

"If a threat is from a particular place then our action is going to be targeted at that area. It means that some of our counter-terrorism powers will be disproportionately experienced by the Muslim community."

Hazel Blears, August 2005:

"if your intelligence in a particular area tells you that you're looking for somebody of a particular description, perhaps with particular clothing on, then clearly you're going to exercise that power in that way. That's absolutely the right thing for the police to do."

What was the 'speaking out against' bit?

8/02/2005 11:12:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Phil - but that CAN'T be right - look: Hazel Blears, August 2005 - "I have never, ever endorsed that... I don't accept it is right simply to target groups."

You aren't suggesting that they aren't being entirely honest with us, are you? That would be shocking!

8/02/2005 11:18:00 am  
Blogger Phil said...

Ah. She's never, ever endorsed a hypothetical policy of targeting British Muslims on the unfounded assumption that they're likely to be a bit dodgy. What she endorses is the policy of targeting any group that we know to be a bit dodgy (because the spooks say so), even if the group in question is 'all British Muslims'. Not the same thing at all.

8/02/2005 01:11:00 pm  
Blogger sean said...

Perhaps when Muslims stop trying to blow us to bits, we can stop racially profiling them.
This is just absurd PC drivel. Are we saying the police MUST include Methodists, paraplegics and white nuns in their stop and search drives, just so Muslims won't be offended? Hell-o?
I know, next time there's a suspected rapist om the loose, I - as a man - will demand that women be put under suspicion as well, just in case the rapist was a lesbian with a strap-on. Otherwise it's 'gender profiling', innit?
Knobheads.

8/02/2005 02:16:00 pm  
Blogger Phil said...

Perhaps when Muslims stop trying to blow us to bits, we can stop racially profiling them.

What's the 'racial profile' of a Muslim, again? More to the point, can you suggest a 'profile' which would have fitted all the eight or nine bombers we know about? None of them looked either Nordic or Chinese, but beyond that...

8/02/2005 03:36:00 pm  
Blogger dearieme said...

A passport is an ID card. I rest my case.

8/02/2005 04:53:00 pm  
Blogger sean said...

Phil

I for one, as a Londoner, would feel a little easier if, say, all dark-skinned men, between 16 and 40, carrying rucksacks and large-ish bags, were stopped and searched before getting on the Tube or bus. Ditto young women in Muslim-style headscarves. Or men with beards and Taliban style robes.
There, that wasn't too hard, was it? Heart still bleeding?
And if the police want to stop me, now I have a suntan after my few days in Cornwall, i won't object. And nor should the Muslims.
But if they do object... well...
Hopefully the 30% of UK Muslims that 'want to bring Western society down', or the 5% of them that actively 'want to kill us', or the 29% of them who 'think they have integrated too much already' will be so offended by this they will fuck off back to Pakistan.
Then everyone will be happier - them, us, and the peacaeble Muslims who don't hate or want to kill us.
Result!

8/02/2005 06:55:00 pm  
Blogger snooo said...

Often South Asians are confused and the groups is treated badly regardless of whether they are Muslim or not... Which is not to say that we should be targetting Muslims at all, but that this is racial profiling.

Phill - hope you don't get stopped with your brown tan and rucksack on the way home, or shot dead by a marksman. That would be awful. Wouldn't want to get you confused and all.

8/02/2005 08:36:00 pm  
Blogger snooo said...

Woops, that bit of vitrol there was for sean, not phil.

8/02/2005 08:36:00 pm  

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