Sunday, 21 November 2010

'White Folk': just another clan or ethnic category?

LAST week, three High Court judges reserved judgement when considering Labour MP Phil Woolas's bid to seek a judicial review to challenge an earlier decision of an election court on the 5th November to declare void his election to the Seat of Oldham East & Saddleworth at last May's General Election. A judgement may be expected this week. An earlier Court had said he could not seek a judicial review in the High Court and ought to go the the Court of Appeal. Mr Woolas's legal team have argued that the election court is an inferior court and that its decisions could be subject to judicial review in the High Court.

Since November 5th, 2010 Phil Woolas is no longer the MP for Oldham East & Saddleworth. This weekend Northern Voices spoke to some of Mr Woolas's white constituents in an area called Derker in Oldham, that has suffered from a scheme called the Pathfinder under the previous Labour Government: the controversial Housing Market Renewal Initiative Pathfinder has left massive areas of dereliction in our northern heartlands. Surprisingly, considering what the Labour Government did to them, one woman told me that she thought it was 'disgusting' what Elwyn Watkins the Liberal Democrat had done in taking the case to Court to seek redress.

What are we to make of this? After all, Joe Fitzpatrick, the Labour Party agent for Mr Woolas, in the run up to the general Election had said in an email to a colleague that 'If we don't get the white folk angry, he's gone' and 'We need to do an article ... to explain to the white community how the Asians will take him (Phil Woolas) out.'

Why should the 'white folk' readily tolerate being treated thus? Why should the 'white folk' accept being treated as an ethnic category to be cynically stirred up?

Perhaps the 'white folk' despise a bad loser more than a dirty campaigner. One possibility is that folk just don't like being exposed as being fools, but my source suggested that while there may have been lies in the leaflets of Phil Woolas she told me there were lies in the literature of the Lib Dems. Yet there is just a possibility that my contact believes or wants to believe in what Woolas said about 'Watkins being in the pocket of Islamic extremists' or words to that effect. What perhaps rests behind this is suggested by what the Labour Agent, Mr Fitzpatrick, also said in his email: '... and Musad ( a Lib Dem councillor) his stitched up his clan and the Bengalis'. This suggests something of the wheeling and dealing that goes on in the marketing of clans in these northern towns and in this fixing process 'the white folk' or the white working classes become yet another ethnic category to be traduced, deceived or just 'stitched up'.

1 comment:

bammy said...

The offending leaflet issued by the Oldham East & Saddleworth Labour Party just before the General Election last May contained the following:

'Extremists are trying to hijack this election. They want you to vote Lib Dem to punish Phil for being strong on immigration. The Lib Dems plan to give hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants the right to stay. It is up to you? Do you want the extremists to win?'