For the past few days, Tottenham and a few other vibrantly multicultural areas of London have been experiencing diversity’s strength.
It has taken the shape of chairs smashing shop widows, Molotov cocktails igniting autobuses, Black fists smashing White faces, charging youths hurling missiles, private enterprise going up in flames, and police officers going down to hospital.
It has also taken the shape of a wave of socialism, which has swept through the high streets redistributing wealth, transforming shops into great piñatas to be exploded, with TVs, iPods, trainers, mobile phones, jewellery, chemist products, carpets, and booze of various grades and descriptions being transferred from shops to local residents in thousands of unrecorded transactions, at all hours of the night and day, without need for shop assistance.
Diversity’s strength is seldom experienced in such magnitude and with such euphoria, and this has prompted commentators to theorise as to the causes. After all, the event that caused multiculturalism suddenly to flex its muscle—the martyring by the police of a Black cocaine dealer and gang member, who apparently resisted arrest and whose gun was subsequently recovered at the scene—took place on Thursday last week, and the initial calls for justice have since evolved into the joyous celebration of hands-on socialism described above.
In evidence has been the great creativity of the theories that have been advanced. Diversity’s newly grown musculature has been variously blamed on poverty, idle youth, excessive urbanisation, overcrowding, alienation, the government’s austerity measures, the Summer heat, Twitter, BlackBerry’s messenger service, too many White policemen, unemployment, the city’s Mayor being on holiday, and a ‘tiny unrepresentative minority’ of thugs and criminals.
Unfortunately, in the eagerness to display their originality and intellectual flair, said commentators have conspicuously neglected the first explanation that came to my mind, to the point that, out of a need to heighten my amusement, I imagined a scenario where this was all product of a tacitly coordinated effort to drown consumers of mainstream media in a morass of alternative perspectives, hoping that in this way the omission will pass unnoticed.
Since I live in sheep country, surrounded by green hills bare of human habitation, I felt somewhat left out of the party, so I decided to join in the fun by advancing my own theory:
Could it not be that human biodiversity in the affected areas of London may have something to do with the very idiosyncratic interpretations of public etiquette and wealth creation we have witnessed via our television screens?
I say that because some fifteen years ago I happened to pass through Tottenham in London and had the opportunity to sample the vibrancy of that community. The previous year I had also passed through some of the other areas currently being swept by multicultural joy. Shop signs displayed a dizzying array of languages and scripts; butchers offered meat to challenge even the stoutest of digestive systems; newsagents exhibited an impressive depth of coverage in the chthonic regions of tabloid and Urdu-speaking journalism; and kitchen fans attached to restaurants expelled exotic aromas reminiscent of cumin, rice, and fried poultry laced with samonella, e-coli, and avian flu. All the same, it was not quite foreign-occupied land, for, in fact, both corner shops and off-licences betrayed a great deal of ecological adaptation to the Western diet by the local residents, who supplemented their ethnic staples with a diet of carbonated drinks, crisps, vegelate, and strong booze. Indeed, they seemed spoilt for choice when it came to sampling the Western menu: any one of them seeking to eat out, or in, Western-style, had a McDonalds, a Burger King, a Pizza Hut, a Perfect Pizza, and a Domino’s Pizza, all within walking distance. In short, there was much of anything and everything, jumbled up together, compressed into a small and densely populated area, where it was possible to hear just about any language (193 are spoken), not including broken and heavily accented versions of Cockney.
I say also because this multiplicity of forms has also been noted by one Rizwana Hamid, who, speaking to the BBC, analysed the phenomenon in terms of a confluence of ‘many, many, many different communities coming together’, living check-by-jowl in an intensely urbanised area. And she is not exaggerating, for, alongside the many Colombians, Congolese, Albanians, Kurds, Turks, Turkish-Cypriots, Somalis, and Ghanaians, in Tottenham 113 ethnic groups share in the bliss.
That tallies pleasurably well with my own observations, even though from a time when diversity had not yet gone on a course of anabolic steroids, supplied by the enriching immigration policy of Tony Blair’s Labour government.
The astonishing richness of ethnicities is also replicated at the gang level. One of them, Tottenham Mandem, is described in Wikipedia as
composed of over a dozen affiliated sets, according to geographical location[, including] Stargang, Bloodline, Broadwater Farm, Reed Road CRIPZ, Bruce Castle Kings, Bruce Grove, Chestnut Black Gang, Ida Bloodstarz, NPK, Philip Lane Boys, Scotland Green, Tower Gardens Black Bandana Gang (New Youngers Set), Stonebridge Mandem (Ermine / Plevna / Stonebridge), Broad Lane, Suffolk & Twyford Goons, [and] Tiverton Piru & Selby Road.
These have greatly contributed to the local economy with recreational psychotropic products not found in the supermarket. They have also livened up the nightlife with sounds that British people previously only heard in American Westerns and television cop shows. The cremation industry is booming.
Evidently, such variety and constant excitement generates unexpected synergies, which, as we have seen, make Tottenham residents more susceptible than their fellow Londoners to rapturous displays of exuberance.
Yet, if we are looking for causes, this is merely to scratch the surface, for this multicultural paradise did not spontaneously generate. The latter is the product of decades of hard work by British politicians, who since the 1950s have been enthusiastic proponents of racial diversity, establishing a stellar record of commitment to alleviating the dull Whiteness of this isle through a generous and constant infusion of colour. By far the most distinguished record belongs to Tony Blair’s Labour government, which early on put into operation an ambitious programme to trounce his predecessors in this endeavour, opening up immigration to the world and liberating the Home Office from the burden of accurately keeping track of incomers. This was a very bold move, much commented upon when it came to light some years ago, and thus Britons have much to thank him for.
Perhaps the reason commentators in the media are skirting around the racial dimension, and avoiding racialist analyses, is that they realise that, absent the racial element, Tottenham residents would have been deprived of the excitement of the past few days. I imagine they do not wish to inflame the Whites who have so far been denied a say on how much diversity they are entitled to.
With good timing, the independent British thinktank, Civitas, has called for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to be abolished, taking the view that the body has failed to create meaningful equality and, with a £53,000,000 budget, offers poor value for money. I agree, as with full equality the joys of multiculturalism would have been evenly distributed across the country, and not restricted to Tottenham and selected areas of London.
Not surprisingly the police, the London mayor, and the government are proving unpopular, both among the jubilant youths celebrating their diversity in the streets, and the mean-spirited Whites who resent all the excitement and would like it quickly contained. The police have had an especially challenging task, trying to balance their ethnic sensitivity training (nowadays a copious portion of their training manuals) against their more prosaic duties, such as preventing the destruction of property and the assaulting and mugging of pedestrians.
Marvelled by this impressive display of diversity’s strength, we can expect much debate to follow in the aftermath of the party. Proponents of diversity will no doubt feel much encouraged to intensify their efforts to promote it and to visit it upon diversity-deprived areas, for the events in Tottenham will have convincingly demonstrated to them that much more of it is needed. This is certainly true here, where I live: there is zero diversity and the past few days have passed in sleepy tranquillity, with nearby villagers content to enjoy the simple pleasures of fresh air and beautiful scenery, secure in the knowledge that their homes and their shops will still be there when they return.