Ever since the news broke that the BNP had secured two seats in the recent European parliament elections, I’ve been really troubled and have been wrestling with what would be a suitable & gracious response.
Anyhow, I think I’ve found that response in the form of this wonderful post on Tom Attah’s blog “Curry and a bit of Motown”. Clearly it’s written from the perspective of a Black English man, which is something I not (as a white Scot with an English accent), but I did find a lot in this post that resonated with me.
When the vote was announced I couldn’t adequately express my initial anger and dismay, so since then I’ve tried in my own mind to understand what it is that has allowed some sectors of the community to become so disenfranchised and fearful that they would be willing to align themselves - by virtue of their cast votes – with such an extreme party. I have to confess, I’ve largely failed to understand.
As I’ve gone about my business, travelled on the train, spent time with family, friends and colleagues here in London I’ve found myself thinking deeply about what a terrifying prospect it would be if a party like the BNP held power. They seem to be yearning for a mythical time of so-called racial purity that has never really existed. History tells us that this amazing island where we live has - for many centuries - been defined by the lives of those coming and going.
For me the notion that there is a pure indigenous British people is wholly erroneous, or at least long gone. I’ve taken more notice than usual of background and ethnicity of the people I know and I see around me to try and get some kind of a feel of who would be considered “indigenous”, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that we are deeply reliant on each other – we’re connected on many levels, and there’s no going back….thankfully.
“How do we take a message of understanding and inclusion…to people who have forgotten it or never been taught that they belong in the world, not on an island?
For me, as a follower of Jesus – someone who strives to live by the maxim Love God, Love Others - there are few better responses than this from Desmond Tutu that I’ve used on this blog before:
Jesus said, 'If I be lifted up I will draw all, all, all, all, all. Black, white, yellow, rich, poor, clever, not so clever, beautiful, not so beautiful. It's one of the most radical things. All, all, all, all, all, all, all, all. All belong. Gay, lesbian, so-called straight. All, all are meant to be held in this incredible embrace that will not let us go. All.