"We No Longer Own It"

The following, by BBC presenter Dotun Adebayo, was, according to ‘Damon’, a commenter at the Pickled Politics site, printed in the Voice newspaper in September 2008.

Damon’s view of it : “It seems all kinds of people can feel this ”loss of hegemony”. When it’s articulated by the white working class (in places like East London) it’s usually called racism.

I’ll let it speak for itself, but I wonder – what would have been the career trajectory of a white BBC presenter writing such a piece, lamenting the loss of an earlier (John Major’s ?) Brixton or White City and complaining that “all the shops are now owned by“? Would they still be at the BBC ?


There used to be a time when everyone knew that Brixton belonged to us.
We fought for it, and made love for it.
Some of us even died in that corner of the landscape that would ever be black.

It didn’t mean that white folks weren’t welcome, all that it meant is that they KNEW it was ours, the same way as when I go to Norfolk or Suffolk, or any of the shires, I know that it’s NOT ours.
I’m on my ‘p’s and ‘q’s when I go up country, because I don’t have the backative to claim it as mine. And all the youts know this, so they’ve got the bottle to shout out ”N*****!” from across the road when they see you walking down one of their village streets or quiet country lanes.

I don’t have a problem with that because I KNOW when I venture out there I’m in a white mans country and the white man makes the rules.
Brixton was different though. Babylon THOUGHT he made the rules until Brixton made a stand against the so-called Operation ‘Swamp 81′. As the late Bernie Grant MP would say, the police got a ”bloody good hiding” that time.

There were of course casualties on both sides. But at least the message was clear all around the country that Brixton belonged to us. And so did Tottenham. And so did Hackney and Stonebridge and Peckham and Handsworth and Moss Side and Cheetham Hill and St Paul’s, so on and so forth.


Where ever you had an inner city, you had a corner of England that would be forever Jamaican or Nigerian or Bajan or St Kittian. We didn’t just put down roots, we put down down-payments on those areas, or at least our parents did. And like the law states, if you own a piece of this green and pleasant land, it’s yours.
Nobody can take it away from you (unless you divert the mortgage payments to buy a Ferrari).
But 27 years on, Brixton no longer belongs to us. I went down there the other day and discovered another country. Oh, we were still evident. It wasn’t like ‘’spot the black man” but we no longer own it.
The bars, the clubs, the resturants and shops no longer belong to us. With the exception of a pattie shop or two, Brixton belongs to everybody but us. It’s the same in Tottenham and Hackney. We spend most of the money, but virtually the only things we own are barbershops and hairdressers.
We’ve got ourselves to blame. Look at the Asian community. They came here at more or less the same time we did. They didn’t just put downpayments on the areas they claimed, they bought them outright.
Often jointly, communally, together as one family. So when you go to Southall, Alperton, Ealing, Whitechapel, and the other London areas they own, it’s all about Indiashire, Londonistan and Bangla-Brick Lane. They own the houses, the businesses AND the councils.
So who do you think makes the rules in those areas? It’s not the Women’s Institute and the Rotary Club and the Freemasons, I can tell you. Forget the local parish church and the sound of Bow Bells, it’s the Hindu temples and the mosques that call the shots, and if the Imam wants to call the belivers to worship at five in the morning, that’s up to him.

Like I said, we’ve got ourselves to blame. We had it all in the palm of our hands and we threw it away. We could have been contenders. We could have controlled entire neighbourhoods, businesswise and otherwise.
We should be in control of our local councils in those areas where we are/were the majority.


But after the street battles that won us our victories of the past (and not just us, because let’s face it – Asian communities benefited from the blood we shed in the eighties (the two Asian people burned to death in Handsworth Post Office didn’t – LT)) we rested on our laurels. Like ex-slaves, we indulged our new found freedoms far too long and partied until it was 1999. By then of course it was too late.

During the eighties and nineties more drugs were pumped into the black communities of Britain than ever before. I lived in and worked in Brixton at the time. Previously it had been all about the good sensi (or collie or lamb’s bread, as it used to be known). After the riots of 1981 and 1985, we began to see the emergence of hard drugs – heroin, speed, then cocaine, and then, of course, crack.

The drugs did their job, They subdued our people into submission. Those very same crack addicts that you see in ‘black’ neighbourhoods are the same guys who used to live on the frontline ready to protest at the injustices we suffered. Those injustices are still here, but if you ask the warriors of old to come out and demonstrate, they’ll fall prostrate, begging for one more hit.

You see, in winning the streets we really didn’t win anything. The streets belong to everybody, whatever your local gang might think. Real power and real wealth is all about who controls the means of production, the judiciary and executive.

The Nigerians of Peckham know this. They are the new Jamaicans. It remains to be seen whether they will be seduced into not buying the freehold of that corner of south east London that will forever be ‘Lagos’.


If your fifteen year old son listened to two people talking on the radio, commented ‘I really want to punch that guy in the face‘, and you knew that one of the two people was UKIP’s Nigel Farage, what odds would you give that it was the other guy he wanted to punch ?

Congratulations to Steven Nolan for his impressive achievement on R5 tonight. Following on from the Question Time attacks, Nolan waded straight into the attack with the same theme (‘rude Nigel’) and interrupted Farage continually (‘No, you didn’t … that’s a lie ..”) to the point where it was hard for him to ever finish a sentence.

I was amused by the bit where Nolan kept repeating ‘what was Van Rumpuy doing between 1993 and 1997 ?’ – as if Nolan would have had a clue before the researchers gave him the notes.

If Nolan had wanted to attack rudeness, he could have tackled his compatriot Colin Murray, who a few minutes before had used a four-letter word to describe a Welsh rugby coach’s (imagined) half-time talk.

And on the subject of Question Time, I see BBC favourite Janet Street Porter attacked Farage for racism. Strangely, for such an anti-racist, Ms Street Porter left her native London and now chooses to live in a white and monocultural part of the UK. As, strangely, does BBC favourite Billy Bragg. Not to mention Woman Sour’s ‘Jeni’ Murray. Most odd.

(With apologies to David Vance, twenty-five years coverage of the Troubles gave me a bit of an allergy to highly opinionated Ulstermen who love the sound of their own voices – the Seventies in particular providing a surfeit of such. Radio 5 already has a perfectly good one in Alan (‘I don’t want to criticise the referee, but his performance tonight was abysmal‘) Green. Do we really need two more, or couldn’t we swap Murray and Nolan for Vance?)

Follow The Money

The Marxist theory of history, as studied in their rebellious youth by so many senior BBC people, emphasises the importance of economic factors and the relations between what were called ‘the forces of production’. From these relations and their associated class relations sprang all the other institutions of society – and even the consciousness of the individuals in each class.

As P J O’Rourke puts it : “As a philosophic recipe, marxism is a cannelloni of the economical, stuffed with economics, and cooked in economic sauce.

Living in pre-Welfare State days, Marx and Engels devoted little thought to ‘the forces of consumption’ – non-productive individuals who consume scarce resources. In a previous B-BBC post I pointed out some of the demographic issues on which the BBC has been so strangely coy over the last 30 years.

The timebomb is serious, and makes the Government’s current credit crunch deficit look like small change. You can see a ‘population pyramid’ here – note the immediate post-war ‘blip’ of babies, then the great bulge born in the 50s and 60s. As that bulge moves into retirement over the next 25 years, the ratio of taxpayers to tax consumers (elderly people need more care and particularly more medical care) will fall. Where will the money come from to pay for their care ?

The Financial Times excellent Alphaville blog has an interesting (if depressing) post on the impact of demography upon government debt – and the ratio of government debt to gross domestic product (GDP) which is a rough measure of the capability of a country to repay its debt.

The unfavourable shift in dependency ratios, combined with sharply increased spending on pensions and healthcare is likely to cause a sustained deterioration in primary fiscal balances and a continuous increase in government debt to GDP ratios.

Translation : “Ageing populations will lead to an explosion in government debt over the long run“.

The cost of medical care is enormous, at 18% of the UK budget. Pensions and ‘social care’ account for around another 20%. The NHS bill is about to take off over the next two decades, as the boomers born between 1945 and 1965 move into retirement. Pressure to contain this budget will be enormous.

As the BBC’s pro-euthanasia campaign grinds on I can’t but think that some BBC editors and producers need to recall what they were taught or picked up from all those Politics and Sociology courses. We are moving into a period where governments, of any complexion, will be desperate to control rising health costs – and when, for the first time, the State broadcaster is running a continual stream of pro-euthanasia propaganda. To paraphrase Marx : “Follow the money”.

Will No One Rid Me Of This Meddlesome Priest ?

The BBC take a break from the ongoing euthanasia campaign to point out in the Radio Four news headlines the dangers of ‘a meddlesome pontiff interfering in British law‘.

It’s not often that I hear a BBC newsreader emphasising the Britishness of anything. Could it be that at last we’re entering the new Elizabethan age ?

Ireland, Ireland

The BBC gave the Irish sex abuse cases top billing

They even made a Vatican-driven reorganisation of the Irish Catholic Church the main item on Radio Four news a fortnight later.

Yesterday the resignation of a bishop made the PM news, with interviews and a correspondent report. Three online news items.

You’d almost think Ireland hadn’t been an independent nation for the past 90-odd years.

Yet coverage of the Irish budget, which made such a contrast to Alistair Darling’s earlier statement, was almost non-existent.

Most odd.

Admittedly Darling’s budget was the same day. But the Irish budget was important in that it was an attempt to shore up an economy which was over-borrowed, with collapsing tax revenues, a massive deficit, banks that survived by the skin of the taxpayer’s teeth and questions over the government’s credit-worthiness.

Not too far away from what we see in the UK, in fact. Obvious parallels begging to be drawn, yet Robert Peston, Stephanie Flanders and the BBC News editors heroically denied themselves.

Can’t imagine why the two topics should get such differing treatment. Can you?

Those Hindu Terrorists Again

… attacking the Muslim community.

Dickie tells Harry Pearce and Ros Myers that he has been running an asset who has infiltrated a group of Hindu nationalists, led by Harish Dhillon.

Dhillon’s group is planning an attack targeting Muslims and, with tensions between the Hindu and Muslim communities riding high, a furious Harry demands that Dickie hand over his asset …

Once again Spooks reflects the real issues facing contemporary Britain.

Re : Sarah Palin (and Barack Obama)

Don’t expect to see these polls featuring on the Today programme tomorrow.

Not that it matters politically because obviously she’s a female Republican dunce and he’s obviously a male Democratic genius.

But Sarah Palin’s poll numbers are strengthening.

And President Obama’s are sliding.

Guess what? They’re about to meet in the 40s.

Same Old Same Old …

The BBC’s Matt Frei is surely a worthy successor to Justin Webb. Take a listen to Sunday’s “Americana” on Radio Four – although I must warn you that you will never get those 30 minutes of your life back (fortunately I had a long drive to do on Sunday).

“As Sarah Palin kicks off her book tour around the nation this week, Americana takes time to learn more about the women that represent America as well as the women who work each day to make it run.”

Otherwise known as ‘let’s find a succession of women to take a pop at Sarah Palin‘.

I particularly liked the woman chosen to give us the more sympathetic take on Palin, the BBC’s idea of a ‘devil’s advocate’, one Amy Alexander, whose website shows, er, an interesting sensibility.

“Demonising Sarah Palin solidifies Sarah Palin’s base – the same crowd that calls President Barack Obama a socialist, a totalitarian sleeper and worse. The Left’s relentless demeaning of Palin gives more fuel to this crowd’s perverse, puritanical sense of victimisation. Palin, after all, is a human being – she is therefore worthy of respect. And for the liberal feminists out there of any gender, it is foolish not to admit that Sarah Palin posesses a high degree of ambition, self-confidence, and what we Americans call moxie – gumption to everyone else. Those are qualities we say we want to cultivate in women. I think it’s time we stopped fretting about Palin’s hypocrisy, contradictions, mangled syntax and stagey flag-waving, and acknowledged the postive parts of her persona. They do exist, and recognising them does not require you to dismiss her obvious shortcomings“.

She really came out fighting for Palin, didn’t she … the main guest, one ‘Cokey’ Roberts (I won’t hazard a guess how she got that name) turned out not to have actually read Palin’s book – but she apparently knew what was in it without reading it !

(One Republican representative was interviewed – and Frei opened by opining that Palin was a wake-up call to the ‘white old men’ of the party. And so it goes …).

Once More …

.. as John Allen Muhammed is executed, the BBC are puzzled by the motives of the perpetrator(s) of a shooting spree.

Sniper’s motive remains a mystery

They weren’t always so baffled. I distinctly remember the ‘angry white male’ theory being aired on the Today programme.

I know it’s difficult to distinguish between a racist murderer (of their ten murder victims, eight were white, one black and one Asian) who happens to be a Muslim (admittedly a member of a Muslim sect that could be considered racist) :

John Allen Muhammad, 45, and his accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, 21, brought America’s capital to a standstill in 2002 as they picked off white targets at petrol stations and shops in the city’s prosperous suburbs. Malvo testified that Muhammad, driven by hatred of America because of its “slavery, hypocrisy and foreign policy” and his belief that “the white man is the devil”, planned to kill six whites a day for 30 days.

Or an Islamist-inspired murderer :

(drawing by Lee Boyd Malvo presented in evidence – exhibit 65-057)

but you’d think the BBC might be able to give us the evidence and let us decide for ourselves.

The Incredible Sinking City – and more ‘militants’

The Englishman takes issue with the latest ‘We’re all going to drown” BBC story, on rising sea levels in Perth, Western Australia.

As he puts it : Two minutes with Mr Google and another scare story falls apart….

also in the Pacific – a teacher is beheaded in the Phillippines :

Police in the southern Philippines say the severed head of a kidnapped schoolteacher has been found in a bag at a petrol station. Gabriel Canizares was abducted by Abu Sayyaf militants three weeks ago. His body is still missing. He was travelling with colleagues on the island of Jolo when he was seized. The militants had demanded a ransom equivalent to $42,000 (£25,000; 28,000 euros) for Mr Canizares, which his family refused to pay. Education Secretary Jesli Lapus expressed shock at the teacher’s killing, saying six other teachers who had been kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf earlier this year had all been released despite threats to behead them.

Hmm. Tell us more about these ‘militants’ ?

Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for many of the country’s worst terrorist attacks, including the firebombing of a ferry in Manila Bay that claimed more than 100 lives in 2005, and the abduction of American tourists in 2001.

A land mine explosion under a military convoy carrying American troops on 29 September killed two US Army Special Forces soldiers – the first US military deaths in the southern Philippines in seven years.

Hmm. Any idea who these people are and what their motivation might be ?

* tumbleweed blows across street *