Mr Donald Dewar,MSP,
The Scottish Parliament,
DEAR MR DEWER,
I would like to state that I am extremely displeased at reports that certain of our public services are being subjected to politically motivated pressure to set ” target recruitment quotas” for “Black and Asian” recruits. You need to be told, fairly and squarely that this is politically incompetent, and completely unacceptable.
At the end of the Second World War, Britain was full of ” ethnic minorities”. We had Polish people, Italians, Germans, and Jewish people. We also acquired Greeks, Czechs, Hungarians, even Russians, and a great plethora of others mainly from the Communist Bloc countries. It is my understanding that they were all allowed to make their homes in this country on the condition that they would not expect any special favours, privileges or concessions for their own particular ethnic groups. They were to live here only on the basis of stand-alone, private individuals, who simply discreetly meshed-in to our society in their own way. They were expected to pledge that they would not combine along ethnic lines to seek any kind of political power for their own ethnic groups, no matter how numerous they might be in any particular area. As far as I am aware, they have always honoured that pledge to the British.
There is an extremely good reason, of enormous political importance, for that pledge. Ethnic group jealousy, rivalry, and inter-ethnic group squabbles ( together with inter-religious group quarrels ) are the most notorious cause of civil wars in countries all around the world. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of clamping down very firmly on any moves by non-native groups to set themselves up as power- blocs and claim special privileges for themselves along ethnic group lines. Every country has its non-native section, with people from a wide range of ethnicities, but none of them can ever be allowed to set themselves up like sub-nations claiming any quotas for this or that.
How is it then, that some people within the non-native section of our society, i.e. those who so grandly style themselves the ” Black and Asian minorities”, have such a grossly inflated sense of their own importance in our society, that they persistently fail to honour that convention, and claim privileges which are neither available to, nor claimed by anyone else? This is a very serious matter indeed – with a potentially very dangerous extrapolation.
If “Black” or “Asian” candidates for recruitment wish to enter our public services, then they must do only in the status of private individuals, who are recruited purely on the basis of their own personal merits and qualities – as is the case with everyone else. I have, I must say, extremely strong political objections to any political pressure operating behind-the- scenes to bring in ” target recruitment quotas” for these groups – in complete defiance of the already described convention of this country.
We can do very well without this “Ethnic Group Activist” nonsense, and respectable politicians should disassociate themselves from it completely. The only ethnic group in this country with any right to claim quotas on anything is the native home population, but who would have thought we’d ever need to in our own homeland? I suppose I need hardly tell you the real reason behind this: it is that the Labour Party down in London, in a most unstatesmanlike way, have been giving in to blackmail.
You probably know this already, but this is how it works. The Labour Party does all it can to court the ” Black and Asian” vote, especially down in London and the inner city enclaves; and they are prepared to make all kind of promises and concessions to them to secure Parliamentary seat there. However, certain members of the CRE ( which the Labour Party created) have ” let the cat out of the bag” in claiming that they want one in every four parliamentary and local government candidates in London, to be Black or Asian. This is putting Tony Blair in a difficult situation. If he refuses to give in to this kind of pressure to make one in every four Labour candidates for London either Black or Asian, these groups may put up their own candidates in opposition to the official Labour candidate. They may either split the vote enough to let the Conservatives in, or these “ethnic” candidates may win on their own, and the Labour Party could be denied the ability to form a government, having insufficient seats. If however, Blair were to give in to this demand, then he would be obliged to un-seat several of his supporters to do it, and that would either tear the Party apart, or have him thrown out of leadership. So, to keep a compromise going, he is desperately ” bending over backwards” to push for as many concessions as will appease them (for the time being) thinking that this will keep himself and his Party in clear water.
In that he couldn’t be more wrong. If he thinks he can put the entire British nation into a blackmail situation just to get himself out of an awkward problem within his own political Party, he is very much mistaken. He can keep the backwash of all this London-style blackmail right out of Scotland, because we are having none of it.
This problem of sections of the Labour Party persistently encouraging certain ethnic groups, within the non-native section of our society, to set themselves up as ethnically- defined power-blocs, to further their own political ambitions, has to be dealt with very firmly and urgently. Honest people in Scotland did not, I am sure, vote for the traditional ” Labour ” label, just to find all this nonsense going on.
The Labour Party would do well to remember that Machiavelli said “ Those responsible for another’s rise to power, almost invariably ruin themselves” Machiavelli didn’t know the word “blackmail” but I’m sure he understood the concept perfectly well. Once it starts it never stops. Machiavelli also said that nobody ever solved a problem, or prevented a war, by delaying essential, remedial or defensive action: all you do is give away advantage to whoever or whatever is causing the problem. The time to deal with a problem is when you detect the first signs of trouble. Leaving remedial action until the time when everyone is aware of the problem, can all too often mean it’s already too late.
Blackmail of this kind, be it only the ” Thin-end-of-the-wedge”, cannot be tolerated.
Needless to say the First Minister, the much lauded (by Labour at least) “Father of the nation” sic erat scriptum, declined to lower himself to give a personal answer. He delegated the onerous task to Rhona Carr of the Scottish Executive’s “Equality Unit” who sent a brief résumé of the “Equality Units” glorious role in Scottish society, but didn’t even attempt to answer Evelyn’s critical points – big mistake! The “Equality Unit’s” résumé is unworthy of reprint here, but never being one to suffer fools gladly Evelyn did not “pull her punches” in her reply which she sent by E-mail.
Dear M/s Carr,
I have received your ridiculous reply to my letter to the First Minister in Scotland, in which I expressed a serious, and highly justifiable, political complaint.
At the risk of sounding like an exasperated professor, throwing back an unsatisfactory exam answer at a lazy, inadequate student, my reply is this: ” You did not answer the question! What you presented was an obvious pre-composed, standardised piece of pre-packaged “sausage-meat”, churned out with no regard as to whether it truly answered the question or not. In presenting this, you have shown yourself utterly incapable of in-depth, properly adequate analysis of the question presented”. The question presented is: “Why should immigrants and non-natives of certain ethnicities (Black, Asian or any other) claim or be granted concessions, such as ethnic quota targets in public services, which are neither available to, nor claimed by any other ethnic groups in our society (Inc. natives)”. You did not answer this. The matter is not whether or not “Black and Asian people” should work in public services: it is that quota- fixing for any ethnic group or groups is politically and morally unacceptable.
I know people of Italian and Polish origin who are just as angry that this push is going on, behind-the-scenes, for this is not the set of rules under which they took residence in this country. Nobody gives them or anyone else any quotas (they have better manners and better sense ever to try seeking them) and the native home population would be very angry if anyone tried. Nobody gives the Scots, the Welsh, the Irish or the English any ethnical defined quotas; and any attempt to introduce them would be both greatly ridiculed and so fought over, that we would all realise that, as a society we are far better off without them.
You were not asked to comment on cultural or ethnic diversity. Your reply might have had relevance, had we been talking about Edinburgh Festival or the British Museum; but we are not. Your pre-packaged, “shop- window display”, political propaganda “sausage-meat” reply impresses nobody.
For your information, the only “ethnic minorities” which exist in this country, qualifying for recognition as such, are the Scots, the Welsh, the Irish, possibly the Highland Gaels, and possibly the Gypsies. Everyone else, in the non-native section of society, lives in the constitutional status and role relevant to individuals in a mixed-bag of diverse character, diverse origin, stand alone, unaffiliated people who are expected to blend- in discretely with the native population in their own way. Whether or not they present part of their culture to the native population, whether it be an Italian restaurant, Polish sausage shop, or oriental craft shop, is up to them. They are not however, allowed to band together to make any political demands, or push for any privileges for any particular ethnic groups of which they claim to be members. They must keep their issue of their ethnicity out of politics. To allow that is to encourage the rise of sectarian attitudes, ethnic-group activism, and the institutionalised fragmentation of society along ethnic lines. Only a highly incompetent government would allow that.
Be careful how you use the word “equality” for you are misusing it very badly. Equality is not about seeking for special privileges: it is about living on the same basic terms as others. People in search of employment must present their personal abilities as individuals, nothing more, nothing less. Ethnic quota -filling is a thoroughly bad system – The product of over- simplistic minds, which causes far more problems than it solves. There is neither any need nor public support for it in Scotland. It is fair enough to talk about racial quality in matters concerning the basic human rights of the individual, but equality also means standing in the same cold, hard light as everyone else, without any special bypasses or concessions labelled This-or That target Quotas.
Constitutionally, this is a single nation country, and that principle has to be defended and upheld. That principle can only be reconciled with tolerance of the presence of people of other ethnicities, as long as the people in the non-native section stay in the role of stand- alone individuals who take their chances in life as they come, without seeking any special favours for any ethnic group.
I hope that clarifies the situation for you.
No further reply was ever received. Unsurprisingly!