Alex Illingworth: Black Lives Matter & Cameron’s Dodgy Honours List!


The political scene in Britain this week has remained dangerously quiet, which on the one hand is an annoyance, giving me much less to write about, and on the other hand is a matter for concern, since it begs the question – what are they actually doing? The Labour Party remains caught up in its own internal factional politics, and the Conservatives seem to be capitalising on this immensely. UKIP is, seemingly, dying. Ripping itself apart over the loss of Farage – who knows whether it will survive?

The political seen is dangerously quiet

Yesterday (7th August) saw Black Lives Matter protests sweep the United Kingdom, their tag line this time being the somewhat less-than-innocuous #shutdown. Tram lines were blocked, a major road into Heathrow airport too, causing major disruption, as was the protesters’ intention. Perhaps if the protesters acted like every other citizen, and used their right to protest by highlighting points which they have every right to debate and bring to the public’s attention, yesterdays’ protests would not have been so bad. However, by following a programme of civil disobedience, otherwise known as criminal activity, instead of highlighting the prejudices and illiberal treatment that they wish to put across that people of colour face, they instead make themselves look like nothing more than a selfish, irritating group of self-righteous children.

Blocking the road to Heathrow has nothing to do with the plight of people of colour. The law is, fortunately, not something which can just be bent to the will of a small group of people – if such was the case, we would have mob rule, and thankfully that is something as-yet unadopted by the government Britain. Therefore, the people engaging in such protests should have expected to be arrested, and I sincerely hope that further acts of public disturbance are dealt with accordingly.

Black Lives Matter are self-righteous children

There were also calls for reparations from the British government to people of colour. This is nothing new, and it should be met with the same response as it has in the past – “No”. Contrary to what many supporters of BLM would suggest, this is not an anti-black response. Nor is it a defence of the challenges that ethnic minorities face – it is instead common sense. If a stranger approached you on the street and asked for money because he claimed your great-great-grandfather owed his great-great-grandfather some money but never paid it back, you would tell this stranger to get lost. These protesters are asking exactly the same thing on a much larger scale. Not only are they propagating the ridiculous notion the guilt for crimes against humanity carries across generations, and somehow this generation of white British people have blood on their hands for the 18th and early 19th century’s slave trade; but they also reveal themselves to be nothing more than money scroungers.

In a time when all parts of British society are struggling, the use of foodbanks are widespread and many people struggle to get by, it would be a direct contradiction of the concept of equality to give a certain ethnic group special treatment. Reparations paid to people of colour for slavery would not only achieve nothing to end the prejudices they face today – it would be an endorsement by government of a null concept, that of transferable guilt.


Larry the cat is more interesting than politics right now

On the one hand, I was not surprise to see that the internet was obsessing over the Downing Street cat feuds. It’s exactly the kind of unimportant story that the media will obsess about and people will focus on rather than asking important questions such as: “So what’s happening with Brexit now?”.

That being said, given how quiet things have been, the tales of Larry the No. 10 cat and Palmerston the Foreign Office moggy is much more exciting than politics at the moment. I also must commend the staff of these respective ministries for the naming of their pets. Larry wasn’t that inventive, but Palmerston for Foreign Office and Gladstone for the Treasury? I love it! More people should name their pets after historical political figures: it would be a great point of conversation at parties.


Cameron’s dodgy honours list

When they said that David Cameron had gone through the staff list of 10 Downing Street for his resignation honours list, they really weren’t joking. David Cameron’s resignation honours list not only brings the honours system into disrepute, it also provides an embarrassing send-off for the former Prime Minister. Rather than attempt to leave with dignity and dispel what everyone said about him – that he was only in government for his friends, and big business interests, he creates an honours list rewarding his friends, his aides and big business interests who backed him in the EU referendum.

Really, I have to question Theresa May’s politics in not blocking it, when her maiden speech as Prime Minister was all for one nation conservatism, claiming to be striving for less elitism and more equality, so how can she defend Cameron’s list? It’s the antithesis of what she claims she wants the Tories to be?

Thankfully we may be spared some of the more questionable characters on the list but even still, we will seriously have to do more work in the future to scrutinise the use of the honours system if this is how our Prime Ministers are to use it. Frankly, cronyism on this scale is disgraceful.

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