Saturday, 25 February 2012

#Localism #Roots and #Racism - Cultural AIDS and Social Arthritis - #bhbudget

Recently during the Brighton and Hove budget debate an item was raised that, I think, is the nub of all these issues.

One councillor questioned the commitment that newcomers/incomers to an area have to the history and culture of the people of that area, as compared to people 'born and bred' in an area. In return another councillor (not a native of the area) suggested that incomers were a good thing to prevent inbreeding.

In many university towns there is some friction between the transient students and the settled/native population - students being seen as non-taxpayers who have no long term commitment to the area, the native population feeling that they are picking up the bill and getting no long term benefit in return.

In Brighton and Hove this seems to be coming to a head as more or the originally transient students settle permanently in the area attracting other newcomers in - often without ever having 'integrated' with the native population.

Where does this leave 'localism'? Are the 'locals' whoever happens to be in an area on a particular day? If so, at least that is clear - but if not, then where is the line drawn between who is and who isn't local, and so who should be given the power that 'localism' is supposed to be handing down?

To apply the blanket term 'racists' to people who want to preserve the heritage/culture simply doesn't make sense - that would suggest that all 'anti-colonials' were simply racist and should have just submitted to colonial rule. This isn't about race or genetics, its about culture, the social norms of a society and their development.

It seems to me that the UK is suffering from Cultural AIDS and Social Arthritis - having never had to really defend the our way of life on our own soil, earlier migrants and their cultures have simply been absorbed - adding what good they may have, and letting the bad fade away. But now we see the rise of more militant alternative ways of life - ways that don't want to develop/integrate with what is here, but to simply replace what we have.

The UK's culture has never needed that much of an immune system to preserve the good, it simply overwhelmed/adapted/integrated good new things letting the bad fall away - but now with mass migration, bad, unwanted elements of some cultures are establishing permanent footholds and will not simply fade away - our immune system is being overwhelmed.

And even where our society does have some defences left, like a body with arthritis, it ends up turning them on itself - while the good fights the good, the bad simply breezes through.

If someone seeks to join a society, I would, at the very least expect them to make the effort to learn the language well enough to communicate effectively, and to have the humility to understand and absorb the culture before setting themselves up to direct it.

Linda Hyde puts the case for local people and their attachment to local heritage


Ania Kitcat suggests incommers are good to prevent inbreeding

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