The priest’s sermon this Sunday concerned the integrated nature of things, all reaching up to that great controlling intelligence which lies somewhere beyond our ken. I think that was it anyway. I was having happy thoughts about how well Christmas with my friends had gone.
As I walked home in the weak winter sun, I passed an Asian grocer’s and saw a woman, part of the owner’s family, without a mask, in a paroxysm of coughing. She then spat the contents of her throat and mouth onto the ground outside the shop.
I called to her, asking if she spoke English. She did, and I politely said that spitting into the street is not a good idea, especially at the moment.
‘What do you want me to do with it?’ she yelled.
‘Put it into your handkerchief,’ I replied. She looked blank, then started expostulating about the terrible illness she was suffering from and how ‘sick’ she was. I walked away and as I did, she screamed, ‘Virus,’ at me with all the spitting venom she could muster.
It’s unpleasant to be called that and my festive spirit slumped.
I didn’t see the Queen’s Christmas Message, as we were still too involved with the lunch, but reading about it, relishing the joys of cultural ‘inclusivity,’ I felt a tinge of annoyance. It was hard not to wonder who the people are around HMQ, telling her for instance that Mary Seacole was a nurse who risked her life to save soldiers in the Crimea. Seacole kept a mobile canteen behind the lines, and wrote about her adventures in her excellent memoir which is still readily available. She was never a nurse and never referred to herself as black.
The Queen is a very good Christian woman, but she doesn’t have to walk down streets where people display their dangerous ignorance of basic hygiene, or have them shouting abuse at her. Multi-culturalism is hard for those that have to live it and the virus has made that tension worse.
South Asians, five million according to the 2011 census, are twenty percent more likely to die from the virus than other ethnic groups, and twelve years younger. But successive governments worshipping at the shrine of multi-culturalism have ignored the need to tackle them with basic public health education. Instead, the BBC blamed the Asian death rate on the government for not testing enough. But it was they who shone light on the issue, last October, with their Radio 4 documentary, ‘Born in Bradford,’ based on a hospital study of 12,500 mostly Pakistani pregnant women, and 14,000 babies, recruited between March 2007 and December 2010 and tracked for several years.
Bradford has some of the highest rates of childhood illness in the UK. It is now a world centre for the study of public health, or rather the lack of it. Bradfordians suffer from a huge scale of obesity, type 2 diabetes, forty percent of five-year olds have tooth decay, compared to a national average of 25%, others have disabilities caused by first cousin marriage. There’s a high infant mortality. The town now has the third highest number of COVID-19 deaths after Rochdale and Leicester.
Manzoor Moghal, Chairman of The Muslim Forum in Leicester, where adult diabetes is fifty percent higher than the average, making the population more vulnerable to the virus, has bravely written about the practical impact of political correctness.
‘The problems were hidden because of the city’s social, economic and cultural make-up. It’s an inescapable reality that ethnic minorities face particularly acute challenges when it comes to coronavirus,’ he wrote in The Mail on Sunday.
He had, ‘Growing concerns that my city was heading for a severe COVID-19 outbreak because, since the end of April, lockdown here has been observed in name only. Watching this play out was like living in a parallel world. Some pleaded ignorance of the lockdown rules. Others claimed that the council had not informed them of any measures. This was laughable, but what concerned me was that the local authorities were turning a blind eye and, until (a Sunday Times report) continued to do so. A Covid-19 outbreak was inevitable but no one wanted to take responsibility to stop it.
‘The rules should have been enforced to protect our community,’ he added bitterly.
Rather than any kind of ‘enforcement,’ more ‘outreach’ has been suggested. But the NHS spent £64.4 million on translation services in the last three financial years. That’s £59k per day and rising. ‘Lack of English’ is code for Asian women at home or in the shop, like the one I unfortunately saw today, with no possibility of education.
It would have been simple enough to tackle this if dreams of ‘multi-cultural’ harmony had not got in the way. Welfare benefits including child benefit, available for every child and just increased, could have been dependent on women learning English. British Asian men could have been discouraged from seeking peasant wives in Pakistan rather than women already in Britain. Labour’s abolition of the Primary Purpose Rule in June 1997, under which applicants had to prove that their marriage was not motivated by desire for immigration, greatly increased the number of female spouses granted settlement in the UK. Those vulnerable girls now form one of the largest categories of migrant settlement, forty per cent in 2010.
As the vicar said this morning, everything interconnects. In the UK lack of initiatives from the centre to integrate migrants into the whole modern state has led us to an epidemic much larger than it need have been. It’s not just a vaccine we need but a belated cultural change among the wealthy, pusillanimous elite who still run Britain, from Buckingham Palace down.