It’s not the immigrants’ fault that BNP voters are badly educated


12:43 am - June 12th 2009

by John B    


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Which schools in the UK do worst? No, it’s not the ones in areas crammed with ethnic minority kids. Or at least, not only do all ethnic groups other than black kids perform more-or-less identically in GCSEs [*] – out of the four worst-performing councils in London educationally, two of them have above-average levels of white-British kids, and one is hovering on the margins.

Here’s a chart comparing white British versus ethnic minority population and educational attainment (using the fairly standard-at-lower-end measure of five GCSE passes including English and Maths) for London [**]:

Educational achievement and ethnicity in London

The net result: there is a negligible correlation (r^2 is 0.12; ‘total correlation’ means an r^2 of 1; ‘no correlation’ means an r^2 of 0) between minority populations and educational attainment. If I’d controlled for poverty, given that wealthy white Sutton, Kingston and Kensington & Chelsea skew the data upwards, the correlation would’ve been even lower.

This point is worth making, and the hour and a half I spent putting the data together worthwhile, because it exposes the lie that the reason for white-working-class kids’ low educational attainment is too much time spent dealing with illiterate minorities.

The reason why the emergence of the BNP is so pernicious is because it makes well-meaning people, like many of the commenters on this site, focus on immigration as a source of rather than a scapegoat for the white working class’s problems. But it just isn’t one. People stuck in that situation might believe that it’s a source of their problems, but they’re wrong.

BNP voters are wrong because they went to crap schools, didn’t learn anything, can barely read, and hence believe any old shite they’re told (have you been to any BNP forums? ‘king hell, the levels of educational attainment on display make Terry Kelly sound like Terry Eagleton). But we, as ‘people who’re bothering to go online and read, comment or at least troll LC’, did learn something, can read, and don’t believe any old shite we’re told – so we’re fucking right when we say that they’re either bigots or have fallen for other people’s lies.

How we get that message out to BNP voters is another question. Maybe we can’t, this generation. Maybe we need to fix education among the least academic quartile of the population – it’s the one thing that British people across all four nations have always been crap at compared to our neighbours, but perhaps it’s time to give it ago. And maybe rigging the system so that the current crop of BNPists are just ignored is the right thing to do, this generation.

Or maybe we can change the current BNP voters’ minds, in which case awesome, but I’m fairly sure we don’t do it by telling them the lying shite they’ve fallen for is fine, true and jolly and we’re doing Real Things to address their Very Genuine Concerns about too many foreigners.

[*] obviously there’s good cause to be concerned about black kids’ GCSE results. My suspicion is that they’ve taken on traditional working-class British values more substantially than other minority groups, but this hasn’t been tested by data.

[**] education data from 2008, from here. Race data from Census 2001, via here. Yes, 2001 was a while ago. Yes, it’s only London; this is because this is a blog post not an academic treatise. The data for the whole country is available on the National Statistics neighbourhood website, as is 2006 data for London, but it’d take a few hours to input it. If you think there’ll be a radical difference on either front, do the calculation; I’ll happily update the post if it’s significantly different. Yes, I also know that ‘non-white’ is an extremely blunt instrument for the calculation – but again, I’m willing to bet sizeable sums that ‘areas with large non-English-speaking communities’ and ‘areas with large non-white populations’ are strongly correlated (r^2 > 0.5), and I’ll happily update the post if you show otherwise. Data on NatStats, again.

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About the author
John Band is a journalist, editor and market analyst, depending on who's asking and how much they're paying. He's also been a content director at a publishing company and a strategy consultant. He is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy and also blogs at Banditry.
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Reader comments


The net result: there is a negligible correlation (r^2 is 0.12; ‘total correlation’ means an r^2 of 1; ‘no correlation’ means an r^2 of 0).

Just a note on the stats…

Isn’t R^2 the square of the actual correlation (r), in this case r = 0.34 – which is just about a moderate correlation. R^2 tells you that 0.12 (12%) of the variance in GCSE score can be accounted for by the % of White kids in the school population. We also need to see what the statistical significance (p) is of (r) before drawing any further conclusions or am I missing something?

2. Shatterface

If the correlation is ‘negligible’ can it really be more so if poverty is taken into consideration?

And if Black kids are doing badly because they have assimilated ‘traditional working class British values’ why are they scoring lower than the White kids they’ve taken those values from?

And that’s before we unpick your insulting association of working class VALUES with lack of educational attainment, rather than working class lack of material advantages and educational oportunities.

John – as the BNP were elected in Yorkshire and Lancs – wouldn’t you be better looking at those figures?

Or, better still – taking a trip up the M1, going to Dewsbury, Batley, Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton, Gomersal, Birstall – then take what you learn by speaking to the working class population in those areas, go over to Burnley, Blackburn – etc – and really ask the people there why they voted for the BNP. Not only that – ask them WHY they repeatedly vote for the BNP.

In Kirklees you find quite a lot of support for the BNP.

You will find that Kirklees has failed the local population.

Not that the local councillors will say they have, not that the local MPs will say they have – but talk to the people – I think I can safely say they will be quite open with you.

How we get that message out to BNP voters is another question. Maybe we can’t, this generation.”

What a depressing thought.

My old GovPol teacher was a Conservative Councillor & told me that he was effectively all out of solutions to Somalians mutilating their daughter’s genitals. The lack of literate culture made them effectively impossible to target using standard local political campaigns (posters, pamphlets, etc…). The best he could hope for is educating the fuck out of them so that things changed.

I thought that that sounded like something which would take a decade or two to work, but perhaps even that was overly optimistic…

That Conservative Councillor had probably never spoken to Somalians before and was just reading something about FGM in the Daily Mail. According to figures, it is an obscenity that is thankfully not a huge problem amongst the UK’s population of people of African origin or people from other places in the world where FGM is practiced. Where it happens, of course, it needs to be stopped immediately.

Most British born Somalian girls are outgoing, confident and can stand their own ground with the men in their communities: I suspect the influence of western culture combined with education will hopefully reduce the chances their parents will attempt to inflict that barbaric procedure on them. The Somalian community, despite whatever impressions you’ve got from seeing many of them in your school or area, are starting to assert themselves, and with a little more education, I reckon it’s not long before we see the first Somalian councillor and who knows, maybe an MP within a decade’s time.

6. Mr. Feathers

“And that’s before we unpick your insulting association of working class VALUES with lack of educational attainment, rather than working class lack of material advantages and educational oportunities.”

Then why do so many asylum seekers’ kids thrive in school, despite not speaking English and living in complete shitholes on benefits?

Because they value education and their culture is better. They know the way out of poverty is hard fucking work because their self-respect hasn’t been corroded by this mentality that the underclass (including many British blacks, but not the majority of British Asians) have.

Whenever you hear BNP voters whinging about how furrins get all the houses, ask them what the fuck makes them think they’re entitled to be housed by the state instead of working and paying a mortgage or putting down a deposit for rent. You don’t think I enjoy handing over a fortune to some banker cunt every month, do you? But I do it because I’d be ashamed to live off the state and want no part in this carving up of other people’s money that BNP voters participate in.

If asylum seekers were allowed to work most of them would have jobs. They wouldn’t need benefits or council houses, and for what it’s worth I don’t think they should have either, nor should the white underclass.

The only BNP policy I agree with is voluntary repatriation, in case it doesn’t work out and the immigrants can’t make any money, which they might not be able to in this recession. But if they are working and paying taxes, I have no problem at all with them and prefer them to BNP voters who just want the state to wipe their arses.

7. the a&e charge nurse

There is data to suggest that migration has significant effects on public services
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7048205.stm

While another item suggests that migrants now account for 1 in 8 of the adult workforce (which, overall, has been shown to have a benefit for the British economy)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7047610.stm

I think the impact of migration on education is an important question but I have not found much in the way of hard data either identifying, or quantifying these effects.

We are living in times of rapid change and for many the twin issues of population growth and immigration are questions that are unlikely to go away.

We also need to see what the statistical significance (p) is of (r) before drawing any further conclusions or am I missing something?

The p-value for the slope is is 0.063 (r = 0.346, z = 1.533, N=21); not a significant correlation. However, there is relatively little power there – the confidence interval for the correlation co-efficient is -0.1 to 0.69 (an R^2 interval of 0 – 0.47). Certainly, this data doesn’t provide any evidence of a strong link between the minority population size and school performance, it also doesn’t provide any evidence against a small-to-medium correlation either.

While I of course agree with you that the BNP’s “DA IMOGRANTS AR STEELING OUR SMARTNESS!” hypothesis is entirely unevidenced, I’d be hesitant of drawing any strong conclusions from this data without upping the sample size a bit, and checking other areas of Britain.

Also, you may want to see how such results correlate with spending per pupil, or using figures like this for polemical purposes could backfire.

One thing which I find quite heartening about all of this is that back-in-the-day, the racist message used to be that non-white kids were stupid and not as clever as white kids, and that there were some kind of intrinsic reasons for this. After a generation of effective action, the message is now that it is unfair that the white kids aren’t performing as well in schools as the non-white kids.

Which suggests:

a) that racists talk a whole load of nonsense
b) that all the “politically correct” policies to help BME children have worked pretty well
c) that it’s now a good idea (as, indeed, we are doing) to also focus on helping working-class kids, whatever the colour of their skin, be able to do better at school.

The blatant classism in this post and the resulting thread is just jaw-dropping, for a supposedly leftwing site. I take it my comments aren’t welcome on LC because I went to a shit school, got not-very-many qualifications and left at 16. But I, and others like me (hmm, “underclass” as the delightful Mr Feathers above put it) are not automatically going to turn into racists just because we don’t have university educations. Nick Griffin is a Cambridge graduate, remember.

The insinuation that people who didn’t get the best school education are therefore thickos is deeply ignorant. School education isn’t everything. Intelligence isn’t measured by your GCSE results, and neither is propensity to racism or any other unsavoury traits. If you want to find some reason to blame for people turning to fascism, you’re better off looking at cultural and sociological reasons than tarring all the “underclass” with the racist brush: “it’s just cause they’re thick innit, they don’t know any better because they’re stupid”. You really are barking up the wrong tree here, and this post comes off as unbelievably snobbish.

12. Political_Animal

The trouble with this article and many of the responses, is that it misses the entire argument of someone of a racist viewpoint would hold. That is that they would have no surprise that white kids were faring badly in comparison because ‘the immigrants get looked after whilst the British get ignored’.

Using arguments about how ignorant BNP voters are, isn’t going to make them stop voting BNP is it? It will merely have the effect of making them feel even more marginalised than they do already.

BNP voters may be racists fuckwits, but some, equally, may not be. Pointing at them and shouting ‘stupid’ isn’t going to help and producing stats that show white kids are more stupid than other kids, is only going to add further fuel to their arguments.

@2 because half of white kids are middle-class
@3 but does the way in which local government has failed the people of Kirklees actually involve dedicating too many resources to immigrants? I strongly doubt it. Meanwhile, in Havering – where the BNP got 14%of the European vote – local government hasn’t failed people at all.
@4/5 sounds like you’re both right – the practice is dying out with British-born Somalis, hence it took a generation to get rid of
@11 you *can* process information and *can* express yourself articulately, hence obviously this isn’t about you. The point is, *actually and not in term of potential*, many BNP voters can’t, whereas if society had educated them better then they might be able to.
@12 this is a meta-piece – it’s not aimed at converting BNP voters, I’d have lost them at the graph (‘a picture? but not of a bird with her tits out’?), it’s aimed at pointing out to the left that trying to win BNP voters over by accommodating their professed concerns is stupid, because their professed concerns are made up.

In Kirklees you find quite a lot of support for the BNP.

In Kirklees you will find that most of the BNP councillors have already been ejected by the voters, and that now only a single one remains (in Heckmondwike), who may well himself be ejected next year. Of course, there are still strong BNP votes in many wards, but the pattern is one of decline.

Even in the BNP’s short history of elected municipal representation, there are copious examples of the BNP being taken on directly and defeated after an initial burst of success. Kirklees is one example, Sandwell (in the West Midlands) another – indeed, not a single BNP candidate has won any election in the West Midlands conurbation since 2006, and this is a region with more than its fair share of white working class voters.

The reality is that most voters, white working class and otherwise, will never vote for the BNP and in some cases will actively turn out to vote against them. This is why when they do win elections they usually scrape in with between 25-35% of the vote with a split opposition. Of course 25% of the vote is still too high, but let’s keep their actual support base in proportion.

Fucking hell. This blame game reveals a deep guilt on the part of the left for their role in exploding the BNP vote. Whichever way you look at it the left cannot escape responsibility. BNP voters are uneducated? Well why is that? Maybe because Labour an the traitors in the Tory party cooperated in the destruction of rigorous education for the working classes.

16. Shatterface

jon b (13): you dodged my criticism of your blaming educational failure of both Black and White kids on White working class VALUES, which is pretty much the same argument as Mr Fuckfeathers, minus the expletives.

@15, there *never was* rigorous education for the working classes. The grammar school system was a great way of giving public-school-lite education to clever lower-middle-class kids; it did absolutely fuck all for the working class. The comprehensive system has delivered slightly better outcomes for people at the bottom end of the academic attainment distribution, but still far worse than achieved in Germany, Japan or even France.

@16, how would you explain the difference between performance among kids from equally poor families at equally poor schools who are first-generation Asian (who perform well), and those who are white (who perform less well)? Yes, Brits at the bottom of the income scale face poor educational opportunities, but it’s hardly controversial to suggest that the white English working class is less focused on education than some cultures. Ob:Orwell

18. the a&e charge nurse

[15] – I don’t think that argument stacks up Pepsi Max – racism and extreme forms of nationalism long predate NuLab or even Snatch’s Tories before them.

I agree that state education is very hit and miss.
I’m delighted to report that my kids are doing very well in London schools but if the standard you aspire to is higher than the most elementary level of literacy or comprehension it almost invariably requires some degree of parental input to supplement classroom activity as well as the judicious use of tutors (for maths or the sciences, say).

It also helps if the school is in the middle class part of the borough rather than in a pocket of deprivation (if we take exam results as the most important indicator).
But it goes without saying that more working class kids will simply not have the same level of input that middle class counterparts receive (provided by parents or tutors outside of the school curriculum).

The schools are an important battleground for political ideology and some parents will pay a heavy price for trying to do the best for their children.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8043561.stm
Such antics have been going for at least a decade according to this report
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/318956.stm

Some claim that there are simply not enough school places
http://www.thecnj.co.uk/camden/2009/060409/news060409_03.html

While resource issues continue to intensify (as they invariably will in the current economic climate) I am certain that a percentage of disgruntled voters will continue seek solace in one type of extremism or another.

19. Chris Baldwin

A problem, as John B says, is that BNP voters believe things that simply aren’t true. I’m sure we all do to an extent, but not as much as them. This makes it hard to actually engage with them. I do in part blame the media for this, since the most popular papers generally don’t give an accurate picture of what Britain is actually like.

20. Shatterface

Jon b (16): So if Asian kids from working class backgrounds outperform White working class kids that’s because ASIAN culture values education more highly but when Afro-Carribean kids perform less well that’s the fault of the White working class?

@21 it’s like nailing bloody treacle to a wall.

1) Afro-Caribbean working class kids perform *about as badly* as white working class kids.

2) The reason Afro-Carribean kids perform worse than white kids overall is that middle class kids perform much better than working class kids across all ethnic groups, but there are relatively few Afro-Caribbean middle class kids.

3) I’m suggesting *the reason the two groups perform similarly is that they have similar cultural values*.

Is the point really that hard to grasp?

22. Shatterface

For christ’s sake, your original article claimed that Afro-Caribbean kids are performing poorly because they have adopted White working class values more than other ethnic groups have. Where are they getting those values from if not the White working class themselves?

And you couldn’t be arsed supplying any evidence that this was the case, you said it was a ‘suspicion’ for which you admitted you had no data. That’s not an analysis, that’s a statement of prejudice.

This is a piss poor article attempting to counter claims that ethnic minorities are dragging White kids down by claiming it’s in fact White working class culture holding Black kids down.

23. Pepsi Max

“there *never was* rigorous education for the working classes. The grammar school system was a great way of giving public-school-lite education to clever lower-middle-class kids; it did absolutely fuck all for the working class. The comprehensive system has delivered slightly better outcomes for people at the bottom end of the academic attainment distribution, but still far worse than achieved in Germany, Japan or even France.”

Don’t even fucking go there john b, I know much more than you on this subject. No matter how fanatically your anti-selection opinions are held you can’t re-write the facts. The grammar schools worked well for the working classes and for those who went to them. If not enough children did go to them it was because there were not enough of them. And if the secondary moderns were shit (which they were) they could have been lavished with much of the cash spent on failed comprehensive system (for which there has never been any educational argument) Technical schools also should have been built but never were. But one thing is for sure – destroying grammar schools massively decreased the number of bright children from poor homes getting a good education.

And if you want evidence that they worked, just look at the vast number of people now in the intellectual, cultural and political elites who came from working class backgrounds and were raised to the top, by the grammar school education they wouldn’t otherwise have had and would have been denied now had they been unfortunate enough to be growing up today. As for university entrance, if you include Direct Grant schools and grammar schools, state-school children were gaining 2/3rds (and rising) of the of places at Oxbridge by the late 60s, – even when the entrance exams favoured the public schools. This began to fall from the mid-70s on as grammars began to be destroyed. Today the ‘comprehensive’ schools which now do gain places at Oxbridge are mostly selective in some form or another like the fake comprehensive school I attended in Kensington. Such schools select mainly by wealth – not through fees, but through the devout liberal-leftists method of paying fees – buying your way into the catchment area of a good state school, and then telling everyone how much you believe in state education. Meanwhile the bog-standard comprehensives are nowhere to be seen in the Oxbridge admission figures. Also in Ulster, where selection remains, children from working class homes do better than their counterparts on the mainland and results in general are better.

You also mentioned Germany which actually has gymnasium grammar school selection in all its states – (including in the former GDR where it was re-introduced after being destroyed by the Marxist fanatics 50 years earlier). There it’s done on the basis of mutual agreement between home and school, and those who believe they have been wrongly allocated are given the chance to prove themselves. Pupils can been transferred later, at any age, if they show themselves to be suited for a Gymnasium. This also proves that the 11-plus, not the only way of selecting pupils. And Japan’s state school system is much more selective and its universities extremely so. I think you’ll find the same goes for most other east asian countries which would explain the unprecedented shift in intellectual capital towards the east. China is too busy forming the largest intellectual elite in the history of the world to bother about discredited egalitarian dogma from the 60s.

The Grauniad has council-level BNP vote shares up. I’ll have to do something with that, won’t I?

Don’t even fucking go there john b, I know much more than you on this subject.

Not apparently.

Yes, I’ve met plenty of people in the generation above me who went to Oxbridge via the grammar school route. My parents, for example. Every single one of them that I’ve met, without exception, came from a lower-middle or middle-middle class background. I agree that the abolition of grammar schools reduced mobility from the lower middle class to the elite for bright kids, and that this is a step back for the country.

But it’s simply *true* that grammar schools did absolutely fuck all for people from the bottom quarter of the income bracket (the white part of which, to bring this back to the point, is where the BNP’s support is drawn from). Yes, if we’d funded technical schools properly and made secondary moderns something other than a dumping ground, that wouldn’t have been the case. And if my auntie had a cock she’d be my uncle.

@23 I’ve lost track of what the hell you’re even claiming now.

I’m stating these facts:

1) Black working class kids and white working class kids perform about as badly as each other at GCSEs.
2) Black working class kids and white working class kids are the most closely integrated ethnic minority groups in England
3) White working class kids have always performed badly at school in England.

There are two possible conclusions:
1) the two cultures happen, independently, to be less focused on education than Indian or Chinese immigrant culture; or
2) integration between the two cultures has led to the black group adopting the white group’s existing non-education-focused values

My non-evidence-backed conjecture is that 2 is more likely. But one or the other of 1 or 2 is certainly true.

Quote @17 “there *never was* rigorous education for the working classes. The grammar school system was a great way of giving public-school-lite education to clever lower-middle-class kids; it did absolutely fuck all for the working class. The comprehensive system has delivered slightly better outcomes for people at the bottom end of the academic attainment distribution, but still far worse than achieved in Germany, Japan or even France.”

This appears to me to say that working class kids never got into grammar school and are in the bottom end of the academic distribution. I’m assuming I’m reading that wrong.

@28 if you take the now-contemporary definition of working class (ie firmly at the bottom end of the income distribution), replace the word ‘attainment’ that you cut out, and take it as a general, statistical point rather than a universal law, then yes, that’s what I’m saying.

(comparisons are made difficult by the fact that the median income person in 1970 would have viewed himself as working class, whereas the median person in 2009 would view herself as middle class. I’m not saying that people who considered themselves working class *at the time* never made it to grammar schools, I’m saying that the 1960s equivalent of today’s working class seldom did.)

That’s probably true as a general rule. Also, in the remaining grammar schools, there are very few indeed from poor homes, which is why the Tories rejected them at the time of Willetts-gate. You’d be better off pursuing other ways of improving education.

My uncle (a miner’s son) passed the 11+ & went to technical school, which was the beginning of a successful career as an engineer. The rest of my family were a bit younger & went to comprehensives. But I think most of them would have been at secondary moderns as, despite their intelligence, they just never took school seriously because it wasn’t what was done in this city, & that remains the case, with all-pervading low expectations which seep into the souls of more or less everyone living here. That is what should be addressed & selective education wouldn’t do it.

I am leaning towards the view that John B is right as statistically, those from very poor homes who went to grammar schools would be flukes. Besides which, a lot of people who went to grammar schools got a shite education anyway.

Also the reason Thatcher didn’t reintroduce them is that many Tory voters’ kids would fail. If you consider the fact that only around 20% went to grammar schools, you’ve got some pissed off people, many of whom are going to remember just who it was that decided to have their kids going to a secondary modern & punishing them at the polls. Even were it to work academically, it’s a political non-starter, which is why Tories have never at any stage made serious attempts to revert to the pre-1964 state of affairs.

“given that wealthy white Sutton . . ”

By London standards, Sutton is only averagely affluent and it’s a demonstrable myth that Sutton is especially white according to the results of the 2001 Census. By that source, Sutton’s resident population was 89.2% white compared with an average for England and Wales of 91.3% white.
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/00BF-A.asp

The data for income distribution in the London boroughs in 2006/7 show that Sutton is virtually the same as the London average – namely, 21% of Sutton households had a household income of less than £15k (compared with 22% for London); 53% had a household income less than £30k (53% for London); and 85% had a household income less than £60k (85% for London).
http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/londonfacts/londonstatistics/Householdincomedistributionin200607.htm

The percentage of Sutton residents with graduate level qualifications is above the national average but below the average for London boroughs.

“The blatant classism in this post and the resulting thread is just jaw-dropping, for a supposedly leftwing site.”

Au contraire, it’s par for the course.

Personally, I love it. I’d sooner have snobs out in the open where I can see them, the cruder their ravings the easier it is to combat them.

Remember kiddies, there’s no difference at all between a snob and a racist.

32. Shatterface

Jon b (27): You missed the bloody obvious THIRD possibility that the education system is built around middle-class White values and that it therefore discriminates against Black and White working class kids alike: you seem to be assuming that working class kids are FAILING SCHOOLS rather than the more obvious fact that SCHOOLS ARE FAILING THEM, something the Left used to recognize.

Concerning Sutton again, from the headmaster’s report at the Speech Day of the Wallington County Grammar School in December 2005:

“A large scale social event, the largest in my 15 years at the school, dignified as on this occasion by the Mayor, it brought together over 500 parents, staff and pupils. It celebrated the ethnic diversity in the school community, about half of us coming from ethnic minorities; in total 52 countries were represented, with flags decorating stalls.”
http://www.wcgs.org.uk/artman/publish/article_216.shtml

Nothing too unusual there for London, perhaps, except that the school is state funded and ranked 26 in this league table in the Sunday Times based on exam results:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/parentpower/school_profile.php?id=SS036

By this league table based on A Level results in 2008, the school did rather better than Eton:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7827223.stm

The school is just down the road from where I live. The strange thing is that there are two other state funded schools in Sutton which also got better A level results than Eton and several more state funded schools where the A level results were very good but not quite up to the Eton standard.

I’m educated and lower middle-class. I support the BNP because it is the only party that seeks to prevent our country being transformed into a foreign place. Why should such a thing worry me? Because most of the black and brown and Moslem minorities harbour deep resentment, sometimes outright hatred, towards white Europeans. They may have good reason, but that is neither here nor there, because if they ever achieve positions of power and dominance, they will make Britain a living hell for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. To believe otherwise is to wallow in mushy idealism or naivete.

If you doubt the danger, just look at the present situation in the low countries, where populations of devout anti-Westerners threaten to become national majorities within 20 years, because of their comparitively high birthrates. The Dutch and Belgians may soon face the most agonising choice in their history: to capitulate to a Moslem government (with all that implies for the rights of Jews, Christians, women and homosexuals), or to fight it. Who can say with confidence that Britain will never find itself in such a predicament?

“Because most of the black and brown and Moslem minorities harbour deep resentment, sometimes outright hatred, towards white Europeans.”

You’ve evidence for that, though, have you. In fact, on the latter point, there’s pretty strong evidence against it.

“The Dutch and Belgians may soon face the most agonising choice in their history: to capitulate to a Moslem government (with all that implies for the rights of Jews, Christians, women and homosexuals), or to fight it.”

(My emph.)

Utterly wrong, actually. Only about 6-7% of the Dutch population are Muslims, and with the continued success of the ignorant and bigoted Geert Wilders I can’t see that increasing too rapidly.

Do you share the desires of the man you voted for?

Balls – when I said this…

“You’ve evidence for that, though, have you.”

…I meant this…

“You’ve no evidence for that, though, have you.”

“Only about 6-7% of the Dutch population are Muslims, and with the continued success of the ignorant and bigoted Geert Wilders I can’t see that increasing too rapidly.”

(And, of course – by Crikey, I’m on a roll here – I’ve seen no indication that a significant number of those would like to restrict the rights of Christians, Jews, gays, etc.)

I do hate triple posts. They seem…hysterical…when really I was just too lazy to make a proper fist of it the first time around.

About half of all the ethnic minorities in Britain live in London.
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=263

According to this BBC Newsnight report in April last year about why London is different, 40 per cent of London residents were born abroad:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7368326.stm

In London, the BNP share of the vote in the recent elections for the EU Parliament was only 4.9% – which compares with the BNP national share of 6.2%. The highest BNP share of the vote at 9.8% was in Yorkshire and the Humber region:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/elections/euro/09/html/ukregion_999999.stm

Evidently, Londoners aren’t much worried by xenophobic concerns.

39. John Band

Who can say with confidence that Britain will never find itself in such a predicament?

*raises hand*

Seriously, I’ve family-based rights to settle in at least three other countries; plus I’ve point-based rights to get into at least four other ‘traditional emigré Brit’ countries. If I thought there was the slightest frigging chance the UK would end up in that situation, I’d get the relevant passports on the off-chance.

But if you look at real demographic data, rather than Mad Mel columns, there’s no chance in the slightest of anything along those lines happening, so meh. Congrats on your lower-middle-class status and education and all; you may have refuted my view that only the casually ignorant rather than the willfully stupid support the BNP.

Bob – BNP support ranges from 2.5% in Islington to 13% in Havering (remembered from yesterday rather than looked up, but not far wrong), so the suggestion that there aren’t significant group of Londoners motivated by xenophobic concerns is wrong. In Ken-land, it’s all jolly; in posh Boris-land, it’s all jolly; in working class Boris-land, the Nazis are as popular as anywhere else in the country.

If the Govt is hiding this important information,
what makes you think any other Govt data is accurate.
http://iamanenglishman.com/rogues_gallery.php

Not impressed by this statistical skulduggery – or sure what point it’s trying to make. I’m sure the data is accurate, but it simply doesn’t support the statements made afterwards. It certainly proves little or nothing about either the influence of ethnic minorities or class on educational attainment. Each Borough in London is a large, diverse and complex place. There are so many other factors involved that attributing any causation to anything using this data is impossible.

“How we get that message out to BNP voters is another question”

What, the message that we elitist liberals think they’re all condemned by their crap schools to being “fuckwits”? If I were the target of this I’d probably feel a whole lot more sympathetic to the BNP by the time I’d finished reading…

@42 the government isn’t hiding that information – what, you think crimes committed by immigrants are excluded from the stats? Prick.

@43 I’m arguing *against* the proposition that high minority populations cause poor performance by white kids, on the basis that there’s no evidence for it. On the second part, quite – it’s a hard one to sell, which doesn’t stop it from being true.

Or maybe we can change the current BNP voters’ minds

You can’t change anyones mind unless they trust you.

Why should they trust you?

Most people would probably trust a used car dealer, or even a tabloid journalist, before they trusted a political activist.

John Band: “In Ken-land, it’s all jolly; in posh Boris-land, it’s all jolly; in working class Boris-land, the Nazis are as popular as anywhere else in the country.”

I wish it were quite that straight forward. Where we converge, I guess, is that BNP support mostly comes from the white working class with poor education attainment – which is the section of the indigenous population most challenged in the competition for jobs, especially when unemployment is rising:

“As a group, white working class boys are falling further behind their black and Asian classmates in public examinations. White British boys from poor families perform worse at GCSE than almost any other racial group. Official figures show that only 24% of those entitled to free school meals gained five or more good GCSEs last year, compared with 65% of the poorest Chinese boys and 48% of poor Indian and Bangladeshi boys.”
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/mike_ion/2007/01/the_bnp_and_the_white_boys.html

“Government figures show only 15% of white working class boys in England got five good GCSEs including maths and English last year. . . Poorer pupils from Indian and Chinese backgrounds fared much better – with 36% and 52% making that grade respectively.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7220683.stm

Support for the BNP wasn’t just high in Havering and Dagenham in London.

“Barnsley voters turn their backs on Labour over ‘foreigners’: In what was the heart of the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire, one in six people voted for the British National Party in the European elections.” [The Times, 9 June]
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/elections/article6458595.ece

Btw I don’t live in posh-Boris land or in Ken-jolly land but there’s not much support for the BNP around where I live but then there are two state-funded boys schools within walking distance which achieved better A-level results than Eton last summer.

45. Mr. Feathers

Yes, and they won’t start doing well until their parents start giving them encouragement at home… the sort of encouragement that Chinese and Bangladeshi kids get, and so did most of the white middle-class readers of this blog.

The culture has to change, you can’t just keep blaming schools when kids are only in school for a small proportion of their waking lives and most of the time are at home plumped in front of the TV and being ignored by their parents rather than being encouraged to read and study and generally aspire to better their lot in life.

Do you wonder that it angers me when these people vilify immigrants, such as my wife, who are in no way responsible for their problems? Does it really surprise you so much that I take it personally, and is it so hard to accept the fact that kids who aren’t supported at home are going to do badly at school, so that has to change before any success will happen?

I was much interested to read the report in The Times of 9 June about the scale of support for the BNP in Barnsley, South Yorkshire (link above).

One reason was that according to the 2001 census, the resident population of Barnsley was 99.1% white:
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/00CC-A.asp

The second reason relates to this account by George Orwell of a public meeting of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) held in Barnsley on 16 March 1936 where Oswald Mosley spoke [history note: Mosley founded the BUF in 1932 – he had been a cabinet minister in Ramsay Macdonald’s Labour government until he resigned in 1930 saying the government was doing too little to tackle unemployment]:

“Last night to hear Mosley speak at the Public Hall, which is in structure a theatre. It was quite full – about 700 people I should say. About 100 Blackshirts on duty, with two or three exceptions weedy looking specimens, and girls selling Action etc. Mosley spoke for an hour and a half and to my dismay seemed to have the meeting mainly with him. He was booed at the start but loudly clapped at the end. Several men who tried to interject with questions were thrown out . . . one with quite unnecessary violence. . . . M. is a very good speaker. His speech was the usual clap-trap – Empire free trade, down with the Jew and the foreigner, higher wages and shorter hours all round etc. After the preliminary booing the (mainly) working class audience was easily bamboozled by M speaking as it were from a Socialist angle, condemning the treachery of successive governments towards the workers. The blame for everything was put upon mysterious international gangs of Jews who were said to be financing, among other things the British Labour Party and the Soviet. . . . M. kept extolling Italy and Germany but when questioned about concentration camps etc always replied ‘We have no foreign models; what happens in Germany need not happen here.’ . . . ”
[source: George Orwell: The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters, Vol. 1 An Age Like This 1920-1940; Penguin Books, p. 230]

Note this key section: “the working class audience was easily bamboozled by M speaking as it were from a Socialist angle.”

Yes, and they won’t start doing well until their parents start giving them encouragement at home… the sort of encouragement that Chinese and Bangladeshi kids get, and so did most of the white middle-class readers of this blog.

The culture has to change, you can’t just keep blaming schools when kids are only in school for a small proportion of their waking lives and most of the time are at home plumped in front of the TV and being ignored by their parents rather than being encouraged to read and study and generally aspire to better their lot in life.

Do you wonder that it angers me when these people vilify immigrants, such as my wife, who are in no way responsible for their problems? Does it really surprise you so much that I take it personally, and is it so hard to accept the fact that kids who aren’t supported at home are going to do badly at school, so that has to change before any success will happen?

I heartily commend this sea of bile to fans of entitlement, unexamined assumptions and the bourgeois art of snide elision.

Even by post-left standards it’s a doozie.

George Orwell wrote this when he visited South Yorkshire in 1936 to research the book that became: The Road to Wigan Pier, for the Left Book Club:

“The time was when I used to lament over quite imaginary pictures of lads of fourteen dragged protesting from their lessons and set to work at dismal jobs. It seemed to me dreadful that the doom of a ‘job’ should descend upon anyone at fourteen. Of course I know now that there is not one working-class boy in a thousand who does not pine for the day when he will leave school. He wants to be doing real work, not wasting his time on ridiculous rubbish like history and geography. To the working class, the notion of staying at school till you are nearly grown-up seems merely contemptible and unmanly.”
http://www.george-orwell.org/The_Road_to_Wigan_Pier/6.html

In places, not too much has changed since Orwell wrote that.

15. If a generation of people are voting for the BNP because of poor education then the source of that poor education is predominantly Tory education policy.

50. Mr. Feathers

49, actually I am a conservative with libertarian tendencies.

I think the majority of immigrants hold my values (family-oriented, hard-working, refusing to submit to state “help”, privately charitable, focused on education and scornful of the excesses of “feminism” and “liberalism”) than many natives. I don’t agree with the religious beliefs that so many of them have as I am an atheist. But if we teach them the benefits of secular democracy and they teach us the value of respect and hard work, then we’ve had a good exchange.

Now then, Scratch, perhaps you can regale us all with an explanation of how children are going to start being academically and otherwise successful if their parents refuse to put the work in. Because it can’t be economic factors, if penniless immigrants manage to succeed despite being even more materially disadvantaged.

Perhaps you could explain what you think motivates BNP voters and whether you think their “analysis” of the situation is correct.

51. Alex Higgins

@Mr. Feathers

Not wishing to having to take issue with a conservative who says sensible things about immigration (always glad to come across such a rare thing), but I want to take up some of what has been said about minority groups and education here. (I’m a teacher in a multi-ethnic primary London primary school)

“Yes, and they won’t start doing well until their parents start giving them encouragement at home… the sort of encouragement that Chinese and Bangladeshi kids get, and so did most of the white middle-class readers of this blog.”

Cultural factors can be important, but I don’t think they are the main factor in educational success at all. The ethnic groups that perform well or badly usually do so according to their class – the social status they brought with them from their own country.

Talking about Asian success is a good example. People descended from Indian civil servants have indeed performed well in Britian, achieving in professions that reflect their social position in India. Those descended from rural villages in Pakistan much, much less well, again reflecting the social status they brought with them. The issue is not aspirational culture – it’s class.

“The culture has to change, you can’t just keep blaming schools when kids are only in school for a small proportion of their waking lives and most of the time are at home plumped in front of the TV and being ignored by their parents rather than being encouraged to read and study and generally aspire to better their lot in life.”

Well without wishing to point the blame on, say, me, (children do actually spend a great deal of time in school) I’m interested in how you think this actually works. How do parents with little money change this culture (even assuming your description of that culture is fair – which it isn’t in many cases).

I mean what are you proposing working-class parents do here? It sounds fair to criticise prioritising TV watching over reading until you consider the economic side. TVs, including Sky etc, are not that expensive especially given what you can get out of them. Books, on the other hand, are very expensive, especially specialist study books. You could, like I did, prioritise books even on a very low income – if you don’t mind a semi-monastic life. I can well imagine why others don’t.

There are libraries – for those who have good libraries in their local area. Bad luck for those who don’t.

Then there is the large matter of creating aspiration among a generation who can see that their parents’ and grandparent’s dreams ended in failure and the collapse of the economic security they thought they had. Or can see their parents struggling to look after them while holding down one or two stressful, unfulfilling, demeaning, low-status jobs regardless of their youthful aspirations of sucess in Britain. Harder than you think.

As someone who works with low-income children and their parents, though, I could point out that many, many of them do not dump childen in front of their TVs and do in fact have a work ethic and hope for their children to do well in school. Some of them are actually very, very aggressive in attempting to force their children into academic success, something which is also unhelpful. In the end though, macroeconomics is what forbids upward class mobility, and tragically, encouragement from mums and dads usually does not trump this.

In the face of depressing experience, a parent that doesn’t bother isn’t making an entirely irrational choice.

“15. If a generation of people are voting for the BNP because of poor education then the source of that poor education is predominantly Tory education policy.”

C’mon. Labour has been in government since 1997, doubtless inspired by Blair’s slogan: Education, Education, Education.

The fact is that some local education authorities (LEAs) do consistently well in league tables while others perform badly. The London borough where I live – which hasn’t had a Conservative controlled council in 20+ years – is consistently placed at or close to the top of the LEAs in England. As noted above, local affluence is only average by London standards.

OTOH some LEAs arrived at the recipe decades ago that maintaining poor standards of schooling is an effective means of entrenching Labour control of the local council by the tried and tested formula:

poor schooling => uncertain local job prospects => vote Labour

53. Shatterface

Bob B (5): This isn’t Harry’s Place and the word of Orwell does not go unchallenged: if working class kids can’t wait to leave school that’s not because they don’t want to learn, it’s because school is not designed for them (as I said in comment 33).

Schools are designed by middle class White people, their teaching methods are designed around their needs and values, and the net result is that they reinforce and reproduce existing inequalities.

It is not for the working class – White or otherwise – to reorganize themselves to fit the needs of the educational establishment, it is up to the educational establishment to accommodate the needs and values of the working class.

Shatterface:

The more usual complaint is that fee-paying schools like Eton equip their pupils with the education, values, social skills, and personal connections which enable them to get to the better universities and from there to the better paid jobs – in fact, only 7% of pupils attend fee-paying schools – that’s “non-maintained” schools in official jargon.

Strange, that. Now the complaint is that maintained schools as a category don’t equip working-class lads with the special kinds of education that they need to succeed. Perhaps but in the current situation some 43% of young people are going from schools into higher education and very sensibly so as the unemployment rate for graduates is lower than for non-graduates and the employment rate higher. Also, most graduates attract better lifetime earnings compared with non-graduates. Jobs for unskilled manual workers are vanishing fast and new factor is this:

“WOMEN university students now outnumber men across all subject areas, from engineering to medicine and law to physical sciences.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2356965.html

We have come a long way since Daniel Defoe wrote this in 1719:

“I have often thought of it as one of the most barbarous customs in the world, considering us as a civilized and a Christian country, that we deny the advantages of learning to women. We reproach the sex every day with folly and impertinence; while I am confident, had they the advantages of education equal to us, they would be guilty of less than ourselves.”
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1719defoe-women.html

Eight years into the future, half of all GPs in Britain will be women.

The prevailing male macho culture about it being smart to be dumb like well-paid footballers is what is doing the huge damage to the aspirations and job prospects of working class lads.

Btw Orwell was just describing the prevailing values he found in 1936 when he was researching poverty in the north of England for the book that was to become: The Road to Wigan Pier (1937).

“15. If a generation of people are voting for the BNP because of poor education then the source of that poor education is predominantly Tory education policy.”//////

What a load of dribble, you speak with as if you are above the working class, they vote BNP because it is the only party talking sence. Education means you have had plenty of brain washing, doing the right thing by voting BNP means you have a desire to protect your own species, this is darwins law, the suvival of the fittest, not the suvival of ones own income by speaking every political corect word you can think of so you can be seen to be doing the right thing, but realy you are following the doe doe to exstinction. now contemplate others views instead of forcing yours point on others.

@ John – …it is the only party talking sence… Education means you have had plenty of brain washing, doing the right thing by voting BNP means you have a desire to protect your own species… realy you are following the doe doe to exstinction. now contemplate others views instead of forcing yours point on others.

Not enough educational brain-washing for you, I think, especially in the PC tyranny of basic biology and and primary school English. If you’re really worried about resisting this new species of migrant and avoiding the fate of the doe doe, I suggest you might find night school more helpful than voting for Nazis.

…and and primary school English.

Physician, heal thyself.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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