The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold: The least racist nation

Related Topics
MAY I be the first to leap into print to condemn in the strongest possible terms - 'most unsavoury', 'highly disagreeable', 'frankly regrettable', 'dreadfully inappropriate' - the election of a member of the so-called British National Party to represent the plucky if beleaguered folk of the Isle of Dogs?

Like everyone else who counts himself civilised, I abhor racist behaviour in all its forms - whether directed by black immigrant against fully-fledged white Briton, or - if such exceptional cases do exist, from time to time - the reverse. There is no place in our society for racial hatred, and I do so long for the day when the indigenous population of the Isle of Dogs feels secure enough in itself not to need to run to the dubious if wholly sincere Mr Derek Beackon for help.

I wonder if you caught my performance on Question Time on the dread gogglebox the other day? I used the occasion roundly to attack racial hatred on all sides of the community. 'If you would just let me finish, Peter,' I said, 'let me say this, loud and clear. I have no time whatsoever for the pernicious doctrines of the British National Party - many of which, I might add, are not remotely original, but have been stolen, lock, stock and barrel from we in the Conservative Party. But my sympathy also goes out to many of those ordinary, decent, and completely and utterly British people who found themselves, against their better judgement, voting for it.

'Most of us sitting here tonight - if I may just finish please, Peter - are pretty comfortably off. We do not have to live next to people who cook up highly pungent Madras curries morning, noon and night. We do not have to listen to what I believe is known as 'Reggie Music' pouring through our windows at all hours. We do not have to slog our guts out while thousands of coloured persons living illegally in an attic next door take sunshine holidays in Monte Carlo at the taxpayer's expense] Let me add that I am in no way attempting to excuse the behaviour of the British National Party, merely to explain it. In conclusion, then, I hope I have made my abhorrence of racism abundantly clear. Next question, please, Peter.'

The audience was suitably hushed. Rarely, I fancy, had they heard such a ringing condemnation of racist attitudes from a leading member of the Conservative Party. It must have reminded them, in many ways, of similarly historic speeches by Dr Martin Luther King and Mr Nelson Mandela, doughty fighters both, though of course a word of mine would carry rather more weight than any word of theirs, as I am - how shall I put it? - pure-bred English, and public-school educated to boot.

It all goes to show that we British are the least 'racist' nation in the world - far less racist than the Wops and Krauts, for instance, and infinitely less than all those Chinky Chinese and smelly Arabs. Often our ribald good humour towards those of lesser races can be misinterpreted by them as condescension - but that just goes to show how unsophisticated they are. As my old friend and quaffing partner Perry Worsthorne has been brave enough to point out, the terms 'pig-faced coon' and 'skin-flint Jew-boy' are phrases of great affection, to be treasured by those to whom they are offered.

On a more personal note, I can honestly say that I have never felt an inkling of racism within myself over the course of a long and - my friends tell me - dignified life. Frankly, I delight in communicating on equal terms with foreign folk of every conceivable hue. Two recent conversations may serve as proof. 'Ticket please,' a (pitchblack]) ticket-collector said to me the other day. 'Here we are,' I said. 'Thank you, sir,' he replied before moving on. A perfectly amicable discussion.

And only yesterday, I had reason to purchase a copy of the Spectator (still going, I gather]) from a newsagent of unashamedly Asian appearance. 'Thank you,' he said as I handed him the requisite sum, and I would most certainly have said 'thank you' myself if my eye had not been caught by a characteristically forthright piece by Paul Johnson on 'The Menace Within'. Suffice it to say that these two happy incidents show that people of different races can co-exist perfectly happily together - just so long as the outsiders never forget their manners.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London