Thursday, 8 January 2009

From the Heart

I often wonder what the cause of our “breakdown” in society is and think about it frequently. I remember the days I spent in East London as a child and there was something we had then, something so tangible that is now sadly amiss. It’s called a sense of community and belonging.

I spent the first few years of my life travelling the world as my dad was in the army and touched British soil for the first time (other than a fleeting visit here and there), when I was around 9 years old.  

My dad‘s family were Dockers by trade working at the Victoria & Albert and Silvertown Docks in what is now known as the London Borough of Newham. My dad, not keen to follow into the traditional family occupation decided to join the army at 15 and left. That’s where my family comes from, Newham.  Of course, as far as I know, none of my existing family lives there anymore. My father was one of 6 children and I have lost touch with all of them. One by one, we all moved out of the area.

When my dad left the army in the 60’s having only served 18 years of his contracted 22, we were penniless and were given a council flat in Canning Town. We were placed in a flat on the 18th floor of a block of flats 23 storeys high. This monstrosity sat behind the then famous “Ronan Point” which had recently been the subject of a gas explosion and had “folded like a pack of cards” and several people had been killed and injured. 

We didn’t live there very long as the plan was to rebuild Ronan Point and strengthen the other two blocks which had been built in the same architectural style, The use of gas was also banned in an attempt to avoid a similar catastrophe. 

We were moved away around the corner into a newer block 22 storeys high which stood on its own and was a different design. Ironically, these flats were built on the street where my dad was born and grew up as a boy. Morgan Street had become Forty Acre Lane and my sense of belonging although not in its original state was complete. My aunties, uncles, cousins and granddad all lived in the vicinity and I could visit whenever the fancy took me.

I also remember the construction of the Newham Way which ran alongside the debris where my sister, cousins, friends and I used to play. The debris were vast (to me) areas of rubble, the remains of what were once people’s houses and those old prefabs they put up after the war was over.

I remember being aware of the “invasion” after passing my 11 plus and being accepted into one of the most prestigious Girls Grammar Schools in the area. The school was in between Upton Park and Forest Gate down the road from West Ham Football Club. Even then, the shops were being taken over and Green Street had begun to resemble a high street in Mumbai rather than in the East End. 

Later, when I married and had children and the situation had become untenable as regard to them starting school, we were given the opportunity by my husbands company to relocate “to the country”, which we gladly accepted. My dad had since passed away and my mother and sister got a council exchange down in the south of the country. As the area filled with strangers and familiar faces became a rarity the community was no more.

This is what we have lost in Britain. We have lost this because of one main reason, mass immigration to certain areas left uncontrolled. Newham is now 98% immigrant and really doesn’t have any original inhabitants left. 

In effect, my roots are destroyed so anyone reading this will realise that I feel bitterness towards the immigrant population that has now settled there and elsewhere and changed my country beyond all recognition. 

I can’t help how I feel and it’s not just attributable to nostalgia. I feel a deep sense of loss, as though something precious has been stolen, that I have been cheated somehow. I feel as though something rightfully mine is now being denied and in turn denied my own children and my first grandchild.

I envy the people here in this small town in Spain. Their generational way of life, their ties intact, the knowledge of their roots secure. They are enjoyed, shared and taken for granted, just as they should be. Families take care of each other here. It’s not unusual to see four generations of one family eating together in the evening at a restaurant or enjoying the setting sun on the beach. Half the town have roots here and everyone knows each other and their extended families.

There isn’t anything anyone can do to restore my sense of loss and the bitterness I feel. I am however, convinced of one thing and that it’s this continual sense of loss that is destroying the British soul. 

We all accept that things and times change, but the speed at which our communities have been hacked to pieces has quite honestly left Britons stunned. In its efforts to appease every ethnic and minority group that sets foot into the UK whether legally or illegally, the Government has forgotten one important group, us. 

Even now, it is intent on murdering the last vestiges of pride and tradition that the British people have left. Our social meeting places have been destroyed by undemocratic smoking laws and greedy taxation. Immigrants are not expected to embrace our culture when they arrive, we are ordered to change ours so as not to offend them. Who cares if we are offended? We spent generations building a social infrastructure and system to protect those in times of need which they are queuing up to abuse in Calais and elsewhere.

Every day that passes adds another ridiculous politically correct Law; it is then so savagely and callously enforced upon the people that freedom of speech and movement has become a thing of the past.

Every day it bullies its citizens further into submission ignoring centuries of rights which are fathers and forefathers fought and died for, “for us”. 

Every day, our needs and rights are pushed further down the queue of importance. Hazel Blears says she can see what’s happening but her rhetoric is a temporary appeasement which won’t last because the labour government couldn’t give a shit about us.

Soon, they’ll be nothing left for us to be proud of, nothing which sets us apart from the world, that which made us “Great”. 

Ask most Britons whether they’re proud to be British these days and they’ll say “No… I used to be, but not anymore”

If my words make me a racist, then so be it… I don’t really care what anyone thinks anymore, I have nothing left to lose.

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