Burning Grenfell on Guy Fawkes Night shows how profoundly racist Britain can be
It may be, in its own way, as sickening as any of those 9/11 videos; the ones capturing the moments of impact as terrorists fly into skyscrapers.
No, nobody dies in this utterly sickening video of an effigy of a tower in flames. This Grenfell Tower is just cardboard. The screaming figures in the windows are just felt tip pen and paper.
But the goons who burned this effigy atop a brazier and recorded themselves laughing about people dying and “not paying the rent” are real enough, and they walk amongst us in number.
What they represent is a very real evil lurking within our society, and increasingly brazen with it. They, and those like them, are part of a stirring force of Far Right thinking that should terrify us all.
They may not always make the mistake of exposing themselves as directly as these idiots, but they are a permanent and endemic part of British society.
Evil as they are, they don’t exist in isolation. They are represented at the height of our establishment – from newspaper editors to parliamentarians, their sickness is given validity on a daily basis.
It’s there, writ large on the front pages of some of our best-selling tabloids, broadcast shamelessly under the guise of “telling all sides of the debate”, and splashed across billboards warning of the perils of immigration.
Sickening as it is, this video is not anomalous. Britain is, was, and will continue to be for quite some time, a profoundly racist, intolerant society.
Growing up in Merseyside, I lived through the surreal sight of an entire district of my city being reduced to something like a warzone. I say surreal, because for me – a lucky little closeted 12-year-old white boy, living in a pleasant dormitory town on the outskirts, the idea that an entire city could be racist was beyond my understanding.
But Liverpool was a racist city. Like Brixton, and Chapeltown and Handsworth, Toxteth was the explosion of decades of mistreatment, abuse and denigration of black people in a city that would tell you with a straight face it was one of the most cosmopolitan in the world.