It took a grime artist just a few minutes to destroy a Conservative MP’s defence of the government in the ongoing Windrush scandal. But the exchange highlighted a deeper problem: the classism that exists within the UK.
It’s not about racism. Honest.
Marci Phonix, a rapper from London, was debating Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng on Channel 4 News on Wednesday 18 April.
Kwarteng insisted to host Krishnan Guru-Murthy that the Windrush scandal wasn’t about “institutional racism”, and that “we’re muddling lots of different things”. But he noted that we “do have problems with racism in this country”. Yet Kwarteng maintained that immigration and racism were “not really central” to the Windrush scandal.
Phonix was not happy. He asked Kwarteng how he would feel if his “mum was sent back”.
Eton-educated Kwarteng said he’d be “appalled”. But he claimed the government “don’t know” how many people had been deported under the Windrush scandal. He also claimed there was “no evidence” that anyone had been deported. He then accused Phonix of trying to “play politics” with the issue.
Windrush: the reality
But Kwarteng did not impress Phonix. He said:
I’m not a politician. I’m speaking for all the people who come from where I come from.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
I don’t know of anyone who has been deported.
Phonix was not having it. He said:
You wouldn’t… You are not coming from the same place I’m coming from. You don’t represent the same people I represent. You would not know. And you don’t care… It’s a job for you… This is reality for me. When I leave here, my car can get pulled over for no reason… When I go in a shop, or my daughter goes in a shop, who’s 12, she gets followed around the shop…
As The Canary‘s editor-in-chief Kerry Anne-Mendoza previously reported:
After the Second World War… parliament passed the British Nationality Act in 1948 and gave British citizenship to all people living in Commonwealth countries. This law granted them full rights of entry and settlement in Britain…
While home secretary, Theresa May passed an immigration bill which undid the rights of the Windrush generation.
It later emerged that the Home Office had deliberately destroyed the registration slips of Windrush citizens. This has made it impossible for many to prove their citizenship.
Institutionalised racism and classism
The exchange between Phonix and Kwarteng was telling. Not least because it highlighted a Conservative MP admitting the government has little idea what’s going on under its own watch. But what the debate really highlighted was the gulf that exists between some politicians and the communities they claim to represent.
– Support the Stop Funding Hate campaign. Demand that advertisers withdraw funding from newspapers and websites that promote hate speech.
– Support the work of Hope Not Hate.
– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
Featured image via YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?