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February 23, 2010

Comments

Richard J

These are people for whom government in many incarnations – imperial, imperialist, republican and Communist – has been little other than bad news down the years, with the partial exception of the British administration of Hong Kong

Timothy Mo's Sour Sweet comes to mind here.

Chris Williams

Indeed, the other day, when Lord Tebbitt stormed out of him house to attack a Chinese new year parade, it was a Tory councillor of Chinese extraction that he ended up apologising to.

chris y

when Lord Tebbitt stormed out of him house to attack a Chinese new year parade

He did? Why?

jamie

"Timothy Mo's Sour Sweet comes to mind here."

Actually, the Monkey King's better. I'm thinking of the bit where the HK police fight radical students on farmland belonging to a village up by the China/HK border. Then the local villagers descend on the scene determined to mop up by killing anybody - police or student - who they find, not appreciating having had their fields trashed. Don't tread on me, and don't fuck with my seedlings. What happened to Timothy Mo, btw? He was great.

Of course, the New Territories' villages now support the DAB, the populist pro-Beijing party in Hong Kong. Astute bit of united front work, that.

Tebbit appaears to have a problem with the Chinese generally. His cricket test analogy was actually made about Hong Kong.

ajay

His cricket test analogy was actually made about Hong Kong.

Really? I can't imagine most Hong Kong Chinese cheering for any side in a cricket match unless they had money on the outcome. I always assumed he was talking about immigrants from the subcontinent still cheering for India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka.

Richard J

What happened to Timothy Mo, btw? He was great.

Dropped by his publisher, self-published for a few years, but seems to have disappeared off the planet for the past decade.

http://ageofuncertainty.blogspot.com/2008/06/whatever-happened-to-timothy-mo.html

Chris Williams

I wonder how much of this is about the politics of post-imperialism. Certain chunks of the British ruling class had, up to about 40 years ago, very close links (and antagonisms) with quite clearly (by them, anyway) defined ethnic groups, as part of the process of defending, and then retreating from, empire...

Tebbitt:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8529927.stm

Lord Tebbit has apologised for his behaviour after "shoving" a child dressed as a dragon during celebrations to mark Chinese new year.

The Tory peer told the Daily Mirror he did not realise what the festivities were when he said he heard a "dreadful noise" outside his Suffolk home.

After going out to investigate, he said he had been "jostled" by a dragon and "gave it a shove" in response.

jamie

"His cricket test analogy was actually made about Hong Kong.

Really?"

yeah, in a debate about migration from HK sometime in the early eighties. Wikipedia has him telling it to the LA Times in 1990, but I'm positive that's wrong. We thought at the time it might have been one of those dog whistle comments made ostensibly about the Chinese in Britain on the perception that they wouldn;t complain, but essentialy targeted at minorities who would.

ajay

I would be very interested to see a reference on that. I've no doubt that Tebbit said nasty things about HK immigration around the time of the BNA, but I wonder if you're confusing whatever it was he said about that with his 'cricket test' remark. It was some time ago, and human memory works oddly.

skidmarx

He did? Why?

If I was to go with a functionalist explanation, to provide The Mirror the opportunity to go with the headline "Tebbit Chases The Dragon".
It may have something to do with him being kept awake. Or his been not quite right since the Brighton Bomb. You decide.


redpesto

"I always assumed he was talking about immigrants from the subcontinent still cheering for India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka."

I always thought it was about West Indies fans, which makes more sense given the context (Brixton Riots, England getting beaten regularly by Lloyd, Richards, Holding Roberts, et al.) By the time of the Hong Kong handover, Tebbit was in the Lords channelling his inner Enoch even more obviously than in the '80s now that he wasn't a minister.

ejh

My unreliable recollection is that it was aimed at Pakistanis.

When she dies, how much talk will there be about just how racist she and her closest associates were?

Phil

It's already seeping out, although with her still above-ground it seems to be felt to be in poor taste to make too much fuss.

ajay

When she dies, how much talk will there be about just how racist she and her closest associates were?

Almost none. She'll be universally praised and given a state funeral. Saviour of the Falklands, scourge of the unions, liberator of nations and light of the world.
Look what happened to Nixon.

Chris Williams

But there will be a measurable blip in sales of fizzy wine.

Cian

I think it will be like the Diana phenomenon. Complete disjoint between the official story, and what actually happens at street level.

Its weird if you talk to undergraduates about her. They know the name, but that's about it. Unimaginable...

dsquared

That is indeed the weirdest thing, although what has struck me the most in British politics in the last six months was when Milliband was quoted at second hand by a "friend" as saying that "he didn't want to be Heseltine", during the Blears/Purnell wobble. It just sort of summed up the problem for me - the British political class is made up of people who not only know exactly what he meant by that, but for whom saying such things is as natural as talking about the weather.

Richard J

Its weird if you talk to undergraduates about her. They know the name, but that's about it. Unimaginable...

They'd have been, what, five?, in 1997, right? For me, that's the rough equivalent of Cecil Parkinson/ the Falklands. If you're not a precocious smartarse, I can see why it may not form part of their mental framework.

jamie

My stepson the junior management consultant informs us that he's going to vote Labour, apparently an entirely mainstream choice in his employment peer group. He doesn't really know from Thatcher either except as a kind of turnip ghost of his early childhood (he was born in 1986).

Phil

We were doing the Leah Betts story in my Drugs class the other week. Faces weren't blank so much as unconcerned - they'd read the story, a bit sad, a bit ironic, there you go. It gradually dawned on me that 1995 is an awful long time ago if you were born in 1987 - it'd be a bit like asking me what I remembered about the dockers marching in support of Enoch. (Enoch who? they cry...)

Matthew

I'm pleased to say you are all right (although Jamie's dates are a bit off). Tebbit's test was introduced in April 1990 in an interview with the LA Times and was about Pakistani/Indian teams, but the interview was the night before and about this vote on giving 50,000 passports to families in Hong Kong (http://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/20/world/britain-will-offer-refuge-to-50000-successful-hong-kong-families.html) which Tebbit was leading the opposition to.

Matthew

Dockers who?

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