It’s we who are the racists
How can we explain that so many do not seem to see how stupid and ill-judged and, far worse, hypocritical is the shame that is now being heaped on Yorkshire by those who should themselves be ashamed. Most of these accusations concern occasional remarks made by people ten years ago when cultural expectations were very different. Azeem Rafiq was the youngest player ever to be appointed captain of Yorkshire. That doesn’t sound especially racist one might have thought. The alleged remarks probably were banter, because that is the language talked by all male groups. That is not to say that sometimes within such groups remarks are not meant to be personally wounding. But this is often meant to be a test of personality rather than abuse. Can the victim laugh at himself? Can he put his amour propre aside and put his deepest self-regard at the service of the male group? We have forgotten how male groups work. Today the phrase probably makes you think first of gangs of frightened teenagers carrying knives. Nor is this to say that there were not gangs of teenagers in Bradford pursuing terrified non- whites in the interests of paki-bashing. That really is utterly appalling But it was not going on at Headingly. Why then the moral outrage directed against Yorkshire CCC. There must be a reason. What is it?
Most poor countries today are non-white and their poverty is a consequence of nineteenth century colonialism. Adam Smith told us to trade with other countries because it makes both sides wealthy not only financially but culturally. But we didn’t do that. Instead we took them over by force and despised their cultures, in the name of Adam Smith’s free trade would you believe. We wrecked their economies by turning them into market gardens to enrich our own. But now we have found a way of subjugating them in order to serve our interests far more effective and cheaper than sending in armies. We have caught them in debt traps. If a country becomes poor enough it can only survive by borrowing. But the increased interest payments make it poorer still so it has to borrow even more. Added to this, lendings to poor countries are thought to be risky, so higher interest rates are charged to compensate. The bigger a country’s debt the more likely it is that it will have to renege on the debts, so interest rates become higher still. So then we lend again on condition of imposing structural adjustments, which mean that countries must send even less on the welfare of their own people and more on earning foreign exchange to repay the debt. As a result wealth is constantly pouring out of poor countries and streaming into rich ones. Many poor countries are now spending more on debt repayments than taking action against climate change, let alone health services for their own people. Does not your heart bleed at the cruelty and injustice of all this? Well the hearts of those getting so upset about an odd supposedly racist remark made years ago in the Yorkshire pavilion apparently do not. For benefitting as they do from this terrible and unfair state of affairs – do they even realise it? – they have little to say about it, let alone trying to do something about it.
Britain cutting its aid budget? The public is largely happy to go along with it. $100bn dollars a year donated to poor countries to help fight climate change, first promised twenty years ago? Maybe by 2123 says Sharma. Perhaps the fines imposed on YCCC could go towards it. There is, according to the ancient tragedians, a universal justice. The consequence of failing to help the poor world will be hundreds of millions of climate refugees according to the scientists, that will devastate rich countries just as it has poor ones. Are we really going to be able to keep out hundreds of millions of refuges when we can’t really deal now with a few thousands? Through our meanness and injustice we are destroying ourselves as well as them. There is a technically possible way we could quash all the debts at one stroke. Countries have Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s) lodged with the IMF, to which they regularly contribute, rich countries more than poor ones, and meant to be a buffer against emergencies. The last time the IMF issued a grant of SDRs was in 2009 after the 2008 financial crisis, when it authorized a withdrawal of $1tr. This would need $11tr. But it could be done. Why don’t we do it? Well because we are so upset about isolated remarks made in the Yorkshire CCC pavilion ten years ago, somehow we haven’t got round to it. What after all are thousands, perhaps even millions, of children dying in poor countries because their governments are spending more on debt repayments than on health, compared with an odd unmentionable p word used ten years ago?
What do people do when they know somewhere deep in themselves that they are doing wrong? Why they blame someone else.