Spent a pleasant afternoon sunning ourselves and reading the Sunday papers in the Botanics. Reading about the Cabinet reshuffle and ever-present Blair/Brown divide was depressing. It’s almost as if there was no election, and it’s business as usual. Scrapping behind the scenes. Blair as bullish as ever, and misinterpreting the message voters were sending (deliberately, I think). The thing that worried me most was in an article by Margaret Hodge (If Labour doesn’t listen to its heartland voters, it will lose them). She highlights the antipathy that white Barking residents feel to migrants, whether they were economic or asylum-seeking immigrants. Their main objection seemed to be against migrants’ different cultures. It’s not the Tories that are being let in through the back door, it’s the BNP, who received 17% of the votes in Barking. Why do they fear a multicultural society? How valid is their fear that migrants will take their jobs or claim their share of welfare benefits or get priority for council housing? Wouldn’t publication of a breakdown of who gets what by local councils show them just how unjustified these fears are?
To cheer myself up, I photographed some flowers, most of which come from foreign climes. Do the British know that most of the plants they love so much come from elsewhere? Does it stop them from buying these foreigners in B&Q and Homebase? Or from letting such interlopers into their homes? No, because they’re beautiful. If only the British loved other people as much as they love their gardens.