Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Where are the English?

Now that Golden Brown has finally got to the top of the pile, I thought that I should take the high road away from Loch Lomond and see what he was up to and what people think about him.
On first arrival it seems to me the very worst place in the whole of the UK to be to learn this is London. I can’t find any English people to tell me.
Brazilians, Polish, Australians, South Africans - thousands and millions of them. English people are pretty thin on the ground.
In the three weeks I have been here I can honestly say that goings on of Lula, the president of Brazil, his murky associations with drug barons and interference in the politics of Sao Paolo seem to have more importance than anything the Golden one might do.
The London based newspapers that I have spent most of my adult life reading have never seemed so irrelevant. Reading articles written by white middle class –albeit with a token second generation immigrant here and there - English people about London and the south of England had significance north of the border. The culture that these journalists talk about and move in is similar to an urban Scottish one albeit bigger and with more options. Reading them the average Scot can believe that the London life they read about can easily be accessed by them should they tread the well worn path south.
Well I can, at last, go and see the films and exhibitions that these newspapers review but not with anyone English.
Sizeable communities that appear invisible to the media thrive here. Who is conscious of the numbers of white South Africans who live in the UK, most of them in London? Apart from Rio Ferdinand whose Brazilian father seems like an anomaly in the history of UK immigration, how many people are aware of the sheer number of Brazilians are here? Why does no one in the London press ever mention these people?
The only conclusion I can come to is not only is the London press unaware of anything that goes on out with easy reach of the capital, neither do they actually have any idea what goes on in it. They must live and work within their own tiny wee group somewhat similar in style to the Hassidic Jews of Hendon. I am sure that it would make a good topic for anthropological study.
Meanwhile I try to decipher the Portuguese in the London Brazilian newspapers and magazines or read the white South Africans’ London magazine to see if I am missing anything.

1 comment:

Sunny Singh said...

You missed out the nearly half million people of Indian descent - and not all of them grew up in a suburb near Heathrow - who live in London. But those dont show up in the Guardian, Times etc either.