England's biggest St George's Day parade is facing the axe after councillors said many of those attending it were racist.A claim they can’t substantiate, of course.
And a claim in stark contrast to the intentions of the organisers of the parade:
Children and parents from all over the country parade through the Black Country town waving St George flags and marching to rousing anthems such as Jerusalem.An admirable aim, you’d think. One that any genuine anti-racist campaigner could not help but support?
Organisers say one of the aims is to reclaim the Saint George Cross from Right-wingers and make it a source of pride for all.
You’d be wrong:
But last night the local council, Labour-controlled Sandwell, voted to withdraw its support for the parade. Funds will go to support a Party in the Park instead.How are they going to ensure that those who attend this event aren’t ‘racist’, then? Are they going to be subjected to an interrogation first?
In a letter to the organisers, one councillor, Yvonne Davies, said the parade created an 'unhealthy atmosphere' and inspired young boys to be racist.Ah, yes, the ‘tribes’ of England, with their quaint customs, like candle making, and ceramics…
She wrote: 'It is not only the parade which is the problem, but the tribal excitement it creates.'
Councillor Davies wrote in her letter: 'I am sure most are very respectful and law-abiding, however some are distasteful in the extreme and wish to divide and separate people from each other.'Bit difficult when it’s open to everyone, isn’t it? I mean, the only people who could feel ‘divided’ and ‘separated’ by a fully inclusive event are those who feel no pride in their country, or have a loyalty to another country.
Sandwell doesn't have any of those, does it? Other than the ones in the council, that is....
She said she had once been abused by youths who 'had been emboldened by the parade and thought racist chants were funny'.I find it hard to see how she can possibly have been ‘racially abused by youths’, as she’s as lily white as I am.
'I have seen first hand how the parade (albeit unintentionally) creates an unhealthy atmosphere.'
And if she had been, the proper response would have been to summon a policeman and press a complaint, not pull the funding for the entire event, thus depriving thousands of council taxpayers of a much loved and well attended day out.
At a meeting of Sandwell council cabinet last night, her colleagues sided with her and decided against backing the parade. Instead there will be the Party in the Park, a concert in the Town Hall and St George Flags will be flown on all of the council's buildings.Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised – it is Sandwell, after all, natural home of blowhard Labour councillors doing their very best to ensure their party goes down to a stunning defeat in the next election.
And if Yvonne really is such a diligent ‘anti-offense’ campaigner, she might want to take issue with Barmy Bobby Piper over his infamous ‘blackface’ posting.
Trevor Collins of the Stone Cross Saint George Association, which organises the parade, said: 'To suggest the parade is racist is ridiculous and offensive. When you see the kids, the dogs, everyone out having fun, it's really a beautiful sight. It doesn't matter if you're black, white, green, brown or whatever, everyone's welcome.And money isn’t their only problem:
'The council's decision means we have to foot the bills for insurance and security. We've got to come up with £10,000 in two months which seems impossible.'
Another organiser Mark Cowles said the parades had raised £7,000 for charity. He added that, as well as losing out on council support, they had probably missed the deadline for applying for road closures.I bet those charities wouldn’t have been government-funded fakecharities either…
'All we wanted to do was organise a fun, family-friendly day for everyone that celebrates being English,' he said. 'We have been approached by extreme Right-wing groups and we have turned them away.'And as soon as they see this headline, they’ll be back.
And will they have a lot more people now willing to listen to them, as they tell the people of Sandwell how their councillors fail to promote and support traditional English culture? Will that translate into a greater vote for them in and around Sandwell, and in other areas?
If it does, take a bow, Labour Councillor Yvonne Davies. You will have helped to cause that…