I read the Sun these days because somebody in my carriage at Cannon St leaves it every morning and it seems like a good idea to have a look. Last week there was a double page spread of swan bones stripped for food and found outside the tents of the “squalid”, “filthy” camp of Polish Olympic construction workers. That’s the Sun all over – The Sun makes the story about snapped wings and ancient charters and ignores the more important one about migrant workers trying to get by in tents in Newham in the middle of fucking February.
John Gaunt, embodying a lot of what’s most disgraceful about The Sun, was invited to speak about immigration on Newsnight tonight. It must feel really good saying the things he knows his racist readers and racist listeners want to hear and insisting that they’re not racist. And he must think he’s pretty clever bringing up his example of decent
white (that’s what he means when he says English) Brits waiting in a doctor’s surgery behind 30 immigrant families who can’t speak English and then insisting that of course he’s not blaming the immigrants – it’s the fault of Margaret Hodge and New Labour.
You don’t blame somebody, or a government, without accepting that the phenomenon you’re blaming them for is undesirable. For Gaunt the undesirable phenomenon is immigrant families who can’t speak English. For him they’re a tribulation – it’s only the white English he gets indignant about.
Nick Griffin (recorded in advance and interviewed on his own with only Kirsty Wark, the camera operator and his syrup – presumably because nobody wants to be seen with him) blames the hard drugs problem in multi-ethnic areas on Islam (yes seriously). He claims that anti-nationalists are the true racists because they want race to be subsumed into a “monoculture coffee-coloured world”. And to Scottish Kirsty: “We’re the indigenous people in this country”. I wonder what he’d think about James Watson…
Gaunty (as he grotesquely refers to himself) makes a vague attempt to distance himself from Griffin but without conviction. Trouble is that Gaunt doesn’t have the arguments and his heart’s not in it, in fact I can’t remember a more pathetic and half-hearted attempt at dissociation, except possibly Tony Judt not minding getting in bed with the far right. The most embarrassing part is when he brings up Griffin as not being working class as if that somehow makes his point. The upshot is that Gaunt’s fans are highly likely to think that Griffin talks sense.
Margaret Hodge (who is preaching, and not without some validity, a Barking version of ‘motherhood and apple pie’ – ‘a cup of coffee and a chocolate biscuit’) tries to point out that Gaunt’s an unhelpful serial simplifier. He almost drowns her out with snorts and pug-like woofing.
Gaunt is probably my 5th, 6th or 7th least favourite person All I can do is put him on my dartboard and aim at his gob and probably his eyes.