London diary: Brits hostile to a significant increase in migration from India, May’s Brexit mayhem and more
It is revealing of the Brits’ bias that while opposing higher level of migration from non-white countries, they have no problem with Canadians, Americans and Australians
No to Indian migrants
There is bad news for India if it hoped to extract a generous immigration arrangement from Britain in return for a post-Brexit trade deal. British public opinion is implacably opposed to any more immigration from non-white countries. And, rather embarrassingly for New Delhi, Brits are particularly hostile to a significant increase in migration levels from India, according to a poll on attitudes towards immigration after Brexit. Only nine per cent said “yes” to India.
It is revealing of the Brits’ bias that while opposing higher level of migration from non-white countries (India, China, South Korea and South Africa), they have no problem with Canadians, Americans and Australians.
“Some 61 per cent of people were willing to accept higher levels of immigration from Canada, 60 per cent from Australia and 55 per cent from the US. Only 35 per cent said the same for India and South Korea. Only 9 per cent were willing to accept significantly higher levels from India, with similar percentages for South Africa and China,” The Times reported.
The message is: foreigners from white developed countries are welcome but spare us the Asians and Africans. Bad old days of overt racism when the mere sight of a dark-skinned immigrant neighbourhood was enough to prompt “white flight” from an area may be over, but subconscious bias remains.
May’s Brexit mayhem
She has been described as a “bloody difficult woman” by her colleagues, dubbed a “Maybot” for her robotic style, and is now being jokingly touted for an Oscar for the “most inept performance in a lead role” for her botched handling of the Brexit negotiations.
Enter Theresa May, the architect of Britain’s Brexit chaos which has landed the country into an unprecedented crisis and made the once “Great” Britain a laughingstock of the world. She herself presents a pathetic figure and has become a butt of jokes. European media and politicians are having a field day cocking a snook at her.
Even Donald Trump has joined the fun and is boasting none of this would have happened if May had listened to his advice.
“I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone...But I gave the prime minister my ideas on how to negotiate it...She didn’t listen to that. I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly. I hate to see everything being ripped apart right now.”
After three years of tortuous negotiations and with only days to go for the original deadline of March 29 for Britain to leave the European Union nobody knows where the country is headed. At the time of writing, the only thing certain is that Brexit will not happen on March 29. When will it happen, and on what terms? Anybody’s guess.
Feminists Vs “trans”
The culture war between feminists and trans-people has now spread to the literary world making it the latest battlefield for the increasingly heated debate on gender politics. The issue : should a transgender writer be eligible for a women’s book award?
The row erupted after Akwaeke Emezi, who was born a woman and now identifies as non-binary transgender after undergoing a sex-change, was long-listed for Britain’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. This is the first time that a gender-fluid novelist has been included for a prize set up with the explicit purpose of recognising women writers.
But even as the judges were hailing it as “a historic moment”, many feminists were not amused. Did this mean that now “trans” writers “who have beards” would now be eligible to compete for a women’s prize?
And feminists are not the only one wondering what’s going on? Transgender writers who were born as men are asking: what about them?
Trans-writer Victoria Parsons, who was born as male, said: “What troubles me most is this: would a non-binary author who was assigned male at birth have been longlisted? I highly doubt it.”
Judges tied themselves in knots initially claiming that at the time Emezi’s “Freshwater” was longlisted she identified as woman. After the writer denied this, they said the “prize is about judging the books, not the authors”.
Amid growing confusion and embarrassment, prize organisers promised to “formulate a policy around gender fluid, transgender, non-binary writers to provide clarity”.
“Fluid” times, these.
New look “Bo-Jo”
Boris Johnson, Britain’s former Indophile foreign secretary, has lost his famously shaggy mop of hair leaving him looking like “a fluffed-up golden tennis ball”, The Times noted. While pundits speculated that it might be an attempt at a “makeover” as part of his Tory leadership campaign, he had a more prosaic explanation. He had apparently nodded off when having a haircut.
“When I emerged from a trance, my hair had more or less gone, he said joking that he had been a victim of “shear madness”.
And, lastly, a gym in London is offering “cannabis” yoga classes to make people feel relaxed after a long day. They are given a patch infused with cannabidiol, derived from cannabis, before starting yoga exercises.
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