Racism sleeps lightly in its European cradle, and lately not at all. Where to start? With the Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom, who is not, as the Telegraph reported, “a fringe member of a fringe party”, but a populist monster who hides his ferocity behind the cretinism of the golf club and decries aid to “bongo bongo land?” Of what white Europeans did to “bongo bongo land” Bloom neither knows nor cares; he cannot acknowledge that to justify racism, one must dehumanise the victim, now as then. Bloom should read King Leopold’s Ghost, Adam Hochschild’s history of what Belgium did to Congo, but he won’t.
Or perhaps we should start with Oprah Winfrey, who was barred from touching a $35,000 handbag in a Zurich boutique she patronised on a trip to attend Tina Turner’s wedding? This is important, a testament to the tenacity of racism in otherwise gilded circumstances, a politicised Pretty Woman, a rom com gone wrong. Or with the Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s appearance at the Traditional Britain Group (TBG), which has called for the deportation of Doreen Lawrence? Rees-Mogg was educated at Eton College and Oxford, and was warned of the TBG’s views by the anti-fascist group Searchlight – but claimed ignorance anyway; ah, ignorance and misunderstanding and shock!
I prefer to stay in Switzerland, lovely Switzerland, land of chocolates and clinics and cuckoo clocks; Switzerland, the fourth richest country in the world by GDP, with an unemployment rate loitering at 3%. What looming chaos threatens its calm and monetised slumber?