Monday, December 12, 2005

Aussie Race Riots

Is this what happens when you elect a government that makes a big deal out of asylum seekers and immigration? I somehow suspect that it is. Not having followed the Australian election closely, I can't comment for sure. But if John Howard's election campaign, masterminded by Lynton Crosby, was anything like Michael Howard's, then it wouldn't surprise me to find links between that and the events on the streets of Sydney today.

The thing that struck me most about the news pictures was that it didn't seem the typical rioting crowd, or the deprived areas that are normally associated with these events. Much more 'respectable' surroundings, a seemingly high number of women involved. Now, my impressions may well be wrong, and if they are please do correct me in the comments.

However, whatever the cause, I think it shows the danger of pandering towards prejudice - whether overtly or slyly. Giving the impression that racism, or xenophobia, is acceptable in some way shape or form leads to this sort of behaviour. Demonising people makes you think the unacceptable is acceptable, as long as it's you doing the damage. That is why Michael Howard was so irresponsible this summer - because he was deliberately pandering to prejudice. And that's why I'm very glad that he was roundly defeated.