Sunday, 30 August 2009

A letter to Tory England

By Sarah: Maid of Albion

I visited where you live this week. I took the train from Marylebone and travelled away from London through stations with names like Seer Green, Gerrard's Cross and Beaconsfield, and I watched the world around me change, becoming something I once remembered it to be. I know where you live very well, as it is where I come from, but ts a different world to where I live now, yet for how much longer?

The air is fresher where you live, the land is cleaner, prettier, older and when I visit I find I still can hope.

As I travelled through station after station not only the landscape and air began to change but so did the people, they became whiter, and seemed more at one with their world than those where I had left that morning. They seemed, more relaxed, more confident and certainly more friendly and I knew why, for they are English, this was still England and it felt as if it would last forever.

I left the train and walked through your world, past tea shops, antique markets, estate agents and village greens to the two hundred year old church where I joined those who had come to celebrate and bury a much loved old Englishman. As I looked around the church at the sea of white faces and heard them sing the hymns that Englishmen have sung for hundreds of years, I felt again that this was England and that it could last forever.

Yet, it is deceptive where you live, it is somewhere you can pretend what's happening isn't and can feel that all is well whilst still knowing deep down that it is not.

Not everyone there is white, there are some black and brown faces in Tory England, but only enough to add interest and a hint of the exotic, they are not amongst you in sufficient numbers to overwhelm or frighten you, or change the face of where you live forever, well not yet anyway.

Where you live multiculturalism can seem to mean little more than having easier access to chickpeas and couscous while watching that nice George Alagiah read you the news in the evening. It does not yet mean social decay, gang crime, gang rape and that crushing sense of alienation within your homeland which has become the lot of so many of your not so far away urban brothers. To you, ethnic mixing means Jemima Goldsmith in a designer Shalwar Kameez divorcing Imran Khan and still remaining a social princess, not a battered, hollow eyed white girl condemned to grinding welfare with an ochre coloured child in a borrowed stroller.

Those changes will come, but they have not quite reached you yet.

Maybe you really believe that it never will or that there still will be enough leafy glades and white avenue ghettos to outlast your grandchildren, provided that is they can cope with the commute.

Whilst you don't have to see the destruction or have to live amongst it you pretend it isn't there or believe the politicians who speak of urban enrichment. Those of you who work in town, need only bury your heads more deeply in your paper whilst the train carrying you to the still largely white financial heart of the city hurtles through those failed but fast expanding experiments like Ruislip, Neesden, New Cross and East Croydon. Yet, how much longer can you ignore them?, for they exist and are coming your way.

Others once felt like you, at other time and in other places, Malaya in the years before the war, the white highlands of Kenya in the 1950's or the white cockney East End of London must have once felt permanent, secure and as if they would be there forever, but they are gone, and will never come back. You live in that same dusk, but there is only so long that you can ignore the darkness to come.


After the funeral I mingled amongst the guests and mourners drinking Earl Grey tea and eating egg or cucumber sandwiches. The widow, a dying breed of lady, greeted me as “Darling” and and I marvelled at the beauty which so many seventy year old English woman of her type possess. It was beauty she had passed on to her lovely grandsons, charming, handsome young white men, one in the army, another a doctor, married to white women who don't yet see the need to dress as trash.

Do they know what they have lost, what has been stolen from them and their children, does their delightful grandmother know that the land of her birth is no more? If they do, they will not say so, as if, like the wolf at the door, to acknowledge it is there means it will finally come in.

That is the problem with where you live, it is an illusion, and one which is rapidly fading. With luck some parts of it may last another fifty years, but you have signed away your home by pretending it will last forever and ignoring the truth which is rushing your way.

Are you blind, are you foolish or just too afraid, for when night falls on Tory England where will you go?


When it came time for me to leave, I did not want to. I wanted so much to stay in the comfortable fantasy world you live in, where everything was familiar and I could pretend that England still existed and would be there for ever. I understand why you live there, why you choose to ignore reality while you still can, but it is just a dream.

When I left you I wondered if you would still be there when I returned, I could not be sure, for, if you continue to ignore the truth, as you do now, you will not be there forever.