The BBC, keen to shake off unsupported accusations of being a liberal mouthpiece, tonight launches its White season investigated the plight of the white working class – are they becoming invisible? – in a manner that seems deliberately provocative. The main trailer features the face of the white man pictured here covered with foreign writing until he’s black, a technique that reminds us of the cost of translating official documents perhaps; implying that immigrants refuse to learn English and integrate.
Yet if the interests of the white working class are ignored, that’s probably because, as Labour councillor Bob Piper details, the working class as a whole is generally ignored. Restricted to white British, the BBC survey used to drive the PR for the series is guilty of ignoring the non-white working class, even though a black person is far more likely to be working class than a white one.
By asking white working class people if they’re happy, discovering that they’re not and then following up with questions focussed on racial divides, the BBC assumes race is at the heart of the problem and behaves little better than Diana Appleyard, the Daily Mail journalist who appealed for horror stories of dishonest East Europeans. Ask a question based on race and you get an answer based on race. But what about employment opportunities, housing, education and the rest?
Ironically, the white working class is often blamed for immigration; immersed in a sick note culture, they’re too lazy to work so we must import labour. Where’s the working class perspective on that?
Meanwhile, our electoral system fails to credit politicians who court the workers; they tend to live in safe Labour seats where their votes simply don’t count.