My Great Britain
I have heard alot of people complain about the state of our country recently. This upsets me greatly. Britain is not perfect, Utopia it is not; but whatever I read and hear, I still believe that Britain is Great!!
I think the worst day this week was probably Monday when ‘My Tram Experience’, a video taken by a London tram passenger, went viral.
I first became aware of this video through Twitter. Tweets went back and forth about how horrendous the Tram lady was and what should happen to her. I wish to point out straight away that the person in the video was NOT a lady by my standards. As a rule I tend to refer to people as ladies or gentlemen, as I feel it sounds more polite and respectful; I teach our daughter to do the same. This person does not deserve such a title.
The woman on the Tram, now named as Emma West appeared to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. I am not an expert but I didn’t need to be to see that she was not altogether balanced. With a small child on her lap, West engaged in a foul-mouthed, ill informed, racist rant in the direction of anyone and everyone within earshot.
What, if anything sparked this outburst, I do not know, nor do I care. West repeatedly spoke of ‘my England: my Great Britain’ during this rant. West’s country seems very different to the Great Britain where I live.
In my country we embrace diversity, we adopt it as our own, it is what makes Britain great!
On Twitter many people commented that the lack of reaction by other passengers and the decision to instead record the incident, highlighted an issue of disconnection in our society. I wholeheartedly disagree. I think that opting to record the incident, ensured that the woman be dealt with lawfully rather than physically reacting there and then and risking a violent situation erupting.
In all of the debate, my thoughts kept returning to the rather melancholy child on the lap of Emma West.
How sad that he did not react. He did not react to the bad language, the volume, the threatening behaviour. He did not even react when West was berated by another passenger. He didn’t cry, he didn’t panic, he didn’t even flinch. One can only deduce that for this child, such behaviour is the norm.
West has now been arrested and indeed locked up for her own protection; but there is no mention of her child. In my opinion, her vulgar display constitutes child abuse. I wonder how many other children are growing up with such questionable role models?
In all honesty, the most disturbing part for me is not the content of the video, nor I’m afraid the reaction of the little boy, it is the comments appearing on Youtube.
At a rate of approximately 3 comments per second, the opinion is a mixture of complete disdain for the whole country; blame in the direction of the British as a nation. Abhoration of this woman and all she believes in, support for this woman and all she believes in and most disturbingly of all; statements of general, blanket racism from and in the direction of, people of all colours, nationalities and backgrounds.
Given that Youtube is such an accessible public forum I am devastated that people with such racist, bigoted views feel comfortable and confident enough to voice them in this way. The ugly underbelly reveals itself?
Perhaps I have been sheltered, but I always believed that most people were like me. I embrace diversity to the point where I barely notice the colour of a persons’ skin. For me, having an accent is like holding up a sign saying ‘ask me questions, I’m from somewhere interesting’. At the very least I always though that we Brits were polite!!
I do not mean ‘us and them’ as in, we who’s families have lived in England for centuries and those who have been here only a little while. I am not referring to those people (like me) who have pale skin and those of colour. When I say us and them I am referring to those who are truly British, in the way that they accept other cultures and treat people with manners and respect and those ignorant fools who would happily defend an unhinged woman who would abuse strangers and her child on a Croydon tram.
It fills me with fear to think that this is the World in which my child will have to make a life for herself. I hope the day never arises when we who are tolerant, temperate and dare I say classy, are the minority in a Country of bigots, that could once call itself ‘Great’.