A donkey-cart ride away from Abbottabad, the lawless Northern Pakistani region where Osama Bin Laden obligingly stepped directly in front of a ‘warning shot’ from US Navy Seals, there lived a poor farming family – the Afzals.
They had lived there for generations, steeped in the traditions, religion, cultures and customs of rural Pakistan, far from the reach of expensive US programmes designed to preach democracy, respect for the rule of law, and understanding of the laws and cultures of other countries.
Poorly educated, unsuited to Western technology, they took jobs in the city in the catering industry, wielding vast pots of ‘char’. Eventually they ended up in Birmingham, England, in a close-knit Muslim/Pakistani community.
There, Mrs Afzal gave birth to a son.
What would become of that son, in this unfamiliar land, with its strange laws and unfamiliar customs?
Some 50 years later, Nick Clegg, he of the liberal bent, is much exercised by the prospects for similar poverty stricken and ill educated families. Yesterday he was addressing the Sutton Trust, he said:
“Income and social class background have a significant impact on a child’s future life chances and there have been few signs of improvement in recent decades.”
He believes that Universities ‘must open their doors to the poor’ – not by lowering their fees, as you might imagine from the reference to ‘the poor’, but by lowering their educational requirements.
You couldn’t possibly expect someone from, say, the Afzal family, to be able to study at the same level as someone from a ‘rich and privileged background’. Where would they do their homework in that poverty stricken household? What if English was their second language, and they struggled to understand the lessons? It was unfair that they should be expected to compete with those from a ‘rich and privileged background’.
Snobbery, he says, is a ‘national religion’ as millions of children from poor families are denied good jobs because of ‘class attitudes’; if that is true, it is cause for national outrage, there is no place in a modern society for the baby son of Mrs Afzal to be denied a decent job simply because of snobbery regarding his parent’s background.
Part of the reason for all this liberal hand wringing over our ‘rigid class society’ is the effect of immigration; thousands of individuals with different backgrounds, different beliefs, different customs, are struggling to live according to our laws, our language, our culture. We must make it easier for them, so the meme goes; translate the gas bill into Urdu, provide an expensive translator to tell Mrs Afzal when to ‘push’ so that baby Afzal can be born healthy, not expect baby Afzal to learn that 2 + 2 equals four if he wants to go to University…
Otherwise, so we are told, we will continue to have problems like those experienced in Rochdale, of young men from villages in the lawless north west of Pakistan, grooming young white working class girls for sex. It is our own fault, we have not done enough to help these young men to integrate, haven’t given them good enough jobs, haven’t admitted them to our Universities.
It has taken expensive and highly trained legal brains years to come up with the ‘Forced Marriages Act’; to persuade the police to gather enough evidence to prosecute the Rochdale abusers; to beat a path through the closed ghettoes of northern mill towns and break down the wall of resilience to adapting to our cultures that our ‘snobbery’ has forced these poor working class youths from Pakistan into. Those driving this ‘new liberal thinking’ have finally been shamed into accepting that it is our culture that is to blame for the troubles that currently beset us, our snobbery which has led us to this position, and we must change.
So what did happen to baby Afzal? I’m glad you asked.
He’s not in Guantanamo Bay prison accused of being an international terrorist; not shown up as a suicide bomber in dusty Yemen; has never stood accused of being a child abuser; doesn’t appear to have ever hurled a petrol bomb into a city centre shop.
Surely he must be living quietly on benefits somewhere, with three wives and umpteen children – after all, he was born 50 years before the liberals decided that it was ‘our fault’. 50 years before anyone thought of lowering the University entrance requirements. 50 years before anybody put his parent’s gas bill in Urdu. 50 years before anybody suggested that perhaps our new found Muslim community should be held accountable for their illegal acts.
Funny you should have brought him up again – step forward Nazir Afzal. Head of the Crown Prosecution Service for North West England. Highly educated lawyer. Superb legal brain. Champion of property rights, and respect for the British law. The man who put the liberal establishment to shame by exposing the effects of their ‘multi-culturalism’.
Weird that, isn’t it? How could he possibly have achieved that position in our class ridden society? Now what do you think is holding the next generation back from emulating his example? Why the sudden need for a ‘Clegg-up’? Why isn’t Nazir Afzal being lauded all over the main stream media?