“We want to give them the basic language skills to make [a] meaningful contribution to the city. What is wrong with that?… In terms of UKIP, it’s typical immigrant bashing. It almost borderlines on racism.”
These are the weasel words of someone called Ranjit Banwait, Derby City Council leader, who I’ve no doubt is too stupid to understand the problem with his own attacks on his UKIP colleagues for resisting plans to spend tax payers’ money on migrant English lessons – and lobbying the government, with more tax payers money, to spend more tax payers money on people who haven’t been tax payers. You following?
The Derby Telegraph reports a “row” in the local authority over English speaking lessons, neglecting to point out that Mr Banwait, ironically, seems to need some himself (and no, this doesn’t “almost borderline racism” – whatever that means. He’s obviously a decent English speaker, as you can see here).
There was nothing controversial in the comments made by UKIP’s Alan Graves, who said that he wasn’t in favour of UK tax payers supporting “economic migrants” so that they could speaking better English and then undercut them in the jobs market.
He even played the left’s own game and added: “If it was about supporting refugees then we would support it, but I believe it [the Labour motion] is talking about economic migrants.
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask a migrant who wants to settle in the country to have a basic understanding of English.”
“The problem with too many migrants in this country is the fact that it actually affects the lower paid and the poorer people in society. It actually benefits wealthy people because they can employ cheaper labour.”
I suppose Mr Banwait took issue with the last line from Mr Graves in the paper, which quotes him as saying: “We should spend that money on the indigenous population – people suffering in the city who have lived here all their life.”
Mr Banwait shot back, in a manner befitting someone who needs English lessons themselves: “In terms of UKIP, it’s typical immigrant bashing. It almost borderlines on racism.”
And then he rolled out the Nazi card. Because, you know, he’s a grown up in charge of a large council. So why wouldn’t he? He said UKIP represented “politics that was confined to the dustbin of history at the end of the Second World War” and claimed: “I’m more British than any of you put together.”
Well by his logic, that “almost borderlines racism” too. Isn’t bragging about his Britishness “racist” or “xenophobic” or “colonialist” or “jingoistic”? Plus here he is declaring “we are all Palestinians” (I particularly like the part where he claims he’s going to “walk in an olive branch of peace”) So which is it?
And typically of someone who should be nowhere near policy-making, he claimed he was motivated not by the best interests of tax payers and his electorate (which is supposed to be his job), but rather, because he couldn’t look his family in the eye if he didn’t behave in the way he is.
Mr Banwait added: “I want to be a poster villain of UKIP”. The party’s activists will no doubt hold him to his demands.