I closed yesterday by saying that the colour of tyranny is irrelevant. The proof of the pudding is evidently in the eating. Braverman, a woman of colour, has just been re-appointed Home Secretary by Rishi Sunak, the UK’s first Prime Minister of colour. This is the woman who fully endorses the government’s borderline policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, the woman who said that she dreams of asylum seekers being on flights to Rwanda (and, by the way, who was sacked 6 days ago for breaching the ministerial code – so much for Sunak’s claim that he will create a government of “integrity”). By this appointment Sunak has proved the point I made yesterday – that he doesn’t care about making the UK a more multicultural and diverse society. The worst thing is that Sunak and Braverman, now confirmed purveyors of racist policies, are the children of immigrants into the UK, people whom those current policies would have deported to Rwanda. So much for celebrating a new diversity at the head of government, so much for the Tories who say Sunak’s accession is proof that the Tories and more multicultural and diverse than the other political parties. It’s not just a national disgrace; it’s an international disgrace.
Marina Florance and I released a song about racism in the UK in 2019. It remains relevant, especially right now. All the credits are at the end of the video. The bottom line – if you’re an immigrant, or of immigrant stock but went to the wrong school, you’re not safe.
If you think things will change for the better under Sunak, you’re wrong. The new economic policies will make the 2010 austerity policies of Cameron and Osborne look like days of bread and circuses. We are in for the harshest winter you can’t even imagine.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 232
Before she gets to Security, Aggie, sidling through the airport in her invisible and unobtrusive mode, slips into the toilets, walks into a cubicle, closes the door quietly behind her, and starts to unpack the weapons she has in her coat, strapped to her leg, in her bag. She wipes them clean with toilet paper, carefully, not wanting to leave any traces, and lowers them gently into the cistern. They only just fit. She flushes to make sure they all settle before a new load of water submerges them. She pulls a fresh shirt out of her backpack, changes into it to make sure there really is none of that artificial blood from the artificial Valentine visible on her. She checks her bag for anything that could set off an alarm, double checks the AGATA file she retrieved from the basement of the White House, just to make sure there are no hidden tags in it which might cause an alarm. She pushes down on the cardboard covers of it, looking for tiny solid objects embedded in it, and finds nothing. Ready. She opens the cubicle door, walks to the sinks, and washes her face, the cold water bringing her some sense of relief after the heat of the combat. She smiles at herself, orders her hair with her fingers until she’s happy with it, and makes her way to Security.
At the sight of the Fast Track Security channel, she smiles inwardly, nods almost imperceptibly, slows her breathing down as much as she can, slows it down so much that she’s only breathing a few times every minute, just to make sure that there are no tremors that might cause the guards to single her out as a person of interest. She picks it up again as soon as she’s through the first section, where she has to take off her shoes, remove her belt, pile her coat and everything else into a plastic tray that’s exactly the same cheap sort as the trays are for those who have had to queue for hours on end to get to this point. She smiles at each and everyone she has to interact with, makes sure to hold eye contact, to make some kind of small talk with them that marks her down as a personable young English woman, a professional woman, someone civilised and understanding. They all smile back at her without exception. And finally she’s through, and has only to find the gate for the plane. She doesn’t rush her strides, doesn’t lengthen them. If anything, she seems like she’s slowing down, seems to anyone else like just the person she wants them to think she is – someone who’s just flying from A to B because she has to, not necessarily because she wants to, someone who’s not in a hurry, someone who doesn’t care about the political situation because it’s not hers to worry about, someone who doesn’t think there could be a nuclear holocaust at any moment. Lily would be impressed, she thinks, and probably tell her she should become an actor next. She has to stop herself from laughing out loud at that point.
The tension falls away from her as she steps onto the plane, welcomed by one of many smartly-dressed cabin crew, who direct her off to her left into the First Class cabin. She sits down in the wide chair, momentarily closes her eyes, then looks out of the window next t her. No sign of anything out of the ordinary. The doors close with a satisfying thump, the plane starts to push back, and the safety demonstration begins. She’s glad no-one is sitting next to her.
‘How nice to be on the same flight as you, my dear.’ It’s Valentine’s voice, behind her.