In the Middle Ages, society had a long list of taboo terms, usually associated with witchcraft. In today’s politics, the Medieval Left has found it hard to shake off this habit.
Last week it added a new phrase to its vocabulary of banned words: ‘white flight’. The PC Lords have decreed that no Labor Party member shall use this expression, lest they be burnt at the stake. The party’s NSW Leader, Luke Foley, has narrowly escaped incineration. He mentioned the verboten phrase once in an interview with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
So far, his punishment has been public humiliation, having been forced to back down and apologise. In the dock of this modern-day Salem, he has promised to never again allow his lips to move in a way that configures the words ‘white flight’. He can say ‘white male privilege’ or ‘whitesplaining’, most certainly – those terms are encouraged in Sussex Street, Salem. But not ‘white flight’.
Foley needs to understand how, for today’s Left, white is the new black. The things racists and rednecks used to say about black people are now being said repetitively about whites. In fact, you are not a real Leftie unless you publicly denigrate white skin colour, especially if your own skin is a lighter shade of Dulux Hog Bristle. It’s the ultimate in self-flagellation – another Medieval ritual. Poor Luke, the force has deserted him. Censorship is strong.If Foley had said there was too much ‘black attack’ in Australia he would have been hailed as a Labor hero. Instead, he’s hanging onto his leadership by the skin of his light-sabre.
The serious side of this controversy highlights everything that’s gone wrong with the Left. It has made a lot of noise recently complaining about Donald Trump and a ‘post-truth world’.Yet when it comes to settlement patterns in Sydney, the ALP and Greens refuse to accept the essential truth of white flight. Foley has been denounced as a heretic, even though he was talking about realities in his own Western Sydney seat of Auburn.
Decades of geographically concentrated low-skill immigration have been a recipe for welfare dependency, street crime and ethnic enclaves in the arc of suburbs extending from Bankstown to Auburn and Parramatta and then south to Fairfield. Traditional Australian-born families have looked at this trend and moved to Sydney’s urban fringe for a better life, especially for their children.Areas that were majority Australian-born two decades ago have dropped to one-third indigenous (if I can use that word in its original and best form). Suburbs like Merrylands and Guildford, places of working class pride in the 1980s, are now more closely associated with Middle Eastern crime gangs and drive-by shootings.What kind of homeowner would see these things happening in their street and not cash in their asset, moving to new housing and a quieter life in the outer suburbs? White flight has another, far more important name: responsible parenting.
I first talked about this phenomenon twenty years ago as the Member for Werriwa. As with Foley, the Left tried to howl me down, unsuccessfully of course.As a young man, I sat at the feet of Gough Whitlam, who said that ethnic enclaves were the antithesis of his vision for multiculturalism. Gough wanted a blended society in which, looking down the street, an Aussie lived next door to an Italian, and then an Asian, and then a South American, and then some more Aussies, more Europeans and so forth. Everyone would speak English, building an integrated community by getting to know one’s neighbours and sharing in the best of their culture. This is an ideal I still support, building the good society through trust and cooperation.
When I first spoke about white flight in the 1990s, various academic elites climbed out of their coffee shops to say I didn’t know what I was talking about. They can’t say that now, the evidence is in. In condemning Foley, they have fallen back on PC notions of ‘offence’. It’s not proper to talk this way. It might upset someone. Even if white flight is real, no one should mention it in case the Punchbowl-Lakemba Islamic Community Association in Tony Burke’s electorate complains. They would rather shoot the messenger. This is what Labor has become: an anti-intellectual, truth-denying, politically correct hovel that finds it easier to ignore social problems than solve them. Instead of supporting Whitlam’s concept of multiculturalism, they have betrayed it. They have no objection to welfare-reliant enclaves, as long as the people living there vote Labor and join in ethnic branch stacking. This is bad for the country and bad for the migrants being left to wallow in sinkhole suburbs. It has also eroded the public’s faith in multiculturalism. The policy sounded fine in theory but it hasn’t translated well into the lived reality of Western Sydney.
How can anyone look at what happened to Foley last week and remain a member of the Labor Party? The best thing I ever did in public life was to speak honestly about social problems and leave the Australian Labor movement and its Medieval culture behind.
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