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Tom Watson: No wonder he looks depressed – he’s talking to one of LBC’s famous bigoted right-wing listeners.

What is the matter with us?

Back in the day, everyone I knew used to be tolerant, if not downright friendly, to people from other cultures. It’s what made us great – the ability to see the best in others and adopt it for ourselves.

Then something changed. A gang of liars slithered into Downing Street, Whitehall and Westminster and started spreading lies and divisive talk – about people who were unemployed, or sick, or disabled… or foreign.

Suddenly we’re all at each other’s throats; queuing up to run everybody else down.

And we end up lowering ourselves to this, as heard on LBC:

“Tom Watson told a caller that his views leaves him “worried for the future of humanity” after he said children migrants attempting to reach the UK should drown.

“Andy told the Labour MP that a “large portion of the country is in poverty” and that there should be “no more”.

“But when Tom asked about the English Channel, his response was shocking.

“”You’ve got a boat load of kids sinking in the English Channel, what would you do with them?” Tom asked.

“Andy responded: “I’d let them sink.”

“”So you would let children drown in the English Channel?”

“”Yep.”

“”How many?”

“”As many as it takes to stop them,” Andy replied.”

Here’s the exchange:

Some might say this is only what we should expect from people who call in to LBC, and there is truth in that.

But I think there is a more deeply-ingrained malaise.

There is no reason for anybody to wish death on people who are simply trying to escape hatred and persecution. The fault lies with the governments of their own countries.

But we can’t just pin the fault for callers like Andy on the Tory government. I reckon he has held his racist – because that’s what they are – views for a long time; the Tories just made him think it’s all right to voice them.

He was right that there’s a lot of poverty in the UK – but that is because a very small number of very rich people are keeping all the money for themselves.

They control the means of production, the supply of goods, the cost of goods, and the amount of pay given to employees. And by hiding their vast profits in offshore tax haven bank accounts, they avoid paying taxes that could support state systems such as the NHS and benefits.

And that gives the Tory government an excuse to say there isn’t enough cash to make these systems viable.

There’s plenty of cash. It’s just being kept from us, that’s all.

So the immediate cause of the problems raised by Andy is the Tory government.

But the cause of his bigotry needs to be rooted out. Somebody filled this man’s head with poison, and the only way to drain it out of him is education and persuasion. He needs to learn, not only that his belief is wrong, but why it’s wrong.

Shamefully for the nation, he’s not the only one.

I’m not often in agreement with Tom Watson; in the Labour Party, it seems to me that he has caused more problems than he has solved.

But I am in complete agreement with his fear for the future of humanity – if bigotry like Andy’s isn’t countered.

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