The UK’s politics can be pretty confusing to an outsider with two major parties divided into a number of sub-parties. To confuse things even more, there is a European Parliament drawn form members from different countries.
Vaughn Gething is one of the emerging political leaders on the left, or Labour Party side, and is now a candidate for office. He is currently running for office in the Welsh Assembly.
Gething was born in Zambia in 1974 to a black Zambian mother and a white Welsh father, a vet who had moved there to work. He describes himself as a Black Welshman, which – much in the way President Obama has drawn flack from some folks both in and outside of his party, is controversial in some quarters.
“There is no such thing as a black Welshman,” the BNP MEP for north-west England said. “You can have a black Briton; you can’t have a black Welshman. Welsh is about people who lived in Wales since the end of the last ice age.”
Gething, who is hoping to be the first black person elected to the Welsh assembly, says: “On that basis, most white people wouldn’t qualify.
“It’s quite clear that Nick Griffin just doesn’t accept that black British people or black Welsh people are entitled to call themselves proper, full citizens of the country.
“And every time he tries to define what an ethnic Briton is, it’s all bollocks. Because the definition he’s searching for is really about saying ‘white people who speak English’.
“There have been black Welsh people for centuries. Cardiff, in particular, has had centuries’ worth of the port and people being brought there to work and settling there and being accepted as part of the community. All of my memories are from the UK. This really is my country.”
It would seem that the UK, like the US still has a bit of a rocky road ahead on reaching that “post-racial” Nirvanna.
On President Obama, Gething said –
When I ask him about Barack Obama‘s recent speech to the NAACP, in which the US president, among other things, called on African-American parents to take more responsibility for the welfare of their children, Gething gives an unashamed defence of the activist state.
“In all the solutions for communities facing disadvantage, you can always say the wider community has responsibility, but equally people within those communities still have some responsibility themselves.
“But for people on the centre left, I still think it is about: ‘How do you actually expect to enable those people? What is the role for communities? What is the role for the state? And how can you be positively and proactively achieving a situation where that disadvantage disappears?
“For me, that’s one of the big differences between us and the right – the right take this view that the state shouldn’t be involved and I take the view that it could and should. Not just it could and it should but it’s our responsibility to do that.”
Conservatism is indeed an affliction suffered in other parts of the world.