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I've changed my mind about racism
The decade that has ended with Nick Griffin on Question Time and two BNP MEPs started with me being very optimistic about the future of race relations in Britain. With the broadly positive response to the Macpherson report into the death of Stephen Lawrence, which had just been released, I thought a paradigmatic shift in the way that we thought about both Britain and race had occurred that could possibly be thwarted but not reversed. This was not a popular view among anti-racist activists at the time. Indeed, for about a year I had to get used to white people calling me naive about racism, which was a first.
Smalltown America's growing voice of rage is a force to be reckoned with
One of the paradoxes of being a foreign reporter in smalltown America is that within any one day, you will hear people insist that they stand at the centre of global affairs and simultaneously act as though they reside at the very fringes of international interest. As Americans, they feel their country stands as a beacon to the outside world – a showcase for freedom, liberty, democracy and material comfort. As inhabitants of smalltown America, they feel marginalised from the national narrative and isolated from the rest of the world. Within the span of a single conversation you will be told that America is the best country on earth and be asked why you – or indeed anyone – would come to their particular town.


Snow covers tree branches in front of the Houses of Parliament in central London in February 2009. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
A year to remember
Larry Elliott, 16 September 2008
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