BRITISH multiculturalism officially collapsed yesterday after Mrs Patel neglected to return a Catherine Cookson book belonging to her white neighbour, Margaret Gerving.
Mrs Gerving, a retired headmistress from Guildford, had leant The Bondage of Love, which details the tribulations of a plucky working-class girl who falls for a man who may not be all that he seems, to Mrs Patel after she said she wanted a good book to read on the plane to Cyprus.
Four weeks after returning from her holiday, Mrs Patel still has the book, despite being well aware that Mrs Gerving wants to pass it on to someone else.
Mrs Gerving said: “It’s just not very thoughtful. Although personally I think that where she comes from, they don’t value manners like we do, not really.”
She added: “I’ll tell you something for nothing, I’m not lending her anything again. And she’s not getting her whisk back in a hurry, either.”
Mother-of-two Mrs Patel said: “I’d completely forgotten about the book, and she hadn’t asked for it. Although I wondered why she hadn’t been around this week, wasting my time when I’m trying to do some housework.
“I was actually going to drop her book around, and some Hello! magazines that I’ve finished with but if she’s going to be all funny about it then I won’t bother. No, I’ll wait until I get my whisk back, thank you very much.
“And I use that whisk a lot.”
A BNP spokesman said: “There’s hardly enough Catherine Cookson books in this country for white people, never mind Mrs Patel, who probably also wants Sharia law.”
But semi-professional Guardian reader Julian Cook said: “Mrs Gerving’s small-minded rhetoric is inexcusable in 21st-century Britain, even coming from an elderly and innately pugnacious woman like herself. As a member of the white male hegemony I just want to reach out to Mrs Patel and say – I live in Hackney of my own volition, and I ‘get’ bhangra.”