The audience being from that dark heart of literary luvviedom the Hay Literary Festival, for which see this old post.
The glorious hypocrisy of the book festival is that this sort of stuff is always spouted in the most socially conservative, genteel places - places which our grandparents WOULD recognise. The chattering classes love to read the new Zadie Smith or hear Benjamin Zephaniah discussing his new book, "Gangsta Rap". They're just not so keen on meeting 'three friends excluded from school who find their strengths and identity through hip-hop' on their way to that nice little teashop.
(An aside - turns out Benjamin Zephaniah's not too keen on it either. In a recent Big Issue interview it was revealed that he's now a resident of rural Lincolnshire.)
I digress. In a later discussion Ms Winterson compared the segregation of native and Muslim in her home country of Lancashire to apartheid, and feared the possibility of civil war. In God's good time you'll be able to read a transcript here, but they've not written it up yet. Meantime the audio is here.
Words fail me. I'm pretty pessimistic about the impact of mass immigration on "social cohesion", but I'm not at the stage of fortifying the house yet. Stuff like this puts her way to the right of yours truly, firmly in the Majority Rights camp, the only difference being that she thinks it'll be 'our fault' for arresting one innocent Muslim too many - a variant on the "if you say they're not peaceful they'll turn to violence" theme - and MR think its an inevitable consequence of competing genes (or something like that).
UPDATE - the transcript's now up.
My background is in the north and the place where I grew Accrington near Blackburn and Burnley is now probably 60% Muslim, it's changed completely in my lifetime. And what I see there now is a huge stand off and I see the BNP making enormous inroads in the place that I grew up, an absolute apartheid and segregation in those towns. And you know white people like me up there now will be the first people to say chuck out the Human Rights Act, let's just get rid of them, let's deport them, everything is wrong. We cannot risk that happening, we'll have civil war in our country if we're not careful, we cannot risk it.
Do you want to come back on that James Delingpole.
Yeah clearly I made an unpopular point but I don't believe that the answer is simply bombarding these people with love. The fact is that they are jihadists are committed to destroying our society and I don't think...
So is George Bush.
There was an underlying theme to most of Ms Winterson's comments. Coercion of 'them' by, say, the police was a Bad Thing and would lead to people fighting back. Coercion of 'us' - over, say, recycling, was a Good Thing and would change behaviour. At one stage she pointed out that the Germans recycled a far greater percentage of their waste - therefore we could do it.
This highly rated novelist seems to have missed one small point. We're not bloody Germans ! If we were we might also have a manufacturing industry, for example.
These new recycling regs have all the potential to be one of those things that light up the moral and cultural scenery like a lightning flash. I think it's quite possible we'll see an orgy of dumping, neigbours depositing waste in others bins - and public waste bins will be filled with domestic refuse each night. Shredder sales will soar as people anonymise their waste. And people will burn more rubbish. That'll help carbon emissions.