Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Stop and Search: If Britain doesn't learn, it will burn.

 As the former Deputy Mayor for London and its first Director of Policing for a total of eight years (2000-2008) I have serious concerns about the recent announcements by the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel (on the 3rd and 11 August) granting police officers enhanced stop and search powers, as part of Government efforts to crack down on knife crime, and calling for a zero-tolerance approach to simple cannabis possession.

That's why today I've signed a joint letter, publically expressing grave concerns, alongside a wide range of influential black leaders and concerned organisations about the Home Secretary's recent announcement on extending policing powers.

At this point, it's worth recalling for a moment the principle basis on which Sir Robert Peel, the founder of modern policing, established Britain's police forces. He said, and it remains true today, that all poling must be governed by the principle of "policing by consent"

I say, in my professional opinion and backed up by the widely reported and historic low levels of expressed trust and confidence of Britain's black communities (and by that I mean specifically African, Caribbean and descendant Mixed race-ethnic groups) in the police as an institution, relations are as bad now as they were back in the early 1980s.

The Home Secretary has now made it much simpler for all forces in England and Wales to use Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which will empower police officers to stop and search anyone in a designated area without needing reasonable grounds of suspicion if the police believe serious violence is may take place

In the Home Secretary's press release announcing these dangerous extended policing powers, she used that age-old political manoeuvre to justify her actions by engaging in what's known, in policing and political circles, as shroud waving. That is the cynical use the dead to politically justify demands for either more money or greater policing powers.

"We are experiencing a knife crime epidemic and I am determined to put a stop to it."

Using such florid language, to describe the current level of serious youth violence, as a "knife crime epidemic" is wholly inaccurate and entirely counterproductive. The facts are, that Britain's serious violent crime rate today, is 70% less than it was way back in 1995.

Such language, as explained by Dr Stuart Hall, in his seminal work Policing The Crisis published in 1978, is designed to create the political justification and manufacture of public consent for the increased racial profiling and the consequent, active criminalisation of black youth.

Today the socially constructed idea of dangerous "black drug gangs" is the new equivalent moral panic, first associated with the" black mugging gangs" of the 70/80s. A moral panic, back then, that gave rise to the use of the dreaded SUS law, where black people were sent to jail on the assumption that a police officer believed they were "about to commit a crime to a person or property unknown."

The courts needed no other evidence, other than a police officers opinion that a crime was about to take place, and as a result, thousands of black people went to jail.

The use of SUS led to the civil uprisings of the 1980s and its eventual abolishment. It was replaced by the Police And Criminal Evidence Act, that required police officers to justify stop and searches on the grounds of demonstrable reasonable suspicion. Section 60 provides legit cover for police discrimination that cannot be legally challenged in the courts or used to initiate police disciplinary procedures. In essence, Section 60 represents the codification of institutional policing racism into British law.

When it comes to knife crime, I know how ineffective stop and search can be.

As Deputy Mayor for London in 2006/7 we employed 32,000 police officers, many more than today, and experienced vastly increased levels of more stop and search, and tragically simultaneously suffered a much higher teenage homicide rate. Research shows that hospital admissions for knife assaults were higher in 2006/7 than they currently are today.

If more stop and search is the answer, then you're asking the wrong question.

As recently as 2017, College of Policing in-depth, a detailed research study found stop and search had very little effect on reducing serious violent crime.

Whilst I accept, that in general knife crime is rising, I do not believe this current increase constitutes an epidemic. In designating it as such, the Government appears to be abandoned, the only know successful method of reducing violence, a community-led, Public Health, early intervention prevention and rehabilitative approach, pioneered in Glasgow Scotland, that saw huge reductions in serious violence.
Talking about an epidemic of knife crime is grossly misleading. The term encompasses a wide range of offences including the crime of the perceived, or threatened use of a knife, possession of a blade or pointed article in a public place, possession of offensive weapons in a public place, and threatening with a knife or offensive weapon offences up to outright homicide.
The commonly accepted definition of an endemic, as defined by the World Health Organisation. is a disease that affects 15, in 100,000 people. The current knife crime rate is nowhere near that level.
A recent BBC report stated the "…number of knife-related homicides went from 272 in 2007 to 186 in 2015. Since then it's risen every year, with a steep increase in 2017-18, when there were 285 killings, the highest figure since 1946." This is an increase of 13 deaths in over a decade. This is not an epidemic and it wholly disingenuous to describe it as such

The fact is the Home Secretary's ‘epidemic" comments were factually incorrect, misleading, potentially inflammatory and unhelpful.

The current Crime Survey for England and Wales records offences that aren't reported to police, and that indicates that overall levels of violence in Britain have fallen by about a quarter since 2013,

The Office of National Statistics, figures on the most violent attacks in England and Wales over the12 month period ending in March 2018, show that only 6% of such attacks included the use of knives, whilst 79% of such attacks involved no weapon at all, whilst surprisingly glass or bottle injuries are a much more prevalent form of serious violent attack at 9% and yet there is no similar initiative to deal with this much more prevalent serious violent crime of both glass and bottle attacks? Is it because the predominant perpetrators of these glass attacks are white people?

I believe the Government is seeking to politicise violent crime, create fear and moral panic among the public in a cynical attempt to secure a short-term electoral political advantage in the run-up to a possible forthcoming election.

Section 60, is fast becoming the new SUS law and could see a return of the discredited swamp policing tactics of the past. These increase use of this intrusive power will place an unnecessary, additional and huge strain on police-community relations. This was seen previously, we've been here before, when Boris was Mayor of London from 2008 to 2011 he massively ramping up stop and search by a whopping 300% in that time, creating the perfect hostile conditions for the August 2011 disturbances.

Also, the new Home Secretaries actions appear to discard all of the good work done by the former Prime Minister Theresa May in seeking to ensure a proportionate and effective use of this deeply intrusive power.

The former Prime Minister recognised the ‘burning injustice' of random stop and searches, and this lead to the publication of the Home Offices, Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme, as part her desire to see the racist and inappropriate use of this invasive power dramatically reduced. The current Home Secretary has now eviscerated this entirely sensible approach and the consequences for the county, in my view, will be devastating.

The proposed devolvement of the power authorising the use of Section 60 stop and search from, senior officer to an inspector, I believe, will see more indiscriminate, discriminatory and disproportionate use of this power that will negatively impact on Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities across the country. That's why I'm delighted and applaud the West Midlands Police Service for rejecting the Home Secretaries offer to use these extended police powers. One hopes, sensibly, other forces will follow suit.

These proposals, counter-intuitively, ignore the rich learning gained from the Government own pilot project, established to test the use of these powers, that saw authority levels, initially set at inspector level, in line with what the new Home Secretary is now demanding. Unsparingly, authority levels rose to that of senior officer level, midway through the pilot project, as a direct result of the abuse of the power by junior officers.

Further, I am deeply concerned more broadly, at the huge increases in the use of Section 60 and the on-going decline of the use of PACE governed stops and searches.

Figures obtained by Channel 4 News revealed that 7,328 Section 60 orders were used by Police in 2018, a 417% rise compared to the previous year. The most recent evidence, of the infective use these powers is the most compelling. According to the Office of National Statistics, from March to June 2019, stop and search increased from 19% - 22% rising simultaneously alongside recorded rises in knife crime and the number of knife-related homicides.

All the available research tells that the law of ever-diminishing returns governs optimum use of stop and search powers, the more indiscriminately you use it, the less effective it becomes.

And from April 2017 to March 2018, Home Office statistics revealed that only 2% of stop and searches carried out under Section 60 led to an arrest for an offensive weapon. Whilst conversely, stop and searches carried out under Section 1 PACE led to a 14% arrest rate for possession of an offensive weapon.

This drift toward the routine use of Section 60 as opposed to PACE, is a dangerous attempt to dilute police accountability and the important legal principle of reasonable suspicion.

The public should be increasingly concerned about the use of Section 60, as the increasingly preferred, operational policing method of choice, in preference to the use of legally accountable, PACE stop and searches.

I think this is an insidious attempt at the reframing of Section 60 stop and searches as the preferred policing option, in terms of its increasingly routine adoption as the preferred policing operational policing methodology for tackling serious violence,

What were witnessing, in my view both is a dilution of the important legal principle of reasonable suspicion and the return, at least in part, to the bad old days of the dreaded SUS law.

This culture of racial profiling in policing is leading to the mass criminalisation of Black Asian and ethnic minority communities, as outlined in David Lammy MP's recent excellent report, the Lammy Review, that highlighted racism in policing and criminal justice process, that demonstrated massively racist outcomes for black people. When the general stop and search figures are analysed, they show the vast majority of PACE stop and search arrests of black youth relate to simple low-level Cannabis possession.

The principle of policing by consent is a fundamental principle of modern-day policing. Disproportionate use of stop and search powers has poisoned the well of police-community relations, with Black ethnic minority communities (and here I'm speaking specifically about African, Caribbean and mixed-race communities) recording some of the lowest levels of trust and confidence of any ethnic communities in London. Alarmingly, current trust levels are at the lowest recorded levels, ever seen in the entire history of British policing.

British Black people have consistently, the lowest trust and confidence in their respective police forces of any ethnic group in the UK.

Worryingly, at the recent Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick told MP's reported to MP's, that the recorded levels of London's Black, Asian and ethnic minorities, trust and confidence in policing had fallen by an additional 13% over the last 12 months. According to Metropolitan Police figures, highest levels of trust of any major London Black neighbourhood is shockingly recorded, as being at 50% at its highest point, and 30% and at it's lowest. That includes inner London from Broadwater Farm to Brixton

The Governments own "Confidence in the local police" national research, published on the 7th December 2018, recorded that Black and Mixed ethnic young people aged 16 to 24 years had just a 61% approval rating, again reflecting London, and recording the lowest levels of trust and confidence in their local police force, of any single ethnic group in the UK.

What is surprising, is that Black professionals record the same levels of mistrust in the police, as do black youth, both recorded at 61% This is deeply significant and demonstrative the broad consensus that exists within Britain's Black communities concerning policing.

Other available research demonstrates that the vast majority of stop and searches, as initiated and reported by police officers, are officially recorded as searching for weapons, however of these weapon stop and searches, 60% end up with arrests for low-level drug possession.  And as research has demonstrated the police treats black and white people differently, when it comes to drug possession. Black first time offenders are much more likely to be charged for low-level drug possession of cannabis and white first-time offenders, arrested for exact same drug amounts, are still much more likely to be cautioned. What this means in effect is the police in tandem with the Crown Persecution Service operates an informal apartheid-like charging regime that punishes black people, simply for being black.

Recently published Home Office statistics demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Section 60 in tackling violent crime. Nationally, from April 2017 to March 2018 only 2% of all those stopped and searched were found to have an offensive weapon. In contrast to the 14% detection figures for offensive weapons using PACE legislation.

The central premises of the Home Secretary's announcements on the nature of the violence problem we face and the effectiveness of stop and search as an effective policing response is fundamentally flawed, disingenuous and could potentially trigger civil disturbances across the country.

I see these extensions of police power as a real and present danger to the Queen's peace.

So today many of us have joined together and are calling on the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to think again, in regards to their efforts to reduce violent crime. They must stick to a community-led Public Health approach to tackling violent crime or continue of this disastrous, zero-tolerance policing course and risk major civil disturbances.

They must and Police Crime Commissioners must act now to urgently restore and prioritise the critically important principle of policing with consent,

Additional, much-needed police officers, would be better deployed to restore, replenish and re-establish local Safer Neighbourhood Policing teams and rebalance any additional Government funding, away from a strictly punitive and counterproductive, heavy-handed enforcement approach, to a public health early intervention, prevention and rehabilitation approach.

We say it is vital, on these matters. that changes to policing policy rely on and are informed by, evidence-based policy, rather than the ideological preferences of a hard right-wing Home Secretary and Prime Minister

It gives me no pleasure to say this, but if Britain doesn't learn it will burn.


Sunday, 11 August 2019

Gilets Noir: The New Black Power in Europe

There is a new powerful black movement emerging in France, that former imperial bastion of liberty, equality, and fraternity has seen the reawakening of the spirit of 18th century, Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint L’Ouverture. Brilliantly immortalised in the book of the late great Trinidadian author, academic and activist C.L.R James “The Black Jacobins” it was Toussaint who organized and led enslaved Africans in Haiti, during their fight for freedom during the height of 18th-century Napoleonic French imperialism. 

Although the French revolution occurred in 1789 with the publication of the Rights of Man, as with most modern-day declarations of the principle of universal human rights, it would apply exclusively to whites only, not those kept in bondage on French plantations. 

French socialism and liberty, much like international human rights conventions were then and remains now a strictly reserved area of white privilege.

This new radical and emerging movement of undocumented migrants in France, Gilets Noir or the Black Vests, as they are also known, is the natural successor to the earlier Sans Papier Movement and has been inspired of late by the Yellow Jacket, Gilets Jaunes movement. This new movement is dedicated to regularising those African migrants without papers and challenging the appalling condition of their pay and working conditions, being brutally exploited by French employers, using their "illegal" status as leverage to enforce low pay and horrendous conditions.

You can see these Africans all over Europe on any given morning, between the hours of 4 AM and 6 AM or way past midnight, They're are the office cleaners, Uber and Deliveroo drivers, working on construction sites, some are restaurant workers, security staff and the like, all making their way to work for European capitalists, happy to exploit the for-profit, and simultaneously funding the extreme right-wing, right across Europe. 

One of their first and most high profile actions, undertaken by Gilets Noir was in May of this year, saw the mass occupation of Charles de Gaulle airport, where they demand to meet French President Macron “the official deporter of the French state." They stood firm in the face of being tear-gassed by the French police, they refused to move and then demanded to meet with senior representatives of the French airline demanding that they "stop any financial logistical or political participation in deportations".

They also recently occupied multinational company Elior who they accuse of brutally exploiting African migrants and refusing to facilitate their pathway to legal citizenship in France. They were also demanding that the company ceases providing cleaning, catering and laundry services to French detention centers. They occupied the company's headquarters in what they described as the heart of imperialism, the Paris business district. 

On 12thJuly this year they organised a hugely successful mass occupation of the Pantheon of Paris, the revered state mausoleum of Napoleon. They held the space for several hours in protest and were then subjected to all-out attack,  brutally beaten by the French Gendarmes’.  Most in the United Kingdom are not even aware that less than an hour away from London; Africans were subjected to a mass beating by the French police. Such as our own Anglophile prejudice, we know more about what happened to A$AP Rocky in Sweden. Sigh...

On the 21stJuly Gilets Noir called a general assembly, attended by over 1000 people, where they began to strategies the continuation of their struggle for equality and justice. This was followed by a mass rally at the Place de le Sorbonne.  

It will be interesting to see how the French left, sections of who can be ambivalent in the fight against racism, respond to the attacks on Gilete Noir. In any event, what we see in France, I think could represent a very historic turning point. 

The Black leadership of Europe has historically been seen as being in Britain. I think that mantle has now passed to France. British Blacks have simply lost their revolutionary spirit of freedom, as can be witnessed by the massive contrast between Africans in France demonstrating against racist immigration policies and the largely tepid response of British Black community to the Windrush Scandal, detention centers, and deportations.

The Black French, from Toussaint to Franz Fanon, have a fine tradition of revolutionaries' opposing French imperialism. That resistance can be traced all the way back to the French Imperial Colony and sugar plantation of 18th-century Haiti.

Despite all the acclaimed glories of the French Revolution, enslaved Africans on 18thcentury French plantations remained in bondage under the auspices of the revolutionary leadership of the French Revolution. This monumental betrayal was critical in providing the catalyst for African revolution on both French and other plantations, right across the enslaved world.

The progressive principles of the French revolution did not apply to enslaved Africans.

The glorious leaders of the French revolution, failed the first test of any genuine revolutionary movement, freedom, and liberty for all. It was, in many ways, the historical beginning of the long history of European white left hypocrisy on racism. 

And even today, we see the continued betrayal of black communities in Europe, by European progressive left movements whose tokenistic antiracism and cosmetic commitment to defeating racial inequality, xenophobia, and bigotry, was back in the day and remains today, a cheap commodity easily traded off for short term electoral gain. like the ultimate French betrayal of all enslaved Africans, that saw a cheap deal between the inordinate white privilege of the European labour aristocracy, in a tawdry effort to gain power and secure the votes of their respective domestic, racists and xenophobes.  

Here in Britain too, we’ve seen, in recent times, popular left support for Brexit result in racism on the British left, that has remarkably seen, the likes of Nigel Farage and Georg Galloway singing a from the same hymn sheet on Brexit. Given my own past association with George, I find this a horrific, grotesque and inexplicable anomaly. 

I suppose for the purposes of clarity and balance I should declare my own prejudice and state categorically that I believe that Brexit is a project of the extreme right-wing that is seeking to fundamentally reshape British society and more importantly the economy, into a low paid, tax avoidance, a xenophobic hellhole. My own assessment is that racism and fascism will be exponentially amplified as a consequence of the disastrous consequences of Brexit, and as we all know, when the European middle-class feels the pinch, it's black people who feel the punch.

The complicity of the British left with racism has plenty of receipts too.  

Students of politics will recall the historic alliance of Tony Benn and Enoch Powell in the last EU referendum in 1973.  It’s a dangerous trend with profound historical precedents. British jobs for British workers is a popular refrain among the left, some of whom have become entranced by the fiction of securing socialism in one country. 

Meanwhile, as British austerity rips through British black communities like a Force 10 hurricane, we see a trade union and Labour movement that appears largely content with the disproportionate effects of austerity, that have seen British black workers disproportionately made redundant, disciplined and sacked, and whole communities suffer the degradation of massive surges of cuts to services, increased poverty, and sky-high unemployment. 

Nationally, we have 55% black youth unemployment currently, That is a higher unemployment rate for Palestinian youth in the West Bank Gaza. It’s higher than the youth unemployment rate of Greece and Italy, both of whose economies are in the toilet. Where is the British left voice on this? Praying for a Brexit that will see black youth unemployment, poverty and racism become deeply entrenched and culturally endemic. 

Some British Black's are blithely approaching Brexit as if nothing will change. It's a fact that we endure wholesale discrimination within criminal justice and policing, and austerity has massively amplified racism and racial inequality across the board, and just like the original French revolutionaries, the British trade union movement, with some notable exceptions like the PCS Union, have mostly failed to defend black communities, from the most vicious and sustained period of Torystate-backed racism, we’ve ever faced throughout Britain's entire post-war period. 

The left has failed us and failed to stop the increases in race hate. They’ve failed to check Farage,  and failed black workers and communities under attack. We now face resurgent racism, that is raging out of control with no apparent credible response from the left, other than the usual, tired arse, left tropes of cosmetic antiracism and anti-fascism.

Intrinsic to this failure is the lack of genuine and authentic black leadership within the antiracist and labour movement. As such, British anti-racism remains the prisoner of the trade union bureaucracy and Bennites. It's that simple, instead of confronting state racism, weak Trade Unions prefer these wonderfully choreographed, set-piece anti-fascist, punch up's with the old enemy. It's a pantomime style of anti-racism. 

For the British left, it's so much easier to prioritise chasing Tommy Robinson around the country than it is to confront the state racism of institutional discrimination within policing and criminal justice. Windrush, police racism, criminalisation of black communities, racist attacks on the rise, disproportionate redundancies for black workers, deportations, exclusions from school, profound racial inequalities in rates of health, are just some of the issues that remain largely untouched by the British left. 

When European economies decline, racism and fascism always rise. Today we see European economies stalling in the headwinds of globalisation, creeping along with growth rates between 1% and 3%.  Most see rapidly declining birth rates, whilst  Western nations have seen their percentage of global GDP continually falling against the backdrop of the economic and political rise of China, India, and Africa, they see and understand their inevitable future. 

Their response is the perennial cultural European cultural default setting in extremis.

In times of acute economic crisis: racism divides the working classes, so as to leave the wealthy untouched. The poverty of natural resources, combined with falling birth rates in Europe, leaves them with their go-to option, of seeking to forcibly appropriate, through war and domination or use the International Monetary Fund mechanisms to forcibly access other nations wealth and resources. Any cursory examination of the second Cold War currently developing on the African continent provides ample evidence of the new scramble for Africa. 

Toussaint was enslaved until the age of 33 and went on to lead the first African revolutionary liberation of a former colonial plantation anywhere in the world. Not only did he defeat the French Napoleonic army, securing freedom for the former slaves, but he also inspired the enslaved African Diaspora to rise up in glorious bloody rebellion.

One of the least discussed aspects of Britain leaving the European Union is the breakup of relations between black people here in Britain and those resident in the rest of Europe.

In many ways over the last 50 years, black European communities have long sought to emulate and admired the work of British activists, particular in securing legislative protection against race discrimination and the pioneering antiracist work of British black communities demanding justice. Throughout the 1990s we were the leading voices in convincing the European Union to strengthen and enhance race equality legislation as part of Europe's fundamental human rights framework.

We worked hard to secure that victory and it was really based on the precedent set here in the United Kingdom that forced the rest of Europe to fall in line with our collective demands for the enshrined legal protection of black European citizens. 

We have marched with our brothers and sisters in Paris in solidarity against both Le Pen’s and the far right. We have supported and stood with African migrants in Italy, and were outraged as we witnessed the macabre recreation of the dreaded 'middle passage' of transatlantic slave trade crossing, that saw thousands of Africans being exploited and left to drown in the Mediterranean Sea, in an attempt to escape Arab enslavement in Libya, war and poverty. 

The movement in the United Kingdom led by organisations like Black Activist Against The Cuts, worked hard to bring supplies to the African refugees of Calais and the Society of Black lawyers organised black British delegations to Italy to assess and support efforts to rescue and resettle refugees. 

Today, all over the Western world we see the rise of racism and xenophobia and in Europe and America, that trend is particularly accentuated.

What we see is the relentless rise of the extreme right-wing, culminating in violent infringements of black people's rights, such as the Windrush scandal and the continuing saga of the criminalisation of black communities, through a criminal justice system that is immersed in a culture of institutionalised racism, producing disproportionate outcomes from for black people at every turn.

In many ways we are third-class citizens, living in a supposed "first-class democracy"

Whether it is the glorious French Revolution or the perfect meritocracy of Britain, as black people in Europe we need to consolidate and prepare for the impending social and economic crisis it that will hit the economies of Britain and Europe, and the subsequent social chaos that will disproportionately and overwhelmingly hit the poorest. We must prepare for a massive upsurge in racism and fascism, such as the like of which, we have not seen in our lifetime.

In the age of Trump, I salute our French African brothers and sisters reviving the revolutionary spirit of Toussaint L’Ouverture. The days when black British activists were considered the leaders of race equality, freedom and antiracism across Europe, much like Britain itself is a faded glory , and as we contemplate the implications of Brexit for Britain and Europe, European black leadership and unity will be absolutely critical to surviving and ultimately defeating the rise of the extreme right in Europe, and white supremacy across the globe. 

I salute the radical leadership of Gilets Noir.

In September l will be organising a London public meeting with Gilete Noir to begin discussing joint strategies, solidarity and how we can tighten the relationship between Africans in France and in Europe. 

It’s time to break out the Brexit cabal and forge Black European Power Network. 

Friday, 9 August 2019

British Army Cadet camp drags black family, including two 13 and 14-year-old brothers and their Mother to hell and back.

Two black boys brothers from Manchester aged 13 and 14, both promising army cadets, who attended a Greater Manchester ACF a weeklong summer camp. A proud Mancunian Mum had wanted her boys to do the Duke of Edinburgh Award, to help build their character, and attending Camp was a route to that goal. Both boys were keen and excited, having recently joined the local Cadets in January. 
The Camp was in Otterburn, which is just north of Newcastle on Tyne, close to Scotland. 

These young brothers were only a handful of Black cadets, on the course that was predominantly white, with in excess of over 400 young people from across the UK taking part. Both the brothers report, name-calling and suffering from racist abuse while at camp. 

During camp, the cadets were playing a game. trying to take sweets from each other when the elder child inadvertently touched a white girls bum. Though the contact was unintentional, when the girl raised the issue telling everyone, "he touched my bum", the boy simply explained it was an accident, and apologized. 

Another child became involved and spoke to the girl, who then decided to escalate this further and reported that she been assaulted to the Cadets. 

Now this story, gets entirely predictable here on in and we all know, 
shit happens when black boys or men are accused of touching white women, don't we? 

We call it "Southern Belle Syndrome" in reference to how, in the Antebellum American south during the Jim Crow era, enslaved Africans would be lynched at the mere suggestion of touching a white woman. 

The Army immediately overreacted and forcibly isolated both the brothers, treating them as though they were homicidal maniacs. The Camp rang Northumbria Police who attended eventually and arrested the two boys. The brothers were then placed in handcuffs and driven in public all the way to the police station. 

Bear in mind now, that Northumbria police station was over an hour away from the camp. Unbelievably, the Army did not contact the Mother to inform her of what happened, that was left to the police to do. 

The boys were told, that the older boy was being arrested for a serious sexual assault and the younger brother for racially abusing a girl in camp. 

These boys were then kept in separate cells for over 10 hours from 4pm to 2am the next morning, until they're the petrified mother, who literally drove to down to Newcastle from Manchester, arrived to collect them. They were kept in disgusting shite and urine stinking cells, and all the while, the elder brother was consoling his hysterical younger brother, urging him to go to sleep so as help calm his fears. 

Stop there...lets recap, these boys have been falsely accused, humiliated and treated as if they've committed murder, and in the midst of this racist mayhem, the elder boy gently consoles his younger brother, in a dark stinking cell, gently consoles him, urging him to go to sleep, I shed a tear when I read that. 

Like Suprecat, I cried for these youths, seriously.  I cried as a big man. I cried because I recognised our impotence and the fact that we see these repeated abuses of our children, I cried because that could have been my grandson or your child. I cried hot tears of anguish and rage at our continued state of powerlessness. 

I cried for a community that allows its young people to suffer the repeated nightmare of such vicious, hostile and on occasion racism. I wept because I know this situation could have ended up in a whole different scenario had those boys been just two years older. 

Where was the safeguarding, where was the proportionality, where was the duty of care, and why wasn't procedure followed? Because these 'rules', claimed to be universally applied, rarely apply to black people. When we are involved, rules and procedures are not applicable. 

I know that will be a shock to many, but seriously do you believe that in this country, black people are all equal before the law and, that justice is equally applied and dispensed to all regardless of colour? 

If you do, seek medical help immediately.

Back to the story.

Mum drove the boys back home that night and all were in deep trauma and shock, the boy's dreams of Duke of Edinburgh Award had been shattered and now one of them stood accused of being a sexual pervert, the most heinous cromes. The little one will be equally traumatized for life. The drive home was long and Mum was eventually glad to get home and all emotionally and physically exhausted. 

Then unbelievably, that next day only a few hours after arriving home following this nightmarish ordeal, the Police rang Mum to say all charges had been dropped. 

Statement on behalf of the family. 
Imagine if you will the scenario Mum faced, the swirling emotions, the fear, the anxiety and the brutality of this case. What this demonstrates is that our children are not automatically safe in such institutions. Any time your child is in majority-white child environment, anywhere outside the big metropolitan areas, then they too could be equally subjected to this sort of scenario. 

They talk of safeguarding procedures - these are strictly reserved for the privileged and any time, you and I make the mistake of believing that these rules apply equally to all, then my friend, we’re in for an almighty rude awakening. 

I read the Guardian story on this issue today and found it odd in some ways. For example, why have they named the boys again and why have the identified the mother as being "originally from Jamaica"? She's noJamaicanan, she is British. 

Out of interest, I looked at the Army Cadet recruiting page and surprise, surprise, there isn’t a black face on there. Not one. 

What should happen now? 

I say the least these boys should be given is a full and unqualified apology, compensation, total removal of any record of this incident from their personal records; they need their fingerprint and DNA samples destroying. They also need expert and culturally appropriate counselling for their undoubted deep trauma, plus two free places on the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme.

I think its a mistake that these boys names are in the public domain, which is why I've not identified them here. I fear it leaves them open to further teasing and bullying etc. However, notwithstanding that, this is an awful and depressingly familiar tale.

Please attend a public meeting to take place Monday 12th August 6pm - 8pm West Indian Sports And Social Club, Westwood Street, Moss Side, Manchester M14 4SW contact Kids of Colour for more information. Please share this flyer and article across your social networks. 

Write in support of the boys to:

Army Cadet Force Association
Holderness House
51-61 Clifton Street,
NB: This is Lt Colonel Mike Neville National Training Officer for the Amry Cadets. Sacked by the Met Police for homophobioa. This is the caliber of the senior management team? Are you kidding me? Take a look.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Theresa May: Even a broken clock’s right twice a day.

There will be many who will be glad to see the back of Theresa May as she prepares to leave office this week. I must confess to having my own prejudices. A Labour Party member and being born in the great city of Manchester, opposing the Tories is not just in my DNA, it's a way of life.

Sometimes, however, the grass can look greener on the other side, and sometimes it's better the devil you know. I'll explain later, stay with me.

So with Boris's Johnston's imminent arrival as Prime Minister attention inevitably falls on the team he will take with him into number 10.
Munira Murza: One Of Boris Johnsons  Top Aides

Munira Murza and Ray Lewis will no doubt be chief among them, and in fact, Boris has already stated his intention to bring in Munira as one his top aides at No 10.

Munira was born in the former Lancashire mill town of Oldham, a town I grew up in too. She is reputedly married to swinging, millionaire,  a sex party organiser, however, when it comes to the issues of anti-racism and race equality, this interesting libertine like liberalism appears to stretch no further than her domestic arrangements.

Being Mancunians, we've both seen first hand the economic and social devastation caused to the old mill towns of Lancashire like Oldham, in addition, to the coal mining towns of Yorkshire to Nottinghamshire and beyond, as a consequence of the direct deindustrialization policies implemented by Margaret Thatcher and the Tories.

Economic policies that saw whole areas and entire communities slowly descend into an economic abyss as a result of Tory policies.

What I see today. as I travel north to visit family and friends, are poverty-stricken communities where hope and opportunity left town decades ago, leaving behind the empty echoes of a vibrant past, abandoned industrial estates,  now the soulless cathedrals and abandoned pits,  all now stand proud, alone and empty, shadows of their former industrial selves.

So I'm no fan of Tories although I consider myself quite discerning in this regard.

Most African and Carribean communities are naturally conservative, with a small 'c' and having lived with criminally high levels of mass unemployment for decades, are generally supportive of anything pro-small business support and entrepreneurialism.

One thing Boris did do well as Mayor of London was to bring the Black business community into City Hall and surrounded himself with a small coterie of black conservatives. Boris may be weak on policy and detail but he is a consummate schmoozer and his relationships with London Black communities were well developed, even if ultimately tokenistic and largely ineffective. Boris could take you to the very gates of hell itself, and still make you feel good about the journey.

The nation should take note, it's one of his most mercurial and at the same time insidious political strengths.

Many in our community, much like many other struggling and simultaneously aspiring communities, are simply enthralled by millionaires like Boris, and he plays the benevolent, accessible politician so well, that most are seduced and charmed by his money and obvious charisma.

As Jay-Z said, laid up against a wicked backbeat, "There are no ugly millionaires" that wasn't just a comment about aesthetics, it was a comment about power and money.

I've worked with many Tories over the years and it's my experience that "old school Tories" were at least men and women at their word.  Boris isn't one of them. Old school Tories were politicians who took their jobs seriously, who were statesmanlike (most were men, other than that woman) and whose yes meant yes, and whose no meant no. These were the genuine One Nation Tories of the past, whose personal ethics were as important as their political ambitions.

You can do business with an old school Tory, not this new lot, you count your fingers after shaking hands with this Eaton mob. Their word lasts about as long as it does for the ink to dry on paper.

Notwithstanding all that, I find myself in the surprising, curious and no doubt in some quarters, unpopular position of thinking Theresa May, has left at least one positive legacy, that I think should be acknowledged.

Whatever one's political view on Theresa May more broadly, there can be no doubt she was a Prime Minister who has done more than any other PM in challenging the discriminatory use of stop and search by British police services and conducted the largest race equality audit ever conducted in the history of the British government.

When she established the Race Disparity Unit inside number 10 Downing Street she demanded of Whitehall. Permanent Secretaries. Government departments carried out the audit, identify racial inequality and disproportionality and either "explain or change" these apparent racial inequalities.

By anyone's assessment, this was an unprecedented action by a Tory Prime Minister.

When she spoke about tackling "burning injustices" on the steps of 10 Downing Street, and the differential experience of black boys within the criminal justice system, May brought a much-needed spotlight on an issue, that is a continual running sore amongst black communities, whilst remaining deeply contentious among some in the policing establishment.  May was unafraid, she was bold and she was determined to establish a comprehensive picture of the racial inequalities faced by black and ethnic minority British citizens.

Even as Home Secretary, she was pushing this issue. May presented a policy to the then Prime Minister, David Cameron and the Cabinet, in 2016 calling for complete race equality audit of government. That proposal was rejected by Cameron who adopted some pale facsimile thereof, however once Theresa May became Prime Minister she resurrected that proposal and drove through its implementation, despite opposition from some cabinet colleagues and senior civil servants.

For May, this wasn't simply political rhetoric, it was a solid commitment she maintained.

For example, she didn't need to face down the Police Federation conference on the issue of racism, but she did just that, amidst the slow handclaps, the booing and catcalls, she persevered undeterred, determined to face down police racism.

Who would have thought that Lee Jasper, "black left-wing firebrand" and a Tory Prime Minister would end up on the same page on the issue of institutional racism in the police service?   Both on my Twitter feed and elsewhere on social media, police officers would be frothing at the mouth with outrage every time I reminded them, that on this issue I'm in a consensus with the Tory Prime Minister. Apart from the deep political significance of this unlikely political convergence, I have to admit to having tremendous fun pointing this out.

That's the measure of the distance travelled by the Prime Minister on this issue.

Of course, there is a valid argument that says that all the good work she did in this particular regard is overshadowed by the realities of the Windrush scandal and her implementation of the most Draconian, discriminatory immigration legislation ever witnessed in British political history.

And as a leading Windrush campaigner, of course, I'm minded to agree.

Then there are the disastrous effects of  Tory austerity, that have ripped the heart out of struggling communities and whose effects magnified racism and racial inequality in relation to socio-economic outcomes.

In any objective analysis, these would be powerful contextual factors for sure, but the political reality is, notwithstanding the deprivations of austerity and Brexit, Mrs May could have easily abandoned any serious efforts to highlight racial inequality without anybody blinking an eyelid.

There was no compulsion, no political, career or tactical advantage to be gained. This clearly wasn't part of any Machiavellian triangulation, she received tremendous flak from policing institutions and the civil service as a result, and therefore one can only conclude that Mays commitments to driving forward the issue of racial equality were based on principles rather than cynical politics.
Sir Simon Wolley and the PM. 

Let's be frank about it this was never going to be popular issue to prioritise, especially in a country that still has its head in the sand in relation to the reality of racism and racial equality. Nevertheless, she persevered, she maintained the course, like an old school Tory she delivered on what she promised. Above all key to the Unit’s success has been the notion that it and it’s Independent Advisory group headed by Sir Simon Woolley has been above Party politics.

The benefits of establishing the Race Disparity Unit and a comprehensive audit of racial inequality across government, highlighting disproportionality in employment, access, and delivery of goods and services, has comprehensively illustrated beyond any reasonable doubt, the most profound structural inequalities continue to be faced by millions of black and ethnic minority British citizens. Resulting in black and minority citizens, constituting third-class citizens in a supposed first-class democracy.

Tory candidates Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson.
As a direct consequence of Brexit we now face a country, more divided country than at any other time in our recent modern history, with economic uncertainty and political chaos reigning around us, it is vital that the work of the Unit remains as central part of the Prime Minister's office and continues to hold government to account, with the new mantra for race equality "explain or change".

With social discord, enmity and anger abroad in the nation, I would argue that the social strains between some communities are at breaking point. It is vital that this issue is not lost as Brexit continues to dominate the political agenda.

The Prime Minister must realise that the country right now is seething and straining under the dead weight of Brexit, dividing families, business, faith groups and communities
from Lands End to John O'Groats

With Boris Johnson set to become Prime Minister, there is a real and genuine worry within Black and minority communities, the good work delivered by Prime Minister Theresa May will be undone by Boris and his team.

It's difficult to forget how Boris Johnson and his cultural team led by Munira Mirza brutally slashed and ended all funding for Black History Month celebrations, in order to fund American Independence Day celebrations. He ended career development programs for black women employees at City Hall, massively reduced funding to the black voluntary sector,  dragged police and community relations into a toxic mire, both leading up to and in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 disturbances following the shooting of Mark Duggan.

In regards to controversial and suspicious black deaths in custody, they increased massively under Boris by a factor of 100%. Stop and search increased by 500% and whilst he spoke good game on tackling knife crime, all of his initiatives, the 1000 black men for 1000 black boys initiative, this and the much-hyped Mayor of London Fund were never, ever delivered. The countless other cosmetic project initiatives, such as the Garden Bridge, Kids Company, literally saw millions and millions of pounds, wasted on vanity projects,  providing mega spectacular failures on most of his eloquently delivered,  but largely empty, grandiose promises.

Now Munira Murza is back and will follow him into number 10 Downing Street. This could spell the death knell for the Race Disparity Unit itself and the broader effort to reduce growing levels of racial inequality and tackle increasing rates of hate crime right across the country.

It's a dangerous assumption that suggests that privileged Asian woman like Munira can speak on behalf of African and Caribbean communities with whom she has little or no connection and certainly has no mandate to speak on our behalf.

Her view on these matters are clear and give you a little insight into the lunacies that constitute her insanely blinkered view on race. She is the ultimate libertine.

A Spectator blog post published in 2017, entitled "Theresa May's phoney war is dangerous and the divisive." written in direct response to the establishment of a Race Audit Unit, Munira said the following:

'Everyone, including ethnic minorities, should be worried about the way in which anti-racism is becoming weaponised across the political spectrum. What passes for policy discussion in this area is now so heavily divorced from the facts and driven by ideology that there is barely any intelligent debate. Astonishingly, it seems that a lot of people in politics think it's a good idea to exaggerate the problem of racism.'

Furthermore, she went on to add, "It is possible to acknowledge that racism still exist without turning its waning influence into the pretext for a bogus moral crusade that pollutes the public space with false accusations based on selective evidence"

Which is why, no doubt racial inequality increased, that's right increased.... across the board in London during the eight years of Boris's time as Mayor.

This reality is objectively indicated by the volumes of in-depth research conducted by a range of research organisations such as the Runnymede Trust, Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Trust for London, in addition to local authority research.

This tautological right-wing fallacy that "focusing on racism creates racism", is a consistently expressed piece of intellectual drivel that apparently constitutes an article of faith for one of Boris's top aides.

Munira wrote in a 2007 edition of Prospect Magazine, an article "Rethinking Race" intended to be a  "game-changer" in creating a new right-wing paradigm, on thinking about race equality,  the article sank like a lead balloon. The real problem with the article was its attempt to ignore the objective realities and lived experience of the majority of black British citizens. The article was a weakly constructed and an intellectually vacuous attempt at explaining away racial inequality, as all being in the minds of a few left-wing loonies or as a consequence of peoples poor personal life choices.

"At the start of the 21st-century, Britain is caught in a confusing reptile of anxiety. Of course, racism still exists, but things have improved to a point where many ethnic Britons do not experience it as a regular feature in their lives."

Munira now reaching full throttle, sallied forth with great gusto, further articulating her nonsensical and deeply troubling views on how racism actually works. Here's another great example of her intellectual confusion and moral turpitude on this issue;

"The more we seek to measure racism, the more it seems to grow. Teachers are now required to report incidents of racist abuse of children to local authorities, resulting in a massive increase of cases and reinforcing section we need an army of experts to manage race relations from cradle to grave"

To Boris Johnson, I say the British BAME community, including black conservatives I might add, and wider society, will not stay silent if the work of the Race Disparity Unit is in any way undermined, subject to the diminution, attrition or political marginalisation.  It is incredibly important in terms of both its role and remit. If anything the work of the unit needs to be expanded.

This Unit has educated more people about the realities of racial inequalities than any single effort previously made by any government. Having each government department detail all aspect of racial inequalities in a single website is a critical resource in ensuring that all citizens in Britain regardless of colour are treated equally.

The incredibly silly, right-wing trope often levelled at anything to do with race equality that says, a focus on a problem exacerbates the said problem, is the perverse analysis of those who enjoy a privileged lifestyle and politics without real responsibility.

What such patiently anti-intellectual analysis ignores is the undeniable historical fact that the more the country at large, moves to the right, the more racism increases. This irrefutable and obvious reality makes a mockery of her barely literate claim that antiracism creates racism. We've had nine years of Tory rule and in that time, rates of racial inequality have exploded,

So whilst I applaud this little island of  Race Disparity Unit excellence I do fully concede, it's surrounded by seas of mediocrity.

Nevertheless factual, objective information is critical to the fight against racial inequality and prejudice and should be protected as a critical resource.

Therefore, whoever is in power and regardless of their political persuasion this Unit must be retained, and race equality must be championed, because in the difficult and challenging time ahead, in all seriousness, the maintenance of the Queen's peace may well depend on it.

Lee jasper

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

UK Border Agency- Stop Racially Profiling Black People.

Here we see UK border agency staff racially profiling black people during a raid on a pole in the North of England. It's absolutely outrageous, and through positive that they "hostile environment" created by the Tory government is still very much the dominant culture within British immigration services.

Please share this video and also signed a petition calling for the immediate suspension of all the immigration and police officers involved, undemanding enquiry and scrutiny by the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. #UKBARacism

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Stop Met Police Racism And Brutality.

Be you Black or Asian to the #M we[re all the same to the Police. 

From Bethnal Green to Brixton from Romford to Rotherhide we see the same thing, police racism and disproportionate use of force. #PoliceRacism