Monday, 19 December 2016

Armed Police Siege in Lambeth: Why We're Heading For Disaster.

Lambeth Police Service were involved in an 11 hours gun stand of in Dumbarton Road Lambeth on Sunday 19th December, just yards away from the Estate where Nathaniel Brophy was shot by police over a dispute about rent. Nathaniel was shot by police three times, once a in the back, after being seen brandishing a BB gun in August 2015.

That non-fatal shooting caused furore in the local community as the Lambeth Police Superintendent Richard Wood had failed to ensure to activate long-standing critical incident, community reassurance protocols, developed in partnership with communities over many years.

These were strategies and procedures that were developed as a result of many tragedies that have occurred in Lambeth over the last 40 years. These were the same strategies that were ditched in 2011 that led to the family of Mark Duggan and the entire Tottenham community being ignored and marginalised by the Metropolitan Police Service with such devastating and tragic consequences. 

Incidents such as deaths in custody, racial murders, police brutality, racism and corruption, these strategies were all designed to avoid aggressive, racist policing and correct community misinformation that can lead to civil disorder in the aftermath of such events.

In the aftermath of the Brophy shooting, we saw what happened to the Mark Duggan family occur again as it became apparent that all important community/police protocols were ignored.  

At this latest incident, one one from the community was contacted for advice by the Police or offered an all important scrutiny role to provide community reassurance.  

In relation to the Brophy incident, last year, an interim statement from IPCC Commissioner was issued in the immediate aftermath by Jennifer Izekor said:

“I would like to reassure the community in Clapham and the wider public that the IPCC will be conducting a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the events surrounding the shooting. Our investigators have already gathered statements from officers involved, carried out house-to-house enquiries, trawled the local area for CCTV and will now being reviewing statements and video footage to establish the events of that day.

“The IPCC has engaged with key community members and is updating them on the progress of the investigation. We have also engaged with the injured man’s family and will continue to do so.”

That’s the last we heard anything about this case. There are no updates on the IPCC web site, despite the fact that the community demanded of  Lambeth Police and the IPCC that the Brophy incident be used as a ‘learning moment’ so as to ensure, that the potentially serious mistakes that were made could be avoided in the future.  

Such is the disdain and contempt with which the Police and the IPCC views us, that both have failed to feedback any of the promised learning that they were so keen testify, was so important to them.

Despite their statements of commitment to ensuring community reassurance engagement and policies are implemented, all effective community communications in Lambeth have broken down.

This catastrophic failure, repeated across London, comes as a result of the closure of London’s borough based Police Consultative Group’s in 2015. As a result, decades of people’s blood, sweet and tears, tragic experiences fashioned into sensible pragmatic policies, demanded and fought for by communities, are now being routinely ignored by politicians and the police. 

It’s a ticking time bomb and a scandal. If we believe in the principle of police by consent and working in partnership then were this must be evidenced on the ground, otherwise we are headed for a repeat of 2011. 

This most recent armed policing stand off in Lambeth, once again sent alarm bells running and so I made some enquiries to see if the lessons explored with the non fatal shooting of Brophy and the commitments given by the IPCC had been followed up and implemented at this incident. 

The answer was very disappointing. Not a single person or community rep was contacted by Lambeth police to provide advice and support, despite promises made in the aftermath of Duggan and Brophy shootings to improve community communications.  

This degree of marginalization of both community and statutory partners by the police in Lambeth is quite profound. 

I asked the new body that replaced the elected community accountable police consultative groups, the local unelected, meets behind closed doors with confidential minutes, Lambeth Safer Neighborhood Board  and asked if they had they been contacted in relation to this ‘armed police stand off. 

I spoke with the Chair of Lambeth Safer Neighborhood Board Nick Mason OBE, this was his response. 

So there we have it, we have dozens of armed police in one of the most sensitive policing borough’s in London, doing what they please, how they like, with no accountability to Londoners.

I decided to speak to people in the local area where the gun siege took place. All said they had no idea what was going on and received no information from the police. They were informed about the incident by the press. 

This is entirely unacceptable and Lambeth Police, Lambeth Council and the Mayor must answer the very serious charge, that the failure to maintain a culture of real police accountability to communities is a threat to public order and the maintence of the Queens peace. 

In 2011 riots people tragically died. Getting this right can save peoples lives. 

These community reassurance critical incident policies have been informed by decades of painful experience, millions of hours of community conversations and lots of tears. 

This is far to important to be ignored until the fire next time. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Brexit Britain: The sky is dark with Britains colonial chickens coming home to roost,

I find it deeply ironic that after taking the decision to leave the European Union we are now faced with economic catastrophe. BREXIT IS SET TO COST US £66 billion. Such an amount could cure the country's ills overnight if invested in people.
 For decades the British public has been fed a constant diet misinformation and lies, by politicians of all parties particularly on issues of immigration, race religion and ethnicity. A neoliberal political narrative that targets and scapegoats national and ethnic minorities, for the sins of the bankers has been eagerly accepted and advanced by the British public.
This political narrative has been pounded into the British psyche by a mainstream press, that has largely been dominated by Murdoch. 
His media empire has fooled an entire generation and ensured the propagation of xenophobic, Islamophobia and racist sentiment amongst the general populace. 
Since the post-war period racism has continued to sustain itself, resurgent in economic down turns, receding in better times, but alway there awaiting opportunity. 

What we are seeing from my pwn perspective, is a nation whose economic wealth and prosperity was ceded by the brutal exploitation of colonialism, supported by an ideological commitment to white supremacy and racism. A nation that now finds itself facing economic ruin as a direct consequence of large sections of British society becoming increasingly infected with the social viruses of discrimination and ignorance.

That these very beliefs, that were so central to the expansion of Empire and the military domination of peoples around the world, should continue to provide a potent running narrative for irresponsible politicians and the right-wing media gives an indication of the cultural depth and strength of racism within the social, cultural and political DNA of Britain
Cultivated over decades, by lurid headlines from our right-wing tabloid press, working class whites now co-joined by a disaffected middle-class have voted against their own economic self-interest.

This is irrationality is characteristic of anyone who holds prejudicial beliefs, their actions are determined not by any objective grasp of the facts, but the emotional appeal pf petty nationalism and base racism, for which they have been perfectly prepared, by an eager and supine media, alongside venal politicians, happy to exploit these racist sentiments, so skilfully maintained by our neoliberal establishment class.

So now Britain is to be undone by its own racism, prejudice and bigotry developed and propagated to maintain Empire and then retained to reinforce sense of white British superiority. these traits are now the very same subliminal and cultural traits that are about to taar this country lime from limb

From black perspective, there is almost a sense of karmatic justice or divine providence, about what we see playing out today, for as we all know, the history teaches us, that all great empires are built on great crimes and all such empires will come to an end.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Sarah Reed Campaign: Time To ReformMental Health Legislation

Justice 4 Sarah Reed Campaign: 

A Call For Change.

Time To Reform

Mental Health Legislation
Sarah Reed, a 32-year-old black woman, mother, daughter and aunt died in deeply suspicious circumstances in London’s Holloway Prison on 11th January 2016. As a black woman, Sarah Reed faced institutionalised racism, sexism and mental health stigma, this intersectionality, doubled down the horrendous discrimination she faced.

Sarah left behind one surviving daughter, and her mother and brother and extended family members. Sarah suffered mental ill health after the tragic death of her first-born baby after a period of illness.

Sarah and her partner were dispatched in a taxi from hospital, with her deceased baby wrapped in a blanket, told to go and find an undertaker. It was this tragic loss of her baby daughter, the unbelievably callous action of the hospital, police racism and brutality that sent her into a descending spiral of mental ill health.

Sarah was to later suffer a brutal assault by Metropolitan Police Service Police Constable James Kiddie who was subsequently charged and found guilty of assaulting Sarah and was eventually sacked.

Sarah then spent time in and out of hospital suffering as a result of the police assault. Whilst in hospital Sarah alleges she was a victim of a sexual assault by a member of the hospital staff. The Metropolitan Police were called and bizarrely she was arrested, not the offender and taken to Brixton Police station.

What then transpired was long periods of police and prison detention without Sarah being given her prescribed medications. At the time of her death in prison, Sarah had not been given her prescribed medication for some time, despite it being known that she suffered from a recognised mental condition. It’s reported that Prison staff were punishing Sarah behavior instead of treating her obvious condition.

As a result the new social movement Blaksox at the request of the family, established Justice 4 Sarah Reed Campaign to highlight the acute failures of the all those many institutions, who came into contact with Sarah. Organisations, such as the Metropolitan Police, Maudsley Hospital, Holloway Women’s Prison, Highpoint House Memorial Hospital, and the now closed Richard House Children’s Hospice run by Newham Health Authority.

We believe that no mentally ill person should be kept in a police or prison cell. Current mental health law deems police and prison cells as ‘places of safety’ for those suffering mental ill health.

We welcome the new guidelines issues to the police on the handling suspects suffering mental ill health, however we say that there are few if any circumstances in which the lengthy detention of those with mental ill health in police or prison custody is neither humane nor justified.
The Justice 4 Sarah Reed Campaign believes that both police stations and prisons should be removed from UK mental health legislation as appropriate an ‘place of safety’.

Existing Legislation
The Mental Health Act 1983 (“the 1983 Act”) provides for the statutory detention of people suffering from mental ill health, without their consent for the stated purpose of public safety health assessment, care and treatment.

The powers conferred on the Police to remove people if they are in private property (under Section 135) and in a public place (under Section 136), and appear to be suffering from a mental disorder, allow them to be taken to a ‘place of safety’ (for example, a hospital, a care home or a police station), to enable a mental health assessment to be carried out and to make appropriate arrangements for ongoing care if this is deemed necessary.

However neither police stations nor most prisons are adequately trained or geared up to manage and treat with care and compassion, those suffering mental health crises. Sarah case exemplifies the acute failures of the criminal justice system in treating those with mental ill health.
Reform of Section 135 and Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983
In 2014 a joint Review of Section 135 and Section 136 by the Department of Health and Home Office, included recommendations for changes to improve the experiences of those suffering from mental health crisis.

The Government has also committed up to £15 million to improve the provision of community and health based places of safety in 2016 - 2017, and further to reduce the use of police cells.
However, we say that these changes do not go far enough and that Police stations and prisons must be removed as lawfully designated ‘places of safety’.
Mental health measures in the Governments proposed Police and Crime Bill are currently being discussed in parliament.

Whilst we welcome currently proposed parliamentary changes to legislation, however we believe that much more needs to be done.
The current facts are that Police station cells are still being used far too regularly to detain those suffering mental health crisis, although there was a slight reduction from 6, 667 in 2013/14 to 4, 537 in 2014/15.

There is emerging cross party consensus that no one, suffering mental ill health, under the age of 18, should be taken to a police cell. However we remain concerned that an acute shortage of beds in secure mental health hospitals will mean that maintaining current reductions will be increasingly difficulty and that as a result further reductions will be difficult to achieve.

There also widespread concerns about the length of time for which people can be detained, and it is proposed in the new legislation that legal detention is to reduced from 72 hours to 24 hours.
We are in touch with other agencies such as MIND and Inquest who are lobbying parliament with a view to effect a change in the Policing and Crime Bill.

This is Bill makes provision for the collaboration of emergency services and seeks to amend the existing powers of Police under the Mental Health Act 1983.

We support Mind’s proposed amendments to detention arrangement relating to both Section 135 and Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

  • Use of police stations being removed for those under 18, and used only in exceptional circumstances in the case of adults
  • The adoption of a wider definition of “places of safety” to include the third sector (even if only on a temporary basis), to extend local capacity to meet local need
  • That the police can act promptly without a need for a warrant to protect property and individuals from harm when they are in a public place, but a warrant would still be required for access to private dwellings
  • To reduce the maximum period for which a person can be detained (as mentioned above) from 72 hours to 24 hours (with an extension to 36 hours exceptionally)
  • Before detaining a person under section 136 the police should consult (where practicable) a health professional.,
  • If appropriate, mental health assessments should take place in a private home
  • If Police Officers have reasonable grounds for believing that a person has a dangerous item concealed on them and presents a danger to themselves and others then the police officers can search that person.
Why this reform needs to happen.
We believe that police cells should never be used as a place of safety and would support Baroness Walmsley’s Lords amendment to clause 79 of the Policing and Crime Bill that is now at Committee Stage in the House of Lords.
In 2015 - 2016 in England and Wales, 28,271 adults were picked up by police in mental health crisis.

Most were taken to a health-based place of safety, 2,100 were held in police cells for mental health assessment because there was no more suitable place of safety available.

There has been a huge reduction in these numbers amounting to 53.7 % reduction in 2014 - 2015 whilst this is very much welcomed, much more needs to be done.
Sarah Reed’s recorded medical failures in Holloway Prison and prisoner officer abuse in a series of telephone calls, and in letters to her Mum,

“Mum, I shouldn’t be here. I have not been given my medication…”
The Committee stage of this Bill in the House of Lords will be on 26th October 2016.
Join the Justice 4 Sarah Reed Campaign. Lobby Parliament.
We would urge you to:

1. Lobby your Members of Parliament and the House of Lords to support Minds proposed amendment.

2. Join the Justice 4 Sarah Reed Campaign and its supporters in demanding effecting change and justice for Sarah Reed’s daughter and her family, and for the many families of other individuals who have either died in police custody or in a prison.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Racism is dividing Britain and denial is not just a river in Egypt.

The recent publication of a detailed review: Race Report: Healing a divided Britain that asses race inequality in the UK by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, highlights the extent and breadth of systematic, entrenched racial discrimination that the reports states is deeply embedded within all aspects of British society.

The report cites the huge rise in hate crimes, racist abuse and violent attacks against migrants, Muslims and black people in the aftermath of the EU referendum result as very worrying.

This was a substantive review undertaken by the Commission, focusing on the areas of education, employment, housing and living standards, health, criminal justice and civic participation. The report follows a similar report published way back in 2010 How Fair is Britain ?  

It too came to similar conclusions as the recent review and back then, just like today, we saw no effective response from Government.  Since the publication of that report yet another generations has grown up facing stark racism.

As a long-standing activist this report is most welcome, clearly identifying, as it does the gross reality of racism as it impinges on the daily lives of black and ethnic minority people throughout the country. I am particularly pleased with the Commission's review given the consistent criticism of the Commission in relation to its past failures to highlight the growing problem of racism within Britain under the disastrous chairmanship of Sir Trevor Phillips and the current lack of credible black representation on the Commission itself.

The new Commission chair David Isaacs has returned the Commission to its most essential mission and has refused to be politically intimidated by government to remaining silent on the issue of race. Both he and the Commissioners are to be commended for providing us with the detailed information that gives concrete evidence and credence to the repeated claims that consistently point out the deterioration and toxic nature of increased and widening levels of racism and racial inequality.

The real test of the Commission’s commitment to race equality is whether or not it will take legal action against the government for its repeated and consistent failures in tackling racial inequality and discrimination across major areas of British society. Otherwise whilst this may be an interesting debate it will fade as quickly as its resonates simply adding to the litany of failure that constitutes 'success; in this area, After all wasn't much the same said ben the Comission in 2010 ? 

The review highlights our ugly and brutal reality, a reality that denigrates and destroys the lives of millions of black ethnic minority peoples who face systemic racism on a daily basis. This real reality in Britain represents the destruction of hope and opportunity of millions of black Britons whose only crime is the colour of their skin and being a British citizen.

No doubt we will now hear much in response labelling black communities as 'morally, intellectually, culturally deficient' by way off explanation of their evident lack of success. The voices they will send to deliver such messages will be black. Take this exchange between Mishal Hussien on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme broadcast Thursday morning18th August, including David Issac EHRC Chair and Black Conservative, Shaun Bailey to get a full appreciation of the extent to which some black people will go to seek assimilation. Both Misha and Shaun are abysmal. The only voice of sanity is that of Birmingham's black community activist Desmond Jadoo.
Britain: The most ‘tolerant’ country in the world.

We are repeatedly told Britain is a post-racist country and the most ‘tolerant country in the world” where the scourge of crude racism has largely been removed from society. In reality, the truth is today; we are witnessing the worst racism we’ve faced in a generation.

A tolerant country 
Personally, I’ve never been comfortable with that phrase. You tolerate a virus, a foreign invading body or an abhorrent sickness. You do to not tolerate your fellow citizens. I don't want to be tolerated. I don't see it is a virtue, I see it as vice.

I’ve had all the British tolerance I can handle. The very notion that I as a black man should be tolerated in the country of my birth and be thankful is frankly reprehensible and a fundamental insult to my birthright.

I along with others have written many articles seeking to highlight the reality of worsening racial inequality for black and ethnic minority communities in the UK. I have sought to issue warnings to government, local authorities and institutions about the real and present dangers of leaving festering racial injustice, sweltering in the fetid heat of massive and disproportionate discrimination, poverty and police violence.

Condemned as a ‘professional race baiter’ by white and black liberals alike, I like many others have maintained my position under constant fire, whilst being routinely attacked and cast as an extremist comparable with the odious former British National Party fascist, Nick Griffin. That's how absurd and perverted debate about racism has become. Those that raise issues of racism are now the new racists in post Brexit Britain.

When accused of racism deny, deny, deny.

We should be worried. Racism is routinely denied in this country. Let me ask you this real quick, just take a moment to think back to any major allegation of serious racism to which the response has been serious acknowledgement, apology and remedy? I’ll wait…..

In Britain claims of racism are routinely denied and that runs deep. So embedded has racism become within the cultural fabric of the nation that racism has now become ‘normalised’ and almost routine. 

So endemic is this racism, that some black people now echo these sentiments or worse. A minority becoming violent bigots themselves, attacking Muslims and migrants. Such is the power of racism that none ( neither Muslims, migrants or Blacks) can escape its insidious effects to the extent that even its victims can become infected in misguided attempts to seek white approval and acceptance. These are that people quite literally out of their minds.

This is not just the denial of racism or political spin it’s much more insidious than that, its a form of white supremacy madness, a profound cognitive dissonance that defies any logic and is designed as  psychological destabilisation to deny black reality in favour of maintaining white privilege and destroy black resistence and resilience. 

Racism and riots. The fire next time.

I’m on record having predicted 2011 disturbances following killing of Mark Duggan by Metropolitan Police Service as early as January of that year and in the immediate aftermath of the killing of  first legendary reggae MC star Smiley Culture and then again in April in relation to the death of Kingsley Burrell in Birmingham. 

In the aftermath of those widespread disturbances in 2011 I made my views clear on Sky TV much of what I said is now echoed in the Commissions review.

In response to this hugely important report I issue a new stark warning and one that is repeated in the report by the Chair of the Commission citing ‘ increasing racial tensions’.

I’d put it much more strongly than that, I say there will be widespread and ferocious urban uprisings in reaction to the constant political failure of successive Governments and that of British societies to recognise racism and adopt policies and strong ant discriminatory legislation to ensure its eradication. 

Black communities are under no illusion that they are discounted and discarded as equal citizens within this disunited kingdom. We have made the political calculation that Government will only offer cosmetic and tokenistic solutions and will consistently refute the disturbing reality identified in this report, that  racial inequality is widespread, growing and systemic.

Findings of the report conclusively prove that black people in United Kingdom are living their lives, as third class citizens in a supposedly first-class democracy.

The report condemns government policy and legislative responses to racism as patchy and inconsistent, yet another consistent criticism levelled at government by black communities and one that has been consistently denied.

It is remarkable that the vast majority of such criticisms and claims have been flatly rejected and those that have been accepted as genuine cause for complaint by government are highlighted but for a fleeting moment, subject to a token policy response and then routinely ignored. 

That‘s the stone cold black reality we face. I can already hear the banshee wails of reactionary white discontent reading this, so let me make this crystal clear.

 Can’t we all just get along?

Racism evolves, its changes shape and focus to fit the circumstances of the day that why its survived the last 5oo years. Contemporary British racism is not the brutal legal apartheid of South Africa. Britain’s pre Brexit racism was much more nuanced, usually polite and smiling in its countenance, almost pleasant in its demeanour, whilst wrecking havoc, tragedy and misery and all with a smile, an apology and warm reassurance using words such as ‘ deep regret, isolated incident, learning the lessons and moving on’.

Despite this wonderfully polite appearance, racism in Britain is no less deadly, no less a destroyer of people lives, for all its apparent lack of offence. Post Brexit the mood music for black people, migrants and Muslims in Britain has become distinctly hostile. Gone are the polite pretences of an inclusive Britain, the newest racial epithet/insult directed toward us is “ You’re next”.   The racism we face destroys talent, eviscerates hope and aspiration, rejects meritocracy and replaces it with a pigmentocracy, a society, where colour and ethnicity, race and religion all determine your life chances, not industry and talent

Racism is systemic.

This report is not alone in identifying such gross racial inequality. The Runnymede Trust and independent race equality think tank published its second annual report entitled "Ethnic Inequalities In London: A Capital For All” captured racial inequality right across the capital.

Its findings were equally conclusive that "ethnic inequalities are persistent and widespread, particularly in employment and housing."  The report also found, as did the Commissions review, that black and ethnic minority pupils were out performing their white counterparts, and yet suffered huge discrimination within British labour market.

Black young people qualified, ambitious and ready to work are finding themselves unemployed, on the streets unable to get a home, unable to get a job and racially profiled and harassed by the police.

The combination of widespread systemic poverty, racism and discrimination means our communities are both contained and under pressure, with no obvious routes out of this incredibly hostile environment.

As a result we are not simply denied opportunity as a consequence of these circumstances, our communities, particularly our young people also live in fear of crime, facing an epidemic of violence that comes in the wake of acute poverty one that has seen the explosion of open drug markets, controlled many instances by violent young men who, given the opportunity would take a job in the city any day, over a life plagued with stress and violence.

Too many of our young people have nowhere else to go, nothing else to, see no incentive to achieve because of the relentless racism they face on a daily basis.

A recent report by the UK newest social movement Blaksox has eloquently and succinctly highlighted this problem of poverty, racism, drugs and rampant violence in Black communities.  The Commissions report captures our vulnerability as victims of crime, poverty and racism.

In short we we’re under policed as victims of crime and over policed as law-abiding citizens,

Add to this hellish context the reality of police brutality, deaths in police custody such as those of Sean Rigg, Sarah Reed and Dalian Atkinson, stop and search harassment and the constant Metropolitan Police Service covert campaign to undermine and close down black cultural events like Brixton Splash  , Notting Hill Carnival and black-owned night clubs then you have an inflamable cocktail of toxic issues simply awaiting a spark to ignite.

Final Call. It’s Justice or Else.

The Commission concludes if the government is to heal a divided nation then they need to take these issues seriously publish a robust and comprehensive race equality strategy and put race back onto the agenda.

This is a call that has been echoed by many over the last eight years and has been consistently ignored and rejected by government even in the aftermath of August 2011. There can be no escape from the conclusions of this report that will, if ignored lead to white widespread civil urban uprisings in response to the constant denial of both justice and opportunity. I foresee no other outcome if things remain the same. There is no other possibility other than this stark inevitability. Left unattended these issues will erupt making 2011 seem like a walk in the park. 

Britain has to decide whether it's rhetorical paper-thin policy commitments to race equality are sufficient to meet this crisis or whether it is intent on ignoring racism and is happy paying the exorbitant costs such malign ignorance will incur.

Racial profiling by the police of black communities within the context of an increasingly privatised prison system has lead to huge increases in the number of black people arrested, charged and jailed for offences for which white Britons receive cautions, suspended sentences or community orders.  

This reality was highlighted by the recent research conducted by the Young Review and Release: The Drugs Charity.  Though not touched in by the review its important to state that there is a growing perception that black youth are seen as nothing more than commodities, low hanging fruit for a rapacious criminal justice system driven by profit, a trend identified by African American academic Michelle Alexandra in her seminal work exploring this issue in the U.S. entitled; The New Jim Crow.

The challenge we now face is how do we collectively respond to this devastating review?  It is incumbent upon us all as fully awoke, sentient human beings to secure the future for our children.

What has been demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt, is that our children's future as black citizens in Britain, is one that will inevitably require a gargantuan effort akin to the Civil Rights struggle in 1960’s America, in a determined effort to secure real sustainable equality and justice through community protest, pressure politics and civil disobedience.

This cannot be simply a repetition of the failed tactics of the past.

The politics of state sponsored grant aid. Divide, silence and rule.

The black voluntary sector decimated as a consequence austerity, intimidated silenced by grant aid organisations and local authorities willing to pay a quick buck to anyone prepared to collude with their pernicious and systematic racism. Grant aid funding from state institutions to organisations that claim to be fighting racism has resulted in the context that we see today where racism has thrived and succeeded despite millions of pounds being given to these organisations. In turn these organisations lost site of their essential mission that is to mobilise communities in a mass campaign exposing discrimination rather than being than being a funded fig leaf for institutionalised racism and casual racism.

This important sector, once a radical mouthpiece for equality  black aspiration is now become silent witness to our tragedy. Content publish reports nobody reads, sit on a range of government taskforce’s, conduct academic research no one ever reads, mouthing mild critique of Government scared of biting the hand that feeds it and refusing to lead the fight against racism.

The reality is in my view we have far too many disparate organisations. Black organisation serving the same clientele in different towns less than 10 miles apart don’t have a clue what each is doing, hell sometimes even in the same town.  How the Asian elders organisations fairing? Unless we are Asian we have no clue.  Surely if were all facing a common problem we should agree a common solution?  If we’re all facing austerity cuts maybe we should merge these organisations, consolidate our strengths and fight together?

Racism in the workplace. Trade Union Congress absent without leave.

Trade Unions (TU) are also falling to tackle racism in the workplace. When is the last time you heard of a Trade Union taking legal action against Government or an employer, challenging work place racism?  The fact is like Government itself Trade Unions are strong on rhetoric and weak on action. Black members groups are cowed and intimidated refusing to challenge the lack of black representation at all levels of the TU movement and incapable of being able to challenge the institutional racism of their own TU much less that of Government.

The charge is that the TU's much prefer the issue of gender to that of race. Race is just too difficult, in their eyes, for them to deal with. We should also note that the TUC representation on the Equality Commission had consistently supported Sir Trevor Phillips's (Its only a matter of time, grease and pole) deprioritisation of race equality as an issue and had colluded with the disproportionate sacking of black workers at the Commission without so much as a whisper. While the TUC highlights terrible effects of austerity on countries like Greece, they seem to ignore the fact that UK black youth suffer the highest youth unemployment rate in Europe.  Meanwhile post Brexit racism in the workplace is going through the roof and with each separate race employment tribunal case costing £1,200 to submit the number of workplace racism cases brought by black workers has collapsed by around 85%

When al; said and done, the conclusion  I draw from both the Commissions and Runnymede Trust research is that austerity economics amplified racism and inequality and the Brexit vote has put racism on blast.  Right now were moving towards approaching peak racism. This has been BARAC’s main campaign priority since 2010 that austerity promotes racism as public sector cuts if they’re to be accepted by Britons have to readily identifiable scapegoats. The sentiment that targets Migrants, Muslims and Blacks is the new No Dogs, No Irish, No Blacks. 

Where do we go from here?

With black communities facing such an uncertain future, a post referendum racism a possible economic recession and Government intransigence on race it is time for community, the voluntary sector, progressive trade unions and campaigning organisations to agree to back a campaign that targets the elimination of all areas of substantive race disproportionality and racial inequality by the year 2025. This gives us a pragmatic strategy that can be achieved in a realistic timeline that can dramatically reduce racism provide a level playing field all sections of British society for all Black and ethnic minority citizens.

I'm suggesting a national race equality summit in UK is convened to in order to develop and agree a comprehensive race equality strategy that can be the focused priority campaign of all black and minority community organisations, trade union's and wider civic society. In order to achieve its goals such a campaign would need to significantly resources.
We need a nationwide campaign that may take 2 to 3 years to emerge as a substantive issue on the political agenda. The very future of our children and the social fabric of Britain is now entirely dependent on the extent to which we, this generation can come together in a unified attempt to secure a future free of racism, a future all British citizens deserve regardless of their race or religion.

Britain is a multicultural democracy, however not all citizens are equal. If we Britain it is to avoid the tragic history of major black cities in the United States then the country must prioritise the elimination of racism, race inequality and injustice.

These goals will not be achieved easily. As the great African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglas in a speech entitled ‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress’ given on the August 3rd 1857 where he stated,

Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.’

If you’re interested in being involved in organising or would like to register an interest this summit email us on using Race Summit in the title.

Lee Jasper Co Chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC)

Here is a quick summary of the reviews key findings:

Black Unemployment

·      Unemployment rates were significantly higher for ethnic minorities at 12.9% compared with 6.3 % for White people.
·      Black workers with degrees earn 23.1% less on average than White workers.
·      In Britain, significantly lower percentages of ethnic minorities (8.8%) worked as managers, directors and senior officials, compared with White people (10.7%). This was particularly true for African/Caribbean/Black people (5.7%) and those of Mixed ethnicity (7.2%).
·      Black people who leave school with A-levels typically get paid 14.3% less than their White peers.

Black Education

·      Just 6% of Black school leavers attended a Russell Group university, compared with 12% of Mixed and Asian school leavers and 11% of White school leavers.

·      Black Caribbean and Mixed White/Black Caribbean children have rates of permanent exclusion about three times that of the pupil population as a whole. 
Black Crime
·      Rates of prosecution and sentencing for Black people were three times higher than for White people –18 per thousand population compared with six per thousand population for White people. For sentencing it was 13 per thousand population for Black people and five per thousand population for White people. 

·      In England and Wales ethnic minority children and adults are more likely to be a victim of homicide. The homicide rate for Black people was 30.5 per million population, 14.1 for Asian people and 8.9 for White people.

·      White women are more at risk of domestic abuse than ethnic minority women.  7.4 % reported being victims of abuse compared with 4.4 % of ethnic minority women.

·      Race hate crimes on Britain’s railway networks have risen by 37 %.

·      In England, 37.4% of Black people and 44.8% of Asian people felt unsafe being at home or around their local area, compared with 29.2% of White people.

Black Living standards

·      Pakistani/Bangladeshi and Black adults are more likely to live in substandard accommodation than White people. 30.9 % of Pakistani/Bangladeshi people live in overcrowded accommodation, while for Black people the figure is 26.8% and for White people it is 8.3%.

·      If you are an ethnic minority person, you are still more likely to live in poverty.  Our evidence shows that 35.7% of ethnic minorities were more likely to live in poverty compared with 17.2% of White people.

·      In Scotland, ethnic minority households are more likely to experience overcrowding. This was 11.8% for ethnic minority households compared with 2.9% for White households.

Black Health and care

o   Black African women had a mortality rate four times higher than White women in the UK.

o   There is a significant disproportionate number of ethnic minorities detained under mental health legislation in hospitals in England and Wales – Black African women were seven times more likely to be detained than White British women.

o   Gypsies, Travellers and Roma were found to suffer poorer mental health than the rest of the population in Britain. They were also more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.