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

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Education of migrant children in Europe

Great conference for those working on the frontline with migrant families and their children. I will be in attendance there is so much to learn from migrants and their experiences. Its a wonderful two way education process. hashtagMigrantChildren I'll certainly be in attendance. Book now on