Equality and Human Rights Commission letter “to all political parties”

November 27, 2016 at 5:25 pm (Anti-Racism, anti-semitism, civil rights, Europe, Human rights, labour party, Racism, Tory scum, UKIP)

A good letter from the Commission, except for the cop-out phrase “attacks on supporters of both sides of the Brexit debate”: we all know that the racism, abuse and physical violence has come from just one side: “Leave.”

by David Isaac and Rebecca Hilsenrath

Published: 25 Nov 2016

We are writing to you at what we believe is a unique point in British history and culture.

The decision by the British people to leave the European Union and the negotiations that follow will be a defining moment for the nations of the UK. While the focus has been on our place as a global economic leader and trading partner to European nations and major world economies, we also believe there is a need for a discussion on what values we hold as a country. As Britain’s national equality body and national human rights institution, we believe it is our place to help facilitate this discussion. This letter goes to all political parties and we would welcome the opportunity to meet you in person, individually or collectively, to discuss how we can work closely with you in the months ahead and help to shape your agenda and policies to make Britain the vibrant and inclusive country we believe it should be.

After the referendum, politicians of all parties spoke about the need to heal the country and bring people together. However, since those early weeks there is growing concern that the divisions on a range of big questions are widening and exacerbating tensions in our society. The murder of Arkadiusz Jozwick, racist, anti-semitic and homophobic attacks on the streets, and reports of hijabs being pulled off are all stains on our society. We at the Commission have met community groups, representatives and diplomats who have expressed their sadness and disappointment at these events and their wish to work with us to heal the divide.

We are concerned that attacks on supporters of both sides of the Brexit debate have polarised many parts of the country. There are those who used, and continue to use, public concern about immigration policy and the economy to legitimise hate. The vast majority of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because they believe it is best for Britain and not because they are intolerant of others.

We welcome the UK government’s hate crime action plan, but believe more concerted action is needed to counter the narrative from a small minority. We therefore suggest the UK government should carry out a full-scale review of the operation and effectiveness of the sentencing for hate crimes in England and Wales, including the ability to increase sentencing for crimes motivated by hate, and provide stronger evidence to prove their hate crime strategies are working.

We were also concerned by the ambivalent reception given to findings of anti-semitism in mainstream political parties. A clear affirmation that such behaviour is unacceptable is necessary to confirm that standards will improve.

Politicians of all sides should be aware of the effect on national mood of their words and policies, even when they are not enacted. Examples include the recent suggestion, later rejected, that companies would be ‘named and shamed’ for employing foreign workers and also the discussion on child migrants, a crisis where our record on human rights will be judged and where dialogue escalated to irrational levels. We have proposed that in the case of uncertainty, a young asylum seeker must simply be treated as such until their age has been assessed by an independent expert.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has a statutory power to advise government. Where important new protections are advanced in Europe, whether they relate to data protection, children’s rights or the rights of disabled people to travel independently, we will argue strongly that these rights should also be introduced into British law. Once we are outside the European Union, we will be in a position to identify good practice and follow it with strength and conviction. We have a strong human rights and equality framework in UK law but must remain open to initiatives from abroad that further strengthen this.

Your offices bring with them a responsibility to ensure that policy debate is conducted in a way that brings the country together and moves it forward. Robust discussion is a central pillar of our democracy and nothing should be done to undermine freedom of expression. The right to free and fair elections supported by accurate information and respectful debate is also essential to our democratic process. Our elected representatives and the media should reflect and foster the best values in our society and engage people on contentious issues in a responsible and considered way. Working with you we stand ready to play a full part in identifying the right policy solutions for Britain.

We look forward to hearing from you.

David Isaac and Rebecca Hilsenrath
For further information please contact the media office on 0161 829 8102, out of hours 07767 272 818.

28 Comments

  1. archives689 said,

    Heard this guy on R4 this morning. Another shill for Israel. So moving on you guys need to get your act together vis a vis Jackie Walker before the bell tolls for YOU.

    http://wp.me/p5W2a1-KQ

  2. Stephen Bellamy said,

    That should read Stephen Bellamy. signed in to the wrong wordpress account 0-)

    • Jim Denham said,

      More conspiracy theories and thinly-disguised anti-Semitism.

  3. petrel41 said,

    “We all know that the racism … has come from just one side: “Leave.”

    Quod non.

    As is rather widely known, in the British referendum campaign on whether or not there should be ‘Brexit‘, Britain stopping being a member of the European Union, the Conservative and UKIP politicians who were the leaders of the official pro-Brexit campaign used racism and xenophobia (contrary to leftist groups ‘who wanted a Lexit‘, left exit from ‘Fortress Europe‘).

    Did that mean being pro-Remain in the referendum guaranteed one was anti-racist? Probably so for many rank and file pro-Remain voters. However, not so the political leaders of the anti-Brexit campaign.

    Who were and are the pro-Remain leaders?

    Most prominently, British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr Cameron vilified the refugees from his and his colleagues’ bloody wars, living in the ‘jungle’ camp in Calais, as a ‘swarm’.

    Only slightly less prominently, David Cameron’s refugee-hating successor Theresa May. She campaigned actively for Remain. And, with even more enthusiasm than in her public appearances, Ms May did a pro-Remain secret speech for Goldman Sachs bankers.

    The Blairite right wing in the British Labour party campaigned fanatically for Remain. Labour leader Corbyn advocated a Remain vote as well. However, he refused to campaign jointly with the Conservatives and their Liberal Democrat satellites. And he refused to lie to voters that everything about the European Union is fantastic. That way of campaigning by Corbyn may very well have saved Labour in England and Wales from a death-blow like in Scotland. In Scotland, arch-Blairite leader Jim Murphy (an anti-Semite) had campaigned jointly with Cameron’s Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats against independence for Scotland in that Scottish referndum. That destroyed the Labour party’s credibility with its traditional voters so much that it dealt a blow to the party from which it has not recovered yet, and may never ever recover again. The Blairites tried to have a (failed) coup against Corbyn after the referendum, with as pretext that Corbyn should have campaigned jointly with Cameron’s Tories and should have lied to the electorate that the European Union is squeaky clean.

    Are Blairites anti-racists? In the 2015 election, they tried to win with mugs attacking immigrants. They did not win. It drove way convinced anti-racists. While racists preferred the Conservative, UKIP or BNP originals to the unoriginal Blairite copy.

    After the Brexit referendum, uncritically pro-European Union Blairite Owen Smith tried to win the Labour leadership election from Corbyn by claiming there were supposedly ‘too many immigrants’. Like his Blairite colleagues with their xenophobic mugs in the 2015 election, Smith did not win.

    After the Brexit referendum, pro-European Union Blairite politicians demanded that the freedom for workers to immigrate to Britain from European Union countries should be abolished.

    Then, the archest arch-Blairite: Tony Blair himself. Guilty of torture and other war crimes killing over a million beige or brown people. Guilty of xenophobic anti-immigration policies, sending refugees back to war zones. Tony Blair was so angry that a majority of the British electorate in the referendum had voted for Brexit, that he proposed there should be another referendum … and yet another one, etc. on European Union membership. Voting again and again, till you drop, until the stupid people would at last agree with ‘intelligent’ Tony Blair that Britain should be a European Union member.

    Then, more fat cat pro-European Union campaigners. The fattest of the fattest: the Confederation of British Industry, the Big Business club CBI. Since when is the CBI supposed to be anti-racist? I rather think that Malcolm X was right about capitalism, both in Britain and in other countries: ‘You can’t have capitalism without racism‘.

    Outside Britain, Viktor Orban asked the British voters in an open letter to them to vote for remaining in the European Union. Who is Viktor Orban? The prime minister of Hungary, leader of the anti-Semitic Fidesz party, and the most racist head of government in Europe. And, like Tony Blair and others, an advocate of starting a European Union army. One of the tasks of that new European Union army, according to Orban, should be anti-refugee violence.

    Then, the European Union itself. How anti-racist is it? With its most powerful government, the German government, sending Afghan refugees en masse back to their deaths in the Afghan war? With its ‘Fortress Europe’ anti-refugee policies, pressuring, eg, the Italian government and the Greek government to be ‘tougher’ on refugees; to put more razor wire on their borders, and to lock refugees from bloody wars up in concentration camps? With its deals with the dictator of Turkey, Erdogan, to send refugees from Europe back to Turkey, which will send them further to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or other war zones? With their European Union-Turkey style deals with Bashir, dictator of Sudan and other African dictators to send refugees from Europe back to Africa?

    More about this, with video, photo and hyperlinks, at

    https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/british-brexit-referendum-and-racism/

    • Jim Denham said,

      All that waffle is beside the point, petrel: the question is, which side in the British referendum campaign consciously and deliberately whipped up hatred against immigrants: ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’? The dogs in the street know the answer to that. The only creatures who don’t are the idiots on the “left” who advocated ‘Leave’, who remain in denial.

      • petrel41 said,

        Both sides did, as you would have known if you would have bothered to click the link to the full article and see, eg, the hyperlinks there.

        About pro-Remain leaders:

        Cameron not a racist?
        Theresa May not a racist?
        The CBI not racists?
        Tony Blair not a racist?
        Owen Smith did not use racist arguments against Corbyn?
        The Blairite anti-immigration mug was not racist?
        The pro-Remain Labourites are not racist for advocating the stop of immigration by European Union countries workers?
        Viktor Orban is not racist?
        The Fortress Europe policies are not racist? The EU pressure on the Greek and Italian governments for harsher anti-refugee measures are not racist?

        Apparently, you are beter at arrogance and invective than at reading a complex nuanced critical analysis of the facts.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Cameron & Co are, indeed, racists in a general, ahistoric sense: but the specific, anti -immigrant racism generated during the referendum campaign came from one side, and one side only only: Leave. People who attempt to deny this plain reality by waffling on about “Blairites” and “Fortress Europe” are either idiots who cannot grasp the political reality of what was going on, or the dishonest, Stalinist desperados and liars of the ‘Morning Star’ variety.

      • petrel41 said,

        So, Cameron calling refugees from wars in Calais a ‘swarm’ and similar attacks by him were not part of a campaign aimed at showing he was a more effective xenophobe than pro-Brexit Tories or UKIP?

        So, Theresa May’s attacks on refugees were not part of a campaign aimed at showing she was a more effective xenophobe than pro-Brexit Tories or UKIP?

        You again seem to be unable to write a reply on your blog without adding an ad hominem attack. Ad hominem attacks are always signs that their author has lost the argument about substance. Try writing just for once a reply without an ad hominem attack.

      • Jim Denham said,

        petrel: of course, Tories (and most other bourgeois politicians) tend to be, to some degree or another, racists. But the EU referendum campaign drew out a clear distinction between those for whom restricting immigration and demonising immigrants and would-be migrants, was the central plank of their message (the leaders of ‘Leave’) and those for whom it wasn’t (Remain).

        The fact that you make reference to Cameron’s “swarm” comment, dating from *before* the referendum campaign had even begun, proves the point. The racism in the referendum campaign came from one side only: Leave.

        And the racist attacks and abuse has been from ‘Leave’ supporters, and directed against Poles, non-whites and those perceived to be “foreign” (as well as other minorities, notably gays). This is simply a matter of record. Many of the attackers have proclaimed their adherence to Brexit. You don’t hear of pro-EU thugs going round assaulting and abusing white English people, do you?

    • petrel41 said,

      Arch-Remainer Blairite Stephen Kinnock as a dog-whistle racist:

      https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/british-blairite-dog-whistle-xenophobia/

      • Jim Denham said,

        petrel: Kinnock’s comments are from one individual and anyway, simply not comparable to the sustained, racist campaign waged by the entire Leave campaign during the run-up to the referendum (and, indeed, since): why do you continue to deny the obvious reality? Are you a Morning Star reader by any chance?

      • petrel41 said,

        Kinnock is not just an individual; he is pretty central in the Blairite wing of the parliamentary Labour party. Also in dog-whistle xenophobia.

      • Jim Denham said,

        But insignificant in comparison with the racist Bexiteers, who you seem so keen to exonerate.

      • petrel41 said,

        Stephen Kinnock should be compared to pro-Brexit politicians as one person, part of a group, not just as one individual. His group includes Cameron, May, Hungary’s Orban (the worst racist head of government in Europe) and the European Union itself with its barbed wire and illegal refoulement of refugees to North Africa and dictator Erdogan’s Turkey.

        Pointing out Remain racism of course is not supporting Brexit racism. Like Karl Liebknecht during World War saying that the main enemy for him was German imperialism of course did not mean supporting Russian czarism or Britisjh colonial atrocities in Africa or Asia.

      • Jim Denham said,

        ” Karl Liebknecht during World War [1] saying that the main enemy for him was German imperialism of course did not mean supporting Russian czarism or British colonial atrocities in Africa or Asia”: ehhh … don’t quite get the analogy here, petrel: who, in your considered opinion is the “main enemy”: the racists, bigots and little-Englanders who led the Leave campaign, or the bourgeois internationalists who led ‘Remain’?

        And I notice you still fail to address the simple fact that Brexit has resulted in a massive increase in racist attacks and abuse, as well as other forms of bigotry like anti-gay attacks.

      • petrel41 said,

        ALL racists are the enemy. Ever heard of the saying ‘a plague on both houses’?

        Like ALL the warring governments in World War I, Liebknecht’s days, were enemiews of peace.

      • Jim Denham said,

        That doesn’t really answer the question, does it, petrel?

        And I repeat: what about the issue you repeatedly fail to address, the simple fact that Brexit has resulted in a massive increase in racist attacks and abuse, as well as other forms of bigotry like anti-gay attacks. How do you square that with your “a plague on both houses” nonsense?

      • petrel41 said,

        OK. You have proved that only for a very short time you are able to discuss serious subjects without resorting to ad hominem attacks. You hate everyone who disagrees with you.

        I’ll leave you here, where you can wallow in your view of yourself as an infallible ‘pope’ forever.

      • Jim Denham said,

        I agree.

  4. Stephen Bellamy said,

    Jim this is a general question, not directed towards any specific issue. Can something be true and at the same time be an antisemitic conspiracy theory ?

    • petrel41 said,

      Some individual parts of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories may be true: eg, ‘Individual A (who happens to be Jewish) committed crime B’, or ‘Some politicians in Israel’s ruling Likud party did racist speeches against African refugees’. However, that some fragments of these conspiracy theories may sometimes be true makes anti-Semitism as a whole not less of a foul bunch of lies.

      Adolf Hitler probably at some time said, correctly, that the sun was shining.

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        That is a serious offer of an answer? Or are you just feeling a little frivolous this evening ?

      • petrel41 said,

        Like the owner of this blog seems to be, it looks like you are better at arrogant one-liners than at analysis.

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        Adolf Hitler saying some time or other, correctly, that the sun was shining is evidence of his antisemitism is brilliant analysis. I think a prefer my arrogant one liners.

      • petrel41 said,

        Stephen Bellamy should learn to read. That Hitler at one time may have correctly said that the sun shone does not at all contradict that Hitler *as a whole* was dead wrong.

        Similarly, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories which may include a correct remark that some person who happens to be Jewish did something wrong, do not make that conspiracy theory *as a whole* become less untruthful and dangerous.

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        What if the “theory” is wholly or substantially true? As in Jewish Zionist orgs conspired to deceive the Bishop of Guildford and stitch up Stephen Sizer ? Does that being wholly true acquit me of any antisemitic conspiracy theory charge ?

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Always lots of words about Jews and anti semitism. Socialism take a back seat.

  5. Anne Field said,

    A good statement and one which would be even better if it were not for the fact that:

    – Unite and the PCS are currently in official dispute with the EHRC and have staged two 24-hour strikes in the past fortnight.

    – EHRC management is reported to have threatened to use the Tories’ anti-union laws against their own employees, having taken particular offence at the last 24-hour strike coinciding with an ‘all-staff away-day training event’ in Liverpool.

    – The dispute is about job cuts. According to the PCS website: “Nineteen of the first 26 posts due to be axed are held by staff in the three lowest paid grades, meaning the government body responsible for protecting vulnerable workers is itself disproportionately targeting older, ethnic minority and disabled staff.”

    While the EHRC is targeting staff in the lowest-paid jobs for dismissal, its website is advertising jobs in the £56,000 to £60,000 a year pay bracket (with the qualification that “a higher salary may be available for an exceptional candidate”).

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