Friday, August 13, 2004

Poem reported to Scottish police after CRE condemnation

Human rights group Liberty and Law has reported a satirical poem in the form of a rap by James Michie published in the current issue of The Spectator [14 August 2004, page 20] entitled Friendly Fire to the Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police following its publication in The Herald and the reaction to it of the Commission for Racial Equality {CRE].

Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup has asked the Chief Constable to determine whether the poem’s publication breaches the race relations provisions of the Public Order Act.

Maureen Fraser, the director of the CRE in Scotland told The Herald : "We find this poem very offensive and the language is deeply inflammatory. It does nothing to promote race relations and undermines relations between Scotland and the rest of Britain, and our relationship with other countries."

"Some of the language, such as 'comprehensive extermination' and 'polluting our stock', is completely and utterly unacceptable. It cannot be tolerated."

Mr Hartup said; “ James Michie is a distinguished writer and to be condemned in this way by such a senior figure in the Commission for Racial Equality is a matter of the gravest public concern. I am fairly confident that after consideration the poem will be given a clean bill of health and that the CRE will then apologise to Mr Michie. In the meantime, however, the only way to prevent a witch-hunt is an authoritative investigation by the appropriate authority.

It is perhaps time to re-evaluate the public role of the Commission for Racial Equality and to ensure that its senior personnel are able to contribute positively and sensitively to race relations issues.”


Article in Herald


The Scotch – what a verminous race!
Canny, pushy, chippy, they're all over the place,
Battening off us with false bonhomie,
Polluting our stock,
undermining our economy.
Down with sandy hair and knobbly knees!
Suppress the tartan dwarves and the Wee Frees!
Ban the kilt, the skean-dhu and the sporran
As provocatively, offensively foreign!
It's time Hadrian's Wall was refortified
To pen them in a ghetto on the other side.
I would go further. The nation
Deserves not merely
But comprehensive
We must not flinch from a solution.
(I await legal prosecution.)

James Mitchie
The Spectator 14 August