Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What rights should the BNP possess in a free society?

A Sunday Telegraph scoop [27 March 2004] revealed the name and location of the company that prints the British National Party’s newspaper The Voice of Freedom. The reporting raises fundamental issues about the nature of political freedom tentatively addressed at the conclusion of this article.

The company turns out to be Satellite Graphics Ltd in Barking, Essex, a subsidiary of Asharq Al-Aswat Ltd whose parent company is the Saudi Research and Publishing Company.
The article argued that given the BNP’s notorious hostility towards Islam its use of such a company ‘will stun even its own members’ and ‘is evidence of the BNP’s hypocrisy’. This is reflected in the article’s headline: Guess who prints the BNP’s ‘anti-Muslim’ newspaper…a firm owned by Muslims

The article also suggests that Satellite Graphics’ behaviour is strange given that it specialises in printing Arab, Muslim and Asian newspapers. Newspapers seen on display at the company’s plant included The Sikh Times, The Daily Nation, a daily Urdu newspaper and Asharq Al-Awsat, a London based Arabic newspaper.

A company manager told the undercover reporter: “We do print the Voice of Freedom. They run 16 pages. Most of the publications we do are Asian or Arabic, but we can do anything for you.”

The article reported the hostility shown to Islam by the BNP reminding readers of exposés of the BNP on television and the arrests and criminal convictions of some of its key members. It also gave a condensed summary of the oppressive nature of the Saudi regime founded on Wahhabi Islam, pointing out that its followers have been key recruits for Osama bin Laden.
Seeking to maximise the impact of its story it sought comment from the BNP, Asharq Al-Awsat and the Saudi embassy. Only the BNP replied: “If you would like to go and get a wholly owned British firm that would print our newspaper, fair enough. Islam is not compatible with Western Christian values in Britain but it is not their printing works that are dangerous to our way of life, it is the other things they do.”

What will the result of this article be? What if anything was its intended result? Was it just a very good story or was the Sunday Telegraph engaging in campaigning journalism? One may now assume that intense pressure will be put upon the printing company to end its contract with the BNP through the Saudi embassy as well as pressure by the company’s other horrified customers. It would be reasonable to bet that such pressure will quickly be successful. If not it can be expected that there will be demonstrations outside the print company demanding that The Voice of Freedom should not be produced.

In short it looks as if the article will precipitate the BNP having to find another printer soon.
Pressure has already been successful in denying the BNP a bank account in the UK and has ensured that their website can only be hosted in the USA although its substantial content has not brought about any prosecutions under hate crime legislation.

The article was also illustrated by a picture of a demonstration whose centrepiece was a banner that proclaimed “Shut down all Mosques in Britain”. This was a rally by the National Front, now the BNP’s mortal enemy. The strap line immediately beneath the picture, however, read “Members of the British National Party are hostile to Islam yet the party’s newspaper is printed by Satellite Graphics Ltd a company staffed entirely by Muslims”. This gave the clear impression that it was a BNP demo and that their policy was to demand the closure of all mosques. The BNP indignantly deny this on their website and state that they are reporting the paper to the Press Complaints Commission.

The other main picture used to illustrate the article consists of a Voice of Freedom front page with the headline “Why we must beware of Islam”. This appears oddly similar in its approach to that of a series of articles by Will Cummins published by the Sunday Telegraph in 2004 for which its editor Dominic Lawson drew the wrath of Muslims and for which his sacking was demanded [unsuccessfully] by them.

In a pretty desperate piece of perhaps calculated sycophancy, nonetheless expressing government policy, the BNP defends its association with the Saudis, ignoring its espousal of the most extreme form of Islam. “The BNP is mature enough to be able to differentiate between moderate Islam and Islamic fundamentalism. We respect and are prepared to work with moderate Muslims but we are totally opposed to Islamic fundamentalism. Saudi Arabia is a long established trading partner of the UK government, the European Union and the US. Saudi Arabia is viewed by these countries and institutions as a vital ally in the War Against Terror. We are not against Islam or Muslims but only against the minority of fundamentalist Islamists that terrorise us and moderate Muslims alike.”

The politically important question to be considered is what is the attitude of the Sunday Telegraph to the BNP. Does it believe that the BNP should be denied by public pressure the right to print its material? Does it believe that the BNP has the right to publish on the Internet? Does it believe that the BNP has the right to have a bank account in the UK? Does it believe that BNP members should be sacked from their jobs? Does it believe that the BNP should be banned, full stop?

These are questions that concern us all not just the Sunday Telegraph? What should our attitude be? Where do the main political parties stand? Who would want to take the BNP’s shilling as a printer, bank or web-hosting organisation? Who given the choice would wish to employ a member of the BNP? Who would wish to legally represent them?

Liberty and Law has drawn a line at BNP members being sacked from their jobs for their membership of this party. It explains why it has done so elsewhere on this site. Labour leader reported to Standards Board over bid to sack BNP care worker Sunday, March 20, 2005.

Guess who prints the BNP's 'anti-muslim' newspaper...a firm ownedby Muslims, 27 March 2005

Surviving in a repressive state, 27 March 2005 http://www.bnp.org.uk/news_detail.php?newsId=246

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Blair and Beckett campaign material lacks respect for Gypsies

In two of its latest election press releases Tony Blair and Margaret Beckett have shown an alleged lack of respect to gypsies by using the lower case “gypsies” to refer to them despite the pleas of the Gypsy Council and the Commission for Racial Equality’s guidance “Listen to the people you are writing about”.

The Gypsy Council states: “The Gypsy people are a recognised ethnic group and when writing about us, please show us the same respect as other ethnic and racial groups by spelling our name with a capital not a small g.”

The CRE states: “The terms Traveller(s), Gypsy or Irish Traveller should be used with initial capital letters.”

Both press releases were put out on Monday 21 March. After being informed of their perceived offensiveness the next day by civil liberties group Liberty and Law the Labour Party website has not corrected the language used.

Labour’s use of the terminology came in two attacks on Conservative party leader Michael Howard for raising the issue of gypsies in his campaign in what they argued was an opportunistic manner.

Tony Blair and Margaret Beckett are not alone in their continued use of the lower case. Hansard ignores the CRE advice in its reports as does the Press Association and newspapers such as the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph. The Guardian and Observer consistently use the upper case. The Independent uses an upper case for gypsies and a lower case for travellers, as do the Liberal Democrats.

Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup commented: “This is not just a linguistic spat. Language is used to dictate the terms of political debate. The otherwise perfectly reasonable use of upper case bolsters the maintenance of racial divisiveness. The continued use by mainstream politicians and journalists of the lower case helps to limit this development in an already polarised society of fragmenting ‘communities’. Tony Blair and Margaret Beckett may have instinctively understood this but political correctness demands that they fall in line with the language police. How long before everyone is compelled to do so?“


Gypsy Council http://www.thegypsycouncil.org/ under Respect

Commission for Racial Equality Guidance for Journalists http://www.cre.gov.uk/media/guidetj.html

Tony Blair highlights the Tories' opportunistic campaign 21 March 2005
Beckett attacks "opportunistic Howard" 21 March 2005

Note to editors:
The website http://www.libertyandlawjournal.blogspot.com/ is a vital resource for journalists dealing with race relations in the United Kingdom. This material can also be found on http://www.libertyandlaw.co.uk/

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

School exclusions: the real story and the hidden agenda

Gerald Hartup

The Daily Telegraph ran a story, Some schools ‘institutionally racist’ [21 March 2005], reporting yet another government funded account revealing black Caribbean pupils excluded from schools at over three times the rate of white pupils; a hardy misleading perennial from the race relations boys.

The report could have revealed white students are respectively six times, and four times more likely to be excluded than Chinese and Indian youngsters, twice as likely as Bangladeshis, 50% more than Pakistani pupils and equally as likely as Black Africans.

It could have shown that black Caribbean youngsters were six times more likely to be excluded than Bangladeshis, twelve times more likely than Indian pupils and a whopping 18 times more likely than Chinese. But the comparison had to be made with white students and white students only because otherwise grave doubts would inevitably be raised about the very existence of ‘institutional racism’; a notion the report was clearly designed to buttress.

The study Minority ethnic exclusions and the Race Relations [Amendment] Act 2000, despite its title, concentrated entirely on black exclusions ignoring the comparatively favourable experience of other minorities. This let it avoid a fact clearly unpalatable to the government and the race relations industry that all our other main ethnic minorities have a better exclusion record than white pupils and that if institutional racism exists whites are victims too.

The academics involved in the research could not ignore these inconvenient facts entirely but did manage to ward them off until page 35 of their main report and keep them out of the six page summary that busy journalists could be expected to read.

Should white parents be worried about the ‘institutional racism’ that the data reveals? Of course not. It merely reflects the bad behaviour of a tiny minority of white children [12 per thousand] compared to an even tinier minority of ethnic minority children. Black Caribbean parents whose children have an exclusion rate of 37 per thousand should take a similar view. Incidentally, Black African children at 12 per thousand do no worse than white children. Behaviour is the problem.

Black parents should not be conned by the politically correct into making schools a discipline and so learning free area. It is their children who disproportionately suffer the consequences of racially obsessed educational researchers and activists. They should understand that the politicians responsible for enforcing their theories, whether black or white, always get their children into good schools.

All voters however should be concerned with the discriminatory genesis of this research study. According to its authors the Race Relations Amendment Act [2000] places “duties on organisations as from April 2002, to examine their practice and consider adjusting them if they had negative effects on minority ethnic groups.” In fact the Act itself is not racially discriminatory and whites are theoretically protected by it too but the authors’ understanding of the Act describes accurately the approach taken to it by them, by LEAs and by the government. Any ‘negative effects’ on whites can be safely ignored. After all who will dare protest?

If they were genuinely to take the concept of ‘institutional racism’ of schools seriously the authors would be recommending urgent action to allow white pupils to perform as well as, say, Indian youngsters. If they were successful total permanent exclusions of 9,270 in England and Wales of which white children make up 6,880 could be cut to just 4,110. But would that approach win any contracts? Would that approach fit in with the ideology enforced on teachers by our political commissars?


Some schools ‘institutionally racist’ Daily Telegraph, 21 March 2005 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/03/21/nrace21.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/03/21/ixportal.html

Minority ethnic exclusions and the Race Relations [Amendment] Act 2000, February 2005 Brief No: RB616 http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RB616.pdf

Minority ethnic exclusions and the Race Relations [Amendment] Act 2000, February 2005 Report No: RB616 http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR616.pdf

Number of Permanent Exclusions by Ethnic Group 2002/03
By Ethnic Group, Number of exclusions, % of the ethnic group

White 6,880 0.12, White British 6,690 0.12, Irish 30 0.1,
Traveller of Irish heritage 20 , 0.51, Gypsy/Roma 20 0.36, Any other White background 130 0.09, Mixed 380 0.22, White and Black Caribbean 180 0.29, White and Black African 40 0.26, White and Asian 40 0.11, Any other Mixed background 120 0.2, Asian 250 0.06, Indian 50 0.03, Pakistani 130 0.08, Bangladeshi 40 0.06, Any other Asian background 20 0.04, Black 590 0.25,
Black Caribbean 360 0.37, Black African 130 0.12, Any other Black background 90 0.32,
Chinese 0.02, Any other ethnic group 70 0.12, Unclassified 1110, All pupils 9270 0.13

Source: Table 4.1 Minority ethnic exclusions and the Race Relations [Amendment] Act 2000, Report No: RB616

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Labour leader reported to Standards Board over bid to sack BNP care worker

Civil liberties group Liberty and Law has reported a senior Leeds councillor to the Standards Board for England over a campaign to dismiss a BNP care worker from her job because of her party affiliation.

Liberty and Law has asked the Board to investigate whether the Councillor Keith Wakefield the leader of the Labour group has failed in his duty to:

(a) promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person;(b) treat others with respect; and(c) not do anything which compromises or which is likely to compromise the impartiality of those who work for, or on behalf of, the authority.

as required by the Board’s code of practice.

Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup explained :“The BNP is an extremely unpleasant political party whose views are rejected by the vast majority of British people. It is however a lawful political party which people are entitled to join, stand for in elections and to vote for under our system of democracy. It is appropriate to condemn their policies and their actions and to challenge these as forcefully as necessary to ensure they remain marginal to British political life.

“BNP supporters however have the same rights to protection from harassment as the most upstanding and meritorious citizens amongst us. Among these rights are the same rights to employment as everyone else in the absence of any evidence that they present a threat to the people they work with or work for. To attempt remove those rights in the absence of a clear and present danger is an affront to freedom both theirs and ours.”

The case involves care worker, Mrs Julie Day who works for a company providing community care to Leeds City Council. Mrs Day is a BNP activist who is standing for election in the Leeds West constituency.

As a result of complaints about her employment with Allied Healthcare, the parent company of Yorkshire Careline, which provides services for Leeds City Council, a special audit of her work was carried out. Leeds Council's executive board member for social services Cllr Peter Harrand told the Yorkshire Post Today: ”As we requested, Allied Healthcare sent out questionnaires to all the service users and they are content with the service they are receiving. There have been no complaints - everybody is satisfied with the service they have received from this lady. Until there is anything to the contrary, things will continue as they are. On that basis, we will not be taking any further action."

There appears to have been no justification whatsoever for the extraordinary audit of Mrs Day’s work other than her association with the British National Party. Mrs Day claims to have been doing this work and similar work for sixteen years.

However, even after the audit found a positive response to the work of this woman Councillor Keith Wakefield the leader of the Labour Party opposition group is quoted in Yorkshire Post Today [electronic version 18 March] stating, "I am very disappointed, indeed angry that the ruling administration does not appear to have taken this issue very seriously. As I have said before, I have grave concerns that someone with such extreme political views is working with some of the most vulnerable members of society. Surely, if the individual concerned is not in the direct employment of the council, discussions could have been held with the agency to find her a less frontline role. I will be raising this matter with the leader of the council as a matter of urgency."

Liberty and Law believes that Cllr Wakefield’s intervention could possibly allow Mrs Day’s employer to sack her on grounds similar to that used to sack Bradford BNP councillor Arthur Redfearn who was legally sacked by West Yorkshire Transport Services on health and safety grounds. The company argued successfully that it feared there might be attacks on its buses or on Cllr Redfearn himself once the association with the far-right party was known.

In an earlier report 10 May Yorkshire Post Today [electronic version] Cllr Wakefield is reported as “shocked that Mrs Day was working on a Leeds City Council contract and demanded every pressure was put on the company to end her employment.” He is quoted in the article as saying, "I have very strong reservations about this. If she's working in the care area with her political views I would want council officers to look at the contract to see if there is something we can do to make sure people like this are not employed. I find it staggering she's working in care with her political views. I want every pressure to be put on this company as it is totally inappropriate that someone responsible for care in the community should employ someone who has those kind of views towards different races and ethnic groups."

Liberty and Law believes Cllr Wakefield’s continued intervention in her employment with the publicity that has resulted puts Mrs Day’s continued employment and her personal safety at risk and that his action may constitute unlawful harassment of this woman.


· Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup prevented the use of a colour bar in the appointment of a curator at Bristol art gallery Arnolfini in 2004, advising the Commission for Racial Equality on the correct application of the law. The Arnolfini experience helped the CRE revise its advice to companies contained in the current edition of its magazine Connexions.
· He initiated the prosecution of Cheltenham racist Bill Galbraith in 1990 over his harassment of black parliamentary candidate John [subsequently Lord] Taylor.
· The website www.libertyandlawjournal.blogspot.com is a vital resource for journalists dealing with race relations in the United Kingdom. This material can also be found on www.libertyandlaw.co.uk

Yorkshire Post Today links



Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Operation Black Vote’s colour bar demand for Brent South condemned by civil liberties group

Operation Black Vote’s [OBV] call for the Labour Party to introduce a hybrid Black and Minority Ethnic [BME] and women shortlist at the forthcoming election in Brent South has been roundly condemned by civil liberties group Liberty and Law as a disgraceful attempt to introduce the colour bar into British politics.
OBV’s demand comes with the announcement of Brent South MP and cabinet minister Paul Boateng’s proposed move to South Africa after the general election as Britain’s ambassador.
Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup said: “When Paul Boateng was first elected in 1987 he memorably declared:’Today Brent South. Tomorrow Soweto.’ If OBV have their way history will be reversed with a colour bar introduced to Brent after its dismantling in Soweto.”
Liberty and Law has also criticised Commission for Racial Equality chair Trevor Phillips for his interference in the recent selection process of the Labour candidate for West Ham during which he gave his support for the creation of all black shortlists.
Liberty and Law argues that the action of groups like OBV and the CRE give aid and comfort to the British National Party and is absolutely counter productive to the real interests of Britain’s ethnic minorities.
Liberty and Law condemns the encouragement of communitarianism by self-interested unrepresentative groups which politicians appear frightened to confront but ready to appease.
Liberty and Law will seek the support of Paul Boateng to reject racial selection of his parliamentary successor and ensure that all citizens continue to have the right to compete for every parliamentary seat in the country whatever their colour.
Liberty and Law is also contacting Mayor Livingstone’s office to ask him to make clear his opposition to this latest demand by OBV and for him to explain to them that Londoners will not stand for the imposition of a colour bar.
Further information: Gerald Hartup
Liberty and Law, Unit 384, 78 Marylebone High Street,
London W1U 5AP Tel: 020 7928 7325 Fax: 020 7207 3425 gerald.hartup@btopenworld.com
http://www.libertyandlaw.co.uk/ http://www.libertyandlawjounal.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

CRE still confused and confusing over colour bar

In the current issue of its magazine Connexions the Commission for Racial Equality [CRE] uses the case of an attempted colour bar at Bristol’s Arnolfini Gallery to illustrate the problems of engaging in positive discrimination. [Winter 2004/2005 Take care when being positive]

The CRE’s head of legal policy explains: “In Spring 2004, the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol advertised a fellowship for a Senior Curator. The post was open only to Black, Asian and Caribbean applicants, and this triggered hostile coverage in some media. It also resulted in complaints to the CRE, even though the advertisement made it clear that the Gallery was taking positive action to tackle the under-representation of these groups among senior curators. On the CRE’s advice, the Gallery withdrew the advertisement and reconsidered the post.”

The CRE told Liberty and Law on 20 July that Arnolfini “has given a signed undertaking to comply with the advertising provisions of the Race Relations Act and have also indicated their intention to review the programme for trainee curators.”

Initially the CRE gave a mistaken interpretation of the law to the media. A spokesman said the advertisement did not appear to breach guidelines set out in the Race Relations Act and that “There are exceptions in the Act for the training and apprenticeship opportunities and I believe that is what the post is offering.”

Fortunately Arnolfini agreed to freeze the position after Liberty and Law contacted them pending a resolution of its complaint to the CRE. This gave the CRE time to correct their original misunderstanding of the law.

The Arnolfini case illustrates two main problems relating to the CRE’s policing of the Race Relations Act

  • the CRE fails to recommend that the advertising media always ask for the necessary evidence that the racially discriminatory advertisements are within the law. At a stroke this would force what the CRE calls “well meaning employers and training providers” to provide objective justification for any colour bars they wish to operate. The CRE continues to fail to inform the advertising media of their responsibilities.

  • the CRE is responsible for appalling delays between the receipt of complaints and their disposal. In the case of Arnolfini what should have taken 48 hours to resolve was spun out to take over three months. This results in too many cases where the CRE’s delay allows colour bar appointments to be made that are retrospectively determined to be contrary to the Race Relations Act but are not then reversed.