Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Trevor Phillips and the 289 white people he turned his back on

In some of the few words so far directly attributed to Trevor Phillips at the Commission for Racial Equality’s two day conference [27/28 November] he talks of "the racism that smiles to your face just as it's dumping your job application in the bin marked 'not white enough'". [Guardian 27 November 2006]

Let us examine that statement. Trevor Phillips is a wonderful media performer capable of sublime political jujitsu.

If he had replaced “not white enough” with “white” he would have been talking about the biggest race scam for years in which he played a crucial role in facilitating and securing its success.

He aided and abetted the racist exclusion of 289 males this year whose applications to join the police were indeed binned by the chief constables of Avon and Somerset and of Gloucestershire. Mr Phillips was asked by Liberty and Law to intervene in time to reinstate their right to be considered for work. A single telephone call by him or one of his officers could have stopped the vicious colour bar but the CRE let the recruitment go ahead by spinning out its investigations. Mr Phillips knows how not to use the law. He is the soul of charming if diabolical discretion.

Of course, the CRE eventually had to conclude that the chief constables were acting against the law and make the police authorities sign a piece of paper saying they would not do it again. But tempo was important. The white males were successfully shafted and the job completed and with no penalty. The police got away with their [and his] racist recruitment policy scot-free thanks to his position as boss of the £20million quango with a legal monopoly.

Mr Phillips has been helped of course by a feeble national media and politicians from all the major parties terrified to call him to account. It would take more than white victims of racism to stir them.

Why did Mr Phillips collude in the colour bar? He has been bold enough to make it clear in his speeches.

At the Social Policy Forum on 19 June he stated “For example we recently had to order one police force - Somerset and Avon - to stop a programme to fast track some minority applicants into the force, because we thought a court might say that it was unfair to white applicants. Yet they were clear that they only brought in the scheme for operational reasons, not political or social reasons. I don't think it can be right that we have drifted into a situation where the CRE has to stand in the way of moderate measures to increase diversity in the police force - something which Scarman recommended twenty-five years ago, Macpherson more recently, and the Chief Police Officers are desperate to do so they can do their job better.”

Note the weasely description. The Forum wonks would not have got from his gloss how white applicants had been summarily rejected once their race had been discovered from the equal opportunity forms, which they were assured were no part of the recruitment policy.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Race watchdog's secret protocol on incitement to racial hatred

Civil rights group Liberty and Law was exclusively sent by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) its Protocol on Incitement to Racial Hatred on 5 July 2006. Its contents may be contrasted with the anodyne document published on the CRE’s own website on 8 November 2006.

The CRE claims that this published policy was approved in February and circulated after that. Liberty and Law has not been able to establish from the CRE what the status of the 5 July document sent to them was. It assumed that a spokesperson’s statement on 5 July “Please find attached the Code as you have requested.” confirmed its status.

Liberty and Law believes that the policy was only published after intense pressure from it over a period of more than a year. This included contacting Robin Allen QC on 27 June who the CRE had consulted over the protocol and seeking his help to speed up its publication. His immediate inquiry of the CRE no doubt speeded up the project.

A CRE spokesperson claimed on 7 November that “this document [at the time not published L&L] was intended for internal purposes and is already in use. The code has been approved by the Commission as official policy guidance to advise staff on how to deal with calls. It will be available on our website shortly".

In the CRE press release of 27 January 2004 its chair Trevor Phillips claimed, in announcing CRE plans new code of conduct for referring race hate material to the police: “I will publish that code, so that everyone who chooses can be guided as to why we at the Commission do what we do.”

Liberty and law director Gerald Hartup commented: “As it turns out that is pretty much nothing at all. The CRE leaves people to their own devices. If they contact the CRE they will be involved with a bureaucratic monster.”

The CRE's 5 July Protocol on Incitement to Racial Hatred is reproduced below.

Why is the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) concerned about incitement to racial hatred?

The CRE is a body established by the Race Relations Act 1976 with statutory duties to:

· Work towards the elimination of racial discrimination and

· Promote equality of opportunity and good race relations

Incitement to racial hatred creates conflict between different racial communities, which in turn can lead to a breakdown in good race relations. It could also have a wider impact, in that members of other racial groups might discriminate against members of the target group in, for example the work place, access to education or the provision of goods and services. The CRE would be failing in its statutory duty if it did not actively take steps to discourage conduct that incites racial hatred.

The CRE receives a number of complaints from members of the public about conduct they perceive as incitement to racial hatred. There are various reasons for this : for example:

· The complainant does not know that incitement to racial hatred is a criminal offence

· The complainant is does not know that the police, not the CRE, have responsibility for investigating complaints of incitement to racial hatred

· People are not confident that the criminal justice system will deal satisfactorily with offences that involve racism

The CRE does not have the power to deal with complaints of incitement to racial hatred. This is because incitement to racial hatred is a criminal offence and only the p0lice have the power to take action against those who commit it. The CRE therefore, advises complainants to report alleged incidents of incitement to racial hatred to the police, in the first instance.

There is no obligation on the CRE to refer a complaint to the Police but on very rare occasions it may be necessary for us to do so. This protocol sets out criteria which will govern the exercise of our discretion to make a referral.

Criteria for referrals
The test for referral is whether the complaint merits investigation by the Police: the decision to prosecute must rest with the CPS and the Attorney-General.

· There is evidence that the words or behaviour has led to, or is very likely to lead to, a breakdown in relations between people from different racial groups. The CRE will be guided by evidence that

Ø community relations are already strained; or

Ø community relations are very good - this might be evidence of an intention to incite racial hatred

Case Example: A BNP supporter in Glasgow distributed leaflets which were offensive to Muslims in an area with a significant Pakistani population. The local REC gave evidence that relations between the Pakistani and other EM groups with White Scottish people were good and that the leaflet undermined these good relations. The Sheriff stated that to distribute the leaflet in such circumstances was evidence of an intention to upset relations and consequently to incite racial hatred.

  • The rate of racial incidences is high
  • The rate of racial incidences has increased following an incident
  • At a local level, the offending words or behaviour refer to a particular group and members of that group are:
  • Ø few in number and
  • Ø are easily identifiable For example members of the particular group are known locally or are concentrated in a particular part of the region or are in an asylum dispersal area.
  • · Written material, containing false information, for example, about high public spending in areas known to have a high concentration of ethnic minorities, is distributed in surrounding areas with high levels of social deprivation among people from different racial groups
  • The speech or written material contains information, that is deliberately false, misleading or based on negative stereotypical assumptions; for example, it claims that Gypsies and Travellers are prone to criminal behaviour, or their presence will lower the quality of the community.
  • The words or behaviour goads or encourages others to commit offences against one or more racial groups, for example by the use of words such as ‘kill’, ‘wage war’ or ‘destroy’ This may be evident from the words displayed or spoken.
  • The conduct is perpetrated by a prominent public personality, such as a councillor, or a celebrity.
  • The information is particularly offensive and is capable of being disseminated widely, for example, via a broadcast, newspaper or the internet E.g. newspaper reports such as on the death of PC Blakelock with words like ‘hacked to death’ accompanied with reference to the racial group of the suspects.

Accountability - how the CRE will decide on referrals

The CRE is a public body and must exercise sound judgement in carrying out its statutory duties. Criminal enforcement agencies have stretched resources: and the CRE would not want to abuse or be seen to abuse, wittingly or unwittingly, those resources, by referring unmeritorious allegations for investigation. The CRE will therefore, ensure accountability and transparency in the referrals process.

Decisions on whether to refer a complaint to the prosecuting authorities will be taken by:The Legal Committee, subject to the following procedure:

· The Director of Legal Services and Enforcement refers the issue to the Legal Affairs Committee, with a recommendation for referral

· The Legal Committee decides on whether to accept or reject the recommendation

· If the Legal Committee accepts the recommendation, the Legal Director refers the matter to the police

The CRE will publish its decision on the CRE website.



The CRE’s protocol for dealing with queries relating to possible offences under the public order Act 1986 8 November 2006

CRE plans new code of conduct for referring race hate material to the police 27 January 2004

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sir Trevor Phillips tries on the Pope’s hat, Methodists knock it off

Sir Trevor Phillips has in an encyclical addressed to religious leaders excommunicated members of the BNP. He calls for all pastors to refuse them communion. He has already called for them to be dismissed from their jobs. Speaking to the TUC three years ago, describing them as “knuckle dragging apes” he explained “the workplace is no place for racists. Making this a reality shouldn't just fall to trades unionists. Employers have a responsibility too.”

Church leaders have in general backed his pontificate but have been slow to respond to his latest fatwa. As he put it following BNP boss Nick Griffin’s acquittal by a secular jury: "If ever there was a moment for hellfire and damnation, this is it.”

So far only the Bishop of Croydon, Nick Baines has publicly backed the CRE chair. He has not, however, yet called for their exclusion from communion nor stated that he will back any of his priests who turn away BNP supporters from communion as Sir Trevor has demanded.

Fringe religious groups rejecting his authority will now be put under pressure. One such, Methodists, have gone so far as to reject his call in a press release “Communion should be for all”. In a direct challenge to him Anthea Cox, its coordinating secretary for public life and social justice said:

"We would welcome everybody into Methodist churches. There is no room within the Church for racism under any circumstances, and we will always challenge these attitudes, but we will never turn people away."

In his other part time secular job as chair of the Commission for Racial Equality Trevor Phillips was successful in allowing Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset Police to unlawfully turn away 295 white job seekers. He issued indulgences to the Chief Constables allowing them to escape without penalty. Whether the secular authorities will allow him to continue to offer them sanctuary is not yet clear.


Note to editors

1. Trevor Phillips is not a knight although he is often referred to as such by the media.

2. Methodist press release “The Good news” 17 November 2006 http://www.thegoodnews.co.uk/regionnewsstory.asp?id=1438®ion=reg0

3. Trevor Phillips’ speech 9 September 2003 http://www.tuc.org.uk/congress/tuc-7134-f0.cfm