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A dilemma, but Doreen’s appointment should be welcomed

Doreen LawrenceWhen I first heard that Doreen Lawrence was to be made a life peer in yesterday’s list, I must admit to having mixed emotions. Partly because Doreen’s battle has kept her in the minds of the very same institutions that have a record of upholding institutional racism.

On one hand I have little or no time for unelected individuals meddling in what should be a democratic state. But then again, we can hold these views while not rejecting working within the status quo – the left, after all, does this in so many other ways. I have the upmost respect for Doreen Lawrence and her sheer presence in the lords will bring about hope. And without hope, what do we have?

Lets take a step back and remember what we know about Doreen Lawrence, a working class black women of Jamaican origin. She has spent the last 23 years spearheading a lengthy campaign for justice for her 18-year-old son Stephen Lawrence who was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths while waiting at a bus stop in 1993. Doreen has suffered many blows during her campaign, but her relentless campaign has seen the imprisonment of only two of her son’s perpetrators.

I wonder though, if it wasn’t for Doreen refusal to give up on trying getting justice for Stephen would we even know of her. Does the establishment hear the cries of many black mothers that loose their sons or daughters at the hands of racists.

We only have to look across the pond to tragic case of Trayvon Martin, the young black teenager who was gunned down by supposed “neighbourhood watch co-ordinator” George Zimmerman. If it was not for a global campaign led by Trayvon’s parents, we in the UK might not even know about the case. Sadly, despite growing pressure for Zimmerman to be tried when Zimmerman was acquitted of murder.

To have someone in the Lords who has so vociferously pushed an unfashionable issue onto the agenda will change the Lords for the better. Even if that change is just a change in attitude as to who we should expect to crop up in the House of Lords, it would probably be worth it.


  1. terry sullivan says:

    not welcomed by me–rather the opposite

  2. John Reid says:

    Is this a joke, Kate osamor, unelected didnt like the vote a jury took when they found Zimmerman had acted in self defence, why is it sad that a jury came to a result by voting on it.

  3. Ultra_Fox says:

    She is seeking to give legitimacy to an institution that in this day and age should have none whatsoever.

    Patronage should have no place whatsoever in admission to a body with legislative powers.

    Others have had the courage to refuse a place in the Lords.

  4. Ultra_Fox says:

    @ John Reid

    The Zimmerman jury made their decision for a number of reasons – none of which, sadly, had anything to with justice.

  5. “To have someone in the Lords who has so vociferously pushed an unfashionable issue onto the agenda will change the Lords for the better.”

    How is it possible to change a reactionary undemocratic institution for the better? You cannot make ‘it better’ you abolish it!.

    Mrs Lawrence’s presence in the House of Lords will not change it one iota. I find this so sad, Doreen stood for so much which was good and inspiring.

    The mainstream media is having a field day in talking up Doreen’s acceptance, she is there to give it a democratic coat and worse to imply to the critics of that wretched institution, if it is good enough for Mrs Lawrence it should be good enough for you, what is your beef.

    She is joining the very institution which is stuffed with the very people who blighted her families life. If there is ever a public body which is institutionally racist the house of lords it is. How can it not be given its true purpose?

    It is impossible to underestimate the damage her acceptance will do for those who are or will be campaigning against miscarriages of justice in the future.

    Make no mistake along with the monarchy the house of lords (the clue is in its name) is one of the main bulwarks against Britain become a truly democratic country.

    So sad.

  6. John Reid says:

    Ultrafox, yes but it’s still democracy,if a jury votes based on what they believe is the defenition of self defence in the law,

  7. If the political parties must name 30 new members of the House of Lords every year (as they would have been perfectly free to do if the hereditary peers had all still been in place, so that that House would have been even larger), then here is how they ought to go about it.

    The 10 candidates nominated by the most branches of the Labour Party (including trade union and other affiliated branches), the 10 candidates nominated by the most branches of the Conservative Party, and the 10 candidates nominated by the most branches of the Liberal Democrats, ought to be put out to an election by the nation as a whole, with each of us voting for one candidate from each party, and with the highest scoring six candidates from each party then raised to the peerage.

    Any other registered political party that had arrived at a candidate by means of an all-member ballot, as the Greens already do, ought thus to acquire the right to nominate that candidate in a fourth election, on the same model as the first three.

    And there ought to be a fifth, among the 10 Independent candidates who had received the most nominations by registered parliamentary electors.

    All five would of course be held on the same day, presumably the first Thursday in May.

    Five times six.


    Every year.

    How utterly absurd.

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