The sooner Cameron gets back to multicultural Notting Hill, the better

Multiculturalism has not failed here in Hackney. Afro-Caribbean, African, Indian, Irish, Vietnamese, Jewish and Turkish men and women all live side by side. We enjoy the best of each other’s culture. It is that multicultural mix that has made London a world city. The segregation that Cameron deplores is a response to racism. In too many northern cities, a fear of racist attack (and tacit racism by housing departments and estate agents) has led to de facto segregation.

But attacking multiculturalism is blaming the victim. Continue reading

Ban the EDL from Luton

Luton MP Kelvin Hopkins, anti-racist activists and faith representatives are calling for a ban on the demonstration planned by the English Defence League (EDL) for Luton this weekend, which is being promoted as their ‘homecoming’. Evidence from previous EDL events is clear; wherever the EDL mobilises, Mosques and other place of worship have been attacked, with Muslim people and police officers being assaulted. The EDL were caught on camera at a demonstration in Preston chanting ‘Burn down the Mosque’. Continue reading

The rights and wrongs of Baroness Warsi

Baroness Warsi must be fuming. Her attempt at making herself the top story in every newspaper yesterday failed spectacularly, torpedoed as it was by Alan Johnson’s shock departure. Nonetheless what Warsi said deserves some examination. Her essential point, that Islamophobia has passed the ‘dinner table test’ has some truth to it.  Sure, it is totally correct that Warsi herself is not a paragon of enlightened virtue but that fundamentally does not invalidate everything she has to say on these issues. Continue reading

Woolas exit: a chance to become tough on racism and tough on the causes of racism

Phil Woolas is out of the House of Commons (subject to a future judicial review) and suspended from the Labour Party. The court was concerned not with racism, but with misrepresentation such as that illustrated here, and it is not a simple matter since the policing of it also raises issues of freedom of speech in elections. Misrepresentation is still an important issue if we mean, as we believe Ed Miliband does, to be honest in our politics, but it is minor in comparison with the charge we previously made that Woolas’s campaign “deliberately mixed issues of race, religion, ‘extremism’ and ‘militancy’ with immigration for electoral advantage. ” Continue reading

Should Phil Woolas be in the party, never mind on the front bench?

The decision to appoint Phil Woolas to the Home Office shadow ministerial team, to speak on immigration and race relations beggars belief. Sunny Hundal yesterday made a cogent case at Liberal Conspiracy for why he is unfit to be on the Labour front-bench. On the one hand, Mr Woolas argues that one can have a debate about immigration control without being racist and the issue of immigration should not therefore be conflated with debates on race and extremism. On the other hand, he and his campaign team deliberately mixed issues of race, religion, “extremism” and “militancy” with immigration for electoral advantage. Continue reading