|March 2nd, 2008||#1|
The Legal Situation in the United Kingdom
23 March 2006
Racism row lecturer is suspended
A lecturer who suggested ethnicity could influence average intelligence levels has been suspended from his job.
Dr Frank Ellis was suspended from his post as a lecturer at Leeds University pending disciplinary procedures.
The university emphasised that the suspension was not itself a penalty but said it had been deemed appropriate given "the seriousness of the issues".
The lecturer in Russian and Slavonic Studies told a student newspaper there was a "persistent gap" in IQ levels.
More than 500 students signed a petition calling for him to be sacked.
Many of them later demonstrated in Leeds against his views.
Leeds University had previously said that those views were "abhorrent" but there was no evidence he had discriminated against students.
But on Thursday, university secretary Roger Gair said in a statement that details of the disciplinary process "must remain a private matter" between employer and employee.
But he said three issues were being looked into.
1. In publicising his personal views on race and other matters, Dr Ellis had acted in breach of the university's equality and diversity policy, "and in a way that is wholly at odds with our values".
2. He had "recklessly jeopardised" the fulfilment of the university's obligations under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.
3. He had failed to comply with "reasonable requests" - for example, to apologise for the distress which his remarks on race and other matters have caused to many people, or to give an undertaking he would make no further public comments suggesting one racial group is inherently inferior (or superior) to another "unless there is no possibility whatsoever that anyone hearing or reading his comments might reasonably associate him with the University of Leeds".
Mr Gair said the university was "clearly and publicly distancing itself" from his comments.
"Given the seriousness of the issues I have been outlining, the vice-chancellor, Professor Michael Arthur, has decided to suspend Dr Ellis from his duties while the disciplinary process is underway," he said.
He added: "I must emphasise that suspension is not in itself a disciplinary penalty."
Dr Ellis has expressed support for the Bell Curve theory, examined in a book by Richard Hernnstein and Charles Murray, which concludes that ethnicity can play a part in IQ levels.
He has previously maintained he has never treated a black student differently to a white student, and said he had "done nothing wrong".
Labelling him a racist was "an attempt to close down any discussion" and an attack on his freedom of speech, he said.
The disciplinary process might take some time to complete - possibly months.
The university said it intended to make no further public comment until it had been concluded.
Last edited by Alex Linder; March 2nd, 2008 at 04:13 PM.
|March 10th, 2008||#2|
[In England, it appears to be a crime to possess non-communist-approved reading material.]
'Neo-Nazi' accused of hoarding bomb-making materials
Nathan Worrell, 34, appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court via video link from Blakenhurst Prison, Worcestershire, for a short hearing.
Police allegedly found bomb-making manuals, weedkiller and dismantled fireworks at his Cromwell Road flat, which was raided on January 24.
Unemployed Worrell is also accused of possessing a collection of far-right wing political literature and propaganda.
[Fahrenheit 451 territory. What does the government do with the illegal papers, magazines and books it collects? Obviously it must destroy them. By fire. It burns them.]
He is charged with possessing material for terrorist purposes and information useful for an act of terrorism.
He also faces a third charge of waging a racist campaign of harassment against an Asian man and his partner.
District Judge Nicholas Evans adjourned the case until March 13, when the case will be committed to crown court.
|August 20th, 2008||#3|
Hoffman's website blocked in England
For Attention: Mr. M. Hoffman
I have been using the internet service in the public library in Blyth, Northumberland, England and was unable to open your web site (www.RevisionistHistory.org) as it was censored ; the reason given was "Hate Speech."
I have lodged a complaint but will only receive a reply in September.
Posted by Michael Hoffman at 8/19/2008 12:14:00 PM
Labels: censorship, Internet gate-keepers, Revisionisthistory.org, thought cops
Ironic,I just mentioned libraries in my last post.The glove is off the Beast's fist.Let's hope that the people experiencing this censorship alert others.Not only to this book and your works,but to the Fascist New World Order that is here,and simply unannounced to the sheeple to date. Jim K.
Not surprised.Google banned your videos awhile back.Now Amazon.And prior to getting a pc I too had problems accessing pro-truth websites.You should put together an hour long video on say..the cryptocracy to post on google.At the end you can list your website and mention your new book.Google has tons of videos on that subject.Your other videos were verbotten as is your book.Although I can't find the Amalek-Lipstadt video online,I did finally find your interview on Jone's show after weeks of searching on liveleak.com Keep up the great work.
Michael,this would be a great opportunity for you to do what the above poster suggested.Sit behind a desk and do a simple presentation for an hour or longer on the Cryptocracy.Highlight control of minds through media,education and the arts.Mention your bannings by google,Amazon,and IP screeners.And then plug your works.There's so many sensationalist videos on the elitists.Most are offbase due to pet theories honing in on one group.People will stumble upon your video when they search for conspiracies,and your book sales will soar.Like many people,I like to find and research authors for free prior to dropping hard-earned dough.You need to get out there to be known by more than a handful of astute researchers.Like you've opined in the past---you wrote the book for the masses.I pray for all the best for you.Time is short.
US government computers also filter Mr. Hoffman's website as "hate speech."
|August 20th, 2008||#4|
Join Date: Aug 2006
This is most unfortunate as I feel education should be free from state intervention, it spoils the experience and disappointed me greatly when I realised that the search for truth's was being halted.
In conversations that I have had, people have been noticeably afraid to speak their mind in public and or by email, this just goes to show the climate of fear that exists in this environment today. That is a real shame as I think University should be about finding the solutions, not covering it up.
One of the reasons I would not attend Leeds University is the amount of anti activity within the Uni. I prefer to think in a free way without the threat of actions against me if I say or write something that is not of their liking or approval.
The ugly Hun.
Last edited by Charlie-Horse; August 20th, 2008 at 01:19 PM.
|November 3rd, 2008||#5|
National Prayer Network
PREACHERS OF HATE
By Harmony Grant
28 Oct 08
“Preachers of hate” must now recant their views or stay out of the United Kingdom. On October 28, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith introduced Orwellian new rules meant to keep out of the UK foreign-born people who allegedly want to incite religious or racial hatred. Over 200 people have already been put on a no-entry list; they usually don’t know it until they’re prevented from entering the country. Now the watch list will become public and shared with other nations, so the unwanted can be “named and shamed.” According to the Guardian, the list includes mostly neo-Nazis, anti-abortionists, and extremist Muslim clerics. For now.
“These measures are aimed at preventing anyone who will stir up tensions in the UK from entering the country,” said a government official. Wow! That list could get pretty long, pretty fast. It would include every social or religious reformer in the world’s history.
These unwanted agitators “will also be placed on international watch lists which tell other countries that they have been banned and why they were not allowed in.” If the EU decides to hop on board, it can easily sanction countries which do let rebels in. Globalization won’t just mean a Starbucks on every corner; it will mean a ban in every airport.
It is bad enough to create speech laws that criminalize what people want to say. But these laws refuse entry to those with “unacceptable” ideas, before they’ve even committed a speech crime!
The Guardian claims the law “does not permit somebody to be banned for simply holding disagreeable political views but will apply to those who advocate illegal means to further them.” Yet the same article explains that some people were listed for “inciting hatred.” This can be done merely by expressing ideas or pointing out the truth about another person or group of people.
It should frighten us all to realize the elite of our western societies have embraced bans on hatred, an emotion, and the words and ideas that can create it. Emotions, thoughts, and beliefs should never fall under the gavel of government. Yet in our modern society, a woman enjoys more privilege and “right to privacy” over the unborn person in her womb than over the thoughts in her own mind. Her “right to her own body” means she can end that life; yet in Canada and many nations of Europe she is not allowed to express ideas, true or not, that might “incite hatred” against certain groups.
Muslim clerics are hardly the only people who will land on these watch lists. The powerful Jewish Anti-Defamation League claims that Christians “incite hatred” by believing and teaching New Testament doctrines. (See, ADL's Foxman: New Testament is Anti-Semitic) How long will it be before Christianity itself is outlawed as a public menace?
That might sound crazy, considering how much of our nation is still red-state territory and heartily evangelical. Yet our U.S. State Department's Office of Global Anti-Semitism already says Christians who believe Jewish leaders had Christ crucified are "classic anti-Semites." (See, Bible is Hate, says U.S. Government) In Canada (presumably a Christian nation), making such a charge from the pulpit is said to hold Jews up to "hatred and contempt" as "Christ-killers;" this speech crime can be punished with a $5000 fine. That's just for the first offense. Prison will follow for pastors who won't stop preaching the New Testament record.
Consider these ominous U.S. examples. A Virginia pastor and town councilman is challenging a Supreme Court ruling that forbids him from ending his prayers “in Jesus’ name,” even though prayer that doesn’t mention Jesus is allowed. An Oklahoma mayor quickly backed out of partially funding a sidewalk sculpture of Jesus, after heat from “church-state separation” groups; the same town had to pay $200,000 in legal fees last year after losing a court battle to keep the cross on their seal. College students in California faced rebuke and letters of suspension for praying on campus for their sick teacher.
If Christianity is so hateful that public expression of it must be silenced, how long before Christians fill the pages of international watch lists? It will not be long. Christians and all Americans must loudly oppose the criminalization of hatred, however noble that might sound—and the criminalization of speech, however offensive the speech.
Harmony Grant writes and edits for National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog group.
Let the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith teach you how they have saddled 45 states with hate laws capable of persecuting Christians: http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp.
Learn how ADL took away free speech in Canada and wants to steal it now in the U.S. Congress. Watch Rev. Ted Pike's Hate Laws: Making Criminals of Christians at video.google.com. Purchase this gripping documentary to show at church. Order online at www.truthtellers.org for $24.90, DVD or VHS, by calling 503-853-3688, or at the address below.
TALK SHOW HOSTS: Interview Rev. Ted Pike on this topic. Call (503) 631-3808.
|November 4th, 2008||#6|
Join Date: Feb 2004
White South African female refugees seeking asylum in Europe are without doubt, guilty of inciting racial hatred when they confess publicly of being gang-raped by black Africans. As are all white South Africans violently assaulted in their own homeland when they arrive in Europe with the tales.
Welcome to the New (Jew) World Order.
Sieg Heil !!!
|May 1st, 2009||#7|
Thought police muscle up in Britain
Hal G. P. Colebatch | April 21, 2009
Article from: The Australian
BRITAIN appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state. As a sometime teacher of political science and international law, I do not use the term totalitarian loosely.
There are no concentration camps or gulags but there are thought police with unprecedented powers to dictate ways of thinking and sniff out heresy, and there can be harsh punishments for dissent.
Nikolai Bukharin claimed one of the Bolshevik Revolution's principal tasks was "to alter people's actual psychology". Britain is not Bolshevik, but a campaign to alter people's psychology and create a new Homo britannicus is under way without even a fig leaf of disguise.
The Government is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalise politically incorrect jokes, with a maximum punishment of up to seven years' prison. The House of Lords tried to insert a free-speech amendment, but Justice Secretary Jack Straw knocked it out. It was Straw who previously called for a redefinition of Englishness and suggested the "global baggage of empire" was linked to soccer violence by "racist and xenophobic white males". He claimed the English "propensity for violence" was used to subjugate Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and that the English as a race were "potentially very aggressive".
In the past 10 years I have collected reports of many instances of draconian punishments, including the arrest and criminal prosecution of children, for thought-crimes and offences against political correctness.
Countryside Restoration Trust chairman and columnist Robin Page said at a rally against the Government's anti-hunting laws in Gloucestershire in 2002: "If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you." Page was arrested, and after four months he received a letter saying no charges would be pressed, but that: "If further evidence comes to our attention whereby your involvement is implicated, we will seek to initiate proceedings." It took him five years to clear his name.
Page was at least an adult. In September 2006, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Codie Stott, asked a teacher if she could sit with another group to do a science project as all the girls with her spoke only Urdu. The teacher's first response, according to Stott, was to scream at her: "It's racist, you're going to get done by the police!" Upset and terrified, the schoolgirl went outside to calm down. The teacher called the police and a few days later, presumably after officialdom had thought the matter over, she was arrested and taken to a police station, where she was fingerprinted and photographed. According to her mother, she was placed in a bare cell for 3 1/2 hours. She was questioned on suspicion of committing a racial public order offence and then released without charge. The school was said to be investigating what further action to take, not against the teacher, but against Stott. Headmaster Anthony Edkins reportedly said: "An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark. We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude towards pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and will not stand for racism in any form."
A 10-year-old child was arrested and brought before a judge, for having allegedly called an 11-year-old boya "Paki" and "bin Laden" during a playground argument at a primary school (the other boy had called him a skunk and a Teletubby). When it reached the court the case had cost taxpayers pound stg. 25,000. The accused was so distressed that he had stopped attending school. The judge, Jonathan Finestein, said: "Have we really got to the stage where we are prosecuting 10-year-old boys because of political correctness? There are major crimes out there and the police don't bother to prosecute. This is nonsense."
Finestein was fiercely attacked by teaching union leaders, as in those witch-hunt trials where any who spoke in defence of an accused or pointed to defects in the prosecution were immediately targeted as witches and candidates for burning.
Hate-crime police investigated Basil Brush, a puppet fox on children's television, who had made a joke about Gypsies. The BBC confessed that Brush had behaved inappropriately and assured police that the episode would be banned.
A bishop was warned by the police for not having done enough to "celebrate diversity", the enforcing of which is now apparently a police function. A Christian home for retired clergy and religious workers lost a grant because it would not reveal to official snoopers how many of the residents were homosexual. That they had never been asked was taken as evidence of homophobia.
Muslim parents who objected to young children being given books advocating same-sex marriage and adoption at one school last year had their wishes respected and the offending material withdrawn. This year, Muslim and Christian parents at another school objecting to the same material have not only had their objections ignored but have been threatened with prosecution if they withdraw their children.
There have been innumerable cases in recent months of people in schools, hospitals and other institutions losing their jobs because of various religious scruples, often, as in the East Germany of yore, not shouted fanatically from the rooftops but betrayed in private conversations and reported to authorities. The crime of one nurse was to offer to pray for a patient, who did not complain but merely mentioned the matter to another nurse. A primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class, faces the sack for seeking support from her church. A private email from her to other members of the church asking for prayers fell into the hands of school authorities.
Permissiveness as well as draconianism can be deployed to destroy socially accepted norms and values. The Royal Navy, for instance, has installed a satanist chapel in a warship to accommodate the proclivities of a satanist crew member. "What would Nelson have said?" is a British newspaper cliche about navy scandals, but in this case seems a legitimate question. Satanist paraphernalia is also supplied to prison inmates who need it.
This campaign seems to come from unelected or quasi-governmental bodies controlling various institutions, which are more or less unanswerable to electors, more than it does directly from the Government, although the Government helps drive it and condones it in a fudged and deniable manner.
Any one of these incidents might be dismissed as an aberration, but taken together - and I have only mentioned a tiny sample; more are reported almost every day - they add up to a pretty clear picture.
Hal G. P. Colebatch's Blair's Britain was chosen as a book of the year by The Spectator in 1999.
|May 1st, 2009||#8|
Hath not a Goy eyes?
Join Date: Dec 2007
Blog Entries: 6
And that's the fundamental difference between judeo-Bolshevism and judeo-Democracy--practically everybody knew that Bolsheviks were murderous dictators and lying bastards and that Pravda was one big joke.
The Goy cries out in ecstasy as the Jew strikes him.
|May 1st, 2009||#9|
Join Date: Feb 2006
The mandate that nurseries and pre-schools report toddlers for being racist if they refuse curry or any foreign food was the precursor to this.
The simple fact that children are notoriously fussy and often refuse to try new foods never entered their minds. We never eat Chinese or Indian food so our daughter will naturally refuse it as a new food. It was not mentioned what would happen to two year olds whose parents refuse to let them eat halal or kosher meat on moral/religious grounds, nor what would happen to children who refused non-halal/kosher meat on religious grounds.
They have decided that the refusal of non-British food is racist behaviour in a two year old and (unclarified) steps will be taken.
Above post is my opinion unless it's a quote.
|May 2nd, 2009||#11|
Join Date: Feb 2006
The National Children's Bureau, which receives £12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.
This could include a child of as young as three who says "yuk" in response to being served unfamiliar foreign food.
Above post is my opinion unless it's a quote.
|November 12th, 2009||#13|
The Crusade against Discrimination in Britain
This article is the first of a two-part series dealing with race and immigration in the UK in the post-war period. This first part focuses on the genesis and development of the crusade to criminalise free speech and freedom of association in Britain in the name of what is euphemistically termed race relations. A second part will follow, focusing on the history of non-white immigration since 1945.
The BNP is on record as promising to repeal the race relations legislation (see 2005 general election manifesto), so it might be useful to explore just what that might entail. However, it’s important to recognise that, rather than having just a single piece of legislation to deal with there is in reality a labyrinthine thicket of primary and secondary legislation in which the concept of racial discrimination as a criminal activity is embedded and which will need to be undone. It’s a complex area, perhaps intended to be that way, but I hope this piece will provide an accessible and non-academic survey of the subject.
The subject of race relations legislation has returned to topicality and seen a spike in public interest as a result of the recent and ongoing litigation involving the BNP and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). This concerns the BNP constitution and, in particular, the criteria for membership. The legal arguments pertaining to this case are somewhat arcane, and the EHRC’s motives for bringing it this particular time have been subject to debate and criticism. Both have been well-aired here and elsewhere, so I’ll defer further commentary until we get to discussion of the particular legislation under which the action was brought; that is, the Race Relations Act of 1976.
The 2009 Equalities Bill
Sometime during early 2010, if not later this year, the Single Equalities Bill that was foretold in Labour’s election manifesto of 2005 will eventually come to pass as the Equality Act of 2010 (EA10). The EA10 will form the capstone on forty-five years of progressively more intrusive and draconian legislation enacted to deal with equality, diversity and discrimination. A great majority of this legislation has been sponsored and enacted by successive Labour governments although, as will be shown, that could not have been achieved without the acquiescence and tacit approval, at least, of the Conservatives whilst in opposition. Indeed, certain key aspects of the overall legislation were even introduced by and enacted under various Conservative administrations.
We will return to discussion of the Equality Bill in greater detail later. But in order to view it in its proper perspective, as a part of continuum of activist-driven social engineering unprecedented in British history, it is necessary the trace its origins back to the beginning. To assist in this, we will need to review each major element in the raft of race-related legislation that has been enacted since the mid-1960s, back to the Race Relations Act of 1965 and even earlier. In the course of this exercise we need to consider three crucial questions at each stage in the process:
1. What were the factors that led to race becoming a matter for Parliamentary debate and legislative action?
2. Who were the sponsors of the legislation, and how did they succeed in getting it enacted?
3. What determined the actual structure and scope of the legislation as actually enacted, and how has it affected public life and private discourse?
I don’t expect that this project will stir any significant debate, since it is historical rather polemical in tone. It does however highlight the guilty parties and their role in what has unfolded over time as well as tip the hat to the (depressingly) small number of those amongst the political class who valiantly tried to stem the madness. And it truly is a madness; that a sovereign people should voluntarily impose upon itself the constraints on personal freedoms that the panoply of repressive legislation represents is, to quote a great Englishman, a prophet without honour in his own land, “ to watch a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.”
In order to understand what is needed to slay it, it is necessary to know the nature of the beast, hence this slight offering. I hope it is both interesting and informative.
A note on sources
I will provide a full list of all the major sources that I consulted at the end of the article but, in the interests of clarity and readability will not be including in-line footnotes and references, except in cases where extensive verbatim citations are used. If anyone requires detail on the source for any particular statement or assertion please feel free to ask.
So let’s get going, and where better to start than at the beginning, with the …
The Race Relations Act of 1965
British common law has long included various statutes intended to create and maintain public order including the Tumultuous Petitioning Act of 1661 and the Seditious Meeting Act of 1817. There were also a variety of other laws dealing with ‘breaches of the peace’ and ‘public mischief’. It was for the latter offence that Arnold Leese was prosecuted and jailed for six months in 1936. He was found guilty of publishing material on Jewish ritual murder which was said to be have rendered ‘His Majesty’s subjects of Jewish faith liable to suspicion, affront and boycott’. Leese, it may be recalled, was the leader of the International Fascist League who had in the early ‘30s derided Oswald Mosley and his BUF as ‘kosher fascists’ because of what he viewed as their luke-warm embrace of anti-Semitism. A further case in 1947 saw the proprietor of a local newspaper in Morecambe, Lancashire, prosecuted for seditious libel under an act dating back to 1888. This concerned the publication of ‘anti-Semitic’ comments following the murder of two British Army sergeants by Zionist terrorists in Palestine. The speedy acquittal of newspaper owner James Caunt - the jury took just 13 minutes on its deliberations which perhaps indicates the widespread extent of anti-Jewish sentiment at the time - gave rise to energetic lobbying from Jewish organisations for stronger laws.
Public Order Act of 1936
Although we’re going to be focusing on legislation intended specifically to criminalise racial discrimination, it’s worth noting that existing legislation had been used to perform this function even prior to the 1965 Race Relations Act. A prominent example is the case of John Tyndall and Colin Jordan who were sentenced to short prison terms in July 1962 on being found responsible for disturbances that broke out between NSM members and other elements (including Jews) in Trafalgar Square. Tyndall and Jordan were prosecuted and convicted under s5 of the Public Order Act 1936 (POA36). This Act had been enacted principally to deal with the disturbances which attended the emergence of the BUF in the mid 1930s. Its main provisions were intended to ban paramilitary dress and to bring large marches, meetings and other such gatherings under stricter police control. Section 5 however was an innovation in that it criminalised the use of ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour which is intended, or likely to occasion, a breach of the peace’. The conviction was overturned on appeal amid widespread concern that unreasonable constraints had been placed on freedom of speech since the prosecution rested on fact that someone who objected to a speaker’s ideas had reacted violently, thereby giving rise to breach of the peace. The convictions were reinstated however on higher appeal, with the presiding judge observing that a speaker cannot assume that his audience will consist of reasonable people only, and that he must ‘take his audience as he finds it’.
S5 of the POA36 live on today, albeit it in much-modified form, as the basis for the offence of ‘incitement to racial hatred’ which forms a part of all subsequent anti-racism legislation.
Post-war ‘anti-racism’ initiatives
During the 1950s and early 60s a number of Private Member bills were submitted to Parliament calling for the introduction of laws to outlaw racial discrimination. The first such bill was introduced by Labour MP Reginald Sorensen in 1950 and sought to outlaw what was quaintly termed the ‘Colour Bar’. It failed to get a second reading as did the nine similar bills introduced by fellow Labour backbencher Fenner Brockway between 1956 and 1964. With a laissez faire Conservative government anxious to sweep any substantive discussion of race and immigration under the carpet, and which had comfortable enough majorities to allow them to do so, it is little wonder that anti-discrimination legislation failed to attract any significant political attention during the period. Needless to say, there was no discernible electoral support for such legislation, the prevailing understanding being that British law was colour-blind and should remain so.
The background to the 1965 Bill
Various commentators attribute the change in the political environment that eventually culminated in the Race Relations Bill to the convergence of several factors:
The Notting Hill riots in the summer of 1958 alarmed both public opinion and the political class. This led the Labour Party in particular to begin to cast the need for outlawing racial discrimination in a public order context.
The British Nationality Act of 1948 (BNA48) confirmed the principle that every citizen of Empire was also a citizen of the mother country, a principle that was held not just by Labour but also by many in the patrician and liberal wings of the Conservatives. As the Conservatives edged more and more towards a policy of restricting Commonwealth immigration in the early 1960s the Labour leadership as well as its rank-and file became enraged over what they viewed as a violation of the BNA48, and one which discriminated on racial grounds.
The Commonwealth Immigration Act became law in 1962 (CIA62) and was regarded by many on the left as a violation of their liberal conscience. Chastened by the 1958 riots, leadership on both sides wanted to preserve social peace and avoid US-style racial tension. The first tentative signs emerged of a desire to remove race from political sphere, which meant the need for an accord between Labour and the Tories – more on that later.
During the early sixties a number of pressure groups started to agitate for legislation to outlaw racial discrimination as a counterpiece to the restrictionist CIA62. According to Erik Bleich ‘Most of the low-level pressure for anti-incitement provisions came from the Jewish population’. He cites Kushnick that following the Jordan conviction in 1962 for ‘anti-Semitic’ speech (he claimed that ‘Hitler was right’), 430,000 had signed a petition in favour of anti-incitement legislation. What Bleich does not mention is that this petition was jointly organised by the communist-dominated National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and the Yellow Star Movement.
One of the important points that emerges from the literature is that the Jewish involvement in the clamour for the outlawing of racial discrimination did not arise wholly or even principally out of concern for the rights of coloured immigrants. Instead it arose out of concerns about a perceived rise in anti-semitism. From around 1959 on an epidemic of anti-semitic behaviour spread across western European, involving defacement of Jewish gravestones, attacks on synagogues, swastika daubing and so on. Jordan’s pronouncements that ‘Hitler was right’ was just the cherry on the top. It’s pretty clear that these events, which started initially in Germany, were probably an agit-prop campaign stage-managed by Communist factions in eastern Europe and intended to place the ‘neo-fascist’ regimes in the West in a bad light. Whatever the root cause, there is little question that it was this wave of anti-semitic activity, rather than universalist sentiment for their dusky brethren, that was the driving factor in Jewish agitation for anti-discriminatory legislation.
One activist pressure group which soon achieved national prominence was the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (CARD) formed in 1964 by Anthony Lester QC and David Pitt, a black member of the London County Council. Lester, who will feature quite prominently throughout this entire discussion, had spent some time in the US and made a close study of the civil rights movement and the associated legislation that was making its way through Congress at the time. He described himself as being ‘inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King’ and said that CARD was set up as a British civil rights organisation.
Not least, of course, was the fact that by the early sixties the coloured population had passed the one million mark and racial tensions were becoming harder to ignore in many major cities. This burst to the fore during the 1964 election when several Conservative candidates in constituencies that had experienced a significant migrant influx refused to toe the party line and campaigned on an anti-immigration platform. The most spectacular instance being the defeat of Labour minister Patrick Gordon-Walker by Peter Griffiths at Smethwick. Griffiths is said to have sympathised with the slogan “If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.” His victory sent shock waves through the Labour Party and the political elites since it made race and colour major factors for the first time in a British election.
Among the lessons that Labour drew from the Smethwick episode were that British tolerance was not universal and that racial discrimination was a ‘lurking monster’ which could only controlled through legislation. The benefit of eliminating race as a political issue was clear but they deeply feared the electoral consequences of being seen as pro-immigrant. The only way to settle the race issue without committing electoral suicide, and to defuse the ticking bomb, was to pursue a bipartisan Parliamentary consensus. The Tory patrician and liberal wings which formed the majority of the parliamentary party as well as, crucially, the Tory front bench, proved gratifyingly receptive to Labour overtures.
The Labour Party election manifesto in 1964 included the following simple pledge: “… a Labour Government will legislate against racial discrimination and incitement in public places and give special help to local authorities in areas where immigrants have settled.” In June Labour was returned to power after an absence of thirteen years with a slim majority of four. Various commentators suggest that Labour’s majority was lower than anticipated due to the unofficial anti-immigration stance taken by renegade Tories in a number of constituencies.
The Race Relations Bill in Parliament
A consortium of representatives from the Labour NEC and the Group of Labour Lawyers, which included future Home Secretary Frank Soskice, wrote the Bill in mid-1964. It was announced in the Queen’s Speech on the reopening of parliament in October and received its first reading in the Commons in March 1965. The decision to include anti-incitement provisions in the bill was taken at cabinet meeting 22.2.65, and Soskice was able to convince his cabinet colleagues that the exist common law provisions, as well as the POA36, were ineffective against written incitement (cif. the Caunt case).
The Bill therefore contained provisions to deal with both access racism (discrimination on access to goods and services) and expressive racism (an intention to stir up racial hatred). The legal meaning of the term ‘hatred’ was deliberately left undefined in order that courts would have the widest possible latitude in their inpretation. Section 6 read as follows:
It will be an offence to publish or distribute written matter, or speak at a public meeting or in public words which are ‘threatening, abusive, or insulting’, with the intent to stir up hatred against any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, ethnic, or national origin.
On its introduction two aspects of the Bill were particularly criticised. There was no provision for sanctions against discrimination in housing, employment or religious matters – the legislation was to cover ‘places of public resort’ (pubs, cafes, cinemas etc) only – and such any access racism was to be a criminal offence.
Opposition was particularly hostile on the second point, and given the very slim Labour majority there was a strong possibility that the Bill might even fail to get a second reading. As it happened, all nine Liberal MPs voted with the Government and the Bill passed its second reading by 258 votes to 249. Rather than oppose the Bill directly the Tory leadership acted ‘pragmatically’. Understanding that open opposition would bring the dreaded charge of racism they tabled a ‘Reasoned Amendment’ (in effect an alternative Bill) which would remove the criminal aspects of access discrimination and replace them by a conciliation process and, in the last resort, an injunctive process in the civil courts. Paradoxically they also criticised the Bill because it didn’t go far enough and should have also outlawed other forms of access discrimination such as in housing and employment. The Conservative amendment was defeated by 261 votes to 249.
There was still a danger however that the Bill would stall in committee and to circumvent this, Soskice modified the provisions against access racism to change it from a criminal offence to civil one, and proposed the introduction of conciliation machinery in the form of a Race Relations Board (RRB). The RRB was an early forerunner of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the immediate predecessor of the present-day EHRC.
Much of the debate in both Houses was concerned with issues of incitement and freedom of speech (but not, noticeably, of freedom of association). Concerns were voiced that words would now be punishable not for their effect on behaviour (as would be the case in speech that caused a breach of the peace under eg the POA36) but rather their effect on people’s feelings and thoughts. Pointed questions were asked about the necessity for incitement provisions, and why wasn’t the existing legislation adequate? After all, the nine (white) teenagers found guilty of aggravated assault during the 1958 riots had received ‘exemplary’ sentences of four years, and Jordan had received a two month sentence under s5 of the POA36 in 1962. So the existing laws appeared adequate to deal with incitement to racial violence as well to deal with actual acts of violence, whether racially motivated or otherwise. What was Soskice’s response to that?
Essentially it rested upon the argument that incitement to racial violence was one thing, and was already provided for, but stirring up to racial hatred was not. A further limitation, per Soskice and his allies, was that the existing legislation criminalised speech and behaviour only, but not writing. In taking that position they seem to have overlooked Leese’s conviction in 1936 for anti-Semitic writings. It was clear then that the proponents of the incitement to racial hatred provisions were determined to cast the offence in specifically racial terms and, in contrast to the earlier legislation, to extend the offence beyond injury to a specific individual to include defamation of an entire racial group. Group rights had arrived and would soon come to trump those of individuals.
The RRA65 Bill was eventually enacted in November, and was in every respect a compromise. Access discrimination was to be a civil offence with cases handled through a conciliation process (the RRB) but with no legal penalties; incitement to racial hatred was to be a criminal offence punishable by up to 2 years in jail and/or a £1000 fine. Mark Bonham Carter, the first chairman of the RRB stated ‘It was in response to this combination of pressures, some political, others historical and others prompted by guilt that the RRA65 emerged.’ Its first high-profile casualty was again Colin Jordan who received an 18-month sentence in February 1967 under s6 of the Act for the distribution of literature intended to stir up racial hatred. I believe he still holds the record together with Nick Griffin for the most prosecutions under the Public Order Acts.
The bipartisan consensus on race and immigration
One of the most striking features of this period is the emergence of the bipartisan effort to remove race and immigration from party politics. Randall Hansen argues that the consensus was not something that happened as a result of any one or even a particular series of events, but rather an understanding that grew on both sides that both issues were highly radioactive. He credits Frank Soskice with the first practical outcome of the growing consensus, his ‘package deal’ in which Labour would refrain from further opposition to restrictionist legislation (specifically the CIA62, which was still subject to annual renewal) if the Conservatives would acquiesce in the enactment of legislation outlawing racial discrimination and incitement. Hansen states:
… On 23 March  when [shadow Home Secretary Peter] Thorneycroft initiated a parliamentary debate on immigration, the [Labour] government struck a conciliatory note that appeared to be reciprocated by the Opposition. [Conservative MP] Nigel Fisher stated that ‘I am myself a believer in a bipartisan approach to the problem. I think that as far as possible it should be taken out of party politics.’ Labour agreed, and Soskice concluded with a ringing endorsement of bipartisanship:
”[T]here has been disclosed in the course of this debate a very great degree of unanimity on the broad aspects of the problem with which we are faced. … [First] the Government accept that there must be – simply because of the scale of the possible immigration – effective control of numbers. … [Second,] our aim should be to see that there is only one class of citizen, each with equal rights, each with equal respect, each with equal opportunity and each with an equal career of happiness and fulfillment in his life in the community. We all agree that we should aim at that.” 141
The most remarkable aspect of this bipartisan effort to remove race (and immigration) from party politics has been its persistence until the present day. Apart from some minor sabre-rattling during the 1970 election campaign, when Edward Heath was manoeuvered into a more restrictionist posture by Enoch Powell, and a short period following Margaret Thatcher’s accession to the Tory leadership (the infamous remarks on ‘swamping’), neither race nor immigration has since featured prominently in the political platform of any mainstream party. Even more important, the passage through Parliament of all legislation dealing with race relations, including the current Equalities Bill, has been totally serene. The few renegade Tory backbenchers who have stood up in the Commons (or the Lords) to criticise either the content of successive Race Relations Bills or to question whether the legislation is even necessary, were howled down, and most vociferously by their own front bench.
As Hansen notes:
“… The 1965 Race Relations Act … provided the institutional basis for official measures against racism and in favour of integration. … The 1965 Act was followed by substantial extensions in 1968 and 1976; both became part of the bipartisan framework. Although, as evidence of the strange bedfellows encouraged by politics, the far left and the far right continue to attack the laws as ineffective, they enjoy broad support, and even a measure of official pride, in contemporary.” 129
Hansen’s claim for ‘broad support’ comes without any further substantiation, but let’s pass over that and move on to consider next the second phase of the anti-discrimination project.
Related and ancillary legislation
First though a slight digression to mention another important piece of race-related legislation that followed quickly on the heels of the RRA65. This was the Local Government Act of 1966 (LGA66). Section 11 of the Act provided for financial grants to be paid from central governments to local authorities where existed “…substantial numbers of immigrants from the Commonwealth whose language or customs differ from those of the community ,…”. This could be viewed as a cynical ploy to conceal the real costs of immigration which would otherwise have shown up on the property tax bills of the residents of those municipalities where immigrants clustered and would no doubt have attracted media attention. Section 11 grants continue today in the form of the so-called Ethnic Minority Achievement Grants which fulfil the same function of subsidising immigration by stealth. The major difference between 1966 and the present is the amount of money involved - £3.5 million then versus the £207 million budgeted for 2010.
The role of Enoch Powell
During the preamble I promised to acknowledge the brave parliamentarians who stood up to the totalitarian effort to dismantle our ancient freedoms but there are, in truth, depressingly few of them. Hansen states that during the 1950s and 1960s there were ‘no more than ten backbench MPs who took a consistent stand against black immigration’, and by extension campaigned against legislation to make the colonists feel more comfortable and welcome. Reviewing the pages of Hansard, only a a few names stand out, such as the Conservative MPs Cyril Osborne, Roland Bell, Peter Griffiths and Anthony Hunt, who all took a principled stand. No doubt many more would have wanted to comply with the wishes of their grass-roots support in the constituencies and to have followed suit. As would no doubt not a few Labour MPs who represented constituencies in the industrial heartlands which were already bearing the brunt of the ‘enriching’ diversity. But all too many were weak-willed careerists, easily cowed into submission by the party whips and, wary of the threat of deselection the next time around, stayed silent and voted against their conscience.
One conspicuous absentee from the debates was Enoch Powell, even though he is known to have been strongly opposed to the Bill and indeed any form of race-based legislation. He did not speak a single word on the matter in the chamber, an anomaly perhaps explained by the constraints imposed because of his position as Transport spokesman in the shadow cabinet. The role of opposition spokesman for home affairs was taken by Peter Thorneycroft. No doubt parliamentary protocol prevented Powell, as a shadow minister, from trespassing on the portfolio of a ministerial colleague. Such collegial niceties would become superfluous a few years hence when Powell would no longer feel himself to be under any such constraints. But more about that later.
Next, the Race Relations Act of 1968 …
The Race Relations Act of 1968
Hardly had the ink dried on the 1965 Act before agitators sprang up calling for more and ‘stronger’ legislation. By late 1965 however Labour’s already slim majority had shrunk to two seats. With a keen understanding that the electorate was in no mood for any more restrictive legislation that seemed to favour immigrants, the government had to turn a deaf ear to the clamour from pressure groups such as CARD and other race industry professionals.
All this was going on against a backdrop of continuing public antipathy towards coloured immigration. Erik Bleich provides polling data showing that between 1963 and 1970 never less than 80% of those polled considered that too many immigrants had been admitted. It seems amazing today considering its negative attitude to the concept of ‘British Jobs for British workers’ but in the mid-sixties the TUC showed itself to be particularly hostile to any new race relations legislation that touched on discrimination in employment. This was felt to threaten its traditional prerogatives in the matters of collective bargaining and the much-cherished closed-shop.
So, the political climate was simply not conducive to the introduction of new legislation in the race relations field, and Labour made no mention of such in its manifesto for the general election which was held in March 1966. Labour went on to win that election with a much improved majority, with Harold Wilson installed as Prime Minister, Edward Heath having followed Sir Alec Douglas-Home as leader of the Conservative Party in July of the previous year.
Perceived issues with the RRA65
Anthony Lester has described the 1965 Act as ‘fatally flawed’. Proponents for further legislation pointed to the very few prosecutions that had been launched by the Attorney-General under the ant-incitement provisions during the first few years. Only four such cases were initiated by the time that the new Bill was under consideration by Parliament in 1968. Alarmingly, the Act had even seemed to backfire. Its first high-profile victim, even before Colin Jordan, was the West Indian-born black revolutionary and ‘civil rights activist’ Michael de Freitas (Michael X) who was jailed for twelve months in 1967 for incitement to racial hatred. In November 1967 four members of the United Coloured People’s Association were prosecuted for inciting hatred against whites during speeches at Hyde Park Corner. Although found guilty they escaped with a fine. Even more embarrassingly, in March 1968 four members of the National Front, including the publisher Alan Hancock (father of Anthony – the publisher, not the comedian) were acquitted of the same offence at a trial in Lewes, Sussex. This wasn’t how things were meant to work out!
To compound this spectacular fiasco, there was not much to celebrate in the way of positive outcomes on the access discrimination front either. This was taken as proof positive that the 1965 Act was far too limited in its scope. Recriminations flew that no provisions had been included to outlaw discrimination in housing or employment, merely in ‘places of public resort’. Furthermore, the Act was said to be unduly focused on conciliation and not court action, as evidenced by the very low number of cases referred to the Attorney General by 1968.
Writing in 1972, Lester and Bindman noted that one of the unanticipated side-effects of the criminal provisions against incitement in the 1965 Act had been to induce the creators of ‘racist propaganda’ to adopt a more sophisticated and less strident approach. This had the unwanted effect of making such material more appealing to a wider audience, as well making it far more difficult to prosecute. The case of R vs Hancock (the Lewes case) is cited as being particularly worrying because, although the publications in question espoused the racial superiority of whites and called for the repatriation of blacks and Asians, the court did not consider them to amount to incitement. Since they were not written in a ‘threatening, abusive or insulting’ manner as required under the Act, they failed to meet the test and hence the acquittal. In the view of Lester and Bindman, this perverted the intention of the legislation:
… Public attention is diverted from considering whether racialist propaganda is morally wrong or factually inaccurate to whether it is illegal. In such a climate, the demagogue’s cowardly attack upon a defenceless minority can all-too-readily be interpreted as courageous conduct, carrying a real risk of prosecution and imprisonment, while members of the minority are regarded not as victims but as a privileged group, immune to criticism. 372
Clearly ‘something had to be done’, and quickly.
The orchestrated campaign to agitate for stronger legislation
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and that man did appear in the form of Roy Jenkins who assumed the role of Home Secretary from Sir Frank Soskice in December 1965. To fully catalogue Jenkins’ contribution in creating what has become known as the permissive society is beyond the scope of this narrative, suffice to say it was enormous, not to say unequalled. Jenkins’ arrival at the Home Office provided the essential impetus for the onward development of race relations legislation. He may also be credited with the first official public disclosure that the creation of a multicultural society was to become an objective of state policy. In a speech in May 1966, directly following the recent election, he stated:
“Integration is perhaps rather a loose word. I do not regard it as meaning the loss, by immigrants, of their own national characteristics and culture. I do not think that we need in this country a ‘melting-pot’, which would turn everybody out in a common mould, as one of a series of carbon copies of someone’s misplaced vision of the stereotyped Englishman,
“It would be bad enough if that were to occur to the relatively few in this country who happen to have pure Anglo-Saxon blood in their veins. If it were to happen to the rest of us, to the Welsh (like myself) , to the Scots, to the Irish, to the Jews, to the mid-European, and to still more recent arrivals, it would be little short of a national disaster. It would deprive us of most of the positive advantages of immigration, which … I believe to be very great indeed.
“I define integration, therefore, not as a flattening process of assimilation but as equal opportunity, accompanied by cultural diversity, in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance. That is the goal.”
Many will be familiar with this speech, in general if not in its particulars. However few will be aware of the creative spirit behind it, which turns out to have been none other than the by now ubiquitous Anthony Lester. In his Jim Rose Memorial Lecture to the Runnymede Trust in 2003 (Lester and Rose co-founded the Runnymede Trust in 1968), he notes
”… I helped in preparing Roy Jenkins’ public statement of his attitude towards racial discrimination and the problems of integration … Jenkins, I and many others worked behind the scenes to build support for effective and comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.”
So by mid-1966 the key members of the team were in place, with Jenkins at the Home Office and part of a new Labour government with a very comfortable majority, Lester chairing the legal committee at CARD, and another key in place in the form of Geoffrey Bindman who was then legal adviser to the RRB.
A key issue, however, was the almost total lack of any evidence that a serious problem actually existed with racial discrimination in Britain. And so pressure groups like CARD took it upon themselves to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the legislation, and especially the RRB as currently constituted, and to link these glaring defects to the need for yet more legislation. In May 1966 CARD initiated a campaign of stimulating complaints to the RRB for propaganda purposes. Its ‘Complaints and Testing Committee’ was formed to manufacture complaints which would deliberately fall outside the present scope of the legislation and in which the RRB was powerless to intervene. During the summer of 1966 fifty-one such complaints were submitted to the Board by CARD. There seems little doubt that behind-the-scenes collaboration between Lester and Bindman played a key role in the success of this campaign.
A next crucial development was a study conducted by the Political and Economic Planning (PEP) think-tank in the spring of 1967, sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree (of KitKat fame) charitable trust. The report “PEP Survey on Racial Discrimination” surveyed areas of potential discrimination that were not covered by the 1965 Act, specifically: employment, housing (including purchase, private and public rental), credit facilities, insurance and other personal services such as car rental. The principal methodology used in the survey was also much favoured in the US, that of ‘situational testing’. Three person teams consisting of a coloured immigrant, a white alien and a white English person would be sent to apply independently for jobs, housing etc. Predictably, evidence of widespread discrimination was soon uncovered and the PEP report formed an essential element in the campaign for more legislation. As an aside, the PEP continues in operation today as the Policy Studies Institute, and continues to receive major funding from the Rowntree Trust for research into ‘socially relevant’ topics.
The completely unsurprising conclusion of the P.E.P. report was that, despite the RRA65, racial discrimination was still ‘rampant’ in Britain. According to Erik Bleich:
Publication of the report had the desired [emphasis added] effect for advocates of the new law. Even the Conservative opposition’s shadow Home Secretary was impressed by the evidence. During the Second Reading debate in April 1968, Quintin Hogg expressly mentioned the PEP report’s evidence as a factor which encouraged him to rethink his initial reluctance for fresh legislation. 
The perception was reinforced by the report of the Street Committee, which had been commissioned to investigate race relations legislation in other countries, particularly the US and Canada. It was also to advise the government on the need to extend the RRA65. Geoffrey Bindman was appointed as one of the three committee members, and work of the committee was underwritten by the Sieff Family trust (Marks and Spencer). It is almost superfluous to note that in its report, published in October 1967, the committee included strong recommendations to the government on the need for more effective and more comprehensive legislation, and in particular on the need for more robust enforcement mechanisms.
Passage of the Bill through Parliament
The Second Reading debate of the 1968 Bill took place in the House of Commons on April 23, 1968 in a highly-charged atmosphere. Enoch Powell, who was present but did not speak, had delivered his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in Birmingham three days earlier. Sentiments were running high amongst Labour backbenchers (and a number of Tories too) over what was viewed as the Labour government’s betrayal of Asian holders of British passports who were being targeted for expulsion by the government of newly-independent Kenya. The Commonwealth Immigration Act (CIA68), which effectively removed the right of abode in the UK from the Asians, had been rushed through Parliament in less than a week. Not least amongst those influences that contributed to the unusually fervid atmosphere were recent events in the US, where dozens of cities had experienced serious race riots in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Not surprisingly then, much of the debate centred around public order issues, this comment from junior minister David Ennals being typical:
“Those who suggest we should delay before bringing in our legislation are playing with fire and danger. … I say with absolute conviction that we may have a flashpoint in this country if we do not extend the field of the legislation.”
It’s all the more surprising that this apocalyptic note should be sounded, since the public order provisions in the Bill (that is, the sanctions against expressive racism aka stirring up racial hatred) were essentially unchanged from those in the 1965 Act. Perhaps the thinking was that unless coloured immigrants were guaranteed equal employment opportunities or non-discriminatory auto insurance rates there would be Watts-scale race riots in Britain’s inner cities. The liberal mind can sometimes be difficult to fathom.
Although, actually, the extremely mundane matter of insurance became one of the most contentious aspects of the bill, and the only one on which the Conservative leadership took an obdurate stance. The PEP report had uncovered evidence that indicated that discrimination was particularly rife in the vital field of motor insurance:
…” Within the fields covered, other than employment and housing, it was discrimination in motor insurance which was having the greatest impact on coloured immigrants. Fifty-eight per cent of those immigrants who had tried to obtain motor insurance claimed personal experience of discrimination. In seventeen out of twenty tests with insurance companies the coloured immigrant experienced discrimination (either being refused insurance altogether or quoted a higher premium) compared with the matched white alien and English testers. This discrimination in car insurance was also reflected by differential terms in car hire. “
Now actuarial science is one of the most exacting numerate disciplines known to man. Vast fortunes rely upon its integrity. Nobody doubts for a moment that a teenage male motorist represents a significantly greater underwriting risk than a 50-year old schoolmistress, or that is entirely appropriate that premiums should be adjusted accordingly. Heavy smokers, or drinkers, or the obese are subject to significantly higher life insurance rates than those with more responsible lifestyles. But, it seems that finding that a recent arrival from the Caribbean or from Kashmir, who may be more used to encountering the occasional donkey cart on their travels than urban motor traffic on the scale encountered in the West, might represent a more significant risk than a local motorist is discriminatory, while demanding higher premiums from a teenage male motorist is not.
For a little light relief, consider the following contribution to the insurance debate from a Jewish MP who unwittingly confirmed the widespread belief that “Jewish Lightning” was as prevalent in post-war England as it had been in Weimar Germany in the 20s and 30s.
§ Mr. Maurice Orbach (Stockport, South)
One of the issues that the right hon. and learned Gentleman took up was that of insurance. He said that this was an area in which we ought to let the insurance actuaries operate. I want to speak of my experience in dealing with the question of prejudice in the insurance market. For 28 years I have been the general secretary of an organisation called the Trades Advisory Council. This is the only body which has been dealing with the question of economic discrimination. It has denied discrimination against the Jewish community wherever it has found it.
Very early in the history of this body I discovered that the Jews in our business community were being discriminated against by almost every insurance company. I made the sort of approach that I believe the new body that has been set up will make in respect of coloured people or people of other ethnic origins. I approached the insurance companies, and from them was referred to the actuaries who had declared that Jewish businessmen in the rag, gown, furniture and food trades were serious risks. From the insurance companies I went to the Institute of Actuaries, which told me that it was definitely correct, statistically, that Jewish traders were poor risks.
It seems axiomatic, one would have thought, that the very essence of insurance as a business is that it is discriminatory per se. How could it function otherwise?
As for any opposition to the Bill mounted by the Conservative front bench that proved to be, as in 1965, merely symbolic. This time around the opposition spokesman was Quintin Hogg (the future Lord Hailsham) who, aside from some ritualistic shadow-boxing on peripheral matters such as insurance, simply waved the Bill through on behalf of the Conservatives. As a sop to their grass-roots support the 1965 gambit of symbolic opposition to the Bill through the tabling of a Reasoned Amendment was reprised, but with Labour’s overall majority now approaching 100 this was soundly trounced, to the great relief no doubt of the Tory leadership. In the end the now institutionalised bipartisan approach prevailed, the Tories withdraw the whips and allowed a free vote. On third reading the Bill was passed to the Lords on a vote of 182 to 44, those two-thirds of members who couldn’t be bothered to vote obviously recognising a done deal when they saw one. The 44 ‘nays’ were all Conservatives who ignored the official opposition instructions to abstain.
The RRA68 in summary
After its untroubled passage through Parliament the Bill was finally enacted in November 1968. Its provisions were unremarkable, being practically identical to those contained in the original Bill presented to Parliament in April. Such change as had been effected was restricted to slight changes to the law as it related to the sale of individual private real estate. The Act as finally passed did entreat the RRB to take a softly softly approach to those unenlightened and recalcitrant vendors who balked at turning their property over to dusky incomers, but that was about it.
The provisions against incitement to racial hatred remained exactly as before. The innovations in the 1968 Acts were confined to the extension of the sanctions against access discrimination as well as endowing the RRB with greatly expanded powers of enforcement. Amongst the most significant new provisions of the Act were:
Discrimination in housing, employment and the provision of goods and services generally was made illegal.
The RRB was empowered to investigate enterprises even if no actual complaint of racial discrimination had been made (although this was later restricted by the courts)
The RRB, and not just aggrieved individuals, could initiate legal proceedings and demand financial compensation for behaviour that contravened the Act.
The Crown, in its capacity as an employer and as a provider of goods and services, was for the first time subject to the provisions of the Act. The deletion of the exemption for the Crown was proposed by Labour MP and ‘radical socialist’ Alexander Lyon (husband of Clare Short) and enthusiastically supported by opposition spokesman Quintin Hogg, who declared that it was unfair to treat private employers more strictly than public employers: “Why should the ordinary subject be liable to an action for damages, as the Home Secretary has decided that he should be, but the Home Secretary get off scot free?”.
As would be the case in every subsequent revision of the race relations legislation, the 1968 Act was entirely additive rather than substitutive. Whereas the 1965 Act had run to five pages and 8 sections, its 1968 successor entailed 29 sections plus five accompanying Schedules for a total of 40 pages in printed form. Most of the additional verbiage was devoted to describing the new sanctions against access discrimination and, even more so, the new powers of enforcement that were entrusted to the RRB.
As we have seen Powell made no contribution to the debate in the House, confining his interventions to the single speech in Birmingham. This seems entirely consistent with his reputation as a staunch and traditional parliamentarian and a loyal member of the shadow cabinet. It would have been unthinkable for him to have intervened in the debate against his own front bench colleagues. In fact he supported the official stance and had no real philosophical disagreement with the concept of equal treatment for all citizens, of whatever race, as his spirited attack on the Bill in his Birmingham speech makes clear.
… As Mr. Heath has put it we will have no “first-class citizens” and “second-class citizens.” This does not mean that the immigrant and his descendent should be elevated into a privileged or special class or that the citizen should be denied his right to discriminate in the management of his own affairs between one fellow-citizen and another or that he should be subjected to imposition as to his reasons and motive for behaving in one lawful manner rather than another.
There could be no grosser misconception of the realities than is entertained by those who vociferously demand legislation as they call it “against discrimination”, whether they be leader-writers of the same kidney and sometimes on the same newspapers which year after year in the 1930s tried to blind this country to the rising peril which confronted it, or archbishops who live in palaces, faring delicately with the bedclothes pulled right up over their heads. They have got it exactly and diametrically wrong.
The discrimination and the deprivation, the sense of alarm and of resentment, lies not with the immigrant population but with those among whom they have come and are still coming.
This is why to enact legislation of the kind before parliament at this moment is to risk throwing a match on to gunpowder. The kindest thing that can be said about those who propose and support it is that they know not what they do. …
Now we are seeing the growth of positive forces acting against integration, of vested interests in the preservation and sharpening of racial and religious differences, with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population. … For these dangerous and divisive elements the legislation proposed in the Race Relations Bill is the very pabulum they need to flourish. Here is the means of showing that the immigrant communities can organise to consolidate their members, to agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens, and to overawe and dominate the rest with the legal weapons which the ignorant and the ill-informed have provided. As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”
It would be remiss to close this section without acknowledging the Conservative ‘antis’ who, alone amongst the 50 or so speakers, stood up to denounce not just the content of the Bill but also the principle behind it. In doing so they defied not just the government but also their own party leadership. In addition to Roland Bell, who I have quoted elsewhere in this thread, we must also add the names of Harold Gurden and William Deedes to the Roll of Honour.
Next: The Race Relations Act of 1976
Last edited by Alex Linder; November 12th, 2009 at 11:19 AM.
|November 12th, 2009||#14|
The Race Relations Act of 1976
The period between 1970, when the Conservatives won the general election on a mildly restrictionist platform, and 1974, was marked by great economic and political turmoil. In the aftermath of the Yom Kippur war the boycott by the Arab oil-producers inflicted significant damage on Western economies, in Britain it led to the three-day week and widespread industrial chaos. The Conservatives wanted to take a strong line with the militant unions and called for an election in February 1974. This resulted in a hung parliament with neither party able to claim an overall majority (Labour had gained 4 more seats than the Conservatives, but two less than the other parties combined). Heath resigned and Harold Wilson formed a Labour government.
In October that same year a second election was held, in which Labour increased its overall majority to 29. In neither was the matter of race an issue, and Labour’s manifestos contained no indication that any change was contemplated to the existing legislation. Although there was no public call for additional, migrant-friendly laws that proved to be no deterrent to progressives in pressing their case. In fact, they were to be much encouraged and emboldened further when Roy Jenkins resumed the position of Home Secretary in March 1974.
Political and other developments since 1968
As further evidence of the importance placed upon the bipartisan consensus, in 1968 the Labour government announced the formation of a cross-party Select Committee on Race and Immigration. This committee - which later became the Home Affairs Committee still extant today under the chairmanship of scandal-prone Indo-Yemeni Keith Vaz MP - was to become the principal political instrument through which future policy on race and immigration would be formulated.
The LGA66 and the so-called Section 11 grants to local authorities where large numbers of coloured migrants had taken up residence have already been discussed. By 1968 it was already obvious that much more public money would have to be invested in such areas if racial tension was to be avoided. One drawback of the s. 11 grants was that the government had agreed under Tory pressure to limit the uses to which such grants could be put. In particular, they could not be used for capital projects such as schools, hospitals and public housing. To circumvent this restriction the Local Government (Social Needs) Act 1969 was introduced. Ostensibly, these grants were not specifically or only intended for areas where immigrants clustered, but rather for areas of general social deprivation. Although the fact that grants were to be specifically targeted at areas where increasing population and overcrowding made necessary the construction of new schools made it clear to even the casual observer what the real intention was. One of the conditions under which the grants were made available was that more than a certain proportion of the population (6%) should be recent migrants. Of the 34 towns and cities that made successful bids for grants all but three qualified on that criterion. The LGA69, just like the LGA66, was in effect simply another channel through which central government could subsidise immigrants by stealth, without aggravating local ratepayers or alerting the media.
The Rise of the National Front
By the mid-70s the NF was actively campaigning on a national level and conducting well-attended rallies and marches, all of which served to raise its profile amongst the public while arousing the ire of ‘anti-fascist’ elements. The NF was judged to be sufficiently troublesome that Lord Scarman, in his 1975 report on the Red Lion Square disturbances, was moved to call for the removal of some of the restrictions that hampered prosecutions under the RRA65 (recall that the incitement provisions of the 1965 Act had been carried over intact by the 1968 Act).
Scarman’s recommendations were enthusiastically endorsed by the Board of Deputies, amongst others. According to the Jewish Chronicle of 17.1.76:
‘Section 6 of the Race Relations Act, 1965, dealing with incitement to racial hatred, may be amended and strengthened following representations made to the Attorney-General, Mr. Sam Silkin, QC, by the Board of Deputies. ‘In the view of the board’s Jewish Defence and Group Relations Committee, the weakness of the Section is its present requirement that “intent” to stir up racial hatred must be proven for any prosecution to succeed.can be established… If the Race Relations Act is to be relevant to the current situation, it must be given the teeth which it now patently lacks.’
The Jewish Board of Deputies also sent a memorandum on the subject to the Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, and to the House of Commons Select Committee on Race Relations, calling for deletion of the intent provision contained in Section 6 of the Race Relations Act. The memorandum stated:
“This provision has been a major stumbling-block in initiating prosecutions and has allowed some of the most vicious types of racist provocations to go unpunished.” It also noted “… the difficult economic situation facing this country and the experience gleaned from recent history that racial hatred can be inflamed in times of economic stress and political uncertainty.”
There seems little question that the rise of the NF as well as the popularity of the equally sinister ‘Powellism’ convinced campaigners of the need to redouble their efforts.
The ongoing campaign of agitation for more legislation
By 1970 a large and growing race relations lobby had arisen with two principal aims. First, to win over public opinion to the view that racism was an endemic problem in British society, and second, to press for increasingly severe action to root it out.
With respect to the former, the Political and Economic Planning think-tank was again to play a major role. Beginning in 1972, PEP undertook a number of major studies into ‘racial disadvantage’ in fields such as employment, education and housing. Shocking reports were published with statistics showing that, depending on the area and the type of work, up to 50% of coloured applicants experienced discrimination. In 1975 the Commons Select Committee published a report which was extremely critical of the record of successive governments in eliminating discrimination and disadvantage. The common refrain was that the legislation was too restrictive and the enforcement mechanisms too feeble. There was particular criticism of the dual administrative structure for combating discrimination, in which the RRB was responsible for conciliation and enforcement, and the Community Relations Commission (CRC) for ‘public education’. The clamour grew not only for wholesale changes in the law but also for a single unified body to be responsible for overseeing its implementation as well as the vital task of the production and dissemination of propaganda. Not least amongst the clamourers were the members of the RRB and CRC themselves, who argued consistently that owing to the legal institutional constraints under whiich they laboured their joint efforts simply lacked any credibility with the ethnic minorities, who were thus said to be reluctant to come forward with complaints.
This struck quite close to home with Jenkins and his allies within the government since, for the first time in a national election, Labour had overtly courted the ethnic vote in the 1974 election. There was evidence that this strategy had proved successful in several marginal seats, especially in Inner London and the West Midlands.
The perception had grown that the existing legislation just hadn’t done the job it was designed to do. Discrimination had proved difficult to prosecute, let alone eradicate. The courts were accused of being obstructive and of delivering too many ‘conservative’ court judgments when required to rule on points of law. One case which caused particular dismay amongst anti-discrimination campaigners was the 1974 House of Lords ruling in the case of Preston Dockers’ Club. The Lords had overturned a lower court decision that in declining to admit a black man as a member the Club’s board had acted unlawfully and in contravention of the RRA68. By ruling that the club’s membership committee were not legally required to open the club to the ‘public’ but were permitted to admit new members based upon their own club rules, the decision put all 4,000 workingmen’s clubs beyond the scope of the RRA68. Not just that, great fears also arose that thousands of other private clubs, such as golf clubs, angling clubs and so on would be immune from prosecution if their member were to vote to implement a ‘colour bar’ on new memberships.
Another perceived shortcoming of the legislation was that it failed to provide any sanctions against indirect discrimination, that is, against a racial group as opposed to an individual. A ban on beards (or turbans) in the workplace, for example, could not be prosecuted under the Act even though such a ban would obviously have a disproportionate impact on, say, Sikhs as a group. Indirect discrimination would feature large in the campaign to initiate more extensive legislation.
The creation of the 1976 Bill
In September 1975 Jenkins presented his White Paper on Racial Discrimination to his cabinet colleagues a few days prior to its public announcement. The White Paper presaged the Bill and the Act that was to become law a little over a year later. At over 30 pages and 130 clauses it presents a fascinating summary of liberal attitudes towards race at the time. Before reviewing some of its more remarkable features, it may be interesting to consider how it came about.
In his 2003 Runnymede Trust lecture, Anthony Lester explains it thus [emphasis added]:
… Roy Jenkins, as shadow Home Secretary, invited me to become his Special Adviser, in 1974, developing policy on what became the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race Relations Act 1976. ... Much to the annoyance of Home Office officials, who had been responsible for preparing a narrowly restrictive policy for the Heath administration, on my second day at the Home Office, I circulated [the] Runnymede paper as my preferred approach. It was a good example of Runnymede’s indirect influence … , because much that was contained in that paper eventually found its way into the statute book.
In late 1974 Jenkins and Lester travelled together to the US taking along with them their draft bill for the Sex Discrimination Act which would become law in 1975. At this period there were quite intense cross-Atlantic interactions between the respective branches of the civil rights industry and, in many respects, American practice was deemed by British elites as markedly superior being wrought, as it were, in a racial furnace of a far higher temperature. Jenkins and Lester soon learned that, according the American experts, their draft was deficient in two key areas. First, there were no sanctions against indirect discrimination, and second, there were no plan for the introduction of US-style affirmative action scheme to remedy the lingering effects of past discrimination. These ‘American lessons’ were not lost on Jenkins (or Lester) and on their return the Sexual Discrimination proposals were amended accordingly, as were the still-developing concepts for new racial discrimination legislation which would be the subject of the forthcoming White paper.
As it happened, the indirect discrimination provisions in the Sexual Discrimination Bill were hotly disputed, and the Bill barely survived the committee stage, passing by a single vote. A recurrent issue was the complete lack of any evidence of practices that constituted indirect discrimination against women. Fortunately for the proponents on the race side of the house that was not the case. Evidence such as that provided by the various PEP studies as well as by the race lobby itself would serve to amply demonstrate that racial discrimination was still flourishing in Britain.
The White Paper on Racial Discrimination took on a high moral tone, as described by Lester:
… In the White Paper ‘Racial Discrimination’, we explained the need for a determined effort by Government, by industry and unions, and by ordinary men and women, to ensure fair and equal treatment for all our people, regardless of their race, colour, or national origins. Racial discrimination, and the remediable disadvantages experienced by sections of the community because of their colour or ethnic origins, are not only morally unacceptable but also a form of economic and social waste which we as a society cannot afford.
We referred to emerging evidence suggesting that ‘the problems with which we have to deal if we are to see genuine equality of opportunity for the coloured youngsters born and educated in this country may be larger in scale and more complex than had been initially supposed’. We argued that it was the government’s duty to prevent morally unacceptable and socially divisive inequalities from hardening into entrenched patterns. The White Paper recognised that a ‘fuller strategy to deal with racial disadvantage’ would have to be deployed, and that there was a need for urgent action, including using government contracts as a tool for securing compliance with the law.
The connection between racial discrimination and racial disadvantage was to be relentlessly promoted as the new Bill completed its passage through Parliament. Any hint or suggestion that coloured migrants might share any responsibility for the disadvantages they suffered was to be immediately attacked and condemned as ‘racialist’ or ‘Powellite’. Their general inferiority on every measure of socio-economic status was held to have a single cause – the relentless racism that they encountered from the native population. No dissenting opinion was to be tolerated. This totalitarian approach was to ensure that the forthcoming parliamentary debate would be a most memorable one.
In the preamble to the White Paper, Jenkins paid tribute to the efforts of those who made the major contributions to its formulation; the RRB and CRC, the Runnymede Trust, PEP as well as various ‘organisations within the minority communities’ were singled out for special praise. And in commending the cross-party Commons Select Committee on Race and Immigration he emphasised the continuing importance and relevance of the bipartisan consensus.
… [S]ince 1968 the Select Committee has conducted a number of enquiries and produced a series of detailed reports and recommendations on some of the major aspects of race relations and immigration (education, employment, housing, police/immigrant relations, the problems of coloured school-leavers and the control of Commonwealth immigration). In particular, the most recent report of the Select Committee on the organisation of race relations administration, published on 21 July 1975, has made a number of important and far-reaching recommendations about the role of central and local government and related matters.
Somewhat illogically, he then went on to stress the need for additional legislation to tackle disadvantage while at the same time conceding that it was impossible to quantify the practical impact of the existing legislation. This seems to be saying that, while the earlier medicine had not effected a cure, the best and only way forward was be to administer a yet stronger dose of the same, perhaps ineffective, curative.
The White Paper recites the now familiar litany of flaws and shortcomings that had to be addressed: the lack of sanctions against indirect discrimination; the inadequacy of the powers of the RRB to pro-actively investigate cases of suspected discrimination even where no actual complaints have been received; the depressingly small number of successful prosecutions and the low levels of financial compensation awarded to victims; the limited injunctive powers of the courts which were said to be ‘artificially’ restricted; the inability of the legislation to deal with what were viewed as endemic patterns of discrimination in employment and housing; and, last but least, the lack of confidence of the coloured population in the structures that had been created to eradicate discrimination.
A new theme that was aired involved the government’s intention to ‘harmonise powers and procedures for dealing with sex and race discrimination so as to secure genuine equality of opportunity in both fields.” What this meant in practice was the inclusion in the forthcoming race legislation of the two ‘Americanised’ elements that Jenkins and Lester had brought back from their trip: sanctions against indirect discrimination, and measures to promote a ‘soft’ form of affirmative action. These were intended to act as further declamatory rhetoric aimed at shifting the balance in British law away from individual rights and towards group-rights. Lester has some interesting commentary on the subject of indirect discrimination, which he links to the concept of ‘disparate impact’ as first defined in the landmark 1971 case of Griggs v Duke Power Co.. He states that, Griggs was the “… original intellectual inspiration for Britain’s provisions against indirect discrimination, which were seen by many as a major departure in British legal ideology.” Although indirect discrimination has never proved to be a significant factor in Britain (representing less than 5% of all cases brought by the CRE, according to Christian Joppke) the concept has been ‘… highly influential in creating a language of group rights [and for] the results-oriented logic of achieving statistical parity between racial groups.’
Affirmative action was to make its entrance into British law in the form of ‘positive action’. Almost nobody outside the race industry and its beneficiaries is aware that affirmative action in this guise has formed part of British law for over thirty years, even though it is hidden in plain sight in Part VI of the RRA76, which deals with ‘general exceptions’. In particular, Sections 35, 37 and 38 spell out in some detail the circumstances under which the ‘Special needs of racial groups in regard to education, training or welfare’ may be accommodated without contravening the Act. It is under these exceptions that job advertisements like this one barring white people from consideration are permissible. Christian Joppke claims that since no hard quotas are involved ‘positive action’ initiatives like the foregoing cannot be considered to be affirmative action in its true sense. But that seems to me to be incorrect, since even in the US, officially-sanctioned affirmative action need not involve specific quotas, in fact in some fields such as university admissions, quotas per se have been ruled unlawful.
A further interesting innovation announced in the White Paper was the introduction of the concept of the ‘genuine occupational requirement’. The example given was that of a Chinese restaurant with a ‘distinctively Chinese décor’ where it would permissible to insist that anyone employed there as a waiter would have to be Chinese also, since that constitutes a ‘genuine occupational requirement’. It is thanks to this exception, as enshrined in s5 of the RRA76, that tens of thousands of Bangladeshi immigrants have been admitted over the years , each one fulfilling a ‘genuine occupational requirement as a cook, waiter or washer-up in the thousands of ‘Indian’ curry emporia that are now such a prominent feature of the British townscape. The concept also applies in a number of other fields besides catering in which it is permissible to employ someone of a specific racial group for ‘reasons of authenticity’. One such field is acting, so it is puzzling that the Royal Shakespeare Company did not feel able to take advantage of this concession when casting the lead role in a recent production of Henry V.
Adrian Lester* as Henry V
*No relation to the other A. Lester (at least I don’t think so)
It’s actually quite instructive to browse the RSC website and enjoy the mental contortions that theatrical luvvies now have to go through in insisting that having a black man play Othello as a ‘genuine occupational requirement’, while at the same hailing the casting of a negro as a medieval English king:
… I think the days are passed of a white actor blacking up. Since 1985, the RSC has only cast non-white actors in the title role - I don’t in fact think the RSC would do Othello without a black actor playing Othello. … [Gregory Doran, director of the current production]
But Lester’s casting by the National Theatre makes a statement that both national subsidised companies have now moved into the age of colour-blind casting, and that the strength of the performance is more important than the factual accuracy of the colour of the character’s skin.
Lester won rave reviews as Hamlet in a production at the Young Vic, directed by Peter Brook last year. He also appeared alongside John Travolta and Emma Thompson in the film Primary Colors, and co-starred with Branagh in the 2000 film production of Love’s Labour’s Lost.
The West End producer Thelma Holt, who has worked with both the National and the RSC, said yesterday: “This is a major breakthrough. Adrian has energy and he is charismatic.
“It is perfect casting. I am glad that the colour of his skin is not an issue. Let’s hope that Nick Hytner continues with colour-blind casting and takes it to the extremes. Maybe one day we will have a white Othello again.”
Both the National Theatre and the RSC are opposed to casting a white actor as Othello. [The Independent, 16 August 2002]
Well, after that little diversion back to the White Paper. In many respects, and not least with respect to the level of controversy that it stimulated, the most contentious proposal in the White Paper had to do with the criminal act of incitement. Until now it had been necessary to show that racially-offensive speech, behaviour or writing was intended to stir up racial hatred. What the government now proposed, egged on by the Board of Deputies et al, was to lower the threshold of proof so it would only be necessary to show that the act of incitement was likely to stir up hatred. This is how this remarkable departure from Common Law precedent was justified by Jenkins:
126. Relatively few prosecutions have been brought under Section 6 of the 1965 Act and none has been brought under Section 5 of the Theatres Act. However, during the past decade, probably largely as a result of Section 6, there has been a decided change in the style of racialist propaganda. It tends to be less blatantly bigoted, to disclaim any intention of stirring up racial hatred, and to purport to make a contribution to public education and debate. Whilst this shift away from crudely racialist propaganda and abuse is welcome, it is not an unmixed benefit. The more apparently rational and moderate is the message, the greater is its probable impact on public opinion. But it is not justifiable in a democratic society to interfere with freedom of expression except where it is necessary to do so for the prevention of disorder or for the protection of other basic freedoms. The present law penalises crude verbal attacks if and only if it is established that they have been made with the deliberate intention of causing groups to be hated because of their racial origins. In the Governments view this is too narrow an approach. It accepts the observation made by Sir Leslie Scarman in his report on the Red Lion Square disorders that Section 6 is too restrictively defined to be an effective sanction. It therefore proposes to ensure that it will no longer be necessary to prove a subjective intention to stir up racial hatred.
This novel feature, with its apparent contradiction to established Common Law, would encounter particularly heavy flak in the Lords, and from an unexpected source, as we shall see later.
The 1976 Bill in Parliament
The new race relations Bill was presented to parliament in March 1976 and the Second Reading debate commenced on March 4th. At this point Margaret Thatcher had been the leader of the Conservatives for a year and she had initially signalled an intention to set aside the bipartisan consensus by instructing the parliamentary party to actively oppose the bill. Given the fragile nature of the Labour majority there is a good chance that had she done so the bill could have been defeated or, at least, significantly changed. As it happened she was prevented from taking this stance by a threatened revolt of leading Tory ‘wets’ who were concerned that open opposition would bring opprobrium on the party which was trying to ‘update’ its image. Given the insecure nature of her own status as party leader – Thatcher was never popular with nor fully supported by the old-school Tory grandees – she had little real choice but to acquiesce to this pressure. The official party line was to support the bill on principle, but to oppose on specific points of implementation; the official directive to Conservative MPs was to abstain in all divisions.
In a number of respects the passage of the bill through Parliament was to prove divisive and tumultuous. Getting the bill enacted was to require far more effort on the part of its sponsors than had the bills of 1965 and 1968. This was the case not just in the Commons but in the Lords as well. The following account tries to provide an overview of the key issues which came into contention, and the atmosphere in which the various debates took place. Reading through the accounts in Hansard, one can’t help feeling regret that television came too late to Parliament for us to experience the oratory of the likes of Enoch Powell, Patrick Mayhew and Quintin Hogg in their prime. And Roy Jenkins, too.
Compared to what was to come later the Second Reading debate was relatively brief at a little over six hours and comparatively tranquil in tone. The debate was opened by Roy Jenkins in his capacity as Home Secretary and ministerial sponsor. Jenkins gave a general overview of the main objectives of the legislation, highlighting that the focus was as much on the elimination of racial disadvantage as on racial discrimination, although pains were taken to elaborate on the intimate connection between the two. For the rest, it was mostly a rehash of the White Paper, as outlined above. He also noted that “…Wherever possible, the Bill has been drafted on the lines of the Sex Discrimination Act . … [And] that the Government’s total aim was to harmonise the powers and procedures for dealing with sex and race discrimination,” a statement that was to come back to haunt the government later in the debates. William Whitelaw responded as official spokesman for the opposition, and confirmed the intention to contest points of detail while abstaining from voting on the bill itself.
Whitelaw’s opening remarks were practically the only contribution made by the opposition front bench during the Second Reading debate. Ronald Bell’s later remark that the government front bench appeared to have a ‘Trappist vow of silence’ in effect when faced by a particularly awkward amendment could just as well have applied to his own leadership throughout the entire proceeding.
As the debate progressed we start to hear more and more from dissident Tories and others. Prominent amongst the latter is Enoch Powell, by now no longer a member of the opposition front bench or even a member of the Conservative party, but instead an Ulster Unionist MP. Powell reiterated his now familiar objection to the very concept of race relations legislation:
… It is, by its nature, counter-productive. It is counter-productive because the creation of new rights creates new grievances. Make no mistake, this new legislation creates new rights. Those who came into this country as immigrants instantly inherited all the traditional and fought-for rights of the inhabitants of this country. Those immigrants came into the possession of those rights; but the purpose of this legislation is to create new rights, new remedies, which the inhabitants of this country have never enjoyed and never sought, for the sake of this new and growing element which is amongst us. But the creation of new rights in response to such a situation simply creates the ground for new “resentment”, to use William Deedes’ word, and new grievances.
Let there be no misunderstanding. The search for new grievance is eternal. There is no limit to the grievances which can be found by those who are determined to find them.
During the remainder of the debate other issues were aired which should have stimulated much discussion in committee but which didn’t owing to the craven hands-off policy of the official opposition. So it was up to backbenchers like Roland Bell, Nick Budgen and John Stokes to ensure that they were brought to the fore, which they duly did. In the end the bill passed its second reading by a vote of 134 to 10, the Noes being: Ronald Bell, Nick Budgen, James Molyneaux, Enoch Powell, Nicholas Ridley, William Ross, Ivor Stanbrook, John Stokes, Roger Stott and Nicholas Winterton.
The Report stage debate was held on July 8th and has entered the annals as one of the longest continuous sessions in British parliamentary history. Starting in the late afternoon it would be late the following afternoon before the House adjourned, the Hansard record of the proceeding running to an astonishing 277 pages. It wasn’t the case that the chamber was filled with hundreds of members all anxious to have a say. Most the time there were barely a hundred in attendance and few of those present actually spoke. Amongst the few who did speak were our intrepid band of dissenters who, the record shows, totally dominated the proceedings. If only their party colleagues, and especially the front bench, had been made of sterner stuff the story might have ended very differently.
As a normal rule the Report stage of a bill passes fairly uneventfully since much of the more contentious content will have been fully aired and resolved in committee. As we’ve seen that didn’t happen. What did happen instead is that all those awkward amendments that the mainstream Tories didn’t want to table in committee got tabled instead by the dissidents during the Report stage, which is actually the last phase of the process (in the Commons) that amendments to a bill can made. In all twenty such amendments were tabled, plus a couple by the government, and it was this volume of new business that turned the Report stage from a normally routine event into a twenty-four hour marathon. I’ll list here several of the key amendments, with a short commentary on each.
Two government amendments which came under sustained attack by the dissidents were eventually withdrawn. One dealt with a plan to require employers to implement ethnic monitoring schemes, and the other called for the CRE to have a role in economic planning.
The dissidents tabled an amendment to limit the CRE’s powers of investigation, to remove the proposed prohibitions on private clubs using race as a membership criterion, and to restrict the definition of ‘qualifying bodies’; all were defeated.
Also referring to qualifying bodies (in the sense of professional and trade organisations which oversee professional qualifications and certifications) an amendment was tabled to remove the requirement that, in considering whether a candidate was of good character, the body must take into account whether he had been ever found guilty of (or even charged with) any form of discrimination in the past. This one caused such difficulty for the Under Secretary of State charged with conducting the process that Jenkins himself was called to intervene (at 1 am!). Jenkins’ argument was that since the clause had been carried over from the Sex Discrimination Act in toto it was following an established precedent. However, once it was pointed out that the concept was in conflict with the ‘spent’ convictions provision of his Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which stipulated that offenders did not have to disclose earlier convictions older than a certain date when making employment or other applications, Jenkins had to agree to reconsider. In fact, this same provision came under heavy fire in the Lords and was eventually withdrawn. A significant moral victory for the dissidents. As an aside, Jenkins had to be called back to the chamber again around 4 am to rally the government troops who by this time were feeling distinctly shellshocked.
Several other dissident amendments of fundamental importance and great legal significance were also defeated with Tory connivance (aka abstention). One such was the shocking reversal of the burden of proof, a tenet of English common law since Saxon times. The legislation would require that the respondent in an access discrimination case show that the alleged discrimination was ‘justifiable’, reversing the legal credo that it is the responsibility of the prosecution to show that an offence had occurred. The justification offered by the government was that such cases are civil in nature, but this ignores the obvious point that the sanctions against access discrimination were extremely harsh and their effects in terms of personal record are, in contrast to criminal convictions that become ‘spent’ after a set period, perpetual in nature. Another issue which arose was the provision of services and facilities by a person from their home, again deemed to be subject to the Act.
Of all the objections to the Bill perhaps the one which generated the most heat was probably the change in the provisions against incitement to racial hatred. As foreshadowed in the White Paper the new Bill lowered the threshold for criminal conviction from one where the prosecution needed to show an intention to stir up racial hatred, to one where it was merely necessary to show that the words or behaviour were likely to do so. The argument reached its highpoint in the House of Lords, where the Bill entered its Second Reading after passing its Third Reading in the Commons. The opposition spokesman in the Lords was Quintin Hogg, now Lord Hailsham, and who it may be recalled was shadow Home Secretary in 1968 when that Act was going through Parliament. Hogg took a rather passive role in that debate, as did his counterpart when the present Bill was in the Commons, but on this occasion his speech was masterful. It’s worth presenting an extended extract. Hogg had moved an amendment to retain the ‘intention’ requirement in the incitement clause …
… Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone
… Wittingly or unwittingly the Government have by this clause subverted the whole doctrine of English law. I am not concerned now with purely summary offences. This is not purely a summary offence; it gives rise on indictment to conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years—I am reading from subsection (5)—or to an unlimited fine, or both. In other words, it is comparable to some of the old serious offences of dishonesty, and therefore is comparable to any offence under English law.
To my mind, it is a fundamental principle of English law and one which is absolutely vital for the preservation of individual liberty, that a crime should consist of two separate elements: first, there is the prohibited act, quaintly and rather illiterately referred to by lawyers as the actus reas, and there should also be a state of mind, which is also criminal, quaintly and not so illiterately referred to by lawyers as the mens rea. In the great majority of cases, though not always, the guilty state of mind is an intention. Quite deliberately the Government have created in this new clause an indictable offence in which the mental element is removed altogether, because a person who distributes written matter which is “threatening, abusive or insulting…in a case where having regard to all the circumstances, hatred is likely to be stirred up against any racial group in Great Britain by the matter or words in question”, is guilty of that offence. There is no reference to intention. The purpose of the Amendment standing in my name is to substitute for the likelihood of it happening the intention that it should happen; in other words, that the offence should remain but should be made conformable to the ordinary principles of English criminal law—and I see no reason why that should not he applied.
[He then cited several instances in which third parties, such as newspaper editors reporting on inciteful speech, or public figures talking about it, might become liable for prosecution simply for reporting it, on the grounds that racial hatred is likely to be stirred up]
The history of sedition as a crime has much the same sort of nuances as that which the noble Lord has now introduced into this Bill. One remembers the series of prosecutions by Mr. Scott at the end of the 18th century before he became Lord Eldon and Lord Chancellor, how it ruined the standing and reputation of the then Administration and brought great discredit upon the whole crime of sedition for this very reason. The series of libel prosecutions for criminal libel has similar history. Indeed, Lord Erskine made his reputation as an advocate at the English Bar by ridiculing and destroying some of those prosecutions. Returning, not to 1984 but to 1784 in this clause and to Mr. Scott, the then Attorney-General, I do not think that that is sensible at all.
I am not in the least mollified in my condemnation of this extraordinary piece of legislation by the fact that no prosecution can be brought except by or with the consent of the Attorney-General under subsection (5). I do not like these special clauses in any criminal provisions; nor, do believe, have successive Attorney-Generals and Directors of Public Prosecutions relished the task thrust upon them in some Acts of Parliament. But a thing so politically sensitive as the decision to prosecute or not prosecute, let us say, a Privy Councillor who makes a controversial speech about race, is something with which no Attorney-General ought to be faced. Either the law should be applicable at the instance of the person who believes himself to be insulted or it should not be applicable at all. No, let us stick to the well-proven principles of English law and let us not lose our heads because of the National Front or Mr. Powell. I beg to move.
Hailsham’s amendment was passed and returned, together with a number of other amendments dealing with issues raised by the dissidents, back to the Commons. On final reading of the Bill however they were not adopted, the government’s majority and the acquiescence of the official opposition being enough to ensure that the Race Relations Act 1976 received its Royal Assent just a few weeks later.
Summary of the Race Relations Act 1976
Writing in 1998, Anthony Lester claimed that “The Race Relations Act of 1976 established a body of law, which was broad in scope and was, and still is, unique in Europe.” Since 2000 various EU directives have altered that picture somewhat, but in their attention to both access discrimination and expressive racism recent EU measures have followed the British model.
Some of the major new provisions introduced by the RRA76 included:
The definition of unlawful discrimination was extended to include indirect discrimination (disparate impact) which affects racial groups, in addition to the existing prohibitions on direct discrimination against individuals.
It would no longer be necessary to prove intent to secure a conviction for the criminal offence of incitement to racial hatred.
With some minor exceptions private clubs were no longer permitted to discriminate on racial grounds. This overturned the earlier Lords ruling in the Preston Dockers’ Club case that club members were not a ‘section of the public’ as defined in the RRA68.
Exceptions were allowed for ‘genuine occupational qualifications’ in which membership in a particular racial group was necessary in order to provide other persons of that racial group with personal services promoting their welfare, or for ‘reasons of authenticity’.
The CRE was formed by amalgamating the RRB and CRC. The new body received a new mandate and extended powers, including the authority to conduct investigations into the activities of public and private organisations even where no evidence of wrongdoing existed.
It would no longer be permissible to discriminate on the grounds of national origin, thereby nullifying a House of Lords ruling in the 1972 case of Ealing London Borough Council v. Race Relations Board which permitted the council to give priority in social housing to people who were British subjects under the BNA48 (thereby excluding Indians and Pakistanis, amongst others).
The Act allowed victims of discrimination to bypass the conciliation machinery and take their case directly to a tribunal or to the county court. Tribunal and courts could now impose damages for ‘injured feelings’ as well as direct material loss. The CRE was empowered to provide legal and financial assistance in such cases.
Instructing or inducing others to discriminate was now to be a punishable offence.
Provided protection against victimisation of persons who brought claims under the Act.
Local authorities were required to ‘make arrangements’ to promote racial harmony, equal opportunity and eliminate unlawful racial discrimination
Both the RRA65 and the RRA68 were repealed by the new Act which is still actively in force today. The RRA76 with its 80 sections and five accompanying schedules is about twice the size of the legislation it replaced.
Before moving on to the next general theme, which is the development of the race relations legislation during the Thatcher years, a few words on the current litigation involving the BNP.
BNP vs EHRC
Had the BNP elected to continue to contest the litigation its main defence would have amounted to a claim for exemption under s26 of the RRA76. This reads as follows:
26.--(1) An association to which section 25 applies is within this subsection if the main object of the association is to enable from s. 25 the benefits of membership (whatever they may be) to be for certain enjoyed by persons of a particular racial group defined otherwise associations. than by reference to colour; and in determining whether that is the main object of an association regard shall be had to the essential character of the association and to all relevant circumstances including, in particular, the extent to which the affairs of the association are so conducted that the persons primarily enjoying the benefits of membership are of the racial group in question.
(2) In the case of an association within subsection (1), nothing in section 25 shall render unlawful any act not involving discrimination on the ground of colour.
Since the BNP Constitution defines its membership criteria in terms of ethnic origin and not colour it would be seem to have a valid claim for exemption. The EHRC’s counter-claim was that s. 26 was not intended to apply to political parties, and offered as justification a recent House of Lords ruling in the case of Labour Party v Ahsan. This ruling upheld an appeal by the CRE on behalf of a local councillor of Pakistani origin who had been de-selected by the Labour Party national executive. Mr. Ahsan, with the assistance of the CRE, sued the Labour Party, but under s. 12 of the Act which applies to discrimination in employment, not under s. 26 which applies to membership associations. The EHRC’s case rests on the claim that, in ruling on this s.12 case, the Law Lords also by extension ruled on s. 26. I’m not a lawyer, but this seems to me to be an unwarranted assumption too far and that the BNP would have had a better than even chance of prevailing had it chosen to continue the case. The EHRC’s case is further weakened by the original White Paper which spells out clearly that the exceptions for ‘membership associations’ that later became s. 26 specifically include political organisations, even ethnically-exclusive ones:
73. ... In addition, there will be an exception to enable bona fide social, welfare, political and sporting organisations whose main object is to confer benefits on a particular ethnic or national group to continue to do so.
Of course, it’s all rather moot anyway since the forthcoming Equality Act is designed to specifically close this loophole, an action which in itself highlights that the exemption exists in the current legislations despite the EHRC’s attempts to wish it away. Paragraph 1 of Schedule 16 deals with the exemptions allowed for ‘single characteristic member associations’ who share a specific ‘protected characteristic’ (eg sex, religion or race); sub-section 16.1(5) reads “This paragraph does not apply to an association that is a registered political party.” What that in effect means is that the BNP’s membership criteria would be illegal under the new Act whereas the Black Lawyers Association would not. That does of course leave the door open for a White Lawyer’s Association, which may in time become one of the unintended consequences of the Act.
Last edited by Alex Linder; November 12th, 2009 at 11:29 AM.
|November 12th, 2009||#15|
The Thatcher Years
Following the previous “Winter of Discontent’ when incessant strikes and general economic gloom made everyone’s life a misery it was no surprise that the tired and discredited Labour regime were turfed out and replaced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives in the 1979 general election. Race and immigration did feature to an extent in the election, or at least in the run-up to it when Thatcher made her notorious ‘swamping’ comments on Granada TV’s World in Action programme. Few now doubt that this was a cynical ploy to siphon off anti-immigration supporters who might otherwise have gone to the National Front, and an early effort at ‘dog whistle’ politics aimed at ‘Middle England’. The election manifesto did contain some fairly robust language about immigration controls (we’ll be looking closely at immigration policy promises and actual outcomes in another, forthcoming thread) but nothing at all about race relations.
In retrospect and in comparison to the frenetic activity during the ten years to 1986 there is relatively little to report in the field of new race relations legislation during the Thatcher and Major eras. Randall Hansen’s comment that “Having a Labour government in place appears to be a necessary condition for the passage of race legislation” appears largely, but not entirely, correct. It’s certainly the case that Thatcher made no attempt to roll back the existing legislation, instead it was extended in some surprising new directions . Per Hansen, no government has ever considered repeal of the Acts and he notes that the RRA76 is one of the very few policies that had earlier bipartisan support to survive Thatcherism.
So if the field of race relations legislation as such was during the period comparatively quiescent and uneventful compared to what had gone before, the same cannot be said of the matter of race relations itself. Violent race riots, which broke out in late 1979 in Southall and April 1980 in Bristol were replicated in several other towns and cities over the next several years. These what the Scarman report primly termed ‘disorders’ formed a principal motivation for the most important piece of race-related legislation enacted during the Thatcher era, the …
The Public Order Act of 1986
The period between 1979 and 1985 was a particularly active time for social disruptions of various types, involving not just ethnic minorities but also striking miners and anarchic ‘travellers’. The 1980 Bristol riots were followed by even more serious disturbances in 1981 in ethnic areas such as Brixton, Toxteth in Liverpool, Moss Side in Manchester, Chapeltown in Leeds and Handsworth in Birmingham. In 1985 there again occurred serious racially-oriented disturbances this time in Peckham and Hackney, and again in Handsworth and Brixton. Racial insurrection on this scale was unprecedented in Britain and the authorities were shocked at the ferocity of the violence, as were the public who saw terrible images of ‘American style’ mayhem and destruction repeated nightly on the TV news. The report of the official inquiry by Lord Scarman into the 1981 riots predictably placed the blame on ‘racial disadvantage and discrimination’, and insensitive policing, and called for ‘urgent action’ (i.e. financial subsidies) to solve the problems of economic decline and unemployment in inner-city areas with high immigrant populations. Home Secretary William Whitelaw claimed that the disturbances in Brixton and Toxteth were not race riots as such, but rather an extreme form of opportunistic criminality fuelled by social disadvantage. No commentary was offered on the very localised nature of the riots, nor on the ethnic origins of the perpetrators.
In presenting the new Public Order Bill to Parliament in January 1986 Home Secretary Douglas Hurd stated that he wanted to make it clear that “… the Bill was not cobbled together in hasty reaction to last autumn’s riots”, but instead that the 50 year-old Act was overdue for an overhaul anyway. There seems little question, however, that the existing Public Order Act as well as the older common law offences of unlawful assembly, affray and violent disorder were totally inadequate to deal with outbreaks of third-world savagery on the scale experienced in Brixton and Toxteth. The POA had been rejigged in 1968 and 1976 to serve in the interest of fighting discrimination, but the tinkerers had obviously lost sight of the original intended function of the Act, which was to deal with serious breaches of the peace and not just injured feelings. ‘Rivers of Blood’ had fallen on deaf ears. The new Bill was to define a new offence of riot which now carried a jail sentence of up to ten years, as well as strengthened provisions against affray, violent disorder and a new offence of harassment. A new section was added to deal with football hooliganism, which had taken a very ominous turn with the Heysel disaster in 1985.
However, for our present purposes it is Part III of the Bill, that dealing with ‘Racial Hatred’ that is of most relevance. During the drafting of the Bill it became clear that many of the souped-up ‘law and order’ measures being proposed would run into resistance from not just Labour, but also from the nascent human rights industry, on the grounds that civil liberties were being degraded. Everyone knew that the principal target of the Bill was the increasing lawlessness and violent behaviour of the coloured population, even if they were not prepared to admit so publically. As a quid pro quo to mollify the opposition, the government elected to enhance and extend the scope of the sanctions against racial incitement. The decision was made to remove the incitement provisions from the Race Relations Act and concentrate them in the new Public Order Act. The Bill called for the repeal of s.70 of the RRA76 and for its replacement by the new Part III of the Public Order Act. The changes proposed were in fact far wider-ranging than Home Secretary Hurd’s rather casual summary to the House sought to imply:
… I will not dwell on part III, which deals with racial hatred and provides additional protection against incitement to racial hatred. I hope that the provisions will be acceptable to the House.
It might be useful to first review the provisions against incitement as implemented in the RRA76 before considering the changes in detail. Section 70 defined the offence (in abbreviated form) as follows:
• The publication or distribution of written matter, or the use in any public place or at any public meeting of words, which threatening, abusive or insulting in a case where, having regard to all the circumstances, hatred is likely to be stirred up against any racial group in Great Britain by the matter or words in question.
• A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding £400, or both ; or, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine, or both;
• No prosecution for such an offence shall be instituted in England and Wales except by or with the consent of the Attorney General.
So that was the starting point - writings or public statements likely to stir up racial hated were prohibited.
The Bill in Parliament
While the proceedings in the Commons were uneventful, being largely distinguished by the nasal brayings of oleaginous chancer, Paole Zion stalwart and shadow Home Secretary Gerald Kaufman, who together with close allies David Winnick and Alex Carlile (more on him later) spent much time bemoaning the ‘undermining of traditional civil liberties’, things got more interesting in the Lords.
The government spokesman there was the 4th Baron Glenarthur, and it was he, with some prompting from their Lordships, who would shed some much needed additional light on the rationale for the new racial hatred provisions over which the Home Secretary had passed so lightly. The new Act was to include 12 discrete sections dealing with racial hatred (the RRA76 had just one), organised as follows:
• s. 17: Meaning of “racial hatred” – Unchanged, the meaning of the term “hatred” is still left obscure. However see also Mandla v Dowell-Lee, below, for coomments on the definition of ‘racial group’.
• s. 18: Use of words or behaviour or display of written material – This concerns display, as in banners, placards, posters and signage as opposed to printed matter, so in that sense this is a new addition. Also new and very radical was that the extension of the offence from public spaces to private ones as well. The only exception was when the act was commited in a private dwelling, and then only if the words, behaviour or display could not be heard or seen by anyone outside. The possibility of malicious or provocative eavesdropping or surveillance is not mentioned. It also begs the question: why not exempt a person’s office too, or in their club too, if there were no-one present who would object and there were no threat to public order?
Also new in this section is the authority given to a police officer to arrest anyone without warrant whom he reasonably suspects of having committed an offence under this section.
Another change from the RRA76 which was, on the face of it quite bizarre, was the reinstatement of the intention to stir up racial hatred as an offence. Now, however, it was an option rather than a requirement. A person could be convicted in the event that he either had the intention to stir up hatred, or that hatred was likely to be stirred up. The explanation given in the Lords for this change is that much racialist material that is threatening, abusive or insulting is not likely to stir up racial hatred in a normal, sensible person (like an MP, for example) but, if it was in fact the intention of the person responsible to do just that, then he should not be permitted to get away with it just because hatred wasn’t actually stirred up.
• s. 19: Publishing or distributing written material - Unchanged from the RRA76 version, except for the reinstatement of the ‘intention’ provision.
• s. 20: Public performance of play - A new addition which applies to the presenters and directors of plays intended for public performance. As before, a prosecution can proceed on either the intention or the likelihood of racial hatred being stirred up.
• s. 21: Distributing, showing or playing a recording - Similar to s. 20, except directed towards ‘recorded visual images and sounds’.
• s. 22: Broadcasting or including programme in cable programme service - Again, similar to s. 20, but directed towards broadcast media.
• s. 23: Possession of racially inflammatory material - A new and extremely important addition which makes it an offence to possess such material with a view to it being displayed, published, distributed, shown or broadcast. The terms display, publish and distribute are left undefined.
• s. 24: Powers of entry and search – New. On securing a warrant from a JP or magistrate a police officer with reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person has material in his possession which contravenes s. 23 may enter and search that person’s premises, and may use reasonable force in doing so.
• s. 25: Power to order forfeiture - New. On conviction a court may order that any material which has been shown to contravene ss. 18-23 may be forfeited.
• s. 26: Savings for reports of parliamentary or judicial proceedings – Existing exemptions provided for in the RRA76.
• s. 27: Procedure and punishment - The new element here is the requirement when sentencing that each charge brought under ss. 18-23 will count as a separate offence.
• s. 28: Offences by corporations - New. ‘Piercing the corporate veil’.
In its zeal to eradicate the evil of racial hatred the Conservatives had managed to outdo even the anti-racist zealots in the Labour Party. That it should have fallen to a Conservative government, trading on its law-‘n’-order credentials, to enact repressive measures of such an Orwellian character would have been literally incredible to Winston Churchill. Not that Thatcher’s government was at all reticent about their achievement. Government spokesmen in the Lords put it this way:
Part III of the Bill substantially strengthens and improves the existing offence of incitement to racial hatred in Section 5A of the 1936 Act. (Lord Glenarthur)
Part III of the Bill contains the strongest measures against incitement to racial hatred to be proposed by any Government. (the Earl of Caithness)
Such opposition as did arise was confined to the Kaufman claque in the Commons, bleating incessantly about the new powers being given to the police to quell urban rioters while ignoring entirely the continuing onslaught on traditional English freedoms represented by Part III. The dissenters from ’76 were also absent – Powell was soon to retire from politics, Bell had already gone– and those remaining as a man voted the party line. The few dissenting voices were heard in the Lords, and then from hereditary peers who had no fear of retribution from the party whips. Little wonder that one of the first priorities for the Blair regime would be to cull their ranks and to replace them with NuLabor’s multihued placepersons, including not a few benefactors of the Mosaic faith.
The POA86 remains on the statute book today and still forms the principal means of stifling dissent and suppressing serious discussion on the issues of race and immigration. It was substantially expanded in 2006 to include the offence of incitement to religious hatred, as we will be discussing later.
There have been a number of high-profile casualties of the Act. While leader of the BNP, John Tyndall was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment in 1986 for incitement to racial hatred in connection with various articles he had written for the Spearhead magazine advocating forced repatriation of coloured people. At around the same time, John Morse editor of The British Nationalist was jailed for the same offence. Another celebrated case was the Dowager Lady Jane Birdwood, a ‘veteran anti-semite’, who was prosecuted not once but twice under the Act. In 1991 and 1994 she was convicted of publishing anti-semitic material and received a suspended sentence each time. Had she not been as close a figure to the establishment as she was the sentences would no doubt have been much harsher. A variety of other, smaller fry were snared in the net before the next big catch was landed.
In 1998 Nick Griffin was prosecuted in connection with articles that had appeared in the BNP periodical The Rune proclaiming, amongst things, that he was “…well aware that the orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated and turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the world is flat ... I have reached the conclusion that the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter-day witch-hysteria.” The initial complaint against Griffin had been brought by his local MP, Alex Carlile, who Griffin described as “…this bloody Jew… whose only claim is that his grandparents died in the Holocaust.” Griffin was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for two years. In 2004 he was again prosecuted under the Act, along with Mark Collett, for remarks made at a private BNP meeting that was secretly filmed by the BBC and passed on to the police. John Tyndall was also prosecuted at around the same time for a speech he made at a BNP meeting in Burnley in which he, amongst other proscribed utterances, continually referred to former Tory Home Secretary Michael Howard by his original family name of ‘Hecht’. Griffin and Collett were eventually acquitted of all charges, albeit after a second trial., Tyndall however died before his case came to trial.
Most recently there was the case of the so-called ‘Heretical Two’, Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle who dramatically fled to the US in 2008 to claim political asylum. They were returned to Britain and sentenced to four and a half years and twenty-eight months, respectively. Further MR commentary on the H2 case can be found here. The implications of the application of the POA86 to internet discourse should be quite chilling for anyone who frequents sites such as this one.
An interesting and little remarked-on aspect of the incitement cases brought since 1986 is that many of them revolve around charges of anti-semitism and/or Holocaust denial. How can that be possible in a country where Jews are not commonly held to be a racial group and, unlike other places in Europe, successive governments have consistently turned down appeals for Holocaust denial to be criminalised? The answer to the second appears to be that the POA86 renders such laws redundant, but what about the status of Jews as a racial group? How did that come about when so many Jews seem anxious to deny it? That leads us into the following …
Mandla v Dowell-Lee
The heading refers to a 1983 ruling in the House of Lords in the famous case of the ‘Sikh schoolboy’s turban’ (sounds like one Rumpole might have taken on). This concerned whether Sikhs formed a distinct racial group (in addition to being a religious one) for the purposes of the Race Relations Act. The Lords ruled that they did, with Lord Fraser summing up as follows:
… In my opinion, the word ‘ethnic’ still retains a racial flavour but it is used nowadays in an extended sense to include other characteristics which may be commonly thought of as being associated with common racial origin. For a group to constitute an ethnic group in the sense of the 1976 Act, it must, in my opinion, regard itself, and be regarded by others as a distinct community by virtue of certain characteristics. Some of these characteristics are essential; others are not essential but one or more will be commonly found and will help to distinguish the group from the surrounding community. The conditions which appear to me to be essential are these: (1) a long shared history, of which the group is conscious as distinguishing it from other groups, and the memory of which keeps it alive; (2) a cultural tradition of its own, including family and social customs and manners, often but not necessarily associated with religious observance. In addition to those two essential characteristics the following characteristics are, in my opinion, relevant; (3) either a common geographical origin, or descent from a small number of common ancestors; (4) a common language, not necessarily peculiar to the group; (5) a common literature peculiar to the group; (6) a common religion different from that of neighbouring groups or from the general community surrounding it; (7) being a minority or being an oppressed or a dominant group within a larger community”.
This ruling did not go unnoticed by the Board of Deputies nor indeed by the BNP, the latter citing the case in defining their (present) criteria for membership. The Mandla v Dowell-Lee ruling became the standard legal criteria for deciding whether any particular population group formed a racial group for the purposes of the Act and subsequent case law confirmed that both Jews and Roma met the requirements, whereas Muslims (and Christians) do not. In giving evidence to the Commons Select Committee on Religious Offences in 2002 the Board of Deputies was at pains to emphasise both its credentials as the official representative of the entire Jewish community as well as the status of Jews as a ‘distinct racial group’.
Submission from the Board of Deputies of British Jews
1. The Board of Deputies of British Jews welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Select Committee on Religious Offences. The Board is the representative body and voice of the British Jewish community. It was founded in 1760.
3. The Jewish community is covered by the provisions of the Race Relations Acts. This was established by the judgment in Mandla v. Dowell Lee , 2A.C.548, HL which recognised the Jewish and Sikh communities as distinct racial groups. Subsequent cases brought before the courts have upheld the ruling. As a result, the Jewish community is afforded protection against incitement to racial hatred.
Although the POA86 remains the Jewel in the Crown as far as Thatcher-era race legislation is concerned, there were other laws introduced which also had a racial complexion.
The first of these was the Football (Offences) Act of 1991. Margaret Thatcher seemed to have it in for football fans just as Tony Blair later had it in for those who like fox-hunting. The POA86 already contained fairly harsh provisions intended to combat hooliganism generally, but that did not provide any protections against a new scourge – racialist chants and abuse during matches themselves. English football supporters have long prided themselves on identifying undesirable traits in their opponents, and composing amusing (and often insulting) ditties to highlight them. Black players were still quite rare in English football in the late 80s, and Asian players were non-existent, so it was only natural that when they did start to appear at more and more grounds fans took notice and took steps to include them and their perceived deficiencies in their taunts. This was too much for the powers that be. It was one thing to call an opposing fan a “Scouse granny-stabber” but something totally different to be call someone a “fat black git”, or to bawl out “The Spurs are their way to Auschwitz” (instead of Wembley). The 1991 Act prohibited ‘racialist chanting’ by two or more people, and an offence was deemed to have been committed even when the chanting “…was not within the sight or hearing of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.” In later legislation the prohibition was extended to cover racial abuse by individual soloists.
Another piece of legislation enacted was the Race Relations (Remedies) Act of 1994. One of the continuing bones of contention on the part of the CRE was that the levels of compensation payable in racial discrimination cases were much too low. The problem, as perceived by the CRE and others, was that the level of the awards were limited by the amounts that the respective tribunals or the county court could levy by statute. This did not provide the deterrent effect or salutary retribution that the CRE wished for and so this Act removed those limits for racial discrimination awards only, and also allowed interest to be applied backdated to the time of the original offence.
With that we reach the end of the Thatcher era, and now pass on into the period of New Labour.
Last edited by Alex Linder; November 12th, 2009 at 11:36 AM.
|November 19th, 2009||#16|
The Crusade against Discrimination in Britain Part 4
Continued from Part 3
I had hoped that the NuLabor period could be covered in a single episode, but that that hasn’t turned out to be possible. So here then is Part 4, Part 5 the conclusion will follow shortly.
New Labour – 1997 to 2000
The 1997 election swept ‘New’ Labour into power on the theme of Things can only get better. Once again race and immigration played little part in the election and there was no indication of any plan for new legislation in the Labour manifesto beyond the introduction of racially aggravated offences. No change was planned to the RRA76, however unanticipated events were very soon to alter that picture as so often is the case. Looking back from the perspective of the next election which is due to be held in May 2010 or earlier, it will at that point be clear that the thirteen or so years under New Labour have been the most productive period in history as far as race-related legislation is concerned.
So let’s consider each new development in chronological order, starting with …
The Crime and Disorder Act of 1998
The Crime and Disorder Bill was the first piece of explicitly racially-oriented legislation introduced by Labour following their election victory the previous year. Their election manifesto had included a commitment to create new offences of racially aggravated assault and harassment, since when a further new offence of racially aggravated criminal damage had been added. A principal rationale for the introduction of the new offences was said to be the large increase in ‘racially-motivated incidents’ in the last few years (see the comments on the Macpherson Inquiry report below for additional context). In its consultation document that preceded the Bill the government had stressed that new statutory offences were necessary to emphasise the unacceptability of such crime:
… The Government is convinced that the introduction of specific racial offences will send a strong message to society at large that such crime is unacceptable and that it will be dealt with very seriously by the police and the courts. They will also ensure that a higher priority is given to the identification of the racial element of the crime in the gathering of evidence, thus preventing the racial aspect from being overlooked in sentencing.
There was considerable disagreement about whether the increase in racial incidents was real or whether it merely reflected in large part an increasing willingness on the part of victims of such incidents to come forward. There was also the open-ended definition of ‘racial incident’ which had been put forward by the Association of Chief Police Officers and since adopted by all police forces [emphasis added]:
“Any incident in which it appears to the reporting or investigating officer that the complaint involves an element of racial motivation or any incident which includes an allegation of racial motivation made by any person.”
The new Act provided for significantly increased penalties for racially aggravated crimes, compared to their ‘non-racial’ equivalents. Racially aggravated common assault carried a maximum penalty of 2 years as opposed to 6 months. In the case of actual bodily harm the maximum sentence was increased from five to seven years, for harassment 2 years instead of 6 months and for racially aggravated criminal damage the maximum was now 14 years instead of 10.
The Human Rights Act of 1998
The HRA98 is not usually considered as part of the suite of race relations legislation, however it does serve as an additional, last line of defence for those for whom all else has failed. In effect the HRA98 incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into British law with a few extra bells and whistles. The EHCR dates back to 1950 and, like the Geneva Convention on Refugees, it reflects a time and place now long gone, an age when intercontinental travel was difficult and costly and migration from the third world on the present scale would have been unthinkable.
Although the EHCR was largely a British invention, it was never intended by its creators to have any practical application in Britain itself. It was felt that the common law and other constitutional protections provided sufficient time-tested safeguards against the sort of absolutist repression that had periodically afflicted continental Europe since the middle ages. All the more surprising then when in 1966 the Labour government exercised Britain’s option to formally adopt the Convention and, more crucially, to abide by the judgments of the EHR Court in Strasbourg. British citizens would now be permitted to bring cases against their own Government for alleged breaches of their Convention rights directly before the Court. This decision was to have far-reaching consequences.
Almost immediately a major issue flared up concerning British passport holders of Asian descent who were resident in the newly-independent former colonies in East Africa. Several of these countries began a process of ‘africanisation’ in which persons who did not take up local citizenship on independence could be subject to personal and economic sanctions. Alert to public opinion on the potential admission of up to 200,000 Asians, in 1968 the Labour government rushed through emergency legislation in the form of the Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1968. This Act effectively removed the right of abode in the UK from the Asians and provoked a firestorm of bitter recrimination. Cue Anthony Lester:
… Thirty three years ago I was co-counsel for the applicants before the European Commission of Human Rights in what is known as the East African Asians’ case. The case led to a dramatic improvement in the position of the 200,000 British Asian nationals who were being made refugees by the racist policies of the rulers in East Africa. … It was a test case involving a challenge to the compatibility of section 1 of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968 with the European Convention on Human Rights.
… The Commission adopted its Report in the case almost thirty years ago, on 14th December 1973. It concluded that publicly to single out a group for differential treatment on racial grounds constitutes a special affront to human dignity and that each of the applicants, as British citizens, had been subjected to such degrading treatment in breach of Article 3 of the Convention. … It was a momentous decision unprecedented in the jurisprudence of the European Convention on Human Rights. … East African Asians versus The United Kingdom: The Inside Story (2003)
Labour had been hoist on its own petard. There would be further embarrassment for successive governments at the hands of the HER Court. In 1985 a case was brought which had profound implications for Britain’s immigration policy, which had to be altered to conform to the Convention by allowing women, as well as men, to import spouses and fiancés. Chain migration from the third world could now take off with a vengeance.
In subsequent years the UK was found to be in violation of the Convention more often than any other European state. Popular opinion was repeatedly incensed by what was viewed as unwarranted interference into Britain’s internal affairs by an unelected and unelected continental institution. Feelings ran particularly high when the Court condemned the British government for the SAS killings of three IRA terrorists in Gibraltar in 1988, and further ruled that the government should pay the legal costs of the relatives of those killed. The Court’s ruling was hailed by human rights advocates.
Of the 66 Articles and five accompanying protocols included in the ECHR, the Articles which have proved the most contentious and most deployed in cases involving race and/or immigration issues are:
• Art. 3 - Prohibits torture, and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
• Art. 8 - Provides a right to respect for family life;
• Art. 12 – Provides the right to marry;
• Art. 14 – Prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, national origin, etc.
On the face of it that all seems reasonable enough as does in truth the Convention as a whole, but the Achilles heel lies in Article 1, which defines who shall be entitled to protection under the Convention as follows [emphasis added]:
Art . 1 – The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone with their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in section I of this Convention.
This has been interpreted to mean anyone physically present within a contracting State or even someone outside that State’s borders who has come under its temporary jurisdiction (in a war zone, for example). Convention rights are applicable not just to citizens or even legal permanent residents but also illegal migrants and failed asylum seekers too. Claimants do not have be a national of another Convention state, they just have to present within one, legally or illegally.
With that background it seems quite astonishing that the original error of allowing the HER Court to have jurisdiction over British cases should be compounded by incorporating the ECHR itself into British law. But that’s exactly what happened, the net effect of the HRA98 has been to make it easier to bring cases of alleged human rights abuse since ‘victims’ can now pursue their complaints through British courts rather than having the trouble and expense of taking them to Strasbourg. The predictable outcome is that misuse of the human rights legislation has proliferated, aided and abetted by an eager legal industry subsidised by public funds. The Human Rights Lawyers Association (President: A. Lester) had 650 members in 2002, it now has over 1800.
Since 1998 there has been a seemingly endless stream of high-profile human rights cases, hardly a week goes by without a ‘political correctness gone mad’ article appearing in the press, more often than not with a human rights angle. Many are a product of the domestic compensation-culture or are completely frivolous, like serial murderer Dennis Nilsen’s claim that not having access to homosexual pornography in jail was a violation of his human rights. That one was rejected, however, unlike a number of other notorious cases that involved foreign nationals. One such was the case of Learco Chimdamo, mixed-race leader of an ethnic gang which was responsible for the murder of headmaster Philip Lawrence in 1995. In 2007 an immigration tribunal refused to order Chindamo’s deportation on completion of his sentence on the grounds that it would violate his right to ‘family life’. In 2008 Al Qaeda’s ‘right-hand man in Europe’ Abu Qatada escaped deportation to Jordan after a successful claim that his human rights would be violated. Although that decision was overturned on appeal by the Law Lords, he has lodged another claim with the European Court and cannot be deported until that case is resolved. Human rights group Amnesty International said it was “gravely concerned” about the ruling’s implications. Spokesman Nicola Duckworth said: “States simply cannot pick and choose which people have human rights.” It’s reasonable to ask why not.
The case of A v Home Secretary in 2005 involved 14 foreign nationals suspected of terrorism who were being held in custody pending investigation. A court ruled that their rights under Article 14 were being violated since they had been discriminated against on the basis of nationality and/or immigration status, and ordered their release. As a result all were released from custody and placed under ‘control orders’ (a form of house arrest); unsurprisingly several have since absconded. The most notorious case is perhaps that of the Afghan hijackers, a group of ten Afghans said to be under threat by the Taliban and who hijacked an airliner in Kabul, forcing it to be flown to Stansted near London. Several served short jail terms and in the process all claimed political asylum. All claims were rejected but their deportation was blocked following a ruling in 2006 that returning them to Afghanistan would breach their human rights. All are believed to still be in Britain, and living on state benefits.
And then we have the recent revelations that the Labour government has ‘quietly’ changed the guidance provided to asylum caseworkers to permit the granting of ‘indefinite leave to remain’ in around 40,000 ‘legacy’ cases where asylum had been refused but the individuals concerned had evaded deportation for four years. Human rights concerns and the probability of extended litigation were cited as a principal motivation in this decision.
And, last but not least, intimations of further insanity to come. In 2006 the HER Court awarded a Congolese woman who was seeking asylum in Canada €35,000 pecuniary damages and €14,000 costs. There was no indication that the woman had ever been in Europe, however it transpired that she had arranged for a relative to smuggle her five-year old daughter into Holland, pending the resolution of her Canadian asylum claim. On arrival in Belgium from the Congo the brother was apprehended. The girl was taken into custody for five days and then returned to the Congo. The woman’s claims under Articles 3 (inhuman treatment) and 8 (right to family life) were upheld. Under the HRA98 British courts are required to take into account any “judgment, decision, declaration or advisory opinion of the European Court of Human Rights” when considering cases.
It would be remiss to end this discussion of the HRA98 without a fuller acknowledgment of the role that Anthony Lester (Baron Lester of Herne Hill since 1993) played in its creation and enactment. As cited on the website of his legal firm Blackstone Chambers:
… Lord Lester has for many years been recognised as a leading silk in administrative and public law, and human rights, and has been described as “one of the most knowledgeable and authoritative figures in the field of human rights”. He campaigned for thirty years to make the European Human Rights Convention directly enforceable in British courts and introduced two Private Members’ Bills on the subject which became models for the Human Rights Act 1998. He was also the architect of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Race Relations Act 1976. He campaigned successfully for the Civil Partnership Act and the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act.
Lester continues to keep his hand in as an active member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights which is chaired by Andrew Dismore, MP for Hendon. Dismore’s chief claim to fame is to have been responsible for prompting Tony Blair to establish Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK, a cause which no doubt endeared him to the very significant proportion of his constituents who are of the Jewish faith. The Committee has secured for itself the remit to “…scrutinise all Government Bills and picks out those with significant human rights implications for further examination.” One side effect of this arrangement is that no new government bill may be introduced in Parliament unless it is accompanied by a ministerial attestation of conformance to the HRA98.
The Race Relations (Amendment) Act of 2000
As noted above, there was no stated intention on the part of the incoming Labour government to make any major alterations or additions to the existing race relations legislation. However that changed dramatically in response to the report of the Macpherson Inquiry into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence which was published in February 1999. The Inquiry Report made seventy recommendations to the Government, which were subsequently examined by a high-level committee chaired by the Home Secretary. The outcome of this process was the decision to extend the Race Relations Act of 1976 to cover not just the police, as recommended by Macpherson, but also to every aspect of the functioning of all but a very few public authorities.
Perceived shortcomings of the RRA76
The main channel through which ongoing criticism of the 1976 Act was directed was the CRE, which conducted three extensive reviews between 1985 and 1998, as it was empowered to do by its charter. Those reviews conducted during the Conservative years fell on stony ground and it took the return of Labour to power for the CRE’s recommendations to get a serious hearing at governmental level.
There were several recurring themes on the CRE’s ‘wish-list’:
• Extend the 1976 Act to cover all activities and functions of all public authorities
• Require all public authorities to take pro-active measures to eliminate racial discrimination and to promote race equality
• Tighten-up the definition of indirect discrimination
• Over-rule recent court decisions that constrained the CRE’s ability to initiate formal investigations without the need to show evidence that actual discrimination had occurred
• Introduce laws against religious discrimination and incitement to religious hatred.
• Make it obligatory for ministers to attest that all new legislation was in conformance with the race relations legislation before presentation to Parliament (as it is with the HRA98).
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry
The catalyst which energized the process and opened the door for new legislation was the report of the Lawrence Inquiry. Most especially it was the finding that ‘institutional racism’ was endemic in the Metropolitan Police and had played a decisive role in the way in which the murder investigation had been conducted which provided the key. Despite the Report’s insistence that few signs of overt racism had been found within the police, the charge of institutional racism was to prove enough of a rallying call for the proponents of new legislation that the ministerial committee was soon persuaded to sanction wide-ranging change to the existing Act. The Home Secretary made a statement about the report on 24 February 1999 in which he said:
…I want this report to serve as a watershed in our attitudes to racism. I want it to act as a catalyst for permanent and irrevocable change, not just across our public services but across the whole of our society. … In terms of race equality, let us make Britain a beacon to the World. … we shall extend the Race Relations Act 1976 not just to cover the police, as the report recommends, but to cover all the public services. The new law will allow the Commission for Racial Equality to investigate what is happening within individual police forces and other public services.
The report contained 70 recommendations with the overarching objective of eliminating racist prejudice and disadvantage. Also proposed was a new and simplified definition of a racist incident:
DEFINITION OF RACIST INCIDENT
12. That the definition should be: “A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”.
13. That the term “racist incident” must be understood to include crimes and non-crimes in policing terms. Both must be reported, recorded and investigated with equal commitment.
14. That this definition should be universally adopted by the Police, local Government and other relevant agencies.
This recommendation was accepted by the Home Secretary and has since been adopted as the official definition by all police forces in Britain for use in all statistical reports, replacing the earlier APCO definition which had been in use since 1986. Not surprisingly, the number of ‘racist incidents’ reported to the police leapt from an average of around 12,000 in the five years through 1998 to over 23,000 in 1999. In 2007 a total of 61,262 such incidents were reported (Source: Home Office annual reports on ‘Race and the Criminal Justice System’).
Passage through Parliament
The Bill started out in the Lords and soon took on the by-now familiar format in which only symbolic opposition would be offered by the Conservative opposition. In fact, this time, their principal complaint would be that the Bill did not go far enough in fulfilling the recommendations of the Macpherson Report. The opposition spokesman was quick to confirm that the Conservatives would not oppose the Bill, even though it was deeply flawed.
Lord Cope of Berkeley … I have read the Bill carefully and studied quite a lot of what has been said and written about it. My view at the moment is that it is a sham. The Bill achieves a little, but it does not achieve what Ministers said they intended to achieve. It does not respond in full, as they said, to the Lawrence case, and it does not fulfil the expectations of the Commission for Racial Equality, even in the limited areas that it covers.
If the Minister had said that the Government had decided that it was unwise for the law to be extended very much, we could have respected that view and discussed it. But this Bill pretends to do things that it does not achieve. We are not going to oppose it today because we remain resolutely opposed to racial discrimination wherever it occurs. It is wrong in principle and appalling in practice. I am sure that everyone agrees with that.
The Bill as introduced came under immediate attack owing the absence of any provisions for sanctions against indirect discrimination. Government spokesman Lord Bassam stated that this was a deliberate omission because of the severe constraints that might be put on public bodies in formulating policy:
Lord Bassam of Brighton … Any policy or practice that had a differential impact on different racial groups because of a requirement or condition could be challenged in the courts. That could potentially include any age-based policy because of the different demographic profiles of different racial groups, and also any regional policy because of the different regional spread of different racial groups.
This aroused the ire of Anthony Lester (now in Parliament as a life peer) particularly. Describing himself as “an architect of the Race Relations Act 1976” which had originally codified the concept of indirect discrimination, he was to prove a committed advocate for its inclusion, a position which the government was eventually to concede. This concession was extracted despite government statistics showing that access discrimination claims going to court were overwhelmingly on the grounds of direct discrimination (99%). Lester’s trump card was that in failing to provide for indirect discrimination Britain would be in breach of its obligations uder European Community law and other international instruments, including the ECHR. Labour’s 1966 chickens were still flocking home to roost. On January 20th 2000 Home Secretary Jack Straw conceded defeat in the following terms:
… We have listened carefully to the arguments put forward about the issue and have concluded that, on balance, the risk of spurious challenge is outweighed by the principle of including indirect discrimination in respect of public sector functions in the Bill.
Direct and indirect racial discrimination is already prohibited under the Race Relations Act 1976 in the fields of employment, training, education, housing and the provision of goods, facilities and services in respect of the public and private sector. The Act is already being extended by the Bill to new fields in the public sector which have previously been determined by case law not to be a “service” and to which prohibitions on direct or indirect discrimination did not, therefore, apply. The Act will now extend to areas such as the implementation of central and local government’s regulatory, economic and social policies and law enforcement in respect of indirect discrimination as well.
This ended completely the distinction between functions performed by, for example the police, which constituted a ‘service’ and were therefore already covered by the 1976 Act (asking a constable the time, say) and those which did not (such as being stopped on suspicion of possession). The effect that this change would have upon policing, especially in areas with large ethnic populations, would prove to be profound.
On 13 January 2000, Lester moved a new clause to impose a general duty on public authorities to promote racial equality and to make it enforceable by regulations requiring compliance statements. “Any duty must be backed with a strong enforcement mechanism developed in consultation with the Commission for Racial Equality, as our amendment requires;” he said. This echoed one the CRE’s own long-term demands and was to become a central element of the new law.
Following an untroubled passage through the Lords apart, that is, from Anthony Lester’s relentless savaging of the government in pursuit of the closing of every conceivable loophole, the Bill arrived in the Commons on March 9th, 2000. Home Secretary Straw’s introduction was unctuously sanctimonious even by his elevated standards:
… The Bill is a fundamental part of our programme to achieve racial equality in this country. One of the Government’s central aims is to achieve a society where there is respect for all, regardless of their race, colour or creed, and a society that celebrates its cultural richness and ethnic diversity. That is not only inherently right but essential for Britain’s economic and social success.
In the world of business, it is increasingly clear that the world-class organisations capable of surviving and adapting in a global marketplace are those that value and embrace diversity. A successful multicultural society is not simply a question of equality for a minority; it is an essential competitive strategy for the UK, benefiting each and every one of us regardless of our religion or the colour of our skin.
Did anyone then present actually believe this tripe? Mr. Straw (jew) then proceeded to lay it on even thicker with this treacly eulogy to Lord Lester (jew):
… It would be appropriate to place on record not only my thanks, but the thanks of a huge number of people, for the work of Lord Lester of Herne Hill, who over the years has made probably a greater, more singular, contribution to the development of race relations legislation than anyone else in this country. It was he who--behind Roy Jenkins--was the architect of the Race Relations Act 1965, the Race Relations Act 1968 and the Race Relations Act 1976. I have no hesitation in saying that I have listened very carefully to the advice that he has offered.
Not wishing to be outdone, the opposition spokesman, the shadow Home Secretary rose to re-iterate that the Conservatives bent the knee to nobody in their condemnation of the evilness of racial discrimination and were second to none in their zeal to root it out:
… We on this side of the House remain unreservedly and absolutely opposed to racial discrimination. For that reason, we will support the Second Reading of the Bill today.
By this time the dissenters from 1976 had all, alas, long since departed. There was however one brave soul who stood up for his principles and refused to kowtow to pressure from his own front bench to remain silent. That was the Conservative MP for Aldershot (‘Home of the British Army’) and former Monday Club member, Gerald Howarth. He had on earlier occasions distinguished himself in the House by condemning the findings of Lawrence Inquiry a ‘grotesque fabrication’, and by calling for the deportation of father of Princess Diana’s last consort and Harrods’s owner. the ‘phony pharaoh’ Mohammed al-Fayed.
Howarth opened his innings with a stern challenge to Straw on what effect he anticipated the new measures might have the number of anti-discrimination cases. He was answered with Straw’s customary slipperiness:
… There are some details about the costs towards the end of the explanatory notes to the Bill, on page 13. We do not anticipate significant costs arising. We have given our best estimates. However, a very large cost will hit public authorities and society as a whole if we do not legislate. The first cost that we should be concerned about is the moral cost, but there would also be a financial cost.
Then followed an interesting exchange between Howarth and several partisan supporters of the Bill, which I repeat here in slightly edited form.
Mr. Woodward, (Lab. St. Helens South): Some Conservative Members may support the Bill, but as the hon. Gentleman [G. Howarth] knows, on section 28, for example, his party felt so strongly that it could not allow a vote of conscience. On an issue such as the Bill, it would send a strong signal to the country if the Conservative party had a three-line Whip--if its Members were present and if they were prepared to stand up and say that the Bill mattered. Belonging as they do to a party which for 18 years did nothing to implement the recommendations of the Commission for Racial Equality, perhaps it is not surprising that they are not so prepared.
In March last year, during the debate on the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) told the House:
It is fair to say that some unpalatable truths have to be faced, one of which is the fact that no Government have ever received a mandate to turn the United Kingdom into a multiracial society.
What a great excuse for indifference.
As the hon. Member for Aldershot told the House last year, he regretted that some people who have come here freely and others who have sought refuge in this country appear no longer content to learn and accept our native customs and traditions, but wish to assert their own.
He told the House of his fears when he described the threat of indoctrination in our schools to make children “value cultural diversity”.
His views are not unique; they are shared by noble Lords, such as Lord [Norman] Tebbit, who fears that multiculturalism will divide our society.
The hon. Member for Aldershot is not alone even in this place. He justifies his views by saying that minorities represent only 6 per cent. of the population. His advice is that they need to be more understanding of us and our centuries-old culture. There we have it: them and us; black versus white; division at the heart of our society and our policy making. That is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Mr. Woodward: In a moment.
We all worry about being victims of crime. However, most crime is random and could happen to anyone. Racist crime is different. The victims know that they were chosen because of the colour of their skin. Black people take extra steps to make their homes secure; they often stay home at night. Victimisation is worse because it is often repeated. Often, it is deadly. As the hon. Member for Aldershot has often reminded the House, ethnic minorities may make up only 6 per cent. of the population, but their members constituted one in six of all homicides in the past three years. I give way.
Mr. Howarth: I am grateful to the hon. turncoat* Member for Witney (Mr. Woodward), but if the United Kingdom is so bleak after his new party has been in government for three years, why do so many people come to these islands from so many different parts of the world? They come here not because it might be a little better than Bangladesh, but because they have heard that Britain is a fair and prosperous country. [* A reference to Woodward having defected to Labour the previous year following a reprimand for supporting the repeal of ‘Section 28’, a regulation prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality in schools. DD]
Mr. Woodward: The hon. Gentleman obviously feels self-satisfied when he makes such remarks, which only trivialise the debate. I shall not reply to the nonsense expressed by the hon. Gentleman. It does nothing to recommend his party, and nothing to recommend this country as a decent, civilised society.
Jean Corston (Lab., Bristol East): I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in the debate. I welcome the fact that the Government have the opportunity, after all those wasted years since the late-1970s, to widen the scope of the race relations legislation.
My hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr. Woodward) referred in his thoughtful speech to the Tory party’s indifference to this issue when it was in Government from 1979 to 1997. When Norman Tebbit was a Minister, he came to the House and said that he would present a report of the Commission for Racial Equality to Parliament in the way a head waiter would serve a bottle of coca-cola. That probably says it all.
Furthermore, I find it extraordinary that the present Conservative party has had more to say about General Pinochet than about Stephen Lawrence.
What little support Howarth did receive from his party colleagues was decidedly lukewarm at best:
Mr. Stephen Twigg (Lab., Enfield Southgate): I am listening carefully to the balanced approach that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lidington) is taking--in stark contrast to the speech of the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth). When I spoke earlier, I suggested that the hon. Gentleman could take the opportunity to repudiate the remarks of the hon. Member for Aldershot. I would be grateful if he would do that.
Mr. Lidington (Con., Aylesbury): I was about to say that I do not agree--I have made that clear in what I have said hitherto--with much of what my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) said. However, the House would be foolish if it ignored the fact that the opinions that he quite legitimately expressed are shared by many of our fellow citizens. It is right that those arguments should be addressed maturely in debate rather than being simply pilloried and branded, which is not the way forward. He expressed his concerns about the Bill’s possible impact on stop and search, and those concerns are shared quite widely by many people who would probably share the principled opposition to racism that the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate outlined in his speech.
It fell to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mike O’Brien) to close the debate, and in so doing he couldn’t resist taking another gratuitous swipe at Gerald Howarth, the only MP among the entire 600-odd who had had the integrity and testicular fortitude to articulate the real thoughts of the overwhelming majority of the indigenous population. Following the obligatory opening mush, O’Brien acclaimed the opposition for their ‘contribution’ to the debate, and then laid into Howarth:
Mr. O’Brien: The Bill fulfils a commitment to early legislation made by the Government in response to the report of the inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence.
We heard good speeches from the Conservative Benches. I thought that in many ways the best speech of the day was that from the right hon. Member for Fareham (Sir P. Lloyd), who made an important contribution to the debate. The hon. Member for Worthing, West (Mr. Bottomley) and the right hon. Member for Charnwood (Mr. Dorrell) also showed that many in the Conservative party support the creation of a successful multicultural Britain. I welcome that.
It is a pity that the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) let the Conservative party and the House down, with a speech of monumental littleness and saloon bar prejudice. He posed as a defender of the police against race relations legislation, but as a former parliamentary adviser to the Police Federation and as a Home Office Minister, I know that most police officers in Britain would want to dissociate themselves from the hon. Gentleman’s speech and his prejudice. They would have been appalled by it, just as I hope that they would have agreed with the comments of the parliamentary adviser to the Police Federation, the right hon. Member for Fareham.
The Bill passed its Second Reading without a Division and came into force as the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 on April 2nd, 2001.
In order to proceed on with the narrative I will place Howarth’s speech in its entirety in a separate entry below.
The financial impact of the Act
Since 1994 a Regulatory Impact Assessment has been required for any legislative proposal which is considered to have a significant financial impact on business, the voluntary sector, or which imposes costs of more than £5m on the public sector. In opening the Commons debate Home Secretary Jack Straw remarked cryptically on the financial consequences of the Bill:
… There is no extensive regulatory impact assessment for the Bill because the private sector has undertaken to fulfil its responsibilities under the Bill, as it has fulfilled them under the 1976 Act.
No mention there of the effect on public expenditures which, according to the Explanatory Notes accompanying the Bill, would be nominal (i.e. less than £5 million):
FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL
80. With the exception of the following, the measures in the Bill will be cost neutral or have a minimal impact on public expenditure.
90. The Bill will not have any significant effects on public service manpower.
These are quite extraordinary evasions which were allowed to pass essentially unchallenged in both Houses. It simply strains credulity to be asked to believe that a Bill which sought to impose stringent new duties and complex requirements for compliance and reporting on more than 50,000 public authorities would have a minimal impact on public expenditure and effective manpower levels. The only major expense line item cited in the Notes to the Bill concerned the possibility of an increase in the Legal Aid budget especially relating to immigration-related cases, but even there no attempt was made to quantify how the Act might impact that.
However we can make a few educated guesses on what the actual cost impact could have been. I have recently obtained some interesting information via a FoI request from a borough council in the North of England. It turns out that this local authority, which in 2001 had an ethnic majority population under 5% of its total, employs a full-time staff of twenty in its ‘Ethnic Diversity Service’, at a cost to the public approaching half a million pounds. The council’s website indicates that the service is provided as part of its work in ‘promoting racial equality’. The council has also confirmed that it has a three-person team responsible for ensuring compliance with “Equality and Diversity” directives. This expense and additional manpower is felt to be justifiable even though the council is responsible for a quite affluent, mostly suburban area with a nominal ethnic population. If we were to scale this investment up to a city the size of London and down to the smallest rural council, every one of which has the same duties under the Act as a multiracial metropolis, the real additional cost must surely amount to many billions annually to the taxpayers. It would not be beyond the bounds of possibility that the need for compliance with the RRAA2000 has created lucrative career openings for tens of thousands of Diversity parasites Professionals, like this one, for example. As a further indicator of the scale of the Diversity Industry, meet the six members of the ‘Equalities and Cohesion Unit’ at the Cumbria County Council, which administers one of the most sparsely populated and least enriched (0.7% ethnic) areas of the country.
Of course the duties imposed by the RRA2000 do not just apply to municipal government. Every public authority has similar responsibilities, ranging from the Metropolitan Police to, according to Schedule 1A to the Act “… an internal drainage board which is continued in being by virtue of section 1 of the Land Drainage Act 1991.” Fire Brigades are certainly not exempt either. We learned from press disclosures attendant to the ‘Gay Pride Snub’ row in 2006 that the Strathclyde Fire Service employs a three-person ‘Diversity and Equality’ team. Even the Ministry of Defence has been moved to declare that for it ‘Diversity is a core business’, and that ‘…Drawing on this diversity enhances our capability to deliver our business.’ The UK’s Defence Academy has been moved to set up its own Joint Equality and Diversity Training Centre (JEDTC) as ‘the centre of excellence for Equality and Diversity training across the MOD.’ Training is targeted towards officers and WOs who will be performing the duties of Equality and Diversity Adviser at Unit, Establishment and Formation Headquarters levels. No doubt JEDTC graduates are welcomed as valuable additions to the team by the complement at Camp Bastion and by the sailors on extended submarine duty with HMS Astute.
And what’s so bloody marvelous is that, if we are to believe Jack Straw, it’s all been made possible with minimal impact on public expenditure!
Summary of 2000 Act
The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 as finally enacted included the following main provisions:
• Imposes a statutory ‘general duty’ on 50,000 public authorities to eliminate racial discrimination and to promote racial equality.
• Additionally, most authorities are made subject to ‘specific duties’ in their role as employers, educators, service providers and so forth.
• Extends the prohibition of racial discrimination to all functions of public authorities not already covered by the 1976 Act
• Defines the term ‘public authority’ in the widest possible sense for the purpose of outlawing racial discrimination. Examples are private companies performing functions traditionally performed by the public sector (e.g. managing security services) or the ‘public’ aspects of private organisations (e.g. the Royal College of Surgeons).
• Empowers the Home Secretary to add to the list of public authorities other organisations at his discretion
• gives the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) powers to enforce specific duties imposed on public authorities;
• gives the CRE powers to issue Codes of Practice to provide practical guidance to public bodies on how to fulfil their general and specific duties to promote race equality;
• makes Chief Officers of Police vicariously liable for acts of discrimination carried out by officers under their direction and control and provides for compensation, costs, or expenses awarded as a result of a claim to be paid out of police funds;
• restricts the power of ministers to make racially-discriminatory decisions in the interests of national security.
Under its new powers the CRE (now the EHRC) has made available a Code of Practice which sets out in painstaking detail the statutory duties that all public authorities must perform to ensure compliance with the Act. Helpfully the CRE has also prepared a series of ‘good practice guides’ for the benefit of public authorities, for schools, for further and higher education institutions, and additionally a general guide to ethnic monitoring. Listed therein are detailed directions on the processes that must be followed, the policies and procedures that must be developed, and the ongoing reporting that must be periodically submitted in order for an authority not to fall foul of the Act, thus triggering a formal investigation by the CRE and, potentially, career-limiting court appearances for those bureaucrats who have fallen short of the required standard.
All this may sound a little abstract so it might be instructive to consider the effect that the imposition of these duties has upon a typical public authority. For this purpose, I have chosen (entirely at random) the East Sussex County Council, a relatively small authority which includes no major urban centres, and with very few resident ethnics (2.7% according to council figures). There are possibly few local authorities in the country for which the RRAA2000 has less relevance than East Sussex, but that hasn’t deterred the council from installing a three-person Equality and Diversity Team in which every member carries at least the title of ‘Manager’. Whether that’s simply a case of title inflation or whether there are additional more junior E&D professionals beavering away at the coal face would probably take a FoI request to sort out. Given the distinct lack of enrichment though, three E&D pros on the staff would seem to be more than sufficient.
Like every other one of the 50,000-odd public authorities, ESCC has had to prepare a Race Equality Scheme, which must be updated every three years. A Racial Equality Scheme is defined as ‘a timetabled and realistic plan, setting out an authority’s arrangements for meeting the general and specific duties required under Act.’ Each year the council is required to complete an Ethnic Monitoring report in which annual data concerning ‘progress’ with E&D must be presented to the Audit Commission, which then compiles them with thousands of others into its national tables of Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPI) for all local authorities (‘Name and Shame’).
The Council has instituted a ‘rolling programme of Equality Impact Assessments into all its plans and actions, according to its Council Plan 2008/9 Monitoring report. Performing an EIA for any new or revised policy or function is part of the statutory general duty to eliminate discrimination. An example is the Equality Framework for schools which ‘suggests’ that the EIA process should be a integral part of the policy-making process within each school. The council has thoughtfully collected together a comprehensive selection of its E&D initiatives on its website.
But that’s not all. Eastbourne, one of the three larger towns within the county which have their own district council, even operates its own Diversity programme! (Staffing level unknown). It has produced its own Race Equality Scheme. How this relates to the county-level scheme is unclear, since neither acknowledges the existence of the other, perhaps a legacy of some earlier internicene strife or a turf war. Let’s hope though they’re offering taxpayers value for money and heeding the Blairite calls for ‘joined-up government’ by not duplicating effort. Perhaps someone closer to the scene could investigate and let us know. At the same time someone might also take a glance at the Eastbourne report’s front cover and confirm how typical the ethnic mix depicted there is of the area. Eastbourne also provides a very handy link to its own library of EIAs. One dealing with equality in its Parks and Gardens Service makes for particularly riveting reading, highlighting as it does the urgent need for diversity training of all parks and garden maintenance staff as well as the need to increase the diversity of tenants in council allotments (small council-owned gardening plots). A side-point to be made is that this EIA, and others, appear to have been produced by the line management of the particular department involved. The cost of their time (and the opportunity cost of them not doing what they are really supposed to be doing as in the case of the schools) must also be added to the direct expense of the E&D professionals to form a true picture of the total cost to taxpayers.
Now, bearing in mind that similar diversity-related efforts continue every day all over the country in every one of the 50-odd thousand public authorities, what is the probability that the impact of the RRAA2000 on public expenditure has been minimal, as Jack Straw assured Parliament it would be?
To continue with Part 5.
|January 13th, 2010||#17|
British government begins crusade against freedom of speech. Calls for voluntary mass censorship in media.
The British government published a new set of guidelines for newspapers calling for a voluntary ban on certain words and the suppression of stories about non-white crimes! While the guidelines are not a legal requirement, Britain has already prosecuted political figures for so-called “hate speech” for speaking out against Islamic immigration.
This Draconian document, published by unelected government bureaucrats, can be viewed here in PDF form. Click Here.
The guidelines call on newspapers and media to voluntarily cease using the following words:
“immigrant,” “illegal immigrant,” “illegal asylum seeker,” “bogus asylum seeker,” “non-white,” “non-Christian,” “mixed race,” “half-caste,” “mulatto.”
Never identify people by race or religion.
The media is told to give racial minorities preferential treatment in hiring to have a more “multi-racial” staff.
The media is told to portray ethnic minorities in a more positive light.
When discussing public opinion always use or include quotes from ethnic minorities.
Pander to the taboos of ethnic minorities. Learn what local ethnic minorities don’t like and then omit these things from your paper.
Encourage whites to embrace elements of 3rd world immigrant cultures. Promote and glorify the holidays, customs, and religious beliefs of non-white immigrant cultures.
Also expose “racists.”
The government document explicitly tells those in the media to portray minorities in a more positive light while holding white “racists” up to ridicule.
How journalists can contribute to community cohesion"
|January 13th, 2010||#18|
It's illegal in Britain to publish or distribute any material that is "threatening," "abusive" or "insulting."
What in the world does a law like that mean? In practice, the only meaning of such a "law" is that it can be used by the powers that be to prosecute anybody saying anything they don't like.
|January 13th, 2010||#20|
A journalist is "guilty of an offence" if "racial hatred" is "likely to be stirred up by what is published." Like, say, printing pictures of rioting niggers, or the facts about interracial crime?
The government is essentially forcing reporters to become complicit in its drive to racially replace whites, and to remake white society. They must present a false picture of race relations or face prosecution.