Political Class’s Failure to Confront Unpalatable Facts Has Had Appalling Consequences

Trevor Phillips, Daily Mail, March 16, 2015

When I took over as chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in March 2003, I was braced for trouble. Race and religion are the most divisive and potent flashpoints in Western societies.

I was pretty well prepared for the job of race relations tsar. I had been a journalist for 25 years; I had run several public bodies; and I had been elected to chair the London Assembly.

Like most men of my age and background I’d also managed to get myself stopped by the police in pretty much every model of car I’d ever owned. I thought I knew what I was taking on. But to paraphrase the famous Monty Python sketch, nobody expects to be shot in the face.

In autumn 2005, what I thought was a car backfiring outside the office turned out to have punched a hole in the window next to my desk.

The would-be airgun assassins missed. But had I been less lucky I might, I guess, have lost an eye. The police came, investigated, but never had much chance of finding the culprit. We repaired the window, stepped up security, warned staff to be careful leaving the building and forgot all about it.

Like many people in my position, I find that such threats are a routine occurrence. If you’re not white, they come with their own special menace. But that hole in the window beside my desk at the CRE’s offices in South London should have been a stark warning of the passions that were already being roused, even in this mild-mannered nation, by Britain’s growing ethnic and cultural frictions.

It had been central to the New Labour project led by Tony Blair that Britain’s attitude to a multi-ethnic society would be transformed. We thought that if the government tackled discrimination with enough vigour then we didn’t need to worry too much about racial and religious divisions, which would just melt away in time because, after all, we were the same under the skin.

When it was announced on July 6, 2005, that London had won the 2012 Olympics with a pitch based on Britain’s ease with ethnic diversity, it seemed as though the whole world had bought our philosophy.

But the very next day it became clear that not everyone shared our enthusiasm for multiculturalism. On July 7, 52 people were murdered and more than 700 injured by four explosions on the London transport system.

When it emerged that the bombers were all young British Muslim men, we were faced with a single devastating question: if our multiculturalist dream was working so well, why had this happened?

For me the shock was compounded by a dawning realisation that I might have to bear some personal responsibility for failing to see what was coming. Because I had made it my business to spend part of each week in a community outside London, I already knew some groups were becoming so isolated that values and ideas which most people would find alien were tolerated and even encouraged.

But we had said little about it and done even less. After 12 months at the CRE I had come to the conclusion that, while beautiful in theory, in practice multiculturalism had become a racket, in which self-styled community leaders bargained for control over local authority funds that would prop up their own status and authority. Far from encouraging integration, it had become in their interest to preserve the isolation of their ethnic groups.

In some, practices such as female genital mutilation–a topic I’d made films about as a TV journalist–were regarded as the private domain of the community. In others, local politicians and community bosses had clearly struck a Faustian bargain: grants for votes.

And I saw a looming danger that these communities were steadily shrinking in on themselves, trapping young people behind walls of tradition and deference to elders.

Of course none of this was secret. But anyone who pointed the finger could expect to be denounced for not respecting diversity.

I myself had been quick to criticise others; in the autumn of 2005 I found myself the object of exactly this kind of witch-hunt. When I spoke publicly about my concern that Britain could be ‘sleepwalking to segregation’, I expected some mild debate. I didn’t anticipate the political fire-storm that would break.

On the evening of my speech, both the present Home Secretary, Theresa May, and the Liberal Democrat Schools Minister, David Laws–who were then in opposition–argued on the BBC1’s Question Time programme that I had gone too far.

Worse still, one of my Labour colleagues, David Miliband, who was Minister for Communities, dismissed my concerns as ‘fatuous’. Today, ten years later, we know better. On the face of it we should be a nation completely at ease with our growing diversity. But we are not.

In 2015, non-white school-leavers are more likely than their white peers to head for university.

Yet while many clever young Muslim women head for the top medical schools, a handful are boarding planes to become the brides of Isis fighters. We learn from his former headteacher that Jihadi John had attended a school where more than 70 per cent of the pupils were, like him, Muslims.

It is not Islamophobic to wonder if such a closed community might have nurtured a fatally narrow world-view. No one in France now doubts that the sickening violence that left a dozen dead in the Charlie Hebdo shootings was at least in part a consequence of the disastrous segregation of the French banlieues, the ghettos to which many Muslims have been consigned.

Yet simply pointing out these facts is thought to be so sensitive that they have become virtually unsayable. In a world that rightly venerates the memory of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, the modern secular sin of being a racist (or an anti-Semite or an Islamophobe, its religious cousins) is by far the worst crime of which you can be accused.

The perverse and unintended consequences of our drive to instil respect for diversity is that our political and media classes have become terrified of discussing racial or religious differences.

Our desperation to avoid offence is itself beginning to stand in the way of progress. And all too often the losers are minority Britons.

If African Caribbeans are statistically more likely to commit some kinds of crime than other people, as indeed they are–we are especially proficient at murdering other African Caribbeans, for example–it might make some sense to understand why, so we can stop it happening.

Not all Jewish people are wealthy; in fact, some are extremely deprived. But if–as is true–Jewish households in Britain are on average twice as wealthy as the rest, might it not pay to work out what makes these families more likely to do well? Is there something that the rest can learn from their traditions and behaviour?

We all know why these things cannot be said. The long shadow of slavery and the Holocaust rightly makes us anxious about the kind of slack thinking that led to the dehumanising of entire populations.

Yet should history prevent us from understanding the differences between us–especially if those insights might improve life for everyone?

For example, one of the great educational successes of recent years has been the dramatic improvement in the performance of London’s schoolchildren at GCSE level. Many explanations have been advanced–better teaching, new academies, innovative exchanges of classroom practice.

The one explanation that almost every Establishment report seems to reject is also the most likely. It is that during the past ten years the capital’s classrooms have seen a huge rise in the numbers of high-performing immigrant children–Chinese, Indian, African and Polish–and a contraction in the numbers of under-achieving African Caribbean and white children.

A rigorous analysis conducted by Simon Burgess, professor of economics at Bristol University, has largely been ignored by the Establishment, although not by parents. Smart middle-class parents in London now visit schools with an eye to putting their child in a class with as many Asian children as they can find.

Burgess’s study shows that it’s not only the high-flying minorities who are doing well–they’re dragging up the averages among their white classmates, too.

The instinct to avoid offence is understandable. But its outcomes have been shown in practice to be disastrous. Victoria Climbie, an Ivorian eight-year-old, was tortured and murdered in 2000.

The subsequent inquiry by Lord Laming showed that doctors and social workers, desperate to avoid charges of racial insensitivity towards a black family, ignored or misinterpreted signs that should have led to her rescue.

Latterly, the unfolding tragedy of the street grooming of children by largely Pakistani Muslim gangs in several British cities has exposed a culture in which public authorities would do almost anything to avoid being accused of stigmatising an ethnic group–including turning a blind eye to abuse.

The Times reporter Andrew Norfolk, who exposed the street grooming scandal, recently uncovered a film that had been commissioned by child protection chiefs to warn young people of the dangers. It was suppressed in 2008 for the simple reason that it featured a white girl groomed by a young Asian man–the most probable scenario, but one that was deemed unacceptable to be shown to the girls at risk. Instead, another film was commissioned. It features a white abuser, a black victim and no discernibly Asian characters.

One of the few senior figures who has never been afraid to speak his mind is the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Back in 2006 he stirred controversy by saying it would help him to communicate with his Muslim Blackburn constituents if women were prepared to remove their veils so he could see their faces when he spoke to them. He was denounced as insensitive and worse. He told me that ‘a lot of white politicians are nervous about this. They lack confidence about what their views are and they think somebody will criticise them . . . [call them] racist or some nonsense like that.’

Ann Cryer, the first MP to blow the whistle on the street grooming scandal, in her Keighley constituency, now says she discovered that others in her local party had been aware of it for years, but neither the police nor social services would take her complaints seriously.

She says she found it difficult to raise the issue without being called a racist. In the end she went public, because ‘if you pretend it’s not happening, as many people in Rotherham did, then you go down the road of condoning it.

‘You’re actually saying, “This is all right, because it’s what they do in that community”. Well, it’s not. It’s not all right.’

The actor Benedict Cumberbatch recently found himself in hot water after trying to make a perfectly reasonable–and much-needed–case for the employment of black actors in greater numbers.

Yet the star’s main point was buried in a shower of condemnation for using the ‘outdated’ term ‘coloured’–although, in fact, in America the phrase ‘people of colour’ is the most common way of describing black and Asian people as a group.

There is a real cost to this type of intimidation. The upshot is that the next time a white person wants to speak up for minorities, I would guess they’ll hesitate and ask themselves: ‘Will I make things worse by speaking out?’

It’s not just the impact on free speech that we need to be concerned about. We find it more and more difficult to address real problems in our society because we are afraid to describe them.

In the past decade, more than half a million white Londoners left the city for the suburbs, not because they are bigots but because they wanted homes with gardens and better schools. Fewer non-whites made the same move, leaving the capital a far less integrated place.

Even among those who stayed, research by the Social Integration Commission showed that social mixing across the lines of race and religion was, relatively speaking, least likely in multi-ethnic London–because the more choice people have, the more they choose to hang out with their own kind.

The revelation that schools in Birmingham had been taken over by a small, religiously motivated clique–the so-called Trojan Horse scandal–shows that children’s education is at risk of being sacrificed on the altar of religious orthodoxy.

And the Electoral Commission has voiced its concern about the corruption in segregated and closed neighbourhoods.

The problems aren’t limited to the conduct of people of colour. Last week, it was reported that one employer has advertised for workers, suggesting Polish speakers would be especially welcome–not a demonstration of an equal opportunities policy, but part of the growing trend for factory and shift work to be organised by ethnicity and nationality.

It’s a phenomenon I noted when conducting an inquiry into the meat-packing industry a few years back. It’s practical common sense–the workers and their supervisors communicate more readily and there are fewer fights on the production line. But is this really how we want to live?

Few of us want to go back to the days of ‘no blacks, no Irish, no dogs’ notices. Most people would rather that racial distinctions played no part in our lives. Should there be limits to the racial or ethnic mix we tolerate in schools, workplaces or neighbourhoods?

Would the publication and use of ethnic crime data lead to racial profiling and provide an excuse for fresh discrimination by the police and criminal justice system?

In an unequal world, if we are to tackle the problems of racial inequality and segregation, we at least have to be ready to name the problem. And we have to face the political consequences of our mealy-mouthed approach to race.

Britain’s lack of frankness is echoed in every major European country and it is fuelling a growth of angry, nativist political movements across the continent.In Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Greece and Holland, far-Right parties have steadily built a solid presence on the political landscape. In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Front is tipped to win next week’s round of local elections.

At the heart of these parties’ appeal is a simple, oft-stated claim: we are the only people ready to speak the truth.

Nothing could be further from reality. But the po-faced political correctness that cramps all the conventional parties is allowing these frauds to get away with it.

Preventing anyone from saying what’s on their minds won’t ever remove it from their hearts. People need to feel free to say what they want to without the fear of being accused of racism or bigotry.

That means we’re all going to have to become more ready to offend each other. If we do, we might–in time–begin to see each other in our true colours. And surely that’s what the aim of changing Britain’s attitudes to race was all about.

Trevor Phillips is the former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality.

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  • TruthBeTold

    That means we’re all going to have to become more ready to offend each other. If we do, we might–in time–begin to see each other in our true colours. And surely that’s what the aim of changing Britain’s attitudes to race was all about.

    This creep has been one of the main culprits in suppressing freedom on conscious and now he believes he may have gone too far and stopped people from working out their difference by preventing them from speaking about their differences.

    The damage is done and irreparable; not that multiculturalism would work anyway.

    • David Ashton

      Maybe not “irreparable” if even he can backtrack, however slightly, in this way. From a West Indian Christian English-speaking background he has a “prejudice” against South Asian non-Christians who do not speak English and do not follow his previous recommendation, for example, to respect Shakespeare and Dickens as part of the heritage of this nation.

      • propagandaoftruth

        And I saw a looming danger that these communities were steadily shrinking in on themselves, trapping young people behind walls of tradition and deference to elders.
        As much as I “love” the muzzies, I gotta say this exposes the anasognosic pervasive influence of Marxist thought in totalitarian democracies…

        All past bad. Walls of tradition (always bad). Deference to elders – even worse. Reminds young people there was a time before Marxism and neo-Marxist totalitarian democracy.

  • superlloyd

    ‘After all, we were the same under the skin.’ No, we’re not as medicine, forensics, DNA and IQ all make clear.

    This black, taxpayer funded fraud has not had a Damascene conversion; He’s just trying to pre empt the mass exodus of Labour voters to the UKIP by a mea culpa. It won’t work, Phillips,your hypocrisy and Labour’s treason will not be forgotten or forgiven.

  • JackKrak

    “We thought that if the government tackled discrimination with enough
    vigour then we didn’t need to worry too much about racial and religious
    divisions, which would just melt away in time because, after all, we
    were the same under the skin.”

    And there it is in a nutshell. The starry-eyed, childish, comically naive approach to the world that creates the very mess that they then claim to be baffled by.

  • IstvanIN

    NO ONE who looks like Trevor Philips should have any say about what happens within the UK.

  • He’s wrong about who exposed the sex slavery scandal in Rotherham. It was Nick Griffin.

    As for this (somewhat) come to Jesus moment, I wonder what his angle is, I wonder what sort of game he’s playing.

    • listenupbub

      It reminds me of how the half-black pundits on CNN said the same kinds of things about being honest about race- after, of course, news had gotten out that policemen in Ferguson were getting screwed.

      Personally, I do not think there is an “angle.” I think he (and the CNN fools) wants to sound smart and responsible by blaming other people for not being “serious” enough about race. It is a status move.

      There is only one solution for the problems of multiculturalism: monoculturalism.

    • Yancy Derringer

      And he’s wrong as to why Victoria Climbie’s continuous abuse went unreported. Most of the blame has fallen upon the social worker and the policeman most involved in supervising her guardianship (by her tormentors — her great aunt and the great aunt’s new husband). Like the (would be) family, that social worker and that policeman are both black. Each saw and met with the girl often, but never noted nor reported the various signs of bodily trauma.

    • Charles Martel

      Well the cops & social workers only admitted to ignoring gang rapes in Rotherham in a time period that started 4 years after Griffin was arrested for speaking out about it. So Labour considers that there is no official evidence he was right.

  • Pax Romana

    After all the violence, murder, mayhem, civil rights abuses against whites, and the wholesale raping of their white women, and children; after all the damage to England and Western Civilization’s future caused by Trevor Phillips and fools like him, this mental midget admits that he was wrong….but NOW he knows what top do! BS! He’s still wrong! And it is Useful Idiots with his type of blatant insanity that is destroying us. His “so let’s talk now” still leads to the same ends…our destruction as a unique race and culture.

    Our ancestors built borders for a reason. To protect and preserve our safety and culture against other tribes that wanted to kill us and destroy it. These stupid Diversity Loving Multi-Culti’s have removed those borders, and they have done nothing but serious damage ever since.

    Diversity is NOT a Joy, Multiculturalism is NOT a strength. It is a constant source of social friction, violence, pain, broken lives, death, and mourning. Your citizens are being murdered in the streets, people are being enslaved. and your children are being sexually exploited and raped. How many more innocent victims before we realize this multi-culti propaganda is nothing but an evil lie meant to exploit the European
    majorities’ goodwill to others’ selfish advantage at the destruction of our own lives and well-being. And when we are the minority in our own land, as another poster stated, “Your white children will be 4th rate sh-tizens in a third world country. They will show your “precious” children NONE of the politically correct, suicidal “tolerance” you
    showed them.”

    Liberalism is a mental disorder. Liberalism is the insane ideology of Western suicide.

    • Lygeia

      Wow. That is quite a political cartoon. It really says it all, doesn’t it?

    • Yancy Derringer

      There is the everyday insult to polite society too. Obese African women eating smelly food from paper bags on the bus, dropping the detritus — shells, peels, bones — to the floor.

  • Trevor Phillips is a leftist mole speaking out of both sides of his lying mouth. From his Wikipedia entry:

    Trevor Phillips has spoken on the need for free speech to “allow people to offend each other.”[11] These comments came after the protests against the Danish cartoons satirising the Islamic prophet, Muhammad which sparked protests in the Muslim world. He stated in an ITV interview: “One point of Britishness is that people can say what they like about the way we should live, however absurd, however unpopular it is.” While supporting free speech, Phillips has spoken out against providing the far right with a platform. Discussing the Oxford Union’s invitation to BNP leader Nick Griffin and Holocaust denier David Irving, he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “As a former president of the National Union of Students, I’m ashamed that this has happened. This is not a question of freedom of speech, this is a juvenile provocation. What I would say to students at Oxford is: You’re supposed to be brilliant. Put your brains back in your head. People fought and died for freedom of expression and freedom of speech. They didn’t fight and die for it so it could be used as a sort of silly parlour game. This is just a piece of silly pranksterism and the issues are too serious to be left to that.” Griffin has since hit back at Phillips by declaring him a “black racist” in an interview given to Channel 4.[

    • listenupbub

      Hahaha! What a fool this Phillips is!

      I mentioned before how he is playing a status game with his bureaucratic jobs and public pronouncements, saying grand things about political philosophy and sociology and the goodness of liberalism. He knows how to put a smart-sounding sentence together, which makes him think he is truly profound and wise.

      In reality, he does not even understand the logical implications of the smart-sounding words he says.

      All he is accomplishing is puffing himself up above the “backwards” reactionaries who are “beneath” him. That is the only commonality between his hilariously contradictory pronouncements. His arrogance is Obama-like, as is his folly.

      What else can we expect from dindus in high places?

  • LHathaway

    “When I took over as chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in March 2003, I was braced for trouble”.

    Que the fairy tail.

  • listenupbub

    Oh, certainly the only reason that the muslim London bombers did the things they did is because they were too “isolated.” You know how “isolation” inevitably leads to crazy acts of terror.

    Look at all those terrorist Amish, Appalachains, U-P-ers, Alaskans- oh my gosh, the list goes on and on.

    Nobody should ever live isolated from urban multcultural communities ever again. Not after “isolation” took peaceful followers of a religion of peace, such as Islam, and made them terrorists.

    • IstvanIN

      Eskimos are particularly threatening.

    • Hammerheart

      My favorite one is ‘poverty causes crime’

      I’ve been so poor I honestly didn’t know if a $2.50 charge on my debit card would go through and yet here I am, a record bereft of felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions.

      • Light from the East

        Race and ethnicity (high-correlated) is a better indicator of crime than poverty and level of education (medium-correlated).

      • Charles Martel

        Must be that White Privilege

        • listenupbub

          That’s it, white privilege! I knew there was a tenet of liberalism that could apply here that I was forgetting!

          We can’t say that liberals do not cover all bases, because they do. They just bend the rules a little to get around the diamond- a little running out of the baselines, a little skipping around, maybe a backwards way of running from third to first…

  • WR_the_realist

    In short, this guy denounced and demonized any critics of diversity, and then when he made a few mild criticism of how diversity was working out in practice he got demonized in turn.

    Well, buddy, when you signed up for the Commission for Racial Equality you didn’t just join an oxymoron, you joined a hate group. Are you surprised that you are the one being hated now?

  • Lygeia

    Maybe Trevor Phillips has had a Paul-on-the-road-to-Damascus moment.

    However, I can’t help wondering if, like Ilana Mercer, he benefits from supporting multiculturalism and then tries to benefit after creating something that doesn’t work by criticizing it.

  • dd121

    Maybe they know more about race than you think.

  • Light from the East

    No matter what, political class in Western will never make those retarded Muslims to assimilate. Their minds are always connected to the text of Quran. They are so bigoted and cannot be saved.

  • “At the heart of these parties’ appeal is a simple, oft-stated claim: we are the only people ready to speak the truth….”

    And here lay the whole premise for this new approach. They want to issue a “PC” discussion parameter devised on race and religion, so that people are not going to be sent our way in an otherwise stifling climate.

    All they want to do is to reduce these tensions, remove the “sillier” end of their previous shrill shut-downs, so that the country can further “sleepwalk” into obliteration without being woken up.

    The desk he was allegedly shot next to, would that be the desk upon which stood a bust of Lenin, as a reminder of that although they had failed, there was no need not to still try most of it? I think it would have been.

  • How does a (white) person get out? I can’t take it anymore.
    Ted – the murderer – Kennedy and a couple senate helpers initiated the decline when they ruined the US immigration policy that before his actions catered nearly exclusively to white Christian, Western European immigrants. Civil Rights followed, while ostensibly civil rights is a guarantee of opportunity, it evolved to become a magnificently failed attempted to paper over the glaring competence defects and intellectual disparities evident in various racial groups. Now, despite fifty years of evidence that articulates failure upon failure, and the near vertical decline in some communities, the facts and evidence are ignored. The cultural disintegration and threats that imposes does not move white or Christian people to demand a change. The costs of comforts, and how comforts blind reason and resolution are remarkable. SO long as the majority of whites are able to retain their varied comforts and escape each night to their home, purposely purchased to artificially erect a barrier to integration, they ignore the world around them. White women are terrified for themselves and their children – they vote for anyone promising to protect them from domestic and foreign threats. White men are philosophically and culturally neutered and don’t appear to mind. Being the object of insults and mockery directed at their abilities and competence slides off their collective backs. Comforts… regardless of the type, are the obsessions that enable the thefts of liberty and cultural disintegration. Religious groups and leaders bicker over technical interpretation of scripture and attacks other Christians on theological differences. They refuse to unite to protect their shared interests and rollback illegal confiscations of worship. Sigh… How do I get out? Where will I go? Is no one willing to fight for their rights?

  • Singingbird1

    What an ambivalent b..t.rd this bloke is.First he wants to shut us all up if we mention race,immigration et al now he wants us to talk more openly about race,immigration.