Trevor Phillips, New Labour hack to perfection, is Chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission – and his re-appointment has caused nearly half of the commissioners to leave.
At a time when human rights in the UK have come under sustained attack, with the effective extinction of habeas corpus, extraordinarily intrusive “Anti-terrorism Acts”, and growth of the surveillance society, Phillips has ensured the Equality and Human Rights Commission has remained absolutely silent on these issues.
Nor have they said a word about the now overwhelming evidence of UK collusion in torture abroad. When Islamophobia was at its height, and Jack Straw chose to make a populist attack on veiled Muslim women, Phillips waded in to back his long term political ally. He has been entirely silent on, but privately is a strong supporter of, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Phillips is one of that extraordinary roll of former Presdents of the National Union of Students. As members of the far left, they showed an authoritarianism and disregard for democracy in their student days which has stood them in good stead as leaders, cheerleaders and administrators of New Labour’s authoritarian and aggressive right wing state. They are all ruthless careerists, and also fervently anti-Palestinian.
Jack Straw, Trevor Phillips, Charles Clarke, David Aaronovitch, Sue Slipman, all ex-NUS Presidents – a roll-call of shame indeed. Some on the left are surprised that my CV includes being a leader of the succesful movement to bring Scottish universities out of the NUS in the 1970s and 1980s. I rest my case.
(I knew Mike Phillips, Trevor’s brother, slightly and once had dinner at his home. A lovely man).