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The most seriously long overdue response from Boris Johnson to the “Black Lives Matter Movement” would be for him to offer his best attempt at delivering a really sincere apology to the nation for his own bigotry and deeply offensive racist remarks that are documented in articles that he penned, in his white supremacist arrogance. But no, Johnson doesn’t do sincere and he is far too narcissistic to ever even consider a humble apology. That simple duty would have marked a starting point, an indication that he was at least trying to listen; instead the tone deaf part-time Prime Minister announced that he was setting up yet another distracting and redundant inquiry into racial disparities. If he thought this might act as a salve to quell the protests he was seriously out of step with public opinion. If anything the PM poured petrol on the fire by appointing Munira Mirza to lead the disingenuous “inquiry.”
As the Guardian Article reporting in, “Fourth week of anti-racism protests fuels call for change,” “Protesters in London demand removal of Munira Mirza as head of race inequality commission.” Protesters cited the need to remove Boris Johnson’s adviser Mirza, “because she has cast doubt on the existence of institutional racism and condemned previous inquiries for fostering a ‘culture of grievance’,” which Tory Martin Docherty-Hughes brought the PM’s attention at Prime Minister’s Questions as if it were a glowing attribute! In his convoluted pseudo question he asked, “…So I wonder: can the Prime Minister tell us today, does he agree with Ms Mirza that previous inquiries have fostered a ‘culture of grievance’ within minority communities?” To which outrageous assertion the PM replied, “I am a huge admirer of Dr Munira Mirza, who is a brilliant thinker about these issues…” Johnson tried to claim that what the BLM protesters wanted was an inquiry to dredge over the same ignored issues Tories would never rectify.
In reality, what the protesters are still crying out for is an end to the procrastination over the copious evidence of measures that required urgent implementation years ago; the recommendation of the past eight ignored inquiries into various aspects of racial inequality and injustice do not require further analysis. These protest should not end until we see a concrete plan of action to start actually taking long-overdue positive changes, but Johnson just ordered a few more gallons of whitewash. The Guardian reported that, “At Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park in west London on Saturday, protest organiser Imarn Ayton called for Mirza’s removal and told attendees that giving her the role was a grave mistake before thousands marched on Parliament Square.” Mirza was depicted as “…a woman who does not believe in institutional racism – she has argued it is more of a perception than a reality.”
The continuing protests are overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations. According to an Article in the Skwawkbox, in early BBC news reports of the deadly attacks in Reading appeared to suggest that they were linked to a Black Lives Matter protest in the park earlier in the day. Although these random stabbings bore all the obvious hallmarks of a lone terrorist attack it has taken almost 24 hours for the incident to be designated as such. It certainly looks as if the establishment are keen to portray the BLM movement as a violent insurrection targeting statues and monuments with vandalism. The Guardian noted that, “Protesters chanted ‘Munira Mirza must go’ as they marched through central London. But there was no repeat of the events of last Saturday, when far-right counter-protesters congregated, purportedly to defend statues, and clashed with police. It led the prime minister to condemn the violence as ‘racist thuggery’, adding: ‘Racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality’.” Try apologising!
The stunning photo capturing white counter protester Bryn Male being carried to safety over the shoulder of Patrick Hutchinson, in a gesture infinitely more powerful than any angry retaliatory punch, perfectly encapsulated the peaceful intent of Black Lives Matter protesters. Another Guardian Article reported that, “Hutchinson and friends had attended an anti-racism protest in London on Saturday with a view to protecting younger allies from far-right counter protesters. He has told how he stepped in when he became aware of a man involved in a confrontation outside the Southbank Centre at Waterloo.” In his humility they note that, “The 49-year-old has been keen to stress that he protected the counter-protester by working with his four friends – Pierre Noah, 47, Jamaine Facey, 43, Chris Otokito, 37, and Lee Russell, also 37 – who formed a protective ring as Hutchinson moved the man away.”
They add that “Hutchinson has told the Guardian he wanted the image of moment in which he and his friends acted to carry the wounded man to safety to be a unifying one. ‘I hope it’ll change the minds of those who are sitting on the fence, who aren’t sure about this whole thing. I hope it can galvanise us as human beings and bring us together.” Reports in several newspapers describe Male, the rescued man, as an abusive rowdy football hooligan who at 55 should know better than to incite trouble According to the Guardian, it has been confirmed that he was a “former officer at British Transport Police” and they said, “Bryn Male, who has yet to speak publicly about the events of the weekend that led to Patrick Hutchinson being hailed as a hero, worked in the London area for British Transport Police and was latterly a detective constable. He retired from the force in September 2014…”
In stark contrast the BLM protests where people of all ethnic backgrounds have been drawn together in solidarity seeking equality, “>the Canary Article entitled, “As far-right fascists rampage through London, the establishment’s emboldening them further” highlights the problem of systemic racism. They report that, “On 13 June, hoards of angry far-right protesters stormed through central London, allegedly to protect statues and monuments from Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists. The marches quickly descended into disorder, with video footage emerging of white men behaving violently, and kicking and throwing punches at the police. Journalists were also reportedly attacked. But the response from police and the establishment to their violence has likely emboldened them even further.” Describing a, “two-tier system based on race,” they note that, “Large crowds of white men were recorded marching, swearing, and making Nazi salutes. Video footage showed violent scuffles between a group of white men and the police in Parliament Square. Yet reports emerged of Met Police ‘indiscriminately’ arresting Black men in the evening on 13 June…”
Beyond the disproportionate targeting of peaceful anti-racist protesters that might give the false impression of a protest brawl for which both sides were equally responsible according to the Canary the mainstream media are also complicit in this deliberate misinterpretation of the reality on the ground. They emphasize that such distortions provide “A space for fascism,” Elaborating the reports about far right agitators they say, “Perhaps more disturbing than the marches themselves is the legitimacy that they’ve been given by the press and certain influential bodies. Apart from the far-right being benignly referred to as ‘counter-protesters’, the Metro initially called them ‘anti-antifascists’. It later changed this to ‘far right protesters.” They also report that, “a journalist at the Telegraph decided to video record and amplify a speech from Britain First leader Paul Golding. This is the same man who was found guilty under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act on 20 May. Yet he’s seen speaking freely in public without any police in sight.”
Our monuments are well defended from vandalism by the police whose job it is to protect any property that is under threat, so there was no excuse for the far-right racist thuggery in faux defence of statues, undeserving of our reverence. I remarked in my Post only the other day that, “these radical extremists find support among Tory MPs for whom it’s far more important to shield the bronze and plaster icons of Imperial rule and jingoistic subjugation of the global south than it is to safeguard the hard-working, loyal and dedicated living decedents of those poor exploited people among our key workers and the heroes of our NHS still dying from Covid 19!” I would like to adorn Churchill’s statue in the full PPE so desperately needed by our NHS staff as it would cause no ham for Winston to don a gown, face mask and visor: only them might Johnson and his Tory ditherers realize where the urgent need for Government ‘protection’ really lies. Do you think the penny might just drop? I doubt it with this dangerous Tory cabal.
At PMQs last Wednesday the Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns had said, “Following the disgraceful events of the last week, with folks defacing national monuments, including Churchill and Queen Victoria, and offending the memory of hero PC Keith Palmer, what will the Prime Minister do to uphold British values and carry out the rule of law?” We do not need to harm Winston’s hairless bald head, but he needs relocating to a museum where the full details of his illustrious past can be judged in appropriately balanced contrast with the atrocities he perpetrated that should shame us all. The recent spotlight on Churchill is a good thing as it has sent the curious on a frantic Google search for all those inglorious deeds that have been so studiously airbrushed out of our country’s history books. During the war years a desperate people needed a hero so Churchill got the job. David Olusoga commented that the Covid 19 crisis has provided the time to read and really learn about our past. There are a few corrections to be made!
If I had my way Churchill would be removed from our five pound notes; I call them ‘Blue Bigots’ and I resent their inclusion in our currency. As I wrote in my last Post, “Who might be less controversial, more inclusive and universally acceptable by the entire British public as a worthy replacement for Winston Churchill on that venerated plinth in Parliament square? What truly heroic figure from the devastating years of world war trauma, adored as much by the veterans who fought in Burma’s jungles as the worried wives they left behind to endure the blitz? Please not another towering man of endless brutal conflict and cruelty, but instead a noble woman of compassion and strength, whose commitment and courage took her to the front line unarmed, not carrying the bandages to heal wounded bodies, but blessed with the powerful voice that soothed desolate, fearful and tormented minds. Even a firmly committed pacifist could rejoice in her contribution to preserving the flagging morale of our embattled people in our darkest hour; I speak of course of Vera Lynn.”
They could build speakers into the base of the plinth with the ability for a £1 donation to charity to trigger that spirited rendition of her most memorable song, “We’ll meet again.” The donations could help to support Homeless Veterans, but wait, surely we must recognize that ‘Homeless Veterans’ is a ghastly oxymoron. Why are these former soldiers left abandoned to sleep on our streets? Because they become expendable soon after the Government has finished exploiting the fervour of patriotism that compelled them to join up seeking adventure at a tender age of naivety where we do not even trust them to vote. The Cenotaph and other glorious war memorials that the Tory Government is prepared to go to such lengths to protect are as sacred as our national remembrance day that has now morphed into an extended poppy month! The rituals are not so much a respectful veneration of the sacrifice of those who fought and died, but a vital jingoistic PR stunt to recruit the next generation of cannon fodder ready to fight in another futile foreign conflict.
Where are the memorials to humanitarians and selfless aid workers who have died overseas or the courageous journalists who have died while reporting foreign conflicts or domestic rioting? The Government does not recognize their sacrifice as much as that of the animals killed in battle for whom there is a statue; we can only glorify war. The Canary reported that the, “Protesters chanted “Munira Mirza must go” as they marched through central London, but in fairness the ridiculous inquiry itself must go as it just creates further space for inexcusable Tory Government procrastination and a further opportunity for victim blaming for which they are so accomplished. They want to exploit the Black Lives Matter protests as a distraction from their shambolic policy disasters, but every intervention leads to another embarrassing blunder like Dominic Raab’s insulting comments about taking the knee. They still haven’t fired Dominic Cummings for violating the lockdown rules they still expect the rest of us to abide by.
Boris Johnson and his Tory Government are hopelessly out of touch are not listening so we must keep reminding them of the really important priorities. Ditch the inquiry and start taking immediate action on Windrush, Grenfell the report David Lammy presented, all eight neglected reports. Commit to full transparency by releasing the Russian Report and make Dominic Cummings submit to committee scrutiny by appearing to answer questions before he is sent packing. Protect vulnerable people especially those in the BAME community and provide regular adequate supplies of PPE for NHS and key workers while relegating archaic statues to our brutal imperialist past to museums. Start telling the truth in Parliament and to the media and stop manipulating our BBC. It is hopeless expecting any of these things to materialize which is why it is so vitally important that we fully investigate the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and remove this toxic Tory Government from power. Keep protesting: DO NOT MOVE ON!