Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

The horrific ‘caught on camera’ killing of George Floyd by US police sent shock waves globally, despite Covid restrictions, such barbarism sparked large protests in the UK. Key members of our Tory Government tried hard to marginalize the British protests by pretending that this country doesn’t have a problem with race. There was an aggressive right wing push-back when our precious icons of colonialism came under attack, none more so than Boris Johnson’s favorite idol, the totemic racist Winston Churchill. The PM has never apologised for his own deeply offensive racial slurs, hiding behind the diversity of his cabinet like an un-Christian member of the church brandishing a ‘God badge;’ as the hypocrisy of Ireland’s ‘charitable’ Catholic Nuns towards unwed mothers after their cluelty was exposed. So too does the façade of Tory diversity and tolerance crumble when you examine the sentiments of their MPs. A Somali man died just after release from police custody in Cardiff, but his tragic demise was cautiously obscured.

This event should have reignited UK wide Black Lives Matter protests. Tory MPs oppose the BLM movement by portraying these peaceful protesters as thugs as they threaten the power of our rotten capitalist system. Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer’s tokenism describing BLM as ‘a moment’ and then posing ‘taking the knee’, was drowned out by his cringeworthy speech expressing pride in his British patriotism. As a ‘Proud Patriot of the Planet’ I find the entire conventional framing of the patriotism debate fundamentally embeds the toxic ‘othering’ that will breed further racism. Boris Johnson is eager to utilize BAME Ministers as ethnic shields to hide his abhorrent bigotry and callous neglect for systemic UK inequality. The Canary expose how, “Britain has a long history of racism, which is its original sin. Its impact is still visible today. In recent years, the British government had to deal with the fallout from racial scandals like Windrush, the Grenfell Tower disaster, and racial disparities in the effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.”

The Canary say, “With the scale of racism in Britain, one would have expected the ethnic minorities represented in the government to help pull down the racial structures upon which this country was built, and also to call out racism whenever it rears its ugly head. However, in most instances, they’ve taken the path of least resistance by defending the status quo. BAME Cabinet Members are ‘shipped out to defend the government’s position during racial controversies.’ Angela Davis, the African American scholar and activist, once spoke about how diversity could be used for a visual effect ‘that allows the machine to keep functioning in the same old way … sometimes more efficiently and effectively’.” While I doubt that Kwasi Kwarteng battled pangs of extreme hunger while he studied at Eton that should not leave him, and fellow BAME Tories, totally devoid of empathy for less privileged immigrants to this country; after all how many committed Socialist MPs shared the childhood deprivation suffered by Marcus Rashford?

The Canary report that, “Kwasi Kwarteng, who is of Ghanaian heritage… is one of the most highly educated cabinet members. Kwarteng attended Eton College and studied classics and history at Cambridge University. He also studied at Harvard University and has a PhD in economic history from Cambridge.” Fiercely defending Johnson “Kwarteng said, ‘To say he is racist is scurrilous, offensive and completely wrong’,” and he claimed that “the Windrush scandal wasn’t about institutional racism.” James Cleverly, a junior Minister, of Sierra Leonean heritage, was sent on a Media tour to downplay the problem of racism in the UK, he arguing on Sky News, that, “the UK is among the least racist countries in the world.” The Canary say that “when Green MSP Ross Greer called Winston Churchill a white supremacist and a mass murderer, due to his role in the Bengal famine and his racist description of Indians and Chinese people, James Cleverly came to Churchill’s defence.”

The Canary report how, “Sajid Javid created history in 2018 when he became the first ethnic minority to become home secretary. As home secretary, Javid stripped Shamima Begum, who was groomed as a teenager, of her citizenship, thereby relegating British citizens with dual citizenship to second class pseudo-British status. Moreover, when a group of men in Huddersfield were convicted for abusing children, he linked the ethnicity of the grooming gang to their crime tweeting, ‘Sick Asian paedophiles’.” We should all be truly sickened by Javid’s punishment of Begum, as he pandered to the worst bigotry spewed out by the tabloid press. Showing absolutely zero compassion for the British schoolgirl victim, traumatized by her naivety as a teen, who had already seen two of her children die: Javid double-down on her torment by abandoning her and condemning her innocent baby to death in a prison camp! Javid’s replacement, the first Asian woman to take the job of Home Secretary, Priti Patel has been equally inhumane in the post.

Patel was sacked by Theresa May for conducting unauthorized talks on funnelling foreign aid cash for Syrian refugees through the Israeli Army! In denial of the welcome extended to her Ugandan Asian parents, Patel’s attitude towards Asylum Seekers is brutal. Floating proposals for prison ships and banishing new arrivals to remote islands in the south Atlantic, she expedited deportations over Christmas hoping no one would notice. The Canary report that, “Following the UK protests resulting from the police killing of George Floyd, Patel was asked in the House of Parliament to act quickly to resolve structural inequality, discrimination, and racism. She responded by narrating how she received racial slurs in the playground and street and concluded by saying: ‘So, when it comes to racism, sexism, tolerance for social justice, I will not take lectures from the other side of the House’.” Patel isn’t alone, as Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, of Nigerian heritage, claimed race and womanhood shielded her from all opposition critique!

The Canary report that, “In May 2020, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that BAME people were more likely to die from coronavirus relative to white people. An official government report noted that racism and discrimination suffered by BAME communities contributed to the high death rates from coronavirus in those communities.” In response to Labour opposition claims of systemic injustice in a Parliamentary debate they say, “Badenoch was emphatic in her response, noting Britain was ‘one of the best countries in the world to be a black person’. She also said the government has a proud record on race. She later described BBC‘s coverage of the hearing as ‘sloppy’ and accused the media outfit of ‘fanning the flames of racial division’ regarding Black Lives Matter protests and coronavirus.” In another Commons Debate during Black History Month she preached the Government’s opposition to British schools teaching white privilege and similar elements of ‘Critical Race Theory’ as uncontested facts.

The importance of Badenoch lies in her Ministerial role as the person responsible for championing racial equality on behalf of the Tory Party; in reality her abysmal record of decidedly unhelpful input on this important issue is a clear dereliction of duty to the BAME community in the UK. The Canary highlight how the, “Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson recently said that racism is ‘bone-deep’ in Britain and the US. Since racism is structurally embedded in British society, all hands must be on deck to solve it. The solution does not lie in outsourcing it to a group of select BAME politicians. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the time has come for senior white politicians in the cabinet to shred their cloak of indifference and take a front seat in the fight against racism. BAME cabinet members should use their intelligence and experience to help usher in a racism-free society. Instead, they’re being used as pawns and puppets in a wholesale denial of racism in Britain.”

In the Welsh Agenda Article entitled, “After Mohamud Mohammed Hassan’s Death, Wales Needs to Declare a Media Emergency,” Wales’ lack of journalistic resource is structural injustice, writes Dylan Moore. The dangers of Wales’ weak media landscape were thrown into sharp relief this week as the story broke, first on social media, and then via domino effect through Wales’ mainstream outlets to the wider UK press, of the death of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan. The 24-year-old black man from Cardiff died hours after his release from custody in Cardiff Bay police station. Arrested at his home in Newport Road on Friday evening (8th January), Hassan was released without charge at 08:30 on Saturday morning (9th) but was dead by the time officers returned to the property at 22:30 the same day. Hassan’s family, and their legal representatives, claim he had ‘no apparent injuries’ before his arrest, but returned from Cardiff Bay police station ‘with lots of wounds on his body and lots of bruises’.”

This alarming incident could easily have motivated thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters to violate lockdown and take to the streets across the UK, but an establishment compliant press kept it under wraps so that we can all go on pretending that systemic racism isn’t a UK problem. Moore explains, “Followers of the IWA’s work on Wales’ media over the past decade will be familiar with the arguments about its weaknesses. Just this week we have hosted a series of events focused on the findings of our latest piece of research, including an event today on news. Those conversations are about policy, funding, regulation, jobs, ownership, skills, but the truly alarming weakness of the media comes sharply into focus when considering a case like this. ‘Alarming’ is one of those words that, when used in certain contexts (like reports by think tanks) has all but lost its ability to disturb. The world is weary of crises and emergencies at the moment, but generally when an alarm goes off buildings are vacated immediately.”

Moore reports that, “Before the story of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan’s death was picked up by the BBC, Wales Online, ITV Cymru and then Nation.Cymru, South Wales Police tweeted: ‘We are aware of the extensive reporting on social media but due to the on-going investigation and referral to the [Independent Office for Police Conduct] we are unable to comment any further at this stage.’ However, this supposed lack of ability to comment did not stop them from commenting. ‘As part of our investigation CCTV and Body Worn Video has already been, and will continue to be, examined,’ they tweeted. ‘This will assist in establishing and understanding the events that took place. Early findings by the force indicate no misconduct issues and no excessive force.’ As the story broke on each of what would be considered the ‘major news outlets’, it was chilling to observe how the police statement was regurgitated, unchallenged and without qualification. The testimony of eyewitnesses was given secondary or no importance.”

Moore claims that, “The ITV article is entirely based around the police statement with no recognition that it was put out in response to ‘extensive reporting on social media’, nor any attempt to engage with that reporting. It also makes a crucial error in reporting the date of Hassan’s arrest. The BBC did quote Zainab Hassan, the dead man’s aunt, who said she saw him after his release ‘with lots of wounds on his body and lots of bruises’ and that he ‘didn’t have these wounds when he was arrested and when he came out of Cardiff Bay police station, he had them’. To their credit, Wales Online quoted Lee Jasper, the human rights activist whose blog was largely responsible for breaking the story.”

Moore says that, “After a social media outcry, they were forced to apologise for their misrepresentative coverage of the ensuing protest outside Cardiff Bay police station, where around 200 people gathered to demand justice yesterday. Wales Online admitted it was ‘understandable’ that the image chosen to illustrate the story could be used to ‘undermine’ or ‘discredit’ the protest. Such an apology is perhaps too little, too late when the Daily Express is already reporting the story in completely unrepresentative and sensational terms, with the tragedy of a young man’s death relegated to the footnotes of a story headlined ‘Wales chaos: Furious protests erupt in Cardiff as angry crowds hurl smoke bombs at police’. The Welsh headlines are insipid: ‘Mohamud Mohammed Hassan’s death in Cardiff investigated’ (BBC); ‘Death of 24-year-old Mohamud Mohammed Hassan referred to police watchdog following arrest in Cardiff’ (ITV) and ‘Man, 24, died suddenly after being in police custody in Cardiff overnight’ (Wales Online).”

Moore points out that, “What is missing from all of these reports, of course, is context. All refer to Mohamud Mohammed Hassan as a 24-year-old man. It was not until the report by Mark S Redfern on Voice.Wales, a platform supported to the tune of less than £500 a month via Patreon, that a report on this death foregrounded the fact that Mohamud Mohammed Hassan was black: ‘Demands for Answers & Justice as Black Man Dies Following Detainment by South Wales Police.’ Given the global impact and prominence of the Black Lives Matter campaign, ignited by the death of a black man in police custody, this seems the obvious way to frame the story. The death of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, however it turns out to have been caused, is set against a history of 1,773 deaths in police custody in England and Wales since 1990 and no British police officer convicted of killing someone in detention since 1971.” As a society we cannot allow such atrocities of aggressive policing to be normalized by lack of oversight.

Moore reports that, “It took Voice.Wales to remind readers that the lawyers now assisting the Hassan family, Hillary Brown and Lee Jasper, also ‘helped the family of the young [Christopher] Kapessa… after [South Wales Police] failed to properly investigate the Black teen’s death in July 2019.’ Christopher Kapessa’s bereaved mother ‘told a press conference in February 2020 that South Wales Police were guilty of institutional racism and they had failed her and ‘continued to fail black families’.’ Lee Jasper is quoted by Wales Online, saying: ‘When it comes to suspicious deaths in custody there is no justice in this country. We continue to be treated like third class citizens in a supposed first class democracy. As a consequence we see fundamental repetition of the same scenarios and fundamental breaches of our human rights’.”

Moore points out that, “However, with no reference to the plentiful evidence that would support Jasper’s point, this fact can be read as an opinion. Indeed many keyboard warriors immediately flooded the comment section with uninformed, unevidenced opinions on various aspects of the story that inevitably affect the public reception of the facts. Jasper’s comments are, of course, borne out by the UK Government’s Independent Review Into Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody by Dame Elish Angolini QC (2017), which called for action in tackling discrimination and recognised the disproportionate number of deaths of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups following restraint, and the role of institutional racism and police training. It concluded that: ‘Deaths of people from BAME communities, in particular young black men, resonate with the black community’s experience of systemic racism’.”

Moore warns that, “Journalism in Wales is suffering from global trends that have radically altered the way news is paid for and consumed. This means journalistic resources are stretched so thin that what we might call ‘proper journalism,’ eyewitness reporting, and/or journalists talking directly to those involved in the story, has been replaced by what might better be described as public relations. We are so used to listicles; slap-dash articles powered by a quick internet trawl, and hastily regurgitated press releases that we have become desensitised to our poor diet of uninquisitive articles that foreground institutional comms over the words of people who were there. When this approach is taken in matters of life and death, and justice, there is a huge problem.”

Moore contends that, “This is multifaceted, of course, and does not solely lie with mainstream news outlets. On social media, unverified ‘facts’ and competing versions of events circulate quickly and narratives emerge that may be a long way from the truth. In this context, it is entirely understandable, and right, that South Wales Police make a statement. Healthy 24-year-old men should not be dying in our capital city in ‘sudden, unexplained’ circumstances. The family of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, and the general public, are owed an explanation and quickly. The problem with the police statement is that it is not simply an update in the public interest, and a reassurance that the matter has indeed been, quite rightly, passed to the watchdog. It is a brazen, and largely successful, attempt to seize control of the media narrative. The explicit mention that ‘We are aware of extensive reporting on social media’ is a de facto admission that the purpose of South Wales Police’s own thread of tweets is a rebuff to ‘speculation’.”

Moore explains, “Without the pre-emptive claim that ‘Early findings by the force indicate no misconduct issues and no excessive force’, the statement is understandable; with it, it becomes a clear attempt to put a thumb on the scales of justice that are already loaded against black people. A bold, well resourced, well trained body of journalists in Wales would be able to call this out. In the circumstances, we must be thankful for the power of social media and the existence of sites like Voice.Wales. But relying on citizen journalism to do the digging that professional reporters don’t have time for can not be an acceptable future for our country.” The UK is becoming more and more reliant on alternative media outlets due to the underlying agenda of our increasingly discredited British press. The BBC has also deteriorated from beacon of responsible reporting, to the Tory mouthpiece of the Sovereign Dictatorship.

Moore remarks that, “The IWA and others have long been concerned about a deficit of democracy caused by a weak media. This tragedy has highlighted that a weak media can also cause a potential deficit of justice. Lee Jasper concludes his blog by saying: ‘The Black Lives Matter emphasis going forward has to be on the wholesale reconstruction of the system of enquiry and accountability surrounding policing’.” Moore’s “only addendum to this statement is that this system absolutely needs to include a robust and well-resourced media, to properly inquire, and to hold those in power to account. People need to know the truth. It’s time to press the buzzer.” Crucially placed BAME Tory Ministers whose duty is to advocate on behalf of ethnic minorities, asylum seekers and refugees, protecting them from descrimination, persecution and injustice, are not just abandoning the duties of their brief, but exacerbating such problems while no one in the Mainstream Media or our Tory compliant BBC is holding them to account.

I try hard not to criticize those who may have been persuaded to make political choices that I personally consider disastrous, but let’s not forget how we got here. We were all far too trusting, expecting to be kept fully informed and told the honest truth. Ethical Journalists have a moral obligation to demand valid information on our behalf so that we make informed choices when voting. The lies generated by the fake Charity ‘Integrity Initiative’ were paid for by the Tories using public funds; in any respectable democracy this should have resulted in jail, not a fraudulent ‘landslide victory’ in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election! The cloak of protection the press has used to shield the Tory Party from accountability for this and their obscene squandering of public funds will inevitably be extended to vile cases of deadly force unleashed by police to keep this all powerful Tory Sovereign Dictatorship in total control. We must Protest, Challenge, Investigate and Expose the Truth, before the last glimmer of hope for our democracy is snuffed out! DO NOT MOVE ON!