Can racism only be against a minority?…

The Stephen Lawrence case has once again brought race issues to the forefront of the media. Over its many years of work, the campaign to bring convictions for the young man’s murder has raised many topics that it has deemed as being broadly related to making those convictions and for what it defines as racist offences.
 
Examined from a civil-rights perspective however it could be suggested that some of these issues actually run contrary to individual freedom and rights. Examples include removal of the legal principle of double jeopardy, advocating the use of invasive surveillance and depending on your interpretation, even the repression of free speech.
 
That overview aside, on its most superficial level the Lawerence case and others like it have continually pinpointed the dangers to society of allowing racist sentiment and language any form of public airing. With that in mind Labour MP Diane Abbot made the following tweet yesterday…

White people love playing “divide & rule” We should not play their game

 
The tweet was finished with the hash tag #tacticasoldascolonialism. Diane later removed the tweet and this morning has tweeted…

Tweet taken out of context. Refers to nature of 19th century colonialism. Bit much to get into 140 characters.

Firstly you have to ask is Diane Abbott now saying she doesn’t understand how Twitter works???? You do not have to be a rocket scientist to realise that contextually Tweet’s aren’t great for in-depth debates and discussions and therefore are best to be avoided when dealing with complex issues!
 
More importantly however, even if the attempt at clarification is taken as genuine, does that make the original comment acceptable? Even if the original comment was part of an essay discussing 19th century colonialism, would such a broad sweeping stereotypical statement be relevant or acceptable?
 
There are very few people who would challenge the belief that if a white MP had made the same statement referencing ‘people’ (an incredibly sweeping word specifically important in this debate) in terms of Black or Asian, he would have suffered immense attack, almost certainly with career consequences. There is precedent to back this belief.
 
The statement made by Diane Abbott is a racist statement under any terms irrespective of context. The only thing different is that the individual saying it is herself from an ethnic minority heritage. Surely if we as a society are serious about eradicating racism we have to eradicate it at all levels, in all forms and irrespective of the heritage, career or track record of the perpetrator? Surely when that isn’t seen to be done it is counter productive, feeding the very people who still harbour certain views? Worse, it could well be creating fresh views in people currently untainted…

  • Jimmy Sands

    It’s a tweet, not a manifesto more clumsy than racist and an artificial row got up by right wingers who are probably using the word racist for the first time in their lives.

    And there’s a long answer to your question but in 140 characters or less, it’s “yes”.

  • orly

    Jimmy is right in that it’s likely more clumsy than racist.

    But that’s not the point I feel. If a “white” person had tweeted “Black people love . We should not play their game” people would be acting like the world had ended.

  • Mick Fealty

    What Jimmy just said… If you are trying to say that Ms Abbot is a bigot; that’s plainly not the case.

    This is a clear case of: one, a tired MP pumping out something in a conversation that was a truncated thought late at night; and two, the media privileging a foolish misspeak over substance under discussion…

    That is, lest we forget, the abject failure of the Met to get a conviction in the Stephen Lawrence case…

    Implying it was comparable to a hate crime, as one Tory MP just tried to do on R4 just now is self indulgent nonsense…

    It’s also a great opportunity for the Tories to demonstrate they have a number of articulate spokesmen from an ethnic minorities… On which, fair does… but it’s ridiculous to push it any further than error of judgement…

  • Quincey Dougan

    Other than heritage of the MP concerned, what is the difference between the comments of Diane Abbott and Patrick Mercer that deserve differential treatment?

  • Mick Fealty
  • First, we can talk about what we know Abbott intended in the tweet, which is he historical structural racism suffered by people of color from colonial times forwards, and that those exercise power and violence used divide and conquer to suppress resistance to that power-over and violence.

    White folks complaining that what she said was racist need to shut up for a bit and think a wee bit longer maybe. The Met was found to be institutially racist, and in practice looking at its stats in terms of stop and searchs, it still is.

    Mercer was speaking about the experiences of racism that he obviously never experieced as a white rich guy

    Abbott has never hidded that she ha felt the effects of racism because of the color of her skin

  • Dec

    ‘Other than heritage of the MP concerned, what is the difference between the comments of Diane Abbott and Patrick Mercer that deserve differential treatment?’

    Presumably because Abbott’s tweet didn’t read:
    ‘It’s normal part of black life to refer to ‘white bastards’

    You would be better asking why Mercer and Aiden Burley lost their job while Prince Harry, who has shown a fondness for Nazi garb and referring to army colleagues of asian descent as ‘Paki’, manages to hold on to his position.

  • Mick Fealty

    Hold on Dec, I don’t think he said that.. Army life is what he said. There’s a long thread of people using a similar line to defend the abuse Darren Graham took here:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2007/08/01/protestant-gaa-player-gives-up-sport-after-sectarian-abuse/

  • Scáth Shéamais

    White people have it so bad.

  • john

    I agree with Quincy you cant make such sweeping statements fullstop. Darren Scully quit as mayor of Naas for making the ridiculous claim that black africans in his area were agressive and had bad manners. Anyway I wouldnt pay any attention to what Diane Abbott says not that long ago she was attacking Tony Blair for sending his children to selective schools and then went on to send her own son to a 10000 pound a year school lol.

  • Dec

    Mick

    ‘Hold on Dec, I don’t think he said that.. Army life is what he said. ‘

    Eh yes… I realise that Mick. Read it again. The notion that there’s equal bile in the use of ‘white people’ and ‘black bastards’ is offensive.

    ‘ There’s a long thread of people using a similar line to defend the abuse Darren Graham took here:’

    Which I don’t personally hold to, but that intimidation/needling been going on in sport since the dark ages. Ali calling Joe Frazier an uncle Tom, Duran threating to cut Sugar Ray leonard’s wife throat etc. I can understand a differentiation with gamesmanship and everyday racism but I don’t agree with it.

  • BluesJazz

    If you come from Uruguay and are a top striker, it’s culturally ok.

    And some of John Terry’s best friends etc..

  • ayeYerMa

    I have to disagree with john when saying people shouldn’t be allowed to make generalisations (in general – I’m not being specific to this Diane Abbott thing). Not being allowed to make generalisations would be effectively silencing free speech. Often generalisations are useful and contain elements of statistical truth. Free speech should not be silenced due to the PC-brigade obsessing over “isms”.

    What I do NOT agree with, however, is using words such as “all” or “every” when making a generalisation (supposedly qualified journalists do this all the time).

  • Brian

    Tweet taken out of context? What was the context? Was there tweets before and after? Was she responding to someone?

    She says she was referring to 19th century colonialism….then why was her hash tag “Tactic as old as colonialism”? That would seem to imply she is talking about present day and not colonialism.

    And why, “white people”? Why not, European powers? Etc.

    She deserves to get flack for this public statement.

  • Brian

    I now have the full context, after reading an article about it. She was clearly not talking about colonialism, she was talking about present day.

  • BluesJazz

    Poor Luis Suarez was only trying to pay a player a Uruguyan compliment and he felt the wrath of the PC Brigade. Maybe Diane could get an 8 week ban from Twitter and the Labour Party could rally round her, T-Shirts etc..

  • Jimmy Sands

    Just seen a video of Harry Cole, who of course helps run a repository of some of the most vile racist abuse on the internet, complaining about Abbott’s “racist” remark. You have to laugh for want of any better response.

  • pauluk

    In an integrated community everyone should be judged by the same standards. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The lady deserves all the criticism directed at her.

    We now live in a society where it has become acceptable to take offence at the slightest thing.The PC brigade usually annoy my head, but I was offended by Abbot’s insinuation, which quite obviously comes from a deep-seated resentful attitude towards white people.

    Ethnic minorities are going to have to come to terms with what it is like to have to walk on egg shells and be more careful in keeping their thoughts to themselves!

  • Mark

    Mick – Re your post @ 1.58pm

    “Implying it was comparable to a hate crime ………self indulgence nonsense ” .

    Did you really think the Stephen Lawerence murder wasn’t a hate crime ?

    Did you not see and hear the undercover footage from the suspects flat ?

  • Mark

    Joke …

  • Harry Flashman

    Of course Dianne Abbott is not a racist, but then Carol Thatcher wasn’t a racist when she made a harmless remark about a tennis player but it still got her sacked from the BBC (quelle surprise), Prince Harry’s almost certainly not a racist but he still got hauled over the coals for his comments about a mate.

    That’s the way life is these days and it’s because of people like Diane Abbott that we are all so sensitive. If a middle-aged white woman working for the government said something like “blacks always…”, she’d be facing disciplinary proceedings in no time flat and heading off for the reeducation camp.

    If I said about a reggae radio station that the staff were “hideously black” I’d be facing criminal charges, when Gregg Dyke says something similar it shows how right on he is.

    Double standards folks, never a good idea.

  • Harry Flashman

    @Mick

    “That is, lest we forget, the abject failure of the Met to get a conviction in the Stephen Lawrence case… ”

    For the rather obvious but peculiarly overlooked fact that there was no bloody evidence to convict anyone. And despite that farce at the Old Bailey passing off as a trial there still isn’t any evidence against the men convicted.

    Hearsay and dodgy forensics got the Birmingham Six banged up for 15 years, hearsay and dodgy forensics just did the same in another high-profile, politically sensitive murder case.

    If the five suspects in the Lawrence case were black or Muslims then Amnesty International would be screaming about the unfairness of their treatment in the highest international tribunals. From the tabloid-driven media witch hunt, through the appalling treatment at MacPherson, through no less than three, yes three, trials to eventually get the desired result the whole treatment of these men, no matter how despicable they may be has been appalling and unfair.

    New Labour overturned a centuries-old legal safeguard, one that protected every citizen from an over-mighty state, the double jeopardy rule in order to convict someone for the Lawrence murder. They said that the double jeopardy rule would only be overruled if compelling new evidence came forward, hint, hint.

    Gee Whizz! Whodathunkit? Miraculously after 18 years new evidence suddenly emerged, evidence so miniscule it to all intents and purposes hardly existed, what are the chances of that, eh? As Frank Skuse could tell you, forensic scientists never lend a helping hand when the coppers and the state need someone to fit up for a crime.

    Even then they could only get two of them though I see they are now putting pressure through a reduced sentence on borderline simpleton Dobson to get him to fit up the other three, classy, real classy.

    The Stephen Lawrence murder was tragic, as are all the murders of black youths in gangland killings, it was however no excuse to rig the right to fair treatment and protection before the law.

    As it is so well put in Man for All Seasons,

    “So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!”

    “Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

    “I’d cut down every law in England to do that!”

    “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

    We will learn to regret the hysteria over Stephen Lawrence.

  • Jimmy Sands

    If the five suspects in the Lawrence case were black or Muslims

    If they were Muslims you wouldn’t need a conviction.

  • Rory Carr

    In the matter of Diane Abbot’s tweet I believe that Orly is right that Jimmy is right and Mick has got ot about just right.

    PaulUK, who seems to think that a few hundred years of slavery, colonial oppression and everyday police harassment have taught 2ethnic minorities” nothing about walking on eggshells is…(how shall I put this?)…not right. His complaint that, “We now live in a society where it has become acceptable to take offence at the slightest thing.” swiftly followed by, “I was offended by Abbot’s insinuation, which quite obviously comes from a deep-seated resentful attitude towards white people,” almost had me rushing to the Slugger rulebook to check if I could have him censured for gross offence against my own lily-white sensibilities. But, big strong boy that I am, I bit the bullet instead.

    Then we have Harry Flashman, always bloody Harry Flashman, whose first post I consider to be flawed in the extreme in the usual well constructed way of seemingly well-argued right liberalism that falls through ahistoricism, a total disregard for how we got where we are today with regard to relations between white indigenous society and immigrant ethnic minorities of colour. His attempt to compare Greg Dyke’s criticism of a failure within the national broadcasting medium to effectively consider a large swathe of the nation’s population with a small ethnic radio station’s lack of musical catholicism might sit well with readers of The Spectator but I think the rest of us will pass.

    As to Harry’s second post, what can I say? Troubling. Very troubling indeed. And troubling for the very reason that so many matters are – it disturbs our cosiness and bothersd us because he might be right and – damn it! – we got those racist bastards locked up and, after all they did do it – didn’t they?

    Well yes, they certainly seem guilty of being racist thugs and I am quite sure that they were involved in Steven Lawrence’s death but did they receive a fair trial? Well, no, they did not. They were railroaded much as Irish people in the past have been railroaded and young Muslims today are being railroaded, for political expediency. As one regular contributor to this site, who often regales us with tales of his travels reminded us recently, the stae needed bodies and they were ‘it’.

    While, in my heart of hearts, I am confident of the guilt of those convicted, had I been on the jury, I could not in all conscience have voted for conviction, the evidence simply was not there. Moreover this trial was not about justice, for Steven Lawrence or anyone else. it was a show trial designed to take away from the notion that the Metropolitan Police are “institutionally racist” and, with the safeguard of double jeopardy now removed, one that will now double the opportunities for the type of “fitting up” of suspects that has been such an important part of the modus operandi of political policing in the UK.

    While I am not of the belief that Gary Dobson and David Norris are victims of a miscarriage of justice in the sense that Judith Ward was, nevertheless this trial has been party to a very grave miscarriage of justice indeed and , as Harry so appositely illustrated with his quotation from Robert Bolt’s, A Man For All Seasons, the chief victim is due process of law and its ancilliary victims are all of us.

  • unicorn

    Can racism only be against a minority?…

    Well of course not, otherwise apartheid South Africa could not have been racist.

    That overview aside, on its most superficial level the Lawerence case and others like it have continually pinpointed the dangers to society of allowing racist sentiment and language any form of public airing.

    Not at all. Liberal democracy was invented to prevent the necessity of rulers and ruling classes having to be killed, instead they could be voted out. If and when you abandon liberal democracy when it comes to issues of race and immigration policy you are thereby encouraging and morally justifying violence such as that by Anders Breivik,

    The solution to issues of race and religion lie in liberty (free speech for racists) and democracy (immigration policies that a majority of citizens support). If you are an opponent of liberal democracy on these issues then you are a catalyst for future violence. You are effectively denying people a vote and / or interfering with their right to freely influence how other people may vote. One should hardly then be surprised if they turn to violence in order to make society more liberal and more democratic if that is what the ruling caste happen to be doing.

    Even if the original comment was part of an essay discussing 19th century colonialism, would such a broad sweeping stereotypical statement be relevant or acceptable?

    She should be able to say what she wants and the voters in her constituency should be the judge.

  • Harry Flashman

    “While, in my heart of hearts, I am confident of the guilt of those convicted,”

    Actually Rory those were originally my sentiments but I’m beginning to doubt even that.

    How did these five men originally come into the frame for the murder of Stephen Lawrence? We are told that many people anonymously gave info to the police that they were the guilty men, strange notes appeared in telephone boxes telling the police they did it.

    How odd. We now learn that Norris’ father was a leading gangland figure. An extremely wealthy man, he controlled that particular area of London, now his hold of that turf is gone, his son, the man convicted was living as a down and out in the back of a van when the police arrested him this time round.

    So that particular gang is now gone and another group of drug dealers will have taken over Norris’ turf and enjoying the wealth he once enjoyed. Nice and convenient that the Norris family is now out of the way, isn’t it? Rival criminal gangs would never stitch each other up by putting them in the frame for crimes they didn’t commit would they? Bent coppers in the Met don’t exist and no one in the force would be owed a favour by the gang which took over from the Norris gang would they?

    Furthermore the most compelling doubts about the men’s actual guilt comes from the piece of evidence which seemingly most condemns them; the bug evidence.

    The police bugged five men who they believed to be guilty of the Lawrence murder. We do not know how long they bugged them for, how many hours of conversations they recorded but what we do know is that in the single clip released the men specifically deny they were the murderers, they discuss how it could have been another gang or a drug related murder.

    Is that the behaviour of men who know that they killed someone? Wouldn’t one of them have said “Oh fer fark’s sake mate, you know we offed him, you were there with us!”

    Now we are told, by the police no doubt, that the men knew they were being bugged!

    Horseshit. If you know the police are trying to convict you of a racist stabbing of a black youth and that they are recording your conversation are you going to give a vivid account in the most explicitly racist terms how you would stab a black youth to death if you had the chance? Of course not. You would sit meekly and discuss how the murder was a terrible thing and racism was a bad thing and that some of your best friends were blacks. You’d then sit back and wait for your brief to get full disclosure of the tapes from the coppers wouldn’t you?

    A trial must prove guilt “beyond reasonable doubt”, there are massive doubts in these convictions and I predict they will be freed on appeal in ten or fifiteen years time when a future Gareth Pierce decides to get working on the case.

    However, as we both agree, whether the men were involved in the murder of young Lawrence or not is actually irrelevant to the fact that their legal rights and protections, and by implication our legal rights and protections, were trampled all over. Their trial was a sham and should never have been allowed to proceed.

    We will be witnessing a lot more miscarriages of justice in the future now that we have given the police this juicy titbit.

  • Rory Carr

    Harry, if we find ourselves any more together than this we shall be obliged to marry for the sake of decency.

    The bugging evidence or, more importantly, the lack of any compelling evidence as a fruit of the bugging, ought to have raised the jury’s hackles but I suspect that, as in the Irish trials of the 70’s and 80’s, the jury were too mesmerised to hear anything that did not point to “guilty ! “.

    The background relating to Norris’s father’s criminal career and the possibility of a police “fit-up” accordingly is tempting to consider and we may have to review this association in the course of time when the inevitable campaigns for a reassessment get under way but, for now, all that will be treated as the ravings of a conspiracy theorist and can be shrugged off as such by the Met, whose unofficial motto,as a very senior officer once confided to me, is, “We never lose !”

    There are more than a few bodies that littered the streets of London in the short decades of my time here to bear testimony to the zealousness with which adherence to that motto is pursued.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Certainly racism can be directed by a minority against a majority. South Africa provides an obvious example. Minority / majority is not the correct distinction.

    The real distinction is between those who are under the lash, and those who hold it.

    It’s a given that the words ‘racist’ and ‘racism’ carry implications of wickedness. Few would dispute the following statement: racism is morally wrong.

    Obviously, the hatred of those holding the lash towards those under it, is morally wrong. But is the same true of hatred that goes the other way?

    Or is such hatred just logical, natural, indeed just?

    Can it therefore even be called ‘racism,’ a word loaded with implications of wickedness, if what it describes is not, in fact, wicked?

  • Quincey Dougan

    Bar the few that think the original comment about ‘white people’ was acceptable (which frankly i think is ridiculous. I come from a long line of farmers and labourers who had to scrimp every penny to live- were those ancestors of mine part of this ‘white race’ engaged in ‘divide and conquor’ in the colonial game?), those that give Diane Abbott leeway are doing so on the basis of her career, her ‘hard work’ in the past, consideration of context and even fatigue.

    And do you know what, thats probably fair enough. Unfortunatly, as has been alluded to here by some, is that such leeway tends (almost universally) to be reserved solely in the UK for those that make disparaging comments about those who happen to be born White. That statement is more than able to be verified by factual evidence.

    As someone has said, good for the goose….

    The problem is daring to even question the likes of Diane Abbott opens the questionee (sic) up to allegations of being a racist. Debate is stymied, bitterness is fostered, and ive no doubt racists are created.

    I am not a racist. I am someone who can see contradictions and hypocrisy. The problem is an enviroment has been brought into existence where others who see that hypocrisy as well arent allowed to articulate it.

  • Reader

    Billy Pilgrim: Obviously, the hatred of those holding the lash towards those under it, is morally wrong. But is the same true of hatred that goes the other way?
    That’s shockingly vague. Is it OK to hate all white people?
    And that’s to say nothing of the fact that negative experiences can be very specific. In the wrong time, and the wrong place, you or I could be victims. How broad a hatred would we be justified in cultivating?
    In my view, racism cannot be defined assymetrically, it’s a prejudice and is therefore wrong because people should be judged as individuals.

  • Jimmy Sands

    In my view, racism cannot be defined assymetrically,

    I think this is where your argument falls down. Racism is inherently asymmetric.

  • Reader

    Jimmy Sands: I think this is where your argument falls down. Racism is inherently asymmetric.
    You mean, if a member of group A is prejudiced against group B, then a member of group B cannot be prejudiced against group A? That doesn’t make sense to me.
    Anybody on the planet could conceivably be racist; anybody on the planet could easily be innocent.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Reader

    ‘That’s shockingly vague.’

    It’s wasn’t meant to be anything other than a broad observation of reality.

    ‘Is it OK to hate all white people?’

    Is it okay for whom to hate all white people?

    Dred Scott may well have hated all white people. If Laura Scott didn’t, she should have.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Nelson

    ‘How broad a hatred would we be justified in cultivating?’

    It depends.

    ‘In my view, racism cannot be defined assymetrically, it’s a prejudice…’

    Why can’t racism be defined assymetrically? Take, for example, the relationship between an 18th century slave-owner, and Africans, stolen from their homes and sold into slavery in the new world. One can assume the hatred went both ways, but are they, in your word, ‘symmetrical’?

    I would suggest that the hatred of the slaver was utterly evil, while the hatred of the slave might even have been moral.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    ‘if a member of group A is prejudiced against group B, then a member of group B cannot be prejudiced against group A?’

    Depends on the history between the groups.

    What we’re dancing around here is the immorality implicit in the word ‘racist.’

    ‘Racism’ is inherently wicked. Hatred may be wicked, but it may also be legitimate, even moral. Ergo, not all hatred, even if it’s of a collective nature, should be defined as ‘racist.’

    Malcolm X talked about the house slave and the field slave. The house slave loved white people, while the field slave hated them, yet it was the field slave who was moral and just; the house slave was a servant of evil.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    The above should, of course, have read: Laura Nelson, not Laura Scott.

  • Reader

    Billy Pilgrim: I would suggest that the hatred of the slaver was utterly evil, while the hatred of the slave might even have been moral.
    It depends on whether the slave hates the slaver, or all white people. The first option would be reasonable; possibly moral – the second option would be racist.
    On a technical point, the slaver doesn’t have to hate anyone – they only need to be sufficiently selfish. Racism would help with that, of course…
    It’s possible that we are using different definitions of ‘racism’ though. For me, the definition would be something like – “group prejudice based on perceived race”. Theres no asymmetry that would automatically arise from that definition. A pair of racists could easily end up glaring at each other across a table; you couldn’t look at a photo of them and decide one of them was necessarily innocent. There may be cultural or statistical asymmetries, though.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “You mean, if a member of group A is prejudiced against group B, then a member of group B cannot be prejudiced against group A?”

    No it’s not what I mean. An Israeli may harbour an irrational distrust Germans in general but I would not put it on a par with antisemitism.

    White on black racism generally implies a belief in intellectual or cultural superiority, black on white racism would generally imply a belief in moral superiority, that we are in some way untrustworthy. It is in its way just as offensive but unlike the former it is not going to stop me getting hired, getting treated fairly at school, it’s not going to lead to my being refused service or housing and it is not going to stop a taxi picking me up at night. You can make a case for saying the two are conceptually the same put it is sheer nonsense to suggest that the impact and experience of racism cuts equally both ways. In no real practical sense is there such a thing as a white victim of racism.

  • sliabhluachra

    Some good posts questioning this verdict.
    It has also been said the sentences were not long enough: they are long sentences and they seem to be, rightly or wrongly, longer than those normally doled out.
    The covert cop video makes them out as mindless psychos and, given their “previous”, they are most likely guilty.The Acourt brothers seem to be seriously deranged and dangerous.
    Arguing Dobson is a near simpleton is interesting. He got a right hiding inside and thus his hearing aids.
    Listening to their manifestos on the covert video, they do not come across as racist heavyweights but as a group of goons, tough in a group when packing against smaller, unarmed others.
    If Dobson is such a moron, that should have knocked a few years off, as would eg serving in HM’s armed forces,

    Dianne Abbot, imho, was merely playing to her own gallery and thus her racist remarks which are excusable as she represents a key electorate: blacks who need to be patronised by rich Labourites like herself. I have listened to her on quite a few occasions now and especially around the time of the riots. She always comes across a a lightweight as do many of the Labour party’s front bench.

    The Daily Telegraph had a good cartoon on Abbott today: “typical generalisation for a woman”.
    For a political opportunist yes.

  • orly

    Unicorn
    “She should be able to say what she wants and the voters in her constituency should be the judge.”

    Quite.

    The problem is it’s Abbott. If the shoe was on the other foot she’d not be far from the front of the queue of gurns having a cry about it.

  • Harry Flashman

    “given their “previous”, they are most likely guilty”

    There was a time in British law when that would not have been adequate to jail someone.

    Courts were, at least in theory, supposed to prove crimes beyond reasonable doubt, of course this did not always happen but at least the pretense was there. New Labour abandoned that principle, overturning centuries of legal tradition, simply to nail this one bunch of lowlife goons.

    Now the Tories are seriously talking about changing sentencing guidelines for crimes committed by minors just so they can bang Dobson and Norris up for even longer, Christ the establishment are really out to get these men aren’t they? That should be flashing enough warning signals to any reasonable person that this case stinks.

    On the question of how we all “know” these men are guilty, a lazy assumption I myself fell into, ask yourself, how do you “know” about their guilt?

    When they were first arrested and charged, away from the media spotlight the CPS admitted they hadn’t enough evidence to convict them. Later in a private prosecution not only were two of the men cleared of the charges but three of them didn’t even face trial as they were deemed as having no case to answer.

    Hmm, they were in other words found to be, on two separate occasions, now what’s the term I’m looking for? Oh yes, Not Guilty!

    But we all “know” they are guilty, don’t we? How do we know?

    Well this is where it gets interesting, we “know” they are guilty because the Daily Mail, yes, you read that correctly the Daily Mail, said they were guilty.

    Jesus wept! When did we start taking lesssons on innocence and guilt from the Daily fucking Mail?

    This case has been a travesty from start to finish, and just as six not very bright, working class men who everyone, including the Daily Mail, “knew” were a bunch of murdering IRA bastards turned out to be the victims of a pressured police department, bent lazy coppers, dodgy forensics experts and a lot of media hysteria, I confidently predict the same will be true in this case.

  • Harry Flashman

    And without a trace of irony the Mail is running with this story today

    “Does secret diary held by police for 16 years prove that ‘wife murderer’ Eddie Gilfoyle really IS innocent?”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2083073/Does-Eddie-Gilfoyles-wife-Paulas-secret-diary-prove-did-kill-her.html

    Oh, and on relying on British tabloid newspapers to tell us who they “know” is guilty of murder.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/article-2020289/Chris-Jefferies.html

    “Eight newspapers apologised to Mr Christopher Jefferies in the High Court yesterday. Reports of the investigation into the death of Joanna Yeates had wrongly suggested that Mr Jefferies, who was arrested but released without charge, was suspected of killing Ms Yeates, may have had links to a convicted paedophile and an unresolved murder. It was also wrongly alleged that the former school master had acted inappropriately to pupils. The newspapers, including the Daily Mail, agreed to pay Mr Jefferies substantial damages and legal costs.”

    Dodgy geezer like Jefferies must have been guilty, the Mail said so.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Hmm, they were in other words found to be, on two separate occasions, now what’s the term I’m looking for? Oh yes, Not Guilty!

    I think there are genuine concerns but not necessarily the ones you raise and you spoil your argument with exaggeration. One of hem has been previously acquitted. Once. I was hesitant initially about the change to the autrefois acquit principle but the the risk of abuse in the limited circumstances where it’s permitted seems to me small. The problem here is the fact that the head of steam built up against these defendants made it impossible for them to get a fair trial.

  • sliabhluachra

    The Birmingham Six had been on the edges of the Provos, attending commemorations, doing collections etc. After the Provos incinerated the drinkers in Birmingham, the atmosphere was toxic and there were many unprovoked attacks on Irish people. The cops acted true to form.
    In that case and others, the judges made incideniary speeches and some of the sentences got into the Guinness Book of Records. The Judith Ward conviction, like several others, were ludicrous.
    Remember the Persons Unknown trial? (Several IRA typs were convicted of cand jailed for conspiring with persons unknown at times unknown to commit crimes unknown)
    Those who stepped up to the plate to defend the innocent and thereby link themselves to the Provo psychos were treated like moral pariahs.
    The main lesson that came out then was that a fair trial in a British court was impossible, That still applies today.
    David Norris and Dobson are as obnoxious as the real Birmingham bombers (Mick M etc) but it would be a brave lawyer who would stand forward to defend them.
    The Daily Mail is pandering to its “hang em all” readers.

    To speak of British justice is to use an oxymoron as the range of powers the British State has is too large and too elastic.
    The Lawrence family, however they managed it, were able to get strong winds behind their campaign and fair play to them. Some murders – Jo Yeates, for example, – get blanket coverage but most go almost unreported.

    As regards racism: we have the NF type racism we can all understand and, hopefully, loathe. But then we have the academics muscling in on it, mostly in America but also in Britain and even Ireland. They, like the wimmins studies lot, are just leeches looking for a cause to surf through life on
    The papers say Britain is now at ease with its multiculturalism and that Dobson et al are relics of a bygone age. I doubt it.