Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Leveson Inquiry: a shameless attempt to censor my evidence

RE: Submission to the Inquiry involving media abuse and the buying of police info Tuesday, 29 November, 2011 13:26

From: “Leveson Inquiry General Enquiries”View contact detailsTo: “robert henderson”Dear Mr Henderson,

Thank you for your submission which has been received by the Inquiry Team.  You will appreciate that we have received a large amount of evidence since the Inquiry was announced and yours will be considered alongside that.  As we only have a limited time for oral hearings, and a large range of issues to cover, it is unlikely that we will require you to provide any additional evidence to the Inquiry at this stage.  However, if, once we have considered your submission in more detail, we think it would be helpful to have some more information then we will come back to you.

Kind regards,

The Leveson Inquiry Team

http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk

————————————————————————————–

Leveson Inquiry

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London WC1

30 11 2011

Dear Sirs,

I am more than a little concerned that you so lightly dismiss my chances of appearing in person.  Let me remind you of the exceptional circumstances of my case:

1. I was falsely accused of being a crude, dangerous racist, the accusation in modern Britain which, if false, is the greatest of libels.

2. I was unable to gain any redress from the publishers of the libels through a retraction or a right of reply; from the PCC who refused to adjudicate on my complaints or my MP Frank Dobson (a member of Blair’s cabinet at the time of the Mirror story) who refused to take up my case. In addition, I did not have the financial means to sue .

3. After the publication of the Mirror and Daily Record stories, I was subject to a long campaign of harassment which included abusive phone calls and a vicious campaign on social media sites attempting to incite physical violence against me by publishing my name, address and phone number  together with further vicious libels. It is reasonable to assume this campaign was in some way connected with the Blairs’ failed attempt to have me prosecuted as I had never experienced any such treatment in my life before the publication of the Mirror story.

4. Unlike most of the witnesses who have appeared before the Inquiry, I have based my complaints on either documents which categorically prove what I am saying or on my own eyewitness testimony.  

5.I have provided categorical evidence of misbehaviour which covers the entire remit of the Inquiry, viz.:

a) that the erstwhile Mirror editor Piers Morgan that the Mirror obtained evidence illegally from the police, the evidence being  Morgan’s letter to the PCC.

b) that the Metropolitan Police failed to investigate the Mirror editor’s admission that the paper received information illegally from a police officer .

c) that the PCC is worthless as a means of redress for harm done to someone abused by the press.

c) That the Mirror behaved with a complete disregard for the truth , failed to meet the PCC Code of Conduct requirement to correct inaccuracies and behaved with utter arrogance throughout the affair from the printing of the story to the end of my complaints to the PCC .  

If that does not make someone a prime candidate for an oral hearing it is difficult to see what would.

I could have sent much more by way of documentation on press, PCC and police misbehaviour involving me to the Inquiry, for example, there is the story of the media treatment of me after the publication of my Wisden Cricket Monthly article “Is it in the blood?” in July 1995.  That resulted in dozens of media articles, many of them crudely abusive, even more containing serious libels, to which I was denied any correction or opportunity to reply. In that case as well the PCC refused to adjudicate on my complaints.   However, I did not wish to flood the Inquiry with a mass of documents so I kept my submission as  simple as I could whilst conveying how the press, the PCC and the police had behaved badly towards me.  If the Inquiry wishes for further details and supporting documentation of the misbehaviour which I have not included in my submission, I shall of course be willing to supply it.

I also have clear ideas how the press could be brought to behave more ethically without introducing a state regulator or a privacy law.  These are contained in an article published by the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom which is below this email.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email and confirm that it has been passed to Lord Leveson.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

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http://www.cpbf.org.uk/body.php?subject=right%20of%20reply

    
Platform – A right to reply

150/Robert Henderson

DATELINE: 25/2/06

A statutory right of reply (RoR) is a thing of journalistic nightmares. That tells you it is the best remedy for those who cannot afford to sue for libel. But the media is looking a gift horse in the mouth for a RoR would provide the strongest guard against any government desire to formally regulate newspapers and to further interfere with broadcasters, because an effective cheap means of rapid redress available to everyone, including politicians incidentally, capsizes the prime argument for state regulation. A RoR is the perfect non-political remedy for media abuse because it is a self-sustaining and self-regulating mechanism.

Costs could easily be kept low. First, by making libel the only reason for refusing a RoR and then only for that part of a proposed reply which was libellous. Second, by empowering Small Claims Courts to decide whether a claimed libel exists and, if the court does not agree that it does, to order the newspaper or broadcaster to publish the disputed reply. There should be no higher court appeal against the Small Claims Court’s decision unless the appellant pays both sides’ costs. This would allow justice while preventing those seeking a RoR from being intimidated out of their right by the threat of heavy costs.

How would it work?

The qualification for a RoR would be simple and objective: a media outlet has printed or broadcast material about an individual.

In the case of newspapers I would give a respondent 300 words as an automatic right and another 500 words for every 1000 words published about him or her over 1500 words. The respondent’s reply should be printed on the same page as the story to which they are responding. If the newspaper responds to a reply then the person responded to would get another RoR.

Broadcasting is more problematic but a written reply by the person criticised could be read out on air. Where the person has the confidence to speak for themselves, they should be allowed to broadcast their reply.

Practical fears

The media will say that this is completely impractical, that their papers and broadcasts would be full of nothing but replies. In fact, the general experience of the introduction of new opportunities offered to the public is that there is an initial burst of activity which soon settles down to a hard core of those willing to make the effort. If the introduction of a right to reply proved the sociological odd man out and the media was overwhelmed, the system could be reviewed.

A narrow RoR would be worthless. A RoR should not be limited to inaccuracy. There is often no easy way of proving the truth or otherwise of ostensible “facts”. If a RoR was restricted to inaccuracy, the media would assuredly undermine it by arguing interminably.

Then there is opinion. This is often more damaging than inaccuracy. Moreover, there is no clear distinction between fact and opinion. Suppose I write of an actress that “she is a whore”that is a statement of fact which, in principle, can be tested objectively. But what if I write “she has the morals of a whore”? Is that fact or opinion?

The present non-legal remedies

These are both cumbersome and unfair. For example, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is comprised entirely of people drawn from the media or from those associated in some way with the media, and the organisation is funded by the press. Unsurprisingly, a non-celebrity complainant to the PCC rarely succeeds.

But this misses a larger point. No matter how formally honest any media regulating body was, it could no more serve the public generally than the legal profession can serve the general public in actions for libel where there is no legal aid.

The numbers of complaints actually considered formally by the PCC and the broadcasting authorities is minute, running into a few hundred a year — most complaints never get a full hearing or investigation. If the public began to use these bodies enthusiastically they would be overwhelmed.

The effect on the media

Faced with an immediate published response to any inaccuracy or abusive opinion and the possibility of having to submit themselves to public examination in a small claims court, journalists and broadcasters would cease to be cavalier about what they write.

THE PRESENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE MEDIA AND ANYONE THEY CHOOSE TO CRITICISE IS ANALOGOUS TO SOMEONE WHO BINDS A MAN AND THEN PUNCHES HIM. IT IS NOT A CONTEST BUT AN ACT OF COWARDICE.

The Leveson Inquiry: the Blairs, the Mirror, the police and me

generalenquiries@levesoninquiry.org.uk

25 November 2011

Dear Lord Leveson,

I submit examples of misbehaviour  by  the media and  the  PCC plus collusion between the police and the media .   In every case I was the person who was directly affected by the behaviour.   For each case I enclose supporting documents which strongly support my accusation.

I wish to give testimony in person before your inquiry.

The  examples  of misbehaviour are:

1. The illicit receipt of information supplied by the police to the Daily Mirror

On 15 March 1997 the Daily Mirror ran a hideously  libellous story about me  which contained numerous serious  inaccuracies. I made a complaint to the PCC. As part of their investigation the PCC sent me a copy of a letter sent to them by the then Mirror editor Piers Morgan.

In it he admits receiving information from the police , viz.: “ The   police  source of our article (whose  identity  we have  a  moral obligation to protect) gave  us  the  detail of the  letters  that  we  then published.” This can only have been illegal because  there would be no need to protect the police source  if the information had been given legitimately.

A copy of Morgan’s letter is in the attached Word file PCC Piers  Morgan letter.docx . I have also placed a second copy beneath it with my remarks  on Morgan’s comments  interpolated within his text –  see the  square bracket contained  text marked RH.  A hard copy of Morgan’s letter will be sent to you.

2. The failure of Scotland Yard to meaningfully investigate the supply of illicit information to the Mirror  

I referred Morgan’s letter to Kentish Town police  with a request that they investigate  the selling of information to the Mirror. A copy of the letter is contained within the Word file Mirror Police source complaint.docx  The case was referred to Scotland Yard. There it was supposedly investigated by Det Supt Ian Curtis. In fact, no meaningful investigation was undertaken because Curtis admitted to me in a telephone conversation that no one at the Mirror was interviewed, not Morgan, not the author of the piece  Jeff Edwards, the Mirror’s chief crime reporter.

3.  The failure of the PCC

I made complaints to the PCC about the Mirror’s libel of me and their refusal to either make a retraction or allow me any opportunity to reply.   The PCC refused to come to a determination citing article   53.5 of the PCC’s  MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION which states  “The Commission shall not consider a complaint which it believes to be frivolous or which it believes to be inappropriate to entertain or proceed with for any other reason”.  In other words, they can get rid of any complaint simply by saying they do not like it.

Mike Jempson, the director of what was then Presswise (now Mediawise] a charity set up to help victims of the press, sent them several   stinging letters  about their refusal .

Copies of the correspondence between Mike Jempson and the PCC  are contained in the attached Word file PCC Mike Jempson.docx.  Hard copies of the letters will be sent to you.

4 The Mirror’s Behaviour 

Copies of the Mirror story and that of its sister paper  the Daily Herald are contained within the attached Word file  Daily Mirror and Daily Record stories.docx. Hard copies of the stories  will be sent to you.

Both stories had a series of  grotesque libels of me.  As you will see from Morgan’s letter to the PCC,   the Mirror admit they do not have letters from me to the Blairs.   Hence, they had no ground whatsoever for believing the libels to be true.

My unpublished response to the Mirror story “Moral Simpletons target innocent man” was written soon after the story’s publication and covers in depth the libels and inaccuracies contained within the story.  A copy is contained within Word file Moral Simpletons.docx.

Mike Jempson saw my letters to the Blairs  and concluded that although robust there was absolutely nothing to support the Mirror’s description of me as a crude, foul-mouthed and dangerous racist . In addition, the Conservative MP  Sir Richard Body had sight of the letters and afterwards put down this Early Day Motion in the Commons, viz.:

10 November 1999

CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD 10:11:99

 Sir Richard Body

 That this House regrets that the Right honourable Member for Sedgefield [Tony Blair] attempted to persuade the Metropolitan Police to bring criminal charges against Robert Henderson, concerning the Right honourable Member’s complaints to the police of an offence against the person, malicious letters and racial insult arising from letters Robert Henderson had written to the Right honourable Member complaining about various instances of publicly-reported racism involving the Labour Party; and that, after the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaints of the Right honourable Member and the Right honourable Member failed to take any civil action against Robert Henderson, Special Branch were employed to spy upon Robert Henderson, notwithstanding that Robert Henderson had been officially cleared of any illegal action.

This motion is now part of the official House of Commons record – see  http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=16305&SESSION=702

The effect of the Mirror story

I was unable to gain any redress from the Mirror, the PCC or the  police.   Following the publication of the Mirror story I became the subject to harassment which included people posting my name, address and phone number on social websites  and inciting people to attack me.

This was on top of the unrequited media abuse I received after the publication of my  article in Wisden Cricket Monthly  “Is it in the blood?” in  July 1995. This  resulted in dozens of stories in the press totalling thousands of words to which I was denied any reply whatsoever, including by WCM who failed in the first obligation of as publisher to defend that which they publish.

In short, I was both grotesquely abused by the press and failed by every  body which supposedly exists to give redress for press misbehaviour.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

—————————–

Below are the contents of the Word file mentioned in my submission to the Leveson Inquiry. RH
Contents of PCC Piers Morgan letter.docx

Piers Morgan’s letter to the PCC admitting the illegal receipt of information from the police

FROM THE EDITOR

By fax (0171-353 8355) & by post

16 October 1997

Your ref: 970738

Christopher Hayes Esq

Press Complaints Commission

I Salisbury Square

London

EC4Y 8AE

Dear Mr Hayes

Mr Robert Henderson

I refer to Mr Henderson’s complaint as outlined in his letter of 23 September.

As you are aware, we have been in contact with Mr Henderson for some time due to his propensity to bombard individuals and this office with correspondence. There are certain irrefutable facts that escape emphasis in Mr Henderson’s correspondence.

Far from ignoring any of his correspondence we have written to him on the 20 May, 22 July and 6 August We have consistently made it clear that we have no intention of entering into any further correspondence with him.

Be that as it may I will address his concerns:-

In essence, the basic “sting” of the article, of which he complains, was that he had been sending numerous insulting letters, some with racist undertones, to Mr and Mrs Blair which had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.

Mr Henderson himself admits that he sent Mr and Mrs Blair at least thirteen letters. I have no way of directly knowing of the content of those letters because I have not had sight of them. However, clearly they sufficiently concerned Mr Blair’s office to be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service and I think the Commission is perfectly entitled to draw an adverse inference on the contents of those letters as a result of that referral.

I cannot accept Mr Henderson’s explanation for writing  to Cherie Blair. To do so was clearly designed to intimidate.

In Mr Henderson’s draft article “Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man” the bile that he shows on the second page of that article clearly illustrates his capacity to insult in his letters to Mr and Mrs Blair (to the extent that they be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service). I would also refer the Commission to Mr Henderson’s gratuitous reference to a “Blaireich”.

He also admits to expressing his disgust (we can only guess in what terms) of the decision of Mr and Mrs Blair not to send their son to a school whereby a white schoolboy was, apparently, murdered by five other boys (and that that murder was racially motivated).

The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) gave us thle detail of the letters that we then published. Nothing that Mr Henderson writes has convinced me that the article was anything other than accurate.

Perhaps one can get a flavour of his correspondence with Mr and Mrs Blair by examining the final sentence of his draft article in which he states “It was a cargo of ancient male gonads”.

The Commission may be aware (I am attempting to get hold of the article) that the article of Mr Henderson’s that appeared in Wisden’s Cricket Monthly in 1995 gave rise to an extraordinary amount of controversy and resulted in Wisden paying substantial libel damages to the Cricketer, Devon Malcolm, whom the Commission will be aware is a coloured fast bowler for England. As I understand the matter, and Mr Henderson will correct me if I am wrong, the article implied that coloured players will not try as hard when playing for England as white players.

I have discussed the legal position with the newspaper’s solicitor, Martin Cruddace , and he has assured me that the law has recently developed whereby words (be they written or spoken) can constitute assault if the pattern of those words is such as to make the recipient of them either anxious or ill. It has developed as a reaction to the former impotence of the law on stalking.

The law has therefore developed since the publication of the dictionary reference on which Mr Henderson relies.

I cannot accept that the taking of the photographs of Mr Henderson, given the clear public interest concerning the subject matter of  The Mirror article, could possibly constitute harassment under the Code.

I am most concerned not to waste any further time in dealing with Mr Henderson’s complaint but, naturally, if the Commission wishes me to address any further matters then I will endeavour to do so.

However, I hope that the above is sufficient to convince the Commission that the basic “sting” of the article is accurate and that Mr Henderson’s complaint ought to be dismissed.

Yours sincerely

Piers Morgan

FROM THE EDITOR

Piers Morgan’s letter with Robert Henderson’s comments interpolated

By fax (0171-353 8355) & by post

16 October 1997

Your ref: 970738

Christopher Hayes Esq

Press Complaints Commission

I Salisbury Square

London

EC4Y 8AE

Dear Mr Hayes

Mr Robert Henderson

I refer to Mr Henderson’s complaint as outlined in his letter of 23 September.  As you are aware, we have been in contact with Mr Henderson for some time due to his propensity to bombard individuals and this office with correspondence. [RH Translation: Mr Henderson sent more than one letter because the Mirror refused to reply].

There are certain irrefutable facts that escape emphasis in Mr Henderson’s correspondence.

Far from ignoring any of his correspondence we have written to him on the 20 May, 22 July and 6 August. [RH The letter of 20 May merely said he was not going to enter into correspondence. The other two letters were from his legal department in response to Subject Access Requests I made under the data Protection Act]. We have consistently made it clear that we have no intention of entering into any further correspondence with him.

Be that as it may I will address his concerns:-

In essence, the basic “sting” of the article, of which he complains, was that he had been sending numerous insulting letters, some with racist undertones, to Mr and Mrs Blair which had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.

Mr Henderson himself admits that he sent Mr and Mrs Blair at least thirteen letters. I have no way of directly knowing of the content of those letters because I have not had sight of them. However, clearly they sufficiently concerned Mr Blair’s office to be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service [RH The CPS said as soon as they saw the letters that they were entirely legal] and I think the Commission is perfectly entitled to draw an adverse inference on the contents of those letters as a result of that referral.

I cannot accept Mr Henderson’s explanation for writing to Cherie Blair. (RH I wrote to her as Blair’s wife and as  a public figure prominent in human Rights work]  To do so was clearly designed to intimidate.

In Mr Henderson’s draft article “Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man” the bile that he shows on the second page of that article clearly illustrates his capacity to insult in his letters to Mr and Mrs Blair [RH an absurd deduction. What I wrote to the Mirror says nothing about what I wrote to the Blairs] (to the extent that they be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service). I would also refer the Commission to Mr Henderson’s gratuitous reference to a “Blaireich”.

He also admits to expressing his disgust (we can only guess in what terms) of the decision of Mr and Mrs Blair not to send their son to a school whereby a white schoolboy was, apparently, murdered by five other boys (and that that murder was racially motivated). [RH This was the Richard Everitt murder].

The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) [thus the police informant behaved illegally by supplying the information] gave us the detail of the letters that we then published. Nothing that Mr Henderson writes has convinced me that tile article was anything other than accurate.

Perhaps one can get a flavour of his correspondence with Mr and Mrs Blair by examining the final sentence of his draft article in which he states “It was a cargo of ancient male gonads”.

The Commission may be aware (I am attempting to get hold of the article) that the article of Mr Henderson’s that appeared in Wisden’s Cricket Monthly in 1995 gave rise to an extraordinary amount of controversy and resulted in Wisden paying substantial libel damages to the Cricketer, Devon Malcolm, whom the Commission will be aware is a coloured fast bowler for England. As I understand the matter, and Mr Henderson will correct me if I am wrong, the article implied that coloured players will not try as hard when playing for England as white players. [RH The article put it forward as a possibility, no more].

I have discussed the legal position with the newspaper’s solicitor, Martin Cruddace [Cruddace is a proven liar. He made a declaration to my Subject Access Request under the Data protection Action to the effect that the Mirror held no qualifying documents. Eventually after I had done some detective work, he had to admit that the Mirror had a small matter of 118 pages of documents relating to me], and he has assured me that the law has recently developed whereby words (be they written or spoken) can constitute assault if the pattern of those words is such as to make the recipient of them either anxious or ill. It has developed as a reaction to the former impotence of the law on stalking. [RH: No person in the UK has been convicted of such a crime. The definition of GBH has been extended to non-physical abuse such as abusive phone calls but it requires a psychiatric illness to be proved to be caused by the alleged abusive behaviour. Mere emotions such as fear do not qualify. The failure of the police to consider such a course and the CPS’ immediate definition of the case as “NO CRIME” shows that my letters were entirely lawful] The law has therefore developed since the publication of the dictionary reference on which Mr Henderson relies.

I cannot accept that the taking of the photographs of Mr Henderson, given the clear public interest concerning the subject matter of The Mirror article, could possibly constitute harassment under the Code.[RH it was an unequivocal breach of the Code of Conduct because the photographer took the photograph within my property].

I am most concerned not to waste any further time in dealing with Mr Henderson’s complaint but, naturally, if the Commission wishes me to address any further matters then I will endeavour to do so.

However, I hope that the above is sufficient to convince the Commission that the basic “sting” of the article is accurate and that Mr Henderson’s complaint ought to be dismissed.

Yours sincerely

Piers Morgan

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Contents of Mirror Police source complaint.docx
 26-August 1998

Chief-Supt Eric Brown

Metropolitan Police

12A Holmes Road

London NW5 3AE

cc Metropolitan Police Committee

Dear Mr Brown,

I enclose a letter from the Metropolitan Police Committee dated 25/2/98. Please note the third paragraph.

The complaints I wish to register are:

1. A breach of the Official Secrets Act

Culprits: An anonymous police officer most probably stationed at Belgravia station.

The Mirror reporter Jeff Edwards

The Mirror editor Piers Morgan

The most likely police officer is DS Connor of Belgravia Police. This officer handled the Blairs’ complaints against me.

2. A breach of the Public Bodies Corruption Act 1889 as amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916

Culprits: The anonymous police officer mentioned in 1.

Any Mirror representative responsible for the offering or payment of a bribe.

3. A breach of the Prevention of Corruption Act as amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916

Culprits: The anonymous police officer mentioned in 1.

Any Mirror representative responsible for the offering or payment of a bribe.

4. A breach of the Met’s Code of Practice

Culprits: The anonymous police officer mentioned in 1.

The basis of the complaints

The offences arise from a Mirror story entitled “Pest Targets Blairs” published on 25/3/98 (copy enclosed).

The Mirror story quotes unnamed police officer(s) as follows:

“Police said that sending such material could result in an assault charge.”

and

A Scotland Yard source said “By sending letters in a very unpleasant tone the writer has committed an assault”

The statement that I have “committed an assault” is a breach of the Met’s Code of Practice. The police investigate complaints. They do not decide guilt or innocence.

In a letter to the Press Complaints Commission dated 16/10/97(copy enclosed) the Mirror editor Piers Morgan claimed that the primary source for the Mirror article was a policeman viz “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) gave us the detail of the letters that we then published.”

The giving of such information would of itself be illegal. The Mirror confirms that they knew it was illegitimate by their “whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect”.

All police officers sign the Official Secrets Act. The police officer who supplied the information to the Mirror is consequently guilty of a breach the Official Secrets Act. He has also breached the Met’s internal code of conduct.

The Mirror by knowingly abetting the breach of the official Secrets Act is guilty of a criminal offence which carries the same penalties as that to which the police officer is subject.

If the policeman was paid, both the Mirror and the officer are guilty of serious criminal offences under The Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1989 (amended by the Corruption Act 1916) and The Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 (amended by the Corruption Act 1916).

The reasonable presumption must be that the officer was paid. First, he restricted the information to one newspaper. Second, what other plausible motive could he have had?

As the Mirror has admitted to receiving illicit information from the police, a failure to both record and investigate my complaints will be tantamount to an admission of deliberate maladministration of justice by the Met. As I am sure you do not need me to tell you, such deliberate maladministration by the police commits one of the criminal offences of perverting or attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

The complaint was passed to Scotland Yard where Det Superintendent Ian Curtis supposedly investigated. My complaint ended in a curious way with Curtis ringing me to tell me that no action would be taken. During our telephone conversation, he admitted that no one at the Mirror, including the Piers Morgan and the reporter who wrote the story Jeff Edwards had been interviewed. Ergo, no meaningful investigation was undertaken.

If charges of receiving information illicitly from a police offer cannot be brought against an editor who has admitted in writing to a quasi-official body investigating a complaint that he has received illicit information no one could ever be charged with the crime.

Note: I include this letter because once again the Metropolitan Police refused to act despite clear evidence of information being given illegally to the press by a police officer.

156 Levita House, Chalton Street, London NW1 1HR

Tel: 0207/387/5018 E-Mail philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk

16-March 2003

Sir John Stevens

Commissioner

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

10 The Broadway

London SW1

cc Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP

Frank Doran MP

John Thurso MP

Rosemary McKenna MP

Alan Keen MP

Derek Wyatt MP

Debra Shipley MP

Chris Bryant MP

Julie Kirkbride MP

Michael Fabricant MP

Adrian Flook MP

Rebekah Wade

Presswise

Dear Sir John,

The payment of money to police for information

I ask you to investigate a prima facie case of the corruption of police officers. On 11 March 2003, the editor of the Sun newspaper, Rebekah Wade, admitted before the Culture, Media and Sport Commons Select Committee that while she has been an editor with News International she had paid police officers for information. The information was given in answer to a direct question from the Labour MP, Chris Bryant. I enclose a Daily Telegraph report dated 14 March 2003 which contains details of Miss Wade’s admission. I was also there in person when she made the admission.

By paying police officers for information, not only does the police officer commit a criminal offence under the Public Bodies Corruption Act 1889 (as amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1916) in receiving the money or other material inducement, so does the person paying the bribe. Any one of normal intelligence will realise that bribing police officers is illegal.

In addition, all police officers sign the Official Secrets Act (OSA). They commit a criminal act by supplying information covered by the OSA. Any information relating to police work will be covered. Similarly, a person receiving information where they know the supplier is in breach of the

OSA by supplying it, commits an offence by receiving the information. Both formal training courses for journalists and the various books designed to instruct journalists in the relevant areas of the law cover the OSA’s implications for journalists. Journalists will consequently know that police officers have signed the OSA and be aware of the implications for themselves of receiving information from police officers. Even if no money changes hands, the journalist still breaks the law if he knows he is receiving information from someone who has signed the OSA.

I also enclose a letter from the Mirror editor Piers Morgan to the Press Complaints Commission dated 16 Oct 1997. This contains an admission of the Mirror receiving information illegitimately from the police. I made a complaint about this some time ago and it was “investigated” by Det Supt Jeff Curtis. I put the investigated in quotes because Mr Curtis conducted his investigation without interviewing either Piers Morgan or the author of the story, Jeff Edwards. In fact, he did not go near the Mirror. Doubtless the Met’s investigatory methods have changed in recent years and they now include questioning suspects. Consequently, I ask that you re-open the investigation of Mr Morgan and Mr Edwards and actually interview them.

In view of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s interest, I am sure that you will wish to begin a most thorough investigation immediately of these matters and to give them all priority. Copies of this letter have been sent to every member of the select committee.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Wednesday, March 12 2003

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Newspapers are better behaved, says Sun editor

BY TOM LEONARD

MEDIA EDITOR

REBEKAH WADE, the editor of ” the Sun, joined other tabloid editors in lavishing praise on press self-regulation yesterday telling MPs it had dramatically improved newspaper standards over the past 10 years.

Wade, who started a controversial campaign to “name and shame” paedophiles while editor of the News of the World, made a rare public appearance to ha questioned by a parliamentary select committee investigating media intrusion and privacy.

She claimed that the “days of foot-in-the-door harassment and snatched photos are gone”, although she admitted that the NoW had in the past paid police officers for information.

Her successor on the paper, Andy Coulson, criticised St James’s Palace for failing to keep its side of the bargain over press coverage of Princes William and Harry.

Coulson – who at the weekend published pictures of Prince William in the streets of St Andrews, where he is a student – said that the palace had failed to provide newspapers with enough material about the princes.

It had promised to do so in 1997 in return for the press backing off from the princes while they were at school, he said.

Piers Morgan, the editor of the Daily Mirror, described the princes as “a huge Commercial property” – a phrase which Alan Rusbridger , the editor of the Guardian told MPs was “an odd way to describe them”.

————————————————
Contents of Word file PCC Mike Jempson.docx

Note: Here is the  correspondence conducted by Presswise on my behalf with the PCC. Mike Jempson has seen the letters. Note his description of their content in the first letter.

Presswise is a Charity which represents people libelled and generally mistreated by the Press. RH

PressWise Ltd

25 Easton Business Centre

Felix Road

Bristol DS5 0HE

Tel 0117 – 941 5889

FaxO117 941 5848

voice-mail 0117 – 93-99-333

Sue Roberts

Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

London EC4Y 8AE

23 Dec 1997

Your ref: 970738

Dear Sue,

I have been following the progress of Robert Henderson’s complaint against The Mirror and note the Commission’s decision not to proceed further (Christopher Hayes to Robert Henderson, 10 Dec 97). The reason given is that Mr Henderson had laid down ‘unacceptable conditions’ for supplying copies of his correspondence with Tony Blair and Cherie Booth which were the subject of The Mirror story.

Since he believes that The Mirror does not have copies of these letters – indeed Piers Merchant has admitted (16 Oct 97) that he has not had sight of them – his concern has been that he would be putting himself at a distinct disadvantage to disclose material which might be germane to any subsequent action, such complaints to the Data Protection Registrar or the law Society More to the point this raises a not infrequent problem for complainants, that they are expected to produce evidence to disprove stories rather that the newspaper being required to produce evidence to justify publication.

Rather than decide not to pursue the complaint further, should not the PCC request The Mirror to produce its evidence (the letters) to substantiate the serious allegations which (as Mr Henderson has pointed out) remain on file for future use. At least the PCC might have sought access to Mr Henderson’s copies under terms it considered more ‘acceptable’.

Robert Henderson made his original complaint on 21 April. He cited a number of instances in which he claimed that The Mirror’s story was inaccurate; he asked for a right of reply, and complained about the snatching of a photo while he was inside his flat and the assertion by ‘a Scotland Yard source’ that he had ‘committed an assault’ (para 23).

These remain the substantive complaints although in subsequent voluminous and complex correspondence between all parties one central issue has been the number and the nature of the letters sent by Mr Henderson to Tony Blair and Cherie Booth.

The Mirror story claimed they were a ‘deluge’ of ‘race hate letters’ ‘full of graphic racist filth’. We have copies of nine letters sent to Tony Blair (eight in 1996 on 4/3, 19/3, 31/3, 8/4, 17/4, 1/5, 2/12 & 31/12 and one in ’97 on 27/1) and four to Cherie Booth in 1997 (9/1, 27/1, 10/2, and 23/2). From these dates it is clear they were not’arriving at the rate of three or four a week’ as suggested in The Mirror story. And the one direct ‘quote’ from the letters in The Mirror (para 11) does not that appear in those we have seen. We have no way of knowing (and nor it would appear does the PCC or The Mirror) whether there were other letters.

Certainly the letters are robust and contain remarks which are personally offensive, but those to Mr Blair follow a lengthy correspondence with Mr Henderson’s MP Frank Dobson (originally about a previous PCC ruling, but later referring to remarks made by Keith Vaz MP and Dianne Abbott MP). Those to Cherie Booth express dissatisfaction about Mr Blair. The Blairs are at liberty to refer such matters to the appropriate authorities. That is not the substance of The Mirror story, which identified Mr Henderson as a potentially dangerous racist and a criminal.

To suggest that Mr Henderson, who has no means, should seek alternative legal remedies is an inappropriate way of seeking to avoid dealing with his complaint, Mr  Henderson is also aggrieved that assurances given to him by Mr Hayes were not honoured. We would urge you to reconsider the matter once and for all on the facts of the case.

Sincerely

Mike Jempsom

Executive Director cc. Robert Henderson

Directors

Linda Townley

Diane Simpson

Caitlin Scanlon

Desiree Ntolo

David Joyce

Mike Jempson

Pat Healy

Patrons

Joe Ashton MP

Michael Cashman

Jean Corston MP

Baroness Flather

Lord Gilmour

Don Henderson

Baroness Hollis

Most Rev Richard Holloway,

Bishop of Edinburgh

Alan Howarth MP

Bruce Kent

Clive SoLey MP

Polly Toynbee

Tony Worthington MP

PressWise is a not-for profit Limited liability company

Press Complaints Commission

Our reference: 970738

9 January 1998

Mr Mike Jempson

Executive Director

PressWise

25 Easton Business Centre

Felix Road

Bristol BS5 0HF

Dear Mr Jempson

Thank you for your letter of 23 December regarding the Commission’s decision not to proceed further with the complaint from Robert Henderson against The Mirror.

The Commission reached this decision after careful consideration of the papers submitted by both parties. As you will appreciate, it is for the Commission to decide how – or whether – it should proceed with a complaint and in relation to the points in your third paragraph, the Commission considered it reasonable that a complainant should be asked to supply information which was central to the complaint.

Mr Henderson first wrote to us regarding this matter on 21 April. We informed him on 29 April that, due to police and DPP enquiries, the Commission could not consider the matter at that stage. He returned to us in a letter dated 23 September and the matter was swiftly taken up with The Mirror. As you know, after several exchanges of  correspondence the Commission reviewed the matter and decided it could not proceed in view of the conditions which he laid on submission of essential evidence and he was informed of this on 10 December. I trust you will agree that there has been no undue delay in dealing with this matter on the part of the Commission.

Most complaints which cannot be resolved fall to be adjudicated under the Code. Any “assurances” given to Mr Henderson by Mr Hayes were made in this context. I am sure you will understand that the Commission itself has the ultimate discretion as to how complaints should proceed and in these particular circumstances it considered it was inappropriate to proceed to adjudication.

For the record, I assume that your second paragraph should refer to the editor of The Mirror, Piers Morgan, not to Piers Merchant.

Yours sincerely

Susan Roberts (Mrs)

Director of Complaints

1 Salisbury Square London EC4Y 8AE Telephone 0171 353 1248 Facsimile

0171 353 8355

14 Jan 1998

Your ref: 97-0738

Lord Wakeham

Chairman, Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

EC4Y 8AE

Dear Lord Wakeham

re Robert Henderson & The Mirror

I am writing to you in response to Mrs Roberts’ letter of 9 January announcing that the Commission has decided not to proceed further with Mr Henderson’s complaint. I note that the Commission clearly regards it as more important that a complainant should comply with its every demand than that a newspaper editor should produce the evidence upon which a sensational and highly damaging story is based.

The Mirror story accused Mr Henderson of being a dangerous racist who had committed a criminal offence. He has been charged with nothing, and now he is being prevented from having his version of events weighed against allegations published in one of the largest circulation newspapers in the country.

As we all know there are rarely fewer than two sides to every story. In this case Mr Henderson has challenged a number of ‘facts’ which are central to the stow, above and beyond the question of the content of his letters to Mr Blair and Ms Booth. If the Commission refuses to adjudicate on his complaint, The Mirror story remains on file as ‘true’ and he has no other realistic means of attempting to put the record straight.

I had no difficulty in persuading Mr Henderson to send me copies of his disputed correspondence, yet the Commission appears to have made no efforts to seek access under mutually ‘acceptable’ terms. More to the point, the PCC does not appear to feel that The Mirror should be expected to justify its stow by disclosing how many, if any, of the letters were in its possession when it chose to publish.

We may be dealing here with an extremely sensitive and politically embarrassing case, but that should be no reason for deciding it would be ‘inappropriate to proceed to adjudication’. The Commission may dislike Mr Henderson’s ideas – although of course you have not had the opportunity to read them – but I understood one of the principles of freedom of expression is that everyone has the right to express an opinion; one of the principles of natural justice is that each party has the right to a fair hearing; and that in a democracy everyone has the right to challenge politicians – not to mention newspaper editors.

It is small wonder that there is public distrust of the PCC if what claims to be an ‘independent’ adjudicating body insists that ‘the Commission itself has the ultimate discretion as to how complaints should proceed’. It would be interesting to see how that line would go down at a judicial review.

I would urge you to reconsider your decision and put Mr Henderson’s case to the Commission for adjudication. For my part I shall ask Mr Henderson to give me permission to release copies of his letters for the eyes of the Commission only.

I look forward to your earliest reply.

Sincerely

Mike Jempsom

Executive Director

PressWise is a not-for profit limited liability company

Press Complaints Commission

From the Director

Our reference: 97-738

Mike Jempson Esq

Executive Director

PressWise

25 Easton Business Centre

Felix Road

Bristol BS5 0HF

20 January 1998

Dear Mr Jempson

Thank you for your letter to Lord Wakeham of 14 January concerning Mr Henderson’s complaint and the Commission’s decision not to proceed further with this complaint. He has asked me to respond.

The Commission’s reasons for its decision were given to Mr Henderson in Mr Hayes’ letter of 10 December. Mrs Roberts’ letter of 9 January answered the points in your letter to the Commission of 23 December. The Commission did not simply decide as you suggest that it would not proceed because it was “an extremely sensitive and politically embarrassing case”. The Commission did not make any judgement on the validity of Mr Henderson’s ideas although I fail to understand why you say that “of course” the Commission have not had the opportunity to read them. Not only the Chairman, but all the members of the Commission, have seen and considered all the correspondence on this matter and it is not in dispute that a principle of freedom of expression is the right to express an opinion and to have a fair hearing.

You comment on the fact that the Commission itself has the discretion as to how complaints should proceed and say “It would be interesting to see how that line would go down at a judicial review”. I draw your attention to 53.5 of the Commission’s Memorandum and Articles. In deciding not to proceed the Commission is acting within the terms of its articles. It has yet to be legally established whether the Commission can be judicially reviewed.

In conclusion I can see no reason for the Commission to review its decision, since it usually only considers a case in the light of fresh evidence or evidence that its judgement was fundamentally flawed. It would seem that no such evidence has been presented and I regret I am unable to assist Mr Henderson further in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Guy Black

cc Robert Henderson Esq

Extract from the PCC Memorandum and Articles

[The] Commission shall have discretion to consider any complaint from whatever source that it considers appropriate to the effective discharge of its function.

53.5

The Commission shall not consider a complaint which it believes to be frivolous or which it believes to be inappropriate to entertain or proceed wit for any other reason.

53.6

The Commission may refuse to entertain a complaint if it appears to it not to have been made within a reasonable time after the last occasion when the relevant material was published or when the unwarranted infringement of privacy took place.

53.7

In carrying out its functions in relation to complaints the Commission shall have regard to generally established freedoms including freedom of expression and the public’s right to know, and defence of the press from improper pressure.

3.8

Any decision of any subcommittee of the Commission relating to its or the Commission’s ability to entertain or proceed with its consideration of any complaint or to the results of its considerations shall be the subject to a right of appeal to the Board.

- 28 -

18 Feb 1998

Your ref: 97-0738

Guy Black,

Secretary,

Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

EC4Y 8AE

Dear Guy,

re Robert Henderson & The Mirror

1. Access to the Henderson letters

The main point of my recent letter to Lord Wakeham has been ignored. I offered through PressWise to obtain the release of the disputed letters.

I can now confirm that I have authorisation from Mr Henderson to release copies of his letters for the Commission’s eyes only. I trust the removal of the only obstacle to resolution of this case means we can now progress to an adjudication.

Christopher Hayes letter of 10 Dec claimed that Mr Henderson’s terms for releasing the letters were unreasonable. I doubt any sensible person would happily disclose controversial documents which may have crucial significance for subsequent legal actions without proper safeguards. It seems to me that it is the PCC which is being unreasonable.

Given the peculiar circumstances, with The Mirror having published serious allegations without sight of the letters, I think it is entirely reasonable to request that if there is any suggestion that letters others than those in my possession were sent to the Blairs by Mr Henderson, the Commission should require sight of them from whoever claims they exist. They will of course require authentication, and Mr Henderson is best placed to do that.

It may be appropriate in this case for a meeting to take place between yourself, PressWise and Mr Henderson at least to resolve the matter of authentication. In any event I would ask that my recent correspondence be placed before the Commission, and that they be asked to reconsider their decision in the light of changed circumstances.

I am enclosing a copy print-out from Belgravia police obtained by Mr Henderson under Data Protection provisions. You will note that ‘NO CRIME’ has been recorded against him in respect of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Race Relations Act.

2. By way of clarification

In your reply to my recent letter to Lord Wakeham you queried my remark that the Commission ‘have not had the opportunity to read Mr Henderson’s ideas’ I was clearly referring to the sentiments expressed in the disputed correspondence. The Commission has not seen the contents of those letters so they are in no position to make judgements about them or The Mirror story.

Your reference to the PCC Mem & Arts is curious. I cannot believe you are suggesting that Mr Henderson’s complaint – that he has been publicly accused of being a dangerous racist and a criminal is – ‘frivolous’. I doubt that many members of the public would be comfortable with the idea that a body which exists supposedly to provide remedies for injured parties can sweep away complaints simply because the Commission believes them to be ‘inappropriate to entertain or proceed for any other reason.’

Sincerely,

Mike Jempson

Executive Director

—————————————————————

Contents of Word file Daily Mirror and Daily Record stories.docx

The Daily Mirror and Daily Herald stories with Robert Henderson’s commentary on them

The Mirror article was accompanied by a large photograph of me, printed after I had specifically withheld my permission for its use, and was flagged on the front page with the charming headline “COPS PROBE BLAIR PEST – EXCLUSIVE: Fears over race hate mail.”

The Mirror story contained these objectively provable libels: (1) the false accusation of sending ‘Race hate’ letters to Tony and Cherie Blair, (2) the false accusation that I sent dozens of letters to the Blairs, (3) the false accusation of assault, (4) The false accusation of sending letters containing ‘graphic racist filth’, (5) the false accusation of sending letters containing ‘racial insult’, (6) the false accusation of sending letters containing ‘sewer language’, (7) the false accusation that I have ‘tendencies associated with stalkers’, (8) the completely fabricated quote ‘If he [Blair] gets elected, he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians’ and (9) the false statement that I refused to comment on the letters when approached by the Mirror.

Daily Mirror 25 March 1997

‘PEST TARGETS BLAIRS’

Jeff Edwards Chief Crime Correspondent

Police called in over string of hate letters

Police are probing a string of race hate letters to Tony and Cherie Blair.

The deluge of sinister messages sent to the couple through the Labour Leader’s office at the House of Commons began last year.

Insiders described them as “personal and offensive”.

And they feared the letter writer could even become a stalker.

The man behind the hate mail has been described as 51-year-old Robert Henderson.

He sparked a huge row two years ago when he wrote an article criticising black players in the England Cricket Team for the Magazine Wisden’s [sic] Cricket Monthly

GRAPHIC

The magazine was successfully sued for libel by England fast bowler Devon Malcolm.

At first staff at Labour’s HQ in Walworth Road, South East London, ignored the letters sent to the Blairs.

But they decided to call in the police when the TYPED messages became a rant against the couple and started arriving at the rate of three or four a week.

Insiders say the letters – with Henderson’s signature and north London address – are full of graphic racist filth implying Mr Blair would relax immigration laws once he gets to No 10.

A Labour insider said last night: “The writer said things like ‘why are you married to that idiot? If he gets elected he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians.’”

Detectives visited the Blairs at Labour HQ last week.

They were shown dozens of letters which were taken away for forensic tests.

The letters – posted in London – have also been studied by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Police said sending such material could result in an assault charge.

The insider added: “MPs often get threatening mail which would go in the bin.

“But this is different. It has become a campaign, a bombardment. The writer displays tendencies associated with stalkers.

This writer is unusually persistent. The tone of the letters has become increasingly nasty. “He uses sewer language. The letters are racially insulting.

When the Mirror approached ex-public schoolboy Henderson yesterday at his council flat, he refused to discuss the letters.

Last night a Labour spokesman said: “Public figures getting offensive material in the post are advised to refer them to police.

“We now consider this man is not worth giving any more publicity to.”

A Scotland Yard source said: “By sending letters in a very unpleasant tone the writer has committed an assault.”

Special Branch, who organise protection for MPs, have been informed of the situation.

The Daily Herald’s report published on the same day as the Mirror story:

This story contained these objective provable libels: (1) that I sent “hate letters” to Cherie Blair, (2) that the letters were “sick”, (3) that I bombarded Cherie Blair with letters, 4) that I sent letters to Cherie Blair in 1996, (5) that the letters contained “racist filth”, (6) that the police were shown 100 letters, (7) that the letters were “deeply offensive” and (8) that Cherie Blair declined to have me prosecuted (That decision was made by the Crown Prosecution Service who declared that “NO CRIME” had been committed).

CHERIE BLAIR RECEIVES HATE LETTERS

Sicko letters sent to Cherie

Tony Blair’s Wife Cherie has been bombarded with hate mail.

Police were called in after Mrs Blair feared the writer showed classic signs of being a stalker.

The letters, which are said to contain racist filth and are described as “deeply offensive”, began last year.

They are said to have been written by Robert Henderson, who two years ago penned a racist article criticising the selection of black players for the English cricket team.

Detectives were shown a bundle of 100 letters at a two hour meeting with the Blairs.

The letters, all posted in London, have been taken away for forensic examination. But Mrs Blair is thought to have declined to turn the matter into a criminal case.

————————————-
Contents of Word file Moral Simpletons.docx

Robert Henderson’s response to the Mirror article which the Mirror refused to publish (they also refused to make any retraction or publish even a short letter from me).

Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man

Robert Henderson

The Mirror story on 25 March ‘Pest targets Blairs’ contained one correct fact, I have been in correspondence with the Blairs.

The article states that I have been incessantly bombarding the Blairs with letters. False. Beginning in March 1996, I have written Blair nine letters and his wife four. My last letter to his wife was dated 25th February: to Blair 27th January. This year I have written one letter to Blair.

I wrote to his wife as a last resort after Blair had persistently refused to deal with my serious complaints against two members of his party, my MP, Frank Dobson and Diane Abbott. The complaints concerned Dobson and Abbott’s behaviour towards me. I have only written as often as I have because of Blair’s persistent refusal to act honourably.

My letters to him all dealt with legitimate political subjects, namely the obligations of an MP to his constituents, Diane Abbott’s hypocrisy towards me (she got on her “antiracist” high horse after the publication of ‘Is it in the blood?’), the publicly demonstrated anti-white racist behaviour of some Labour MPs, the misbehaviour of the media towards me, my inability to gain redress from both the Press Complaints Commission and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and, lastly, the committal of perjury by a barrister and a well known firm of solicitors.

My letters to his wife were primarily a conduit to Blair – this I made clear in my first letter Mrs Blair. Nowhere in my letters have I made threats. Never have I attempted to force my physical presence on either of the Blairs. Let me put the fears of this extraordinarily nervous couple to rest. You are not nor ever have been in any physical danger from me. (Terrified of beggars, terrified of me. This is a man to be prime minister?)

The Mirror quotes the Walworth Road insider as saying that my letters are full of “graphic racist filth” and “sewer language”. This is utterly untrue. There is a simple way to resolve the matter. I challenge the Mirror to first publish the letters upon which the article was based and then my correspondence with the Blairs in its entirety. Let the public judge.

The Mirror’s misrepresentation extended to completely fabricated quotes such as “If he gets in elected he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians”. It will come as a surprise to your readers to learn that I did not address the subject of Labour immigration policy in any of my letters. Frankly, I do not believe that a Blair government will make any substantial difference because Britain has not operated a meaningful immigration policy since we joined the EU. However, it would be nice to know one Labour policy before the election. So what is Labour policy on immigration Mr Blair?

I have expressed my personal opinion of the Blairs in my letters, but that is legitimate because they are public figures. The referral of the correspondence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is shameful and sinister: the opening of a Special Branch file on me ludicrous.

My judgement of Blair is that he is not intellectually or temperamentally equipped to be prime minister because he possesses a subordinate personality – by which I mean he is not one of Nature’s number ones – and is at once extremely nervous and intellectually vacuous. Like all weak men in positions of authority, he acts in an authoritarian manner to hide his deficiencies. I am also not ready for the embarrassment of a prime minister with the voice and manner of an overly earnest fifth former. (“I vow, pipe, pipe…I vow, pipe, pipe…I vow, pipe,pipe, pipe”).

People may disagree with my interpretation of Blair’s character, but it cannot be legitimately argued in a democracy that public judgement of the personality of a potential prime minister is illegitimate. Blair’s referral of the letters to the CPS is reminiscent of his authoritarian treatment of dissident Labour MPs and party activists. The man is simply unable to handle contrary opinion or criticism. (Still dreaming of a 1000 year Blaireich young Tony?) In a stable political environment such as ours, only weak men need to suppress dissent.

As for his wife, all I have done in one of my letters is point to the distance between her lifestyle and traditional Labour values and express my disgust at the hypocrisy of the decision to send her son to a school outside the borough. (Why should your children not be educated in the type of school the murdered white schoolboy Richard Everitt had to endure, Mrs Blair?) His wife is a public figure both by her association with Blair and her active political past. Ergo, criticism of her is licit.

I would add that more vicious and vulgarly expressed criticism of the Blairs appears regularly in the National Press. For example, the Daily Telegraph printed a story recently under the heading “Blair like a scared child says US interviewer” (4/2/97) and a Barbara Amiel article ‘I prefer my Cherie sour’ (24/2/9) depicted his wife as a curious mixture of the churlish and the submissive. As for vulgarity, how about computer simulations of a bald Blair?

That an ill-written sensationalist comic as the Mirror is become – I remember when it was a bona fide newspaper – should accuse anyone of sewer language is a joke in extremely bad taste. As for “graphic racist filth”, what about the Mirror story on 26 March headed “She should be hanged” showing a photograph of the black murderess, Sharon Carr? That type of presentation is grossly inflammatory as any black will tell you.

By referring the matter to the CPS, Blair is saying in effect that there will be two standards, one for the media, one for private citizens. This is incompatible with both the principle of equality before the law and democracy.

The article mentions assault through correspondence. The Mirror article was infinitely more damaging than my correspondence with the Blairs. If anyone is to be charged with this novel idea of assault it is the editor of the Mirror. Speaking of which I come to a more conventional form of assault.

The Mirror photographer, who gave his name as Simpson, began firing off shots before either he or the accompanying reporter, Graham Brough, had introduced themselves. That broke the PCC code of Conduct. I then told him that I suffered from an illness which included exceptional sensitivity to light. He continued snapping. That is an assault.

I also told the reporter and photographer that I did not give my permission for the use of the photographs. The Mirror has used one. That breached the PCC code of conduct.

Perhaps the most contemptible part of the article was the claim that I had the mentality of a stalker. I suggest that the Mirror looks at the beam in its own journalistic eye. It is papers such as the Mirror which harass people for no better reason than to provide copy that possess the mentality of a stalker.

The decision to print this article is better described as deranged than reckless. The matter is made worse because the writer of the article, Jeff Edwards, claimed during a telephone conversation with me (which I have on tape) that he had seen my correspondence with the Blairs before writing the article. Moreover, I recently sent copies of my more recent correspondence with Blair to both the Mirror editor and political editor. The awful truth is that these grotesque libels were committed deliberately not through recklessness. I can only suppose that recent Mail accusations of murder in the Stephen Lawrence case have removed the last vestiges of restraint from Fleet Street.

Because of the deliberate fabrication and the seriousness of the libels, I have asked the DPP to instigate proceedings for criminal libel against the Mirror editor, Edwards and the anonymous Walworth Road informant if he or she can be identified. Readers should note that Walworth Road have refused to allow me to speak to anyone with real authority within the Labour party.

The Mirror’s behaviour since the article has been as cowardly as that of Labour. Neither the editor nor deputy editor has been willing to ,speak to me. Obviously the Mirror has no confidence in their story.

I have written to Blair asking him to(1) identify the Walworth Road informant before sacking them and expelling them from the Labour party and (2) issue a statement making clear that your article was a tissue of inexcusably vicious lies.

As for refusing to comment when the Mirror reporter called at my flat, this is untrue. I told him I was happy to comment in writing but was unwilling to give an interview. I refused the interview because my experience since the publication of ‘Is it in the blood?’ has left me in no doubt that no person working in the media can be trusted to behave honestly. It is not that mediafolk operate a different code of morals when dealing with the private citizen, they do not operate any code of morals at all.

I cannot but feel that my offences are ones unknown to English law, namely the heinous crimes of not taking Tiny Tone immensely seriously and failing to grant him fawning respect.

Let me summarise your article in words which your readers will be able to understand with the aid of a dictionary. It was a cargo of ancient male gonads. 

The Autumn issue of the Quarterly Review is out

 

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CONTENTS

Editorial Derek Turner Please click here

A conservative maverick in the Antipodes – Edwin Dyga interviews Senator Cory Bernardi

9/11 – the rage, the pride and the disastrous policies Mark G. Brennan on the scars of 11 September 2001 Please click here

The “Universal Class” and unintended consequences Geoffrey Partington on Hegel’s legacy

The Lords Spiritual, Temporal – and invaluable Merlin Sudeley on the hereditary peers in Parliament

Immigration – the reserve army of capital Alain de Benoist on big business and immigration

Socialist sociology Robert Henderson reviews Matthew Goodwin’s New British Fascism

The Churchill Memorandum – gift of the Gabb Edward Dutton reviews Sean Gabb’s The Churchill Memorandum

Correspondence – Ewa M. Thompson, David Ashton, Luise Hemmer Pihl

Taki’s Universe Taki on Jackie Kennedy

L’affaire Dreyfus – fraternité deferred Leslie Jones reviews Ruth Harris’s The Man on Devil’s Island

Jean Améry and multiple identities Stoddard Martin reviews Irène Heidelberger-Leonard’s The Philosopher of Auschwitz

The writes of Stravinsky Stuart Millson reviews Keller and Cosman’s Stravinsky – The Music-Maker

The Symbolist – Jean Moréas’ life and legacy Nick Louras

Replay – Soylent Green Mark Wegierski

Flight Announcement Peter Stark

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

Sample article

New British Fascism

Rise of the British National Party

Matthew J Goodwin

Routledge

New British Fascism comes in the guise of an objective academic study, replete with tables and charts and a fair dollop of dry analysis.  But that is camouflage  for  the  author’s  liberal-left  prejudices, although it is probable that Goodwin, as with so many of the left,  is self-deluding enough to be unaware of his bias.

Goodwin   gives the ideological game away in the book’s title  by attaching  the arch pejorative “fascist”  to the BNP  without making any attempt to explain  what he means by this complex  word (hint: “far right extremist” does not equal fascist)  and  follows this up in the introduction  with “This book follows  political scientist Elizabeth Carter in considering  right-wing extremism as a particular form of political ideology  that is defined by two anti-constitutional and anti-democratic elements: first, right-wing extremists are extremist because they reject or undermine the values, procedures and institutions of the democratic state; and second, they are right wing because they reject the principle of fundamental human equality” (p6).

The author’s acceptance of Carter’s  definition taints the book. If you do not adopt  the liberal internationalist’s view that human beings are just one big happy indistinguishable and interchangeable family you are a right-wing extremist.  When Carter  writes of undermining the “values, procedures and institutions of the democratic state”,  she does not mean  that right wing parties refuse to play by the democratic rules as they are commonly understood – free elections, universal suffrage, parliaments  and governments being  accountable to the  law. Rather,  for her being democratic means that any person regardless of origin – in  principle the seven  billion people currently alive – must be treated equally  because to do otherwise would constitute the rejection of “ the principle of fundamental human equality “.  That means  any election which produced a decision that failed to accord  with the idea that all human beings everywhere should be treated equally, for example,   a government in favour of an end to all further mass immigration and the expulsion of all those without citizenship, would be classed as undemocratic .

Then there is the label of “extremist”.  By assiduous propaganda over decades, politicians of all the major mainstream British parties have assiduously been  placing in the public arena the idea that to  support  or advocate any political views which diverge seriously from those of liberal internationalism  is to be extreme . The erasing of the  traditional political vocabulary from mainstream British politics means that  any group or individuals outside the narrow ideological  confines of  what the British political class  now represent as being the only  legitimate democratic politics may be described as  extremists and hence dismissed as  of no account or dangerous and in need of suppression through laws such as the Race Relations Act.

It is also a very strange thing to define parties and individuals  as being right-wing  simply on the grounds of being opposed to immigration, which is what Goodwin effectively  does . The idea that being resistant to immigration is inherently right-wing is historically false. Not only is it a natural human response to territory being invaded,  political parties of the left and trade unions have until quite recently been opposed to mass immigration.   Unions in particular have a long history of opposing immigration primarily  on the ground that  it increases competition in the labour market  and reduces both wages and conditions.    The Labour Party   for most of its existence qualifies  as extreme right wing under Carter’s definition, because not only did it in practice stand against mass immigration because of union hostility towards it,  but it  also believed in the nation state. It is worth remembering  that  the Labour government of Harold Wilson passed an immigration Act in 1968 which considerably tightened immigration rules for  those from the new (non-white) Commonwealth after the Tories had done very little in 13 years to stem immigration.  It is also telling  that Goodwin himself mentions that only four out of ten BNP voters think of themselves as right wing (p107).

Goodwin acknowledges that  the BNP  has gone far beyond simply relating issues to immigration and have under Griffin developed a fully- fledged political agenda.  Indeed, much of its recent manifestoes could sit comfortably within the those of the mainstream political parties and even more in the manifestoes of twenty or thirty years ago.  He also spends considerable time examining how the  BNP have  in the past decade or so  greatly softened their rhetoric about race and immigration, more or less dropped  anti-Semitism, produced a broad political platform which deals with all the major areas of political debate and adopted the strategy of  building the party from local roots in much the same way that the LibDems have done.  Indeed, to look at the official literature of the BNP is to see a party which in many ways is aping the  political antics of the major British parties. But for Goodwin this is not a sincere  change of heart merely the BNP attempting to “rally Britons by downplaying its toxic brand”.  It is difficult to see how the BNP could ever, in Goodwin’s mind, escape from the locked cell of Carter’s definition because whatever they did or said Goodwin would still say they should be classified as  “extreme right-wingers” because the change was not genuine.

As for the BNP’s success or failure, Goodwin acknowledges that they  have done considerably better  than any other party he brackets with them, for example, the National Front,  but less well than similar European parties. This fact has little force because  the comparative BNP  failure  is readily  attributable to the widespread  use of electoral systems  on the continent  which contain some element of proportional representation while Britain retains first-past-the-post for Westminster elections.

There is a frequent  failure to query the overt message of statistics. For example Goodwin  looks at  Britons’ response to  poll questions about  who is British (chapters 3/ 5)  which show that a majority  say that race is immaterial in determining the question.  What he fails to do is consider whether the  polling results may significantly under-estimate  concern about racial and ethnic difference  because of the prevailing atmosphere of fear generated by the ever tightening grip of political correctness.   This type of omission is all the more visible  because  Goodwin is more than happy to speculate elsewhere in the book, so such a failure is not the result of some self-denying academic ordinance.

The same lack of imagination shows when Goodwin considers the social shape  of BNP voters. He compares them  with those who vote for the major political parties and UKIP (p102).  According to his statistics,  there are fewer BNP voters  in the professional AB category than those of  the other parties, but there are still 11 per cent of BNP voters who fall into that category as opposed to 18 per cent for Labour and UKIP.   Moreover, the general shape  of the entire voting population of BNP voters is not wildly  different from that of Labour which draws 57% of its voters from the  two lowest  social groups as against 70% for the BNP according to the figures Goodwin  cites.  Hence, there is nothing unreservedly abnormal about the BNP vote.

Goodwin also looks at the ages and sex structure of BNP Membership (p102). This shows most BNP members to be in the 34+ age group with a strong preponderance (69%) of male.  Goodwin  represents this as a sign of a failing party. The problem with this argument is that his own figures show that the major parties have a similar age profile.  The age profile of the BNP  is surely just a consequence  of the ageing British population and the much greater   propensity of older voters to vote.

Goodwin  argues  from  the age profile of the BNP  that  racial hostility is a phenomenon  of the older generations because  younger people have grown up with an ethnically mixed society.   This is contradicted by the  race riots in northern England  in the early years of the century and emergence of the English Defence League,   but Goodwin dismisses such behaviour  as a residual phenomenon  of the young who have elders with “far-right” beliefs or who live in places  with a “right wing tradition (p104)

As to motivation for supporting the BNP,  Goodwin  suggests that  the BNP client base is essentially that of the “angry  white male” who has had his security threatened by immigration and its ongoing consequences. . While this  has an element of truth because it is the white working class man who has suffered most from  competition from immigration,  you could argue the same of the Labour Party vote.

The  only stark difference between the BNP and the major parties is in sex.  But there is probably nothing  remarkable in that. To support the BNP requires a  personality which can handle conflict. Men are almost certainly better able to do that.  The fact that UKIP has only 40 per cent of female  voters  supports this interpretation .

Goodwin seems genuinely puzzled by the  “extreme right’s” concentration on Muslims.  The answer is that this is plausibly all part of the  re-branding  exercise such as that conducted by the BNP under Nick Griffin. Because of the  intense grip that political correctness has on western societies,   parties which wish to resist immigration and its consequences have been forced to play within the rules of political correctness. This means they take up causes such “Islamification”  because that avoids directly engaging in the question of race.

The marvel of Goodwin is that he cannot see his own bias even though he accepts the massive constraints placed on any minor party under the British political system and describes well the intimidatory  actions of  both  the political elite through laws such as the Race Relations Act (RRA)which prevents  free debate on pain of criminal sanction and the all too ready willingness of  politicians, public service organisations, unions, big business  and the mainstream media to harass and penalise those who express their political  views outside the permitted parameters of political correctness:

“The disadvantages of joining an extremist party might include official punishments, threats from rival movements and group reprisals for participating’ . In fact, those who have join have been shown to experience abuse, jeopardise employment prospects and damage relationships with friends and family. “ (p138)

Goodwin  also happily describes  the persistent harassment of the BNP by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission  (EHRC) over its membership qualifications (p122); admits  freely that the  British electoral system is heavily weighted against parties without an established  Westminster presence (p)  and draws attention to the limited ability of national governments to  govern because of their entanglement in international treaties and supra-national bodies such as the EU.

One might imagine that someone who understands the undemocratic restraints placed on unestablished parties in general and  the additional undemocratic  blocks placed before parties such as the BNP,  would conclude that they are placed in a position in which  they cannot meaningfully engage in the democratic process.  Not Goodwin.  He sees no discord between insisting that a party can only be considered democratic  if it plays by the democratic rules ,whilst showing absolutely no discomfort  when he acknowledges that  those who set the rules of the political game do so  in such a way as to preclude meaningful participation in the democratic process.

What Goodwin is saying can be  reduced to this:  any  party  (or person) standing  for something which the vast majority of human beings at all times and places  would consider normal and desirable, namely, defending the tribe, clan or nation against invasion by main force or stealth,  is, in Goodwin’s eyes, part of the far right  – he coyly implies (p178) that the BNP and UKIP are not a million miles apart on the political spectrum.

Can I recommend New British Fascism?  I can but not for the reason the author would want.  Read this book not to understand the BNP but that most curious of things  the modern liberal mind.

 

 

The globalist lies about the British Labour market

Robert Henderson

One of the great lies of the modern liberal is that in developed countries such as Britain unskilled  and low skilled jobs are a rapidly shrinking commodity.  Daniel Knowles of the Daily Telegraph  was at it  on 17 November with Our greatest social problem: there are no jobs left for the dim (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielknowles/100118217/our-greatest-social-problem-there-are-no-jobs-left-for-the-dim/).  He tried to explain  away Britain’s growing problem of youth unemployment by arguing that the less bright, less educated British youngsters of  today are unemployed because “Robots and Chinese people have taken over the sorts of jobs that 16 year olds could get without any qualifications straight out of school and work in for a lifetime.  The only jobs left for the under-educated, or often just the less academic, are in service industries: serving coffee, cleaning toilets, stacking shelves. These jobs are not the first rung on the ladder. There is no ladder; no one hopes to work in Pret a Manger for life.”

There are several interesting aspects of Knowles’ comment. First, he assumes that offshoring jobs to places like China is something which cannot be reversed and the practice carries no moral opprobrium.  Second, he makes the assumption that everyone wants a career rather than just a secure job which allows them to live independently. Third, he makes no mention of the role mass immigration has played in creating unemployment amongst the young, something which can only be explained by  Knowles being of the generation which has been brainwashed into pretending that the ill effects  of immigration do not exist.

Knowles’ ideas about the young could be as readily applied to British workers of all ages if one accepts his interpretation of  the state of the labour market.  He is right on the superficial detail that  less well-qualified Britons British workers are increasingly being left without unskilled and low-skilled work, but wrong in understanding of why this is and his implied assumption that Britain’s economic circumstances cannot be changed.

The “we have to live in a globalist world” lie

Britain does not have to be,  in the cant of the globalists,   a post-industrial society.  To begin with Britain still undertakes a good deal of manufacturing, albeit  this has become across too narrow a range of goods.  The base to expand industrial production is still there if only Britain’s politicians forsook the globalist fantasy and concentrated on protecting the domestic British economy,  for example, by having a policy to be self-sufficient in food and energy or by making it illegal to use a call centre outside of Britain to serve Britain.    This would  necessitate  Britain  leaving the EU.   Withdrawal from the EU would also allow Britain to re-establish control over immigration. Turning off the immigrant labour tap  would force British employers to take on native Britons.

Such actions  would place  restrictions on what Britain could sell overseas and lessen  the opportunity for Britons  to work abroad,  but  it would be a case of economic swings and roundabouts . The swings of being an independent judiciously protectionist nation again would most probably exceed greatly exceed the roundabouts of  other nations’ restriction.  This is because the central lesson of economic history is that  a strong domestic economy is  necessary for a country to be economically successful.  It is worth adding that Britons who go to work abroad today  are, unlike the majority of foreigners who come to work here, amongst the better qualified part of the population.  Consequently, any restriction on their ability to emigrate would be to Britain’s advantage.

Being more self-sufficient as a  country also has considerable political advantages. There is less opportunity for  diplomatic bullying, especially of small countries by the powerful. Domestically, the more things which are within the control of  a government the greater the democratic control,  because politicians cannot blame ills on international treaties and circumstances to the same extent.  For example, suppose the controls over British financial sector had remained as they were before the Thatcher government’s relaxations,  the present financial mess would not have touched Britain to anything like the same extent  because lending by British financial institutions would never have got out of hand.

As for people not being prepared to do run-of-the-mill jobs for all of their lives, this is what used to happen routinely and, indeed, many  people  continue to do just that  today.  Nor is this  something restricted to the  unskilled.  Any skilled craftsman – a builder, plumber or carpenter – or someone with a skill such as HGV driving  will do the same basic job all their lives unless they choose to go to another form of employment.  The fact they are skilled does not necessarily  make the job intrinsically  interesting , although it will be better paid generally than those in a low or unskilled employment.  It is also a mistake to imagine that skilled jobs which are  non-manual are generally fulfilling or prestigious.  A country solicitor dealing largely with farm leases and conveyancing or a an accountant spending most of their time preparing final accounts  are scarcely enjoying working lives  of wild excitement while a The truth is most jobs, regardless of their skill level, are not intrinsically interesting to the people who do them, the interest in working arising from the money reward and the social interaction which comes with the work.

The “there are not enough  low skill jobs”  lie

Nor is it true that unskilled and low-skilled jobs are diminishing.  The large majority of jobs today, require little or no specialised  training.  Very few retail jobs involve a detailed knowledge of the product; driving a vehicle other  than an HGV comes with the possession of an ordinary driving  licence; undertaking a routine clerical task can be done almost immediately by someone who is literate.  Until the advent of general purpose robots which can do most of the jobs a human being can do, there will continue to be a plentiful supply of low-skilled work. (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/robotics-and-the-real-sorry-karl-you-got-it-wrong-final-crisis-of-capitalism/)

The existence of low-skilled or unskilled work has a positive benefit beyond the work itself.  It provides a means of independent living for the least able. In Britain the average IQ is 100. The way that IQ is distributed – in  a good approximation of normal distribution – means that 10% of the population has an IQ of 80 or lower. An IQ of 80 is thought by most experts in the field of intelligence testing to be the point at which an individual begins to struggle to live an independent life in an advanced industrial society such as Britain.  Without  low-skilled and unskilled work  the low IQ individual is left with no means to live an in independent life. That means in all probability a  heavy dependency on benefits with a likelihood of antisocial behaviour because they cannot live a life of norm al social responsibility.  Full employment is a social good which goes far beyond the overt material product of the employment.  The nationalised industries may have had a significant degree of over -manning in strict

The “ immigration does not lower wages or take jobs from Britons” lies

The immigration aspect of British unemployment is particularly potent. Since 1997 the large majority of  new jobs in Britain  have been taken by foreigners ,  with those coming from Eastern Europe being particularly drawn to low-skilled employments, viz.:

The ONS figures show the total number of people in work in both the private and the public sector has risen from around 25.7million in 1997 to 27.4million at the end of last year, an increase of 1.67million.

But the number of workers born abroad has increased dramatically by 1.64million, from 1.9million to 3.5million.

There were 23.8million British-born workers in employment at the end of last year, just 25,000 more than when Labour came to power. In the private sector, the number of British workers has actually fallen. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1264333/GENERAL-ELECTION-2010-Under-Labour-nearly-UK-jobs-taken-foreigners.htm l  -8th April 2010).

The situation has not changed since the 2010 general election. In November 2011 there are 147,000 more foreign born workers in Britain than there were in November 2010. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/8894148/Extra-150000-foreign-workers-in-Britain-as-unemployment-rises.html. )

Most of the immigrants to Britain who have entered employment since 1997 have taken low-skilled jobs: -

In the first quarter of 2011, around 1 in 5 workers, or 20.6 per cent, in low-skill occupations were born outside the UK. This figure has increased from around 1 in 11 workers, or 9.0 per cent, in the first quarter of 2002.

This represents an increase of 367,000 non-UK born workers in low-skill jobs, with 666,000 in the first quarter of 2011, up from 298,000 at the start of 2002.  Over the same period there was little change in the number of workers in low-skill jobs in the UK, which stood at around 3.2 million. However, the number of UK-born people in low-skill jobs fell from 3.04 million to 2.56 million.

There were also increases in the percentage of non-UK born workers in each of the three higher skill groups, although the increases there were not as large as that in low-skill jobs. Low-skill jobs are those that need a basic level of education and a short period of training, while high-skill occupations normally require a university level of education or extensive work experience.

The 1.7 million increase in the number of non-UK born workers is comprised of:

• 88,000 from EU 14 countries ((Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden)

• 585,000 from EU A8 countries(Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia)

• 1,010,000 from rest of the world countries Looking at workers at each job skill level, the majority of workers at each level were also UK-born, at 79.4 per cent, 87.2 per cent, 87.6 per cent and 86.1 per cent in low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-skill level jobs respectively.

Majority of workers born in EU A8 countries in low-skill occupations As there was a rise in EU A8-born workers in low-skill jobs over the last decade, it was also the case that workers in this group tended to be in low-skill jobs. In the first quarter of 2011, of all those born in EU A8 and working in the UK, 38.3 per cent were in low-skill jobs, while only 7.8 per cent were in high-skill jobs.

Majority of workers in the UK are UK-born Looking at all workers in the UK, the majority were UK-born. However, over the last decade, the number of UK-born workers fell by 223,000, while the number of non-UK born workers rose by 1.7 million. As a result, UK-born workers as a percentage of all workers fell from 91.5 per cent at the start of 2002, to 86.1 per cent at the start of 2011. (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_234559.pdf)

Those are of course only the official figures. There will also be a substantial number of immigrants taking jobs by working in the black economy.

If the  1.7milliion  official count jobs filled by immigrants since 1997 had been filled by Britons,   UK unemployment would be officially around 900,000 today, not good but still vastly better than what we have.   The vast majority of the jobs taken by immigrants  could have been done by Britons because they are low-skilled or unskilled.  This gives the lie to the idea that the movement to a service dominated economy would mean  a famine of jobs suitable for the less able and more poorly qualified.  The wilful destruction of much of Britain’s  manufacturing and extractive industries in the 1980s   and the later offshoring of  jobs dealt a severe blow to British employment opportunities,  but it did not in itself mean large numbers of Britons would be unable to find work.  It is the permitting of mass immigration which has brought that about.

It is not only unskilled  British workers who are  being squeezed out.  Certainly in London where I live, the building trade has been taken over by foreigners, especially those coming from Eastern Europe.  The takeover has been achieved very simply: the immigrant plumbers, carpenters, painters  and builders  have been willing to grossly undercut the wages of the British craftsman.    Despite  supposed shortage of midwives, British  midwives cannot find posts in Britain (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8889007/Student-midwives-struggling-to-get-jobs-despite-shortage.html) and there are examples of skilled Britons being sacked as foreign companies bring in staff from their own country  ( http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2125178/huawei-accused-racial-discrimination).

For most of the decade from 2000 politicians of all stripes and the media refused to accept that immigrants were lowering wages. Around 2010 they began to accept  what the laws of supply and demand should have told them,  more people seeking work equals lower wages and poor non-money conditions of work. (http://www.allbusiness.com/labor-employment/compensation-benefits-wages-salaries/12699472-1.html). This was deeply ironic because following Blair’s election as Labour leader, the left liberal fraternity religiously espoused worship of the market.

The “Britons won’t do the work” lie

Phone-ins, social networking and the individual experience of those around you tell the same story: there are very large numbers of Britons desperate for work, often any work,  who just cannot find any.  Again and again people tell of how they have  tried  for dozens, sometimes hundreds of jobs without getting even an interview. Media reports of employers  getting large numbers of applicants for even menial jobs are a regular feature( http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/25-people-chase-every-job-in-some-areas-of-london/423.article).  Many new graduates are finding that they have been sold a pup about the increased employability of those with a degree and are lucky to find any sort of  job. ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jan/26/fifth-graduates-unemployed-ons).

It beggars belief that British employers are  employing foreign workers because they cannot find suitable people. Even if there was a problem with the attitude of young Britons, for which I see no evidence for as a general problem, it would not explain why older workers with a good work history are being overlooked.   The most likely explanation is that British  employers find foreign workers are cheaper and easier to lay off when they want to.

It is also true that where large numbers of people are needed,  gangmasters will be used and these are often foreign and only recruit people of their own nationality.  There is also the growing practice of foreign companies in Britain bringing  in their own people (http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2125178/huawei-accused-racial-discrimination). There is also the possibility of corruption especially where public service organisations are concerned, with foreign agencies and the British people doing the hiring enter into a corrupt arrangement whereby the Britons ensure foreigners are recruited and receive a kickback for that from the foreign agents who supply the labour. The foreign agent gains through the fees for finding and supplying the foreign staff.

During the Blair/Brown bubble years there may have been an element of Britons unwilling to do some of the menial low paid jobs, but in our present dire financial straits that cannot be the case now even for low-skilled workers.  Moreover even during the Blair/Brown bubble , the rapidly rising property prices and rents and falling wages  often made it impossible for a Briton who had social obligations such as a family to support to take those jobs because they would not provide a means to support the family.  Most of the immigrants who came in, especially those from Eastern Europe,  were young men with no obligations beyond supporting themselves.  They are able , even on the minimum wages, to save a few thousand per year  and that money in their own country is worth multiples of  what it is worth in Britain.   Such immigrant workers  found that  they could work for a couple of years in Britain and save enough to buy a property in their own country. (Give Britons the chance to go abroad and earn enough to buy a  house in Britain and you will be trampled in the rush). In short,   there was never a level playing field between British and foreign workers.

The obligation of democratic governments

The first responsibility of a government in a  democratic country is to promote the well-being of its  citizens above those of foreigners.  To take the view, as successive British governments have  in practice taken since 1979, that immigrants are, in effect,  entitled to the privileges  accorded to British citizens is to render British citizenship null and void.  To think of the world as a single marketplace with labour, goods and services drawn from wherever is cheapest or most immediately available, is to reduce Britain to no more than a residence of convenience which can be used for the purposes of the individual without any concern for Britain as a society.  That is what Britain’s politicians  and her broader elite are dragging the country towards.  All sense of nation has not been lost ye, t but Britons are increasingly seeing themselves as abandoned by those who are supposed  to wield power on their behalf and for their good and are in desperation increasingly  looking for their own advantage without regard to the effects of their behaviour on the society they live in. .

If Britain had a political elite which acted as an elite should do in a democracy, they would cast aside the globalist fantasy and begin to rebuild a stable British economy and with it a much stronger and more settled society.  They would recover Britain’s sovereignty by withdrawing from the EU. They would end mass migration. They would allow Britain to re-industrialise behind protectionist barriers.  In doing those things they would produce a situation which would allow Britons to be employed in jobs which were secure and paid well enough, even at the unskilled level, to live a normal family life because Britain would become a high wage economy. This would be because even the least skilled in society would have a value , for  the unskilled  work would still need to be done and  there would not be an immigrant army  to do it . This would either  put a premium on those willing to do the unskilled work who would command higher pay or the unskilled work would have to be done as incidental work by those  doing more skilled work, for example, cleaning the workplace in addition to being  a draughtsman.  A fantasy? Well, it is what happens in Norway , a very high wage economy.

Housing and the Coalition’s dirty secret

Robert Henderson

There is a dirty secret which none of the mainstream parties is willing to publicly reveal: those who are owner-occupiers with mortgages are being heavily subsidised at the expense of those who live in private rented accommodation. This is being done by  the supposedly independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)  of the Bank of England (BoE)   keeping of British  interest rates at dangerously low levels (Bank Rate kept at half of one per cent since March 2009) while inflation is driven well above the MPC’s sole remit to keep inflation within one per cent above or below a  two per cent per annum target (http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetarypolicy/pdf/chancellorletter110323.pdf) by a mixture of  low interest rates and the Quantitative Easing (printing of money in effect http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/inflation/qe/video.htm) practised by the BoE with £200 billion put into the economy so far with another  £75 billion on the way (http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/news/2011/093.htm).

Low interest rates and quantitative easing are just what the Coalition Government would have ordered had they been formally making the MPC’s decisions for them,  because the Coalition’s  focus has been on ensuring demand stays healthy to  prevent recession and promote   growth to reduce the massive and rapidly growing national debt.  As the MPC has spectacularly failed to keep within  the Committee’s   inflation remit for over two years,   with Retail Price Index (RPI ) inflation now at  5.6% and the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
inflation at 5.2% in September 2011,  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15344297) it is not necessary to be unduly cynical to suspect  that the MPC is less than separate from
government.   This is scarcely surprising because of the way the MPC is recruited, viz: “The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is made up of nine members – the Governor, the two Deputy Governors, the Bank’s Chief Economist, the Executive Director for Markets and four external members appointed directly by the Chancellor.”   (http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetarypolicy/overview.htm).

The effect of low interest rates and governmental pressure  on mortgage providers to not  foreclose quickly on those who default on their mortgages  has been to maintain (so far)  most people with a mortgage in their homes.   At the same time, the financial crisis has seen the  ending of easy-money mortgages  with little or no deposit and their replacement with mortgages which require a substantial deposit, commonly in the region of 20 per cent.

Because there is a general housing shortage in the UK,  the sky-high property bubble  prices have not collapsed dramatically enough to make the saving of such a deposit  practical for  most  people who are not on the housing ownership  ladder.  This has caused a  great  increase in demand for rented housing . The vast majority of that demand can only be satisfied by private rented properties because of the depredations on the social housing stock of Right-to-Buy (RTB)  and the failure to build much social housing since the 1980s.  Add in the additional  demand of the net two million immigrants  who have arrived in Britain since 1997, most of whom have gone to London and its environs,  and the result has been a massive hike in private rents since the  failure of Lehmann Brothers in 2008 fired the starting gun for the financial turmoil which still grips the world.

The private rental figures are bad for the whole country, but for London are  truly astonishing:  “FindaProperty.com  publishes a regular rental index. The typical monthly rent in London is now £2,075 compared with average net pay in Britain of £1,924 …” (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-24000371-renting-in-the-capital-tops-average-take-home-pay.do).

The proposed change to a so-called Universal Benefit (in reality many  benefits lumped under one heading) between 2013-2015 will have a cap on total benefits which “is
expected to be £350 a week for single person households and £500 for all others”. (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-24008380-130000-homes-face-rent-crisis-under-reforms.do).  That will  clearly make it impossible for people on benefits dependent on  private rented accommodation  to live in London, but the rents do much more than that. They bar people even on an above London average pay packet from living in private rented accommodation in London.  The £500 limit is equivalent to a gross pay of about  £35,000. London median  gross pay  is less than £35,000. ( Go to Office of National Statistics and search for Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings Pension Tables – 2010 Provisional Results).

The cry is increasingly heard that if people cannot afford to live in an area they have no right to do so. If you feel that way just sit and think about the consequences of such a mentality.  Large towns and cities do not run themselves. They need an army of people to service them who are on pay which would not allow them to buy a property or rent decent accommodation  in the private sector within the town or city.  That means  people doing such work who do not live in social housing have to choose between  travel ling a fair distance to work (increasingly expensive), living in indecently crowded accommodation or squatting.  It should be added that the large majority of people servicing expensive areas such as London fall into this category.   Make it impossible for people to work in expensive areas either because they cannot live there or afford the fares to commute and sooner or later things will fall apart.

Places like London are surviving at the moment because there is still a good deal of social housing there and large numbers of people of relatively modest means purchased properties before  house prices reached their  present absurdly high  levels.  But that situation will worsen steadily if the Coalition Government puts into operation their  proposal to massively raise social housing rents for new tenants  (80% of  the market rate is being mooted),  who will also have time-limited tenancies, the renewal of which will depend on things such as whether the tenant is in work and if they are,   their income remaining below a level deemed to be poor enough to warrant social housing.   (It is clear that the Coalition want to move those they consider  “unproductive” away from expensive areas  – http://www.totallymoney.com/news/index.php/2011/10/coalition-plans-to-uproot-unemployed-from-their-homes/).   There is also the likelihood that an 80% of market rent regime would make the rents too high for workers on average or below average pay in places like London and the South East.

Under the proposed new regime. the power to decide conditions will rest with the local council which  could in theory  still award lifetime tenancies and keep rents low. (http://propertydrum.briefyourmarket.com/Articles/Specialist-new-home-sales/The-end-of-council-tenancies-for-life-.aspx).  However, neither of those courses of action are likely to be followed because it is obviously not in the interest of councils to keep rents low or have tenants on long tenancies  who are very difficult to  remove.  Nor would it be logical to allow life tenancies to new tenants while adopting the policy line that a tenancy should be only for the less well off.

Bizarrely, the Coalition proposes to increase housing by reviving sales under the Right-to-Buy  (RTB), which affects council and housing association properties,  by increasing discounts  with  the money raised being used to build new “affordable housing “. This has obvious flaws.  The most obvious is that if social housing properties are sold at a heavy discount,  by definition they will not  provide sufficient funds to build equivalent properties to those sold  in the same area, because the new properties would have to be built at the  full market price.  It is also likely that a new build property would be more expensive than an existing council  or housing association property.

The next difficulty would be the acquisition of land. In many  places, especially  London,  it is unlikely that there would be  sufficient land  available on which to build replacement properties, and,  if the land had to be purchased rather than building on publicly owned land,  it will be prohibitively expensive to purchase.

To those objections can be  added the fact that even if like for like properties were built, the overall stock of social housing would be reduced because the new build properties would take time to  complete. During the building time  the social housing stock would be reduced because the property sold would be removed from the stock and no replacement added to it.

The upshot of these difficulties would be almost certainly significantly  fewer properties built than were sold and, most probably,  many properties not built in the area where the sales took place.

It is also  far from clear that  a new surge of RTB sales could be engineered. To begin with most of the desirable social housing has already been purchased through RTB . Buying flats in large blocks  on leaseholds is not an attractive proposition when the freeholder (the council or housing association) can hit you with massive  repair bills to maintain the fabric of the building and substantial service charges and ground rents.  To that barrier  can be added the outlandish property prices, especially in London. Even if the very generous discounts which used to be given for RTB were reinstated,  it might  well be that the discounted prices would still be beyond the reach of  most  social housing tenants. There is also the question of whether the proposed fixed term  tenancies will they have the RTB.   If  there is no RTB for new social housing tenants that will to a substantial  degree sabotage the plan to use RTB proceeds
to build new housing because the pool of potential purchasers will be considerably reduced over a relatively short time because there is a substantial turnover of  social housing tenancies.

If RTB is allowed for new tenancies how would this work? Would a tenant on a two year tenancy have the RTB or would they have to gain an extension of the tenancy?  If tenant’s financial circumstances improve substantially during a fixed-term tenancy, would that disqualify the tenant from RTB?

There is also the idea of providing social housing for “essential  workers” . This would be the city or town equivalent of the servants wing in a country house , with of course the threat of eviction if the person ceased to be an “essential worker”.  Entire towns and cities could become  a form of gated community, the gate being the possession of money or the lack of it, with housing being provided to the poor who serve the rich.

There have  always been parts of Britain which are more expensive than others, but the idea of whole towns or cities or even regions being beyond  the reach of not merely the poor but  people on average earnings or, in the case of London, people on double the average earnings, is something new.

London used to be noted as a place where  wealth would live cheek-by-jowl  against dramatic poverty,   Buckingham Palace a few hundred yards from Pimlico; Bloomsbury  next to the slums of Kings Cross.  The cost of housing, both rented and purchased reflected such differences.  Even 15 years ago London  (even  central  London) was  not a diabolically expensive place for property.  In 1996, The average house price in Greater London   was £84,000 (http://www.home.co.uk/guides/house_prices.htm?location=london).  In 2011, the average London price is £438,000 (http://www.houseprices.co.uk/london).  If prices had remained stable since 1996  in real terms,  the average price of a London property in 2010 would have been £123,000 (http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/inflation/calculator/flash/index.htm).

The Coalition shows no sign of understanding how devastating  the present housing shortage is.  What is needed is a programme of  council house building on the scale of that in the 1950s, a time when a Tory Housing minister Harold MacMillan could boast of building 300,000 homes in a year.  There are  plenty of brownfield sites in our towns and cities, much of it owned by councils.  The land which is held by private  companies, especially that with planning permission given but no building started , should be  subjected to a substantial tax every year
while it remains undeveloped.    Second  homes  and  unoccupied residential property  such be subject not to full council tax (as is already being considered by the Coalition) but council tax at one and half times that of fully occupied property. Those measures, together with a massive cut in new immigration, could save the day. Unless something radical  is done we could end up with armies of homeless on the streets in ten years. The situation is that serious.

A secure home is the most precious thing a human being can have. A society with  large numbers of people denied that will always be an unhappy and fractious one.  The present situation is simply immoral.

Handy-lie-on (and on) and Murdoch

Robert Henderson

On the 10th November 2011  the Executive Chairman of News International James Murdoch   reprised  his uncanny  impersonation of  Anthony Perkins playing Norman Bates in  Psycho before the Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee (CMS ).   The recording of the evidence and full transcript can be seen and read at  http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/culture-media-and-sport-committee/news/james-murdoch-10-november/

Murdoch’s defence against  the suggestions that he might be in any way culpable in allowing phone-hacking to gain a hold in the News of the World (NoW) was simplicity itself:  his  default reply was “I don’t remember” and his favourite  variations on the theme “I have no recollection” ; “I do not have direct knowledge  and “Not to my knowledge“… unless remembering was necessary to refute a damaging allegation such as the claims of Tom Crone (the ex NoW legal manager) and Colin Myler (ex-NoW editor)  that they had told him about  NoW hacking went beyond their  one-time Royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, both of whom  were jailed in  2007 for  hacking into the  voicemails of royal aides.    In that instance Murdoch was absolutely certain  that he had not been informed in 2008 by Crone or Myler that Gordon Taylor, the Professional Footballers Association  (PFA) chief executive had transcripts of other alleged  phone-hacks by the NoW  implicating journalists other than Goodman, viz.:   “As I wrote to you [the CMS committee] and testified about the evidence they gave to you in 2011, it was inconsistent and I do not believe it. I believe their testimony was misleading and I dispute it.”

He was also asked if he believed that Farrer’s, the solicitors to the Queen, evidence was misleading :  “I don’t have any evidence to believe that, but neither do I have direct evidence to believe otherwise.” This translates as I have no opinion. This was my favourite piece of  Murdoch lawyerrehearsalspeak obscurantism .

There was no end to the things Murdoch could not remember.  He did not know the names of private investigators used by the NoW. He could not recall this meeting or that conversation. At one point he was not entirely sure what was his formal  position in News International : “  I might have been named executive chairman, but I was effectively executive chairman.” (Q1614).

On the question of  the hacking of  Gordon Taylor  the Labour MP Paul Farrelly  asked (Q1617) “ Did you know what he did for a living?” The  question extracted this gem  from Murdoch: “Well, I was told. As I just said to you—just to be clear, Mr Farrelly—I don’t know if I had a lot of knowledge about Mr Taylor’s role beforehand.”   He doesn’t  know if he had knowledge of Taylor’s role??  One wonders if Murdoch is safe to be let out on his own or is he simply someone  who has been so heavily rehearsed by lawyers that he has become paralysed by their instructions.

Murdoch was also remarkably incurious by his own account. When Clive Goodman’s use of hacked material from royal aides became known  he did not discuss the affair with his father. When  Murdoch  became executive chairman of News International he did not show any interest in the detail of the Gordon Taylor case,  even though he sanctioned settlement up to £500,000 in damages plus Taylor’s costs; so little interest that he said that he not read the legal opinion obtained by Tom Crone which advised settlement on such terms.  Having  become aware of the Gordon Taylor case, Murdoch did not think there was any reason to investigate how many more cases might be lying undiscovered.

Murdoch played the “NoW is a small part of News International; I can’t be expected to know  the answer to your question” card  frequently.  There were two problems with this. First, although in the normal run of things a someone in Murdoch’s position (executive chairman) could not be expected to know the detail of the NoW’s workings, once the phone hacking story had broken  it was entirely reasonable to expect an executive chairman to  take a very close interest in the detail because common sense should have told him that this was something which potentially went much further than Goodman and Mulcaire  or even the NoW.  As executive chairman it would have been entirely natural for him to have instigated  a general enquiry within News International to find out the extent of any further hacking because if it did,  News International needed to come clean in one go rather than leave the story to trickle out over years.  To simply take the word of the NoW executives that only Goodman and Mulcaire were involved was  negligent.

The second problem was Murdoch’s failure, if his evidence at both his appearances before the  CMS committee is taken at face value,  to familiarise himself with the detail of the phone hacking once it became clear that these went far beyond the Goodman/Mulcaire offences.  Even if Murdoch had been left in the dark about the extent of phone-hacking until  the police re-opened their investigation of the matter in January 2011, it is extraordinary that he did not make himself fully aware of the detail once the police investigation was reopened. That he has not done so (as evidenced by his failure to answer  many questions on the grounds that he did not know, for example, his response to  Tom Watson’s putting of a string of private investigators’ names used by the NoW : “I’m not aware of the individual identities of private investigators that we used.”,   suggests that either he is lying or  has deliberately kept himself ignorant to distance himself from the scandal.

In the face of his repeated denials of knowledge of the detail of  almost everything connected to the phone hacking , the Committee failed entirely  to challenge Murdoch on why he had come before the committee so ill prepared when he had several months since his previous appearance to prepare. A rather strange omission to say the least.  Could it be that the committee members are secretly still afraid of  the Murdochs or in some other way compromised to prevent them going in hafrd?  Tory MP Louise Mensch in particular seemed to be rather eager to ingratiate herself with Murdoch:

Q1645 Louise Mensch: “Mr Murdoch, I apologise in advance, but I am going to have to leave the Committee immediately after asking  you my last question. We have children the same age, I think, and I have to go back home and pick them up from school.

“James Murdoch: Oh, good. Good luck.”

The Committee’s questioning generally was depressingly inept. The incompetence  ran from a simple inability to build a line of argument to highly embarrassing   grandstanding . Their questions were almost invariably  far too longwinded.

The worse  example of grandstanding  was provided by the  Labour MP Tom Baldwin who built on a demonstration which greeted Murdoch when he arrived to cries of Murdoch Mafia with, yes, you guessed it,   accusations that the Murdoch empire was a Mafia and James Murdoch a Mafia  Don and an incompetent one at that, viz:.  ” You must be the first mafia boss in history who didn’t know he was running a criminal enterprise.”

Barristers  favour what are called  closed rather than open questions in cross-examination (although open questions also have their place). Closed questions are those which require yes or no, don’t know or a definite unambiguous answer, for example, in an assault case a closed question might be “Who threw the first punch – the victim or the defendant?”  An open question in such a case could be “Who do you think was the more aggressive before  punches were thrown, the victim or the defendant ? “ Questions were continually asked  by the committee which were so open that Murdoch could reasonably bat them away , for example here  is the Labour MP  Paul Farrelly making a complete horlicks of his questioning:

“Would you agree that the fact that you cannot recall having a meeting or a discussion—certainly Colin Myler cannot recall having a meeting that Tom Crone expects to happen, hence his writing a pretty serious memo—adds the question of how these two characters are dealing with each other, and whether they are being full and frank with what they are up to?

James Murdoch:” I couldn’t possibly speculate about all the conversations they might have had with each other. I just don’t know.”

Farrelly is doing no more than ask  for Murdoch’s opinion . Even if he had given it, the matter would have been no further advanced because it was simply Murdoch’s  opinion not a fact.

Far too many of the questions were simply putting Murdoch’s word against the word of someone else, with no objective evidence to decide  between them provided.

Farrelly almost asked  a dangerous question . He pointed out that Murdoch had supposedly only known about the hacking of Royals when Crone referred the proposed settlement with the  Gordon Taylor  to him. That being the case,   Farrelly asked why  Murdoch  had not queried  how Taylor was involved if the Goodman/Mulcair hacking  was, as the paper  claimed at that point, a one-off instance of such criminality which was entirely to doing of a rogue reporter and rogue investigator.  The problem was Farrelly had not tied down Murdoch with a series of prior questions which left him with no wriggle room.  Farrelly should have led Murdoch to the position where he had again  stated unequivocally that  the only phone hacking he knew of   at the time of Taylor’s proposed settlement involved royal aides, then hit him with the question “What made you  think Gordon Taylor was part of the Royal Family?” This would have got a good laugh and after Murdoch had said no, Farrelly could have gone in for the kill with Murdoch both looking foolish and with nowhere to go.

What the committee should have done was keep asking Murdoch questions such as “Did you know X”;  “Did you take this action”   and so on rather than “why did you not do this or that? “ to build up a litany of  amazing omissions which by their sheer volume would condemn.

The Committee also failed to follow the second rule of investigation. The first rule is never take anything at face value; the second to always follow the money. The money in this case is any large sums of money  paid to those  employed directly or as contractors by the NoW  who have left the NoW’s employ since the original NoW phone hacking scandal. I say anyone, rather than simply those  who  are publicly in the  frame for either or both phone hacking and the purchase of  information from the police  because it  is possible  that there have been suspicious pay-offs to those who have not been publicly connected with the phone-hacking or bribing police for information.  It is also possible that people still employed by News International have received payments which went beyond their contractual rights.

The Committee  should have pressed Murdoch on all extraordinary payments made to all News International staff associated with the NoW since 2007.   Either a refusal to answer or  any  information  given of money paid  would have cast doubt on the veracity of any information given to the police or the committee where their testimony has either changed or has been of the “I don’t remember” variety.

It would be very interesting to see how Murdoch answers  questions under oath.  That could conceivably happen if further criminal cases are brought against News International employees and private investigators used by them.

Muhammad Ali and the white liberals

Robert Henderson

The death of the boxer Joe Frazier has given  widespread publicity to the toxically derogatory remarks made about Frazier by Muhammad Ali. But Ali’s was no common or garden abuse for it included comments which were  unashamedly racist. Here are a few :

“Joe Frazier is an Uncle Tom. He works for the enemy. This was said when Ali criticised Frazier for having a white management team.  ” Frazier emphatically replied to this  with  “A white lawyer kept him out of jail. And he’s going to Uncle Tom me….”

“He’s the other type Negro, he’s not like me… “There are two types of slaves, Joe Frazier’s worse than you to me … That’s what I mean when I say Uncle Tom, I mean he’s a brother, one day he might be like me, but for now he works for the enemy”…

“Joe Frazier should give his face to the Wildlife Fund. He’s so ugly, blind men go the other way. Ugly! Ugly! Ugly! He not only looks bad, you can smell him in another country! What will the people of Manila think? That black brothers are animals.Ignorant. Stupid. Ugly and smelly.”  http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/nov/08/muhammad-ali-joe-frazier?newsfeed=true

Comments such as these were especially ungenerous because Frazier had given Ali money while he was banned from boxing and supported the return top boxing.

Compare those words  with Ali’s supposed comment on Frazier’s death:

“The world has lost a great champion. “I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.”  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/boxing/8875841/Muhammad-Ali-mourns-the-loss-of-a-great-champion-following-death-of-Joe-Frazier.html).  Somehow one doubts those were Ali’s words, not least because his faculties  are, judged by his rare public appearances,  now very limited.

Since the  last of the Frazier fights in 1975 , Ali has supposedly excused his abuse  by saying they were simply to sell his fights with Frazier.  I say supposedly because these claims have come since he began to suffer from Parkinson’s disease which was probably in the late 1970s when his interviews began to lose their fluency and vitality (see his 1981 appearance on Parkinson when he was clearly finding it difficult to answer clearly and slurring was evident http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7nI_5AoHvc&feature=related), although he was not diagnosed until 1984 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/mar/20/parkinsons-disease-muhammad-ali).

But even if  Ali has been mentally capable of making and understanding his rebuttals of his own words, there is the inconvenient fact (for Ali  and his admirers) of his many (by the liberal
definition of racism) categorically racist utterances when he was a member of the Nation of Islam.  These included:

‘We who follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad don’t want to be forced to integrate. Integration is wrong. We don’t want to live with the white man; that’s all.’

“No intelligent black man or black woman in his or her right black mind wants white boys and white girls coming to their homes to marry their black sons and daughters.’

‘Why don’t we get out and build our own nation? White people just don’t want their slaves to be free. That’s the whole thing. Why not let us go and build ourselves a nation? We want a country. We’re 40 million people, but we’ll never be free until we own our own land.’

‘We’re not all brothers. You can say we’re brothers, but we’re not.’ (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/story/0,,1072751,00.html)

Ali did not leave the  Nation of Islam until  1975 He was making the same separatist statements in 1974 (see An Audience With Muhammad Ali in London 3/5 – go to 4.58 minutes in  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu1lNokpdcQ&feature=related) as he had made in the 1971 Parkinson interview (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyoWof4eLCQ
– go in at 19 minutes) and was also  vehemently anti-white when he appeared on Parkinson again in 1975 where, amongst other things, he claimed to have “no white friends, only white associates” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA4dKIS4wSs). He was also displaying a strong  line of black  victimhood in 1981 before his last fight against Trevor Berbick  (go in at 40
minutes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WexHAQRJzgg).  In that clip Ali is clearly struggling with his speech and coherence of thought – he gets his own age wrong by several years at one point.

In addition to his deteriorating mental condition from the second half of the 1970s, there is also what might be called the “Muhammad Ali Brand”  to consider when asking whether Ali has been responsible for his utterances since the early 1980s.  The army of hangers on he was feeding throughout the 1970s – who probably were the main engine  keeping  him fighting after 1975, including undignified tag matches against wrestlers and karate exponents –   did not fade away when he retired.  They wanted the brand to continue and black separatist
ideas and anti-white rhetoric were not going to sit easily with the rise of the multiculturalist religion.  So when Ali became incapacitated  it allowed them  the opportunity to remould his image as that of the “love everyone guy”, which was done  with great success.    The uncritical plaudits and the hours rolled in. Ali’s website lists these awards amongst others these:

• United Nations Messenger of Peace in 1998-2008, for his work with developing nations

• Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the United States of America’s highest civil award

• Amnesty International’s Lifetime Achievement Award

• Germany’s 2005 Otto Hahn Peace Medal, for his involvement in the U.S. civil rights movement and the United Nations

• International Ambassador of Jubilee 2000, a global organization dedicated to relieving debt in developing nations

• State of Kentucky’s “Kentuckian of the Century”

(http://www.ali.com/legend_man_humanitarian.php)

The mainstream media has been no less effusive and adulatory.  In 1999 Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/cover/news/1999/12/02/awards/) and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sport/561352.stm).
In  February  2012 he will  receive an “all-star 70th birthday salute at the MGM Grand“ (http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/nov/04/muhammad-ali-receive-all-star-70th-birthday-salute/).

Compare this fawning treatment  by white liberals of  a man who for most of his coherent adult life publicly  enthusiastically espoused black separatism  and was willing to defend uncritically the leader of the Nation of Islam Elijah Muhammad  who taught that whites were blue-eyed devils with the response of white  liberals to the slightest hint of racism made by a white sportsman towards  a black.  (It should also be noted that the man who succeeded  Elijah  as Nation of Islam leader was the even more inflammatory Louis Farrakhan,  who was a
senior member of the organisation throughout  Ali’s membership) .

In Britain we currently have the England football  captain John Terry being given the media third degree because of an alleged  single racist  insult to a  black player Anton Ferdinand  with the police investigating the accusation as a  hate crime (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/queens-park-rangers/8860484/Anton-Ferdinand-racism-row-with-John-Terry-timeline.html).

Abroad there is the furore over Tiger Woods’ ex caddy  Steve Williams who,  having been  sacked by Woods,  told a supposedly off-the-record  “caddie of the year” awards ceremony in
Shanghai  that   his new employer Adam Scott’s win in Shanghai made him feel that he  ” wanted to shove it [the win]  up that black arsehole.”  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/nov/05/steve-williams-race-row-tiger-woods).  The response has  been a tidal wave of mass media horror with many calling for Scott to sack Williams and some hoping openly that it would end his caddying career.

On the face of it the disparity between the white liberal’s  treatment of the  unambiguous racist (by their definition of racism) Ali and that of whites,  who may at worst have made a racist comment either in the heat of the moment (Terry) or at a social gathering which was meant to be private and where one presumes drink flowed freely (Williams),  is so stark as to be comical.  Ali is treated as a hero with,  as the years go by, an ever greater saintly admixture,  while Terry and Williams are viewed as though they have committed offences which should put them beyond the Pale.

Why the difference? Well, white liberals have long  had a special liking for blacks as their clients, regardless of their behaviour -think of  the white liberal’s fawning over Black Panthers in the 1960s and 1970s.  Other ethnic minorities may be worthy  in the white liberal’s eyes, but not quite as worthy as blacks. Perhaps this favouritism has its roots in the fact of black slavery and the anti-slavers  who were the proto-liberals whose descendants feast happily on political correctness today.  Perhaps it is because  blacks seem less capable than other races to live non-violent useful lives in advanced societies and are thus seen as both most in need of the white liberal’s help and the people on whom white liberal  guilt can be most satisfying expended because of the supposed residue of black disablement due to  slavery. (It is a little difficult to feel  guilt  so satisfyingly where  ethnic minorities are in a white society are not
so downtrodden  or have not been enslaved or even colonised).  Perhaps it is simply that blacks look so physically different from  whites that  white liberal feels most comfortable treating them as clients – for that is what they are – rather than equals, a sort of white liberal Saunders of the River mentality  with patronising white Bwana  behaviour replaced by patronising  faux  equality white liberal behaviour.

What the difference in treatment of Ali and Terry and Williams does emphatically demonstrate is the bogus nature of the white liberal’s claimed hatred of discrimination.  When the white liberal declaims against discrimination,  what they really mean  is discrimination is outrageous if it is practised on someone protected by political correctness but permissible when it comes from someone within the politically correct fold.   But that permissibility only extends so far, often only to not punishing.   When Ali was appearing on talk shows such as  Parkinson’s spouting his anti-white, anti-integrationist  the attitude of white liberals was to either  try to pretend Ali did not mean what he was saying or to treat what he was saying as a joke. They were in fact patronising him.  Since Ali’s  illness, white liberals have  been only too happy to go along with the line that Ali no longer believes, or even ever believed,  in black separatism or white devils, because that was the most comfortable thing for them to do and his racist past has gradually faded to almost nothing in the public consciousness. The result is that the vast majority of Ali admirers today  have no idea of what Ali’s views on race once were.

If Ali was a young boxer  now, just making his way, would he still be able to spout doctrines of racial separation and proclaim whites as devils?  It is a moot point. But  those who think
times have changed too much for it to be tolerated now,  should reflect on the fact that Farrakhan still gets public exposure in the USA without any real difficulty.  Even in Britain racist outbursts by blacks in the public eye are still treated with remarkable equanimity by the white liberal elite. Take the black Labour MP Diane Abbott. In 1996 (she was already an MP) she complained about the employment of “Blond, blue-eyed, Finnish nurses “ rather than Jamaicans in the NHS,   yet was neither expelled by the Labour party nor deselected as an MP.  More recently in 2010 she  described David Cameron (the British Prime Minister) and George Osborne (the British Chancellor of the Exchequer) as “posh white boys”  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1280358/Diane-Abbott-race-row-calling-Cameron-Clegg-posh-white-boys.html).  Not only did this provoke no outcry from politicians or the media, Abbott was allowed to continue to run for  the Labour leadership – the fact that she was running at all was the result of the other candidates  not wanting it to be an all-white contest and  of the leading contender David Miliband  urging some of his supporters to sign her nomination papers.

It is a truly bizarre thing that white liberals should have as one of their great icons a man who,  when he could speak freely and coherently for himself , was someone who held opinions which would get any white man or woman drummed out of town.

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