What way forward for equality in the UK and France?

3 December 2020 — Institute of Race Relations

Order our festive bundle for just £20

Following the IRR’s concern about the appointment of controversial ‘race iconoclast’ David Goodhart as commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and amid revelations about the views of other commissioners, Jenny Bourne sets the debate about the EHRC in historical context by examining the statutory bodies from 1962 till today. CIAC, NICCI, CRC, CRE, EHRC – whatever the initials, the organisations have long held an ambiguous position and struggled to gain community trust. Today, the EHRC, with its tiny budget, reluctance to hit hard, and a set of right-leaning dissentient commissioners, seems dominated by the very interests it is supposedly regulating. Even when the Commission deems the government’s hostile environment policies unlawful, as our recent twitter thread explains, it appears reluctant to mete out any substantial forms of redress. In a week that has seen another deportation flight to Jamaica, the futility of such bodies is laid bare.

Continue reading

Questions for BBC on new White Helmets podcast series attacking OPCW whistleblowers

30 November 2020 — Grayzone

A new BBC podcast, “Mayday,” uses smears, gaping omissions, leaps of logic, and factual errors in a desperate attempt to repair the image of late White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier, and discredit the OPCW inspectors who challenged a cover-up of their Syria chemical weapons probe. Mayday’s producer has failed to answer the following questions.

Continue reading

John Pilger: ‘I spoke to impoverished families in 1975 and little has changed since then’

26 November 2020 — John Pilger

John Pilger interviewed Irene Brunsden in Hackney, east London about only being able to feed her two-year-old a plate of cornflakes in 1975. Now he sees nervous women queueing at foodbanks with their children as it’s revealed 600,000 more kids are in poverty now than in 2012.

A British family from the film ‘Smashing Kids’, 1975. Photograph: John Garrett

When I first reported on child poverty in Britain, I was struck by the faces of children I spoke to, especially the eyes. They were different: watchful, fearful.

In Hackney, in 1975, I filmed Irene Brunsden’s family. Irene told me she gave her two-year-old a plate of cornflakes. “She doesn’t tell me she’s hungry, she just moans. When she moans, I know something is wrong.”

Continue reading

Government plans major crackdown in 2021 on the right to protest

26 November 2020 — Netpol

PHOTO: Shutterstock

The Conservative government is planning to introduce major changes to public order legislation to crack down on protests, under a new “Protection of the Police and Public Bill” planned for 2021.

In September, Home Secretary Priti Patel denounced environmental campaigners Extinction Rebellion as “so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals” at the Police Superintendents’ Association conference and, at the Conservative Party conference in early October, accused Black Lives Matter campaigners of “hooliganism and thuggery”.

Continue reading

UK government running ‘Orwellian’ unit to block release of ‘sensitive’ information

23 November 2020 — Open Democracy

Exclusive: Secretive Cabinet Office ‘Clearing House’ for Freedom of Information requests also accused of “blacklisting” journalists; openDemocracy launching a legal bid for transparency

Peter Geoghegan Jenna Corderoy Lucas Amin

Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office “blacklisting” journalists “is a grave threat to our values and transparency in our democracy” | Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

Continue reading