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January 5, 2012 / ultrafox1963

Backlash follows jailing of two of Lawrence’s killers

Stephen Lawrence                                

The mainstream UK media appear keen to start the new year in the way they left off at the conclusion of 2011.

The potent mix of self-congratulation and arrant complacency which followed this week’s events at the Old Bailey was nauseating even by their subterranean standards.

As some pundits observed, the fight to bring at least some of Stephen Lawrence’s killers to justice lasted longer than the murdered London teenager’s entire life.

Yet beneath the waves of synthetic sympathy towards his family, the ritual condemnation of the two convicted murderers, and the proclamations of the virtues of British justice, an undercurrent of resentment still remained among the London elite.

It only took a matter of hours for that resentment to return to the surface, and for familiar prejudices to reassert themselves.

Diane Abbott, the country’s longest-serving and most prominent black political figure, provided too great a temptation, with some ill-judged comments on Twitter accusing white people of playing “divide and rule” .

The over-literal interpretation of such remarks, usually without any reference to the context of the discussion in which they appeared, were enough to bring foam to the mouths of her numerous critics.  Some leading Tory bloggers called for her to be prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred.  Others, echoing the language and associated bigotry considered acceptable by past generations, accused her of “having a chip on her shoulder”.

However, what was particularly disappointing and disturbing about this episode was the number of “liberals”, both inside and outside the Labour Party, queuing up to join the chorus of condemnation.  Abbott’s words were even branded as “stupid” and “offensive” on one influential Labour website.

Such an intense furore even engulfed party leader Ed Miliband, who rang Abbott during a live television interview to demand an apology from her.  Faced with likely demotion from her post of health spokesperson, she was forced to comply.

The message could not have been clearer.  The tensions which helped to create the conditions for the racist (and until this week unpunished) murder nineteen years ago are still present today.  In addition, any attempts by non-white British citizens to engage in political discourse and seek representation in the corridors of power consistent with their numbers will continue to be fiercely resisted.

But the most poignant irony of all is that Abbott, although frequently one of the more principled members of the opposition front bench, has worked tirelessly in pursuit of acceptance by the establishment.  How else can those repugnant televised late-night liaisons with Andrew Neil and Michael Portillo have been justified?   Maybe in future she will be more circumspect in her choice of media opportunities.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the government moved a step closer today towards passing the health and social care bill, a toxic piece of legislation aimed at wrecking the National Health Service.  Once again, the media have proved themselves to be at best, useful idiots, and at worst, compliant partners, in ensuring that the bill escapes much-needed public scrutiny on its way to the statute book.

We can expect plenty more dirty tricks from the Tories and their media pals in the months ahead.

They must be exposed, confronted and demolished at every opportunity.

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