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    There’s racism and then there’s racism


    by Rumbold on 18th October, 2007 at 5:36 pm    

    Keith Vaz MP is worried that there are too many ethnic law firms being shut down, and sees this as a form of racism:

    “An MP has called for an inquiry into why a disproportionate number of black and Asian law firms are being closed by their regulatory body.
    Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, has asked the justice secretary to examine the practices of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
    Mr Vaz believes black and Asian lawyers have “clear merit in the allegations of racism and harassment”.”

    Given that most lawyers are by definition immoral (apart from Katy and a few others), to get shut down must mean that a lawyer is really misbehaving. My solution to this would be to shut down a lot more white law firms, thus creating parity. Vaz’s attitude is the product of the statistics culture, where everything has to be boiled down to percentages, and people are classified by groups. This means that we are conditioned to feel that something is wrong if a particular group is underrepresented in a particular field.

    Thanks to Vaz and others, there is more focus on ridiculous cases like this, rather than on things which are genuinely hurting ethnic minorities. One of those things is cultural relativism. Cultural relativism has long been allowed to dominate thinking at government level. By this I do not mean what sort of food we eat, but a deeper malaise that ensures that many ethnic minorities do not get justice because their perpetrators come from the same group and so the crime is seen to be mitigated by cultural factors. Such an attitude has prompted this piece by the International Camapaign Against Honour Killings, written by Jagdeesh Singh, the brother of the murdered Surjit:

    Surjit Athwal and Banaz Mahmod should be treated equally with Lucy Blackman and Madeleine McCann:

    Do you believe the British Government and its Foreign Office should treat all British citizens equally? Should ethnic minority Britons like Surjit Athwal and Banaz Mahmod receive the same level of protection and intervention as white Britons like Lucy Blackman, Kirsty Jones, Ian Stillman, Peter Bleach and Madeleine McCann?

    If so, please sign this petition to the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, urging him to take immediate action on the two landmark cases of Surjit Athwal and Banaz Mahmod.

    The two ‘honour killing’ cases of Surjit Athwal (Panjaabi-Sikh) and Banaz Mahmoud (Kurdish), powerfully symbolise the official failures at British government and police level, as well by the Indian and Kurdistan governments and police.

    Whilst the UK Metropolitan Police made a combination of significant errors along the way in investigating these cases, they have ultimately attempted to address those failings by re-pursuing the cases with renewed detail and vigour; resulting in successful legal prosecutions in both cases. The Metropolitan Police have, also, expressed a desire to learn from those significant mistakes and a wish to discuss these issues with the family members and campaigners for the above victims. A further suspect has recently been arrested and charged in the Banaz case. In Surjit’s case, the Metropolitan Police investigation team wish to progress their investigation to East Panjaab (India) in respect of two remaining suspects living there.

    Double-standards & Discrimination by the British Government

    Meanwhile, the British Government has remained inactive and unchanging in its failure to make any official representations on these cases to the Indian and Kurdistan Governments, in whose jurisdictions remaining murder suspects currently reside. This baffling official inaction, contrasts sharply with the pro-active UK Government intervention on the aforementioned ‘white’ British cases. For example, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, demanded an immediate re-investigation of Lucy Blackman’s disappearance in Japan in 2000; as well as raising the case before the G8 Summit of governments days after her ‘disappearance’. No such official representation was ever made to the Indian government about Surjit’s case, who had disappeared in East Panjaab (India) in December 1998. Her case has never been raised with the Indian Government at an official level. In the Madeleine McCann case, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made strong representations to the Portuguese Government about ensuring a competent investigation. In a BBC Newsnight documentary, given below, the British High Commissioner to India, states that Surjit’s case has been left to drift with no positive action.

    In both Surjit’s and Banaz’s cases, none of the same senior UK Government representations have been made to secure investigations into remaining suspects currently reside in India and Kurdistan. Earlier this year, the British Government provided significant help in securing the extradition from India of Indian national Maninderpal Kohli, to stand trial in the UK on charges of rape and murder of Hannah Foster (Hampshire). This wholescale unequal action on ‘white’ and non-white British cases, is self-evidently suspicious and unjust. It raises powerful questions about racial discrimination and double-standards. How is this fundamental disparity supposed to generate confidence in the supposedly fair and equal workings of the British Foreign Office? Why are non-white Britons not receiving the same level of protection and intervention as ‘white’ Britons?



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    7 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Galloise Blonde — on 18th October, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

      Just pointing out that that was written by Jagdeesh Singh, Surjit’s brother.

    2. ZinZin — on 18th October, 2007 at 6:41 pm  

      Brilliant Rumbold.

    3. Rumbold — on 18th October, 2007 at 6:56 pm  

      Galloise Blonde:

      Thanks for that- I got the e-mail but was not sure whether Jagdeesh had only written the petition, or the accompanying piece as well (I thought that you might have written it, so I thought it safest to attribute it to the site itself).

      ZinZin:

      Cheers.

    4. Jakey — on 18th October, 2007 at 8:35 pm  

      This is typical Keith Vaz playing vote bank politics. He depends a lot on the Asian vote in his Leicester constituency to stay in power so he barks at anything that is of ‘concern’ to his supporters. A few months ago he was crying for the head of Channel 4 to be sacked after the Ofcom report about Big Brother. What difference would that have made? Would it really have made any difference to the Asain man on the street? Vaz nearly always raises a disproportionate amount of concern about ridiculous issues. I agree with Rumbold; honour killings is a far more serious issue than discrimination against black and Asian law firms. Why can’t ethnic minority politicians speak about things that really affect their communities?

    5. Sunny — on 18th October, 2007 at 8:56 pm  

      I can’t remember the last time I took Keith Vaz seriously on anything.

    6. Pablo — on 18th October, 2007 at 9:03 pm  

      Add to the list of cultural relativism the black-on-black crime where Afro-Carribean men murder each other at epidemic proportions, and yet black leaders tend to focus on peripheral issues.

    7. Sofia — on 19th October, 2007 at 9:58 am  

      It would be interesting to find out what kind of law firms are closing down. Are these ones dealing predominantly with immigration, asylum, family..ie. high street law firms. I’ve met many unscrupulous Asian lawyers who make their money out of legal aid and frankly lying. I’ve met one who treated his trainees so badly they left and one was too scared to bring about constructive dismissal because she had not finished her two years and thought it would harm her future prospects. I’m not saying this is particular to Asian solicitors but it seems that as immigration is such an issue within the community, these solicitors see it as a way of making easy money.



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