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Sunday, 26 July 2009
Trevor Phillips race watchdog a waste of space, shock, horror
Fancy that! The pressure is on for Trevor Phillips to get the heave-ho as head of the new Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
When he was in charge of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) I never heard of him doing squat for the UK Chinese community, although I'm sure he liked the food.
But even before his appointment in 2003, when we were the subject of an anti-Chinese campaign in the national media blaming the Chinese for the Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak in 2000 which was so royally screwed up by the government, the CRE was the chocolate teapot. Chinese were scapegoated, attacked and vilified, some physically, their businesses trashed and yet the public body did nothing. It failed miserably in its goal, "To use its legal powers to help eradicate racial discrimination and harassment."
We had to run a sharp press operation to counter the misinformation and outright lies with no help whatsoever from the public body that was charged with protecting minorities. If the Chinese community hadn't come together so spectacularly in the campaign to challenge the attacks, the outcome might have been a whole lot worse.
Since then there have been numerous cases when the Chinese have had to do it for themselves, not that that's a bad thing. It was, after all, individuals such as Suresh Grover, Imran Khan and their Monitoring Group, and the Lawrences themselves who made groundbreaking gains in the Stephen Lawrence case. But a bit of support from the state-funded bodies in the face of overwhelming odds wouldn't have gone amiss.
For many of us involved in anti-racism, New Labour appointee Phillips has been a highly paid waste of space and the public organisations that gave him a lucrative career not much better either. I see from the current list of EHRC commissioners that, while some of them have principles, others may differ.
And now Clever Trevor has been found handing over public dosh to his friends in TV. Knock me dahn wiv a fevva! Can I ask, who'd'a thunk it? I mean, like, WHO?
Status, career, opportunism, hypocrisy and public funds — the pearls and twinset of political life. Am I stating the bleedin' obvious when I say that being part of an ethnic minority does not automatically guarantee you're on the right side?