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January 15, 2004

PC follies

Connoisseurs of political correctness may enjoy two stories that are currently entertaining or infuriating readers in Britain.

First, the Kilroy scandal. Robert Kilroy-Silk is a TV presenter (and former Labour Member of Parliament) who hosts a popular TV discussion programme called Kilroy on the BBC (a kind of up-market version of Jerry Springer). Not content with his huge income from this source, Kilroy-Silk also writes articles for newspapers. A recent article criticised Arabs as ‘limb-amputators, suicide-bombers, and women-repressors’, all of which might seem fair comment. (It’s a pity that Kilroy-Silk spoilt it by describing Iran as an Arab country, and asking rhetorically ‘What have Arab countries ever given the world?’, thus revealing both historical and geographical ignorance.) But he has drawn down on his head the wrath of Muslim organisations and the PC establishment. The BBC has suspended Kilroy while it considers whether Kilroy-Silk can maintain the ‘impartiality’ expected of BBC presenters (try to keep a straight face while reading this). Trevor Phillips, the Chairman of the preposterous Commission for Racial Equality, has called for a police investigation of possible ‘incitement to racial hatred’. (Phillips is a black journalist. By a remarkable coincidence, he is also a friend of Tony and Cherie Blair. Just what are the odds against that? As for the Commission for Racial Equality, it is a publicly-funded body set up to promote ‘racial equality’. Needless to say, most of its staff and members are black or Asian. Its last Chairman (before Phillips) was forced to resign after drunkenly assaulting a policeman and threatening to use his contacts with police bosses to get him fired. The Commission also has the distinction of a large number of complaints of racial discrimination among its own staff - black against Asian, Asian against black, Caribbean against African - you name it.)

But surprisingly, Kilroy-Silk has not made the usual grovelling public recantation and ritual self-flagellation expected in these circumstances: he has admitted to factual errors, but defends his right to freedom of speech. He has strong public support, and even the BBC are now getting nervous. If his BBC contract is cancelled, the chances are he will get an even better-paid job with another station.

The other story concerns the London Metropolitan Police. It is reported that several white police officers are planning to sue the Met for ‘racial discrimination’. The basis of the complaint is that they have been disciplined for minor breaches of police rules while similar or worse breaches by non-white officers have been ignored. In the background is the case of the notorious Superintendent Ali Dizaei. Dizaei is of Iranian origin, and is one of the highest-ranking ethnic minority policemen in Britain. He is also a leading figure in the Metropolitan Black Police Association. (But wait - I hear you ask: are Iranians black? Well, you know what Humpty-Dumpty said about definitions.) Dizaei is evidently a nasty piece of work. There have been complaints against him for several years. The police authority prosecuted him on corruption charges, but the jury in their wisdom acquitted him. The authority then did a deal with him, under which they dropped their internal disciplinary proceedings, and paid him 80,000 compensation, while he dropped proceedings against them for racial discrimination, and admitted to serious misconduct. Notably, he admitted that he had threatened a former mistress (he has several) that he would put her name on police records as a prostitute, and get his subordinates to harass her. (His admission on this point should earn him no credit: he was stupid enough to leave the threats on her answering machine, and she kept the tape, so he could hardly deny it.) You might well think that in these circumstances he is lucky to avoid instant dismissal, let alone to get compensation!

But again, there is a glimmer of hope. The independent Police Complaints Authority has refused to drop its own investigation, and its Chairman is reported to have said ‘What is at stake is the integrity of the disciplinary process. We can’t have one officer getting special treatment because he is a senior black officer’. Really?

Meanwhile, out on the streets, the police have other things to deal with. According to the Daily Telegraph (14 January), gang rape attacks in London are now occurring at a rate of about one a day. Most of the suspected rapists already have convictions for mugging and other street crimes. According to the report, ‘Scotland Yard is treating the evidence with care because it has sensitive racial overtones.... Suspects of African/Caribbean appearance were identified in 49 per cent of attacks. A further 13 per cent were committed by men of Indian/Pakistani appearance.’ (These numbers are not as disproportionate as they seem, as non-whites are about 25 per cent of the population in London, and higher than that in the run-down areas where most street crime occurs.) You might well wonder how the Met could have the political incorrectness to publicise these figures. Well, they didn’t: according to a Telegraph editorial, ‘Scotland Yard has done nothing to publicise these statistics, which were uncovered by our reporter scrutinising the Metropolitan Police Authority website’. No doubt the Met are already looking at the website to see if the figures can be concealed more effectively in future!

Posted by David B at 11:25 AM