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Everybody gets to be racist eventually

The latest newly discovered racist is Trevor Phillips.

Trevor Phillips, the former head of the equalities watchdog, has condemned Labour’s decision to suspend him from the party over alleged Islamophobia, while defending his view that the UK Muslim population is “different”.

Phillips, a pioneering anti-racism campaigner who previously chaired the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), has been suspended from Labour pending an investigation and could be expelled.

To me, the remarks in question seem to have an honest attempt to engage with the fact that the attitudes of the Muslim population do differ sharply from the UK average – surely a matter of public interest. Some here, remembering Mr Phillips’ previous role as head of the Commission for Racial Equality and his lifetime of commitment to the ideal of enforced equality, will speak of karma and say “what goes around comes around”. I disagree. As a matter of policy and humanity, when someone starts to move in the right direction we should not rebuff them.

24 comments to Everybody gets to be racist eventually

  • Phillips has much to repent of and has repented some of it. This repentance began after (well after) 2010, i.e. after he lost the power to steal free speech from us and be in control of the process of doing so. He has described something as far back as 2007 which he, years later, admitted “should have given me pause” (quoted from memory) but it did not at the time. As against that, his later lack of formal power has not prevented him from going public in his warning documentary and other acts clearly intended to have some remedial effect. He has tried to undo such of the evil he did as he has so far recognised was evil.

    I can believe that some of his later insight arose from being able to stop rushing around, stand back, look at how it was turning out and think. It was not just his seeing speech-control that he himself no longer controlled, but that may have helped. He would not be the first to discover that no longer looking down on things from a position of power gives you a more rounded view.

    Natalie is right that we neither should make it, nor would benefit from making it, hard for enemies to change their minds. As I said in the thread before

    I desire no worse punishment of Trevor than that he see the funny side of the situation he is now in. 🙂

    That restrained karma he merits in spades.

  • I thought it was the Trevor Phillips from GTA5. I was going to argue that he wasn’t racist because he hates all people equally, but then I realized it was another Trevor.

    This Trevor is ABSOLUTELY racist.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Everybody gets to be Hitler for 15 minutes.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “As a matter of policy and humanity, when someone starts to move in the right direction we should not rebuff them.”

    ‘Starts’? So far as I know, he’s been saying this sort of thing for a long time.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4752804.stm

    As far as I can see, he believes (and has for more than a decade) in racial and religious non-discrimination, combined with integration, free speech, and tolerance. One of the original goals of the CRE was “To encourage greater integration and better relations between people from different ethnic groups.”

    The meaning and mission of the movement have drifted since then. It’s not that Trevor has “started to move”, it’s that he has *not* moved with the times, and is now out of fashion.

    While I don’t agree with much of the approach he espoused, it was less illiberal in its goals than most such schemes.

    As he says in his reply to the letter suspending him, the interesting question is ‘Why now?’ He’s been saying this stuff for a long time. It’s nothing new.

  • Mr Ed

    Did Genrickh Yagoda‘s staff at the People’s Commissariat for Post and Telegraphs note how he seemed rather contemplative about his former job and how he seemed to wonder if would all end well? Half a World, a good lifetime and many orders of magnitude removed from this situation, but a comparable one nonetheless.

    Feel not pity for Yagoda, nor indulge in whimsical reminiscences of the good old days before Yezhov and Beria, but just remember that the time for him to have stopped his plans was October 1917, not September 1936.

  • I thought it was the Trevor Phillips from GTA5.

    Trevor Phillips from GTAV has the advantage of being an equal opportunity racist. He hates everybody equally for any reasons which seem to apply at the time.

  • James Strong

    Every time anyone is accused of Islamophobia I would like to see them open up the discussion to the beliefs of Islam.

    For example: what is the Islamic attitude to: women, homosexuals, Jews, non-muslims and former muslims who have ceased to be muslim?

    How did Mohammed deal with opponents, including a satirist?

    What is the 21st century term for a middle-aged man who has sex with a 9 year-old girl?

    I am an Islamophobe in the same way as I am a Naziphobe. And a Maoistphobe.

  • James Strong

    An idea that is not originally mine, but is worth repeaing –

    If the ideas of Islam were put forward by middle-aged white men then Islam would be banned in many European countries.

  • APL

    James Strong: “What is the 21st century term for a middle-aged man who has sex with a 9 year-old girl?”

    It’s just a different moral code. Don’t get so up tight about it. It just so happens that the leftist push for open paedophilia coincides with the Islamic doctrinal approval of child molestation.

    ‘Those leftists’, bless. You gotta laugh, they think they are all cuddly and warm with the Islamic tiger, it’ll turn around and devour them and then finish off with the rest of libo society.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    If, as I have, you join the Free Speech Union, you will be led to a petition which you can sign to support Trevor Phillips (and take a poke at the Labour Party).

    You may feel that this is going (much) too far, or not. On reflection, I thought it worthwhile.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I hope this is a teachable moment for Sir Philip, and others. Yes, it would be far too easy for us “I am considerably more purely libertarian than you” folk to gloat, but that is a mistake.

  • Kevin

    If memory serves he was the one who coined the word ‘islamophobia’. Hoist by his own petard methinks.

  • Further to Mr Ed (March 9, 2020 at 9:50 pm), during one of his pre-trial interrogations, Yagoda said there must be a God, because from Stalin he deserved only kindness, but from God he deserved the fate that had overtaken him. So it would indeed seem he had been doing some contemplating in his final pre-arrest days.

    Some slight and occasional contemplation appears to have started earlier. In an unguarded moment while he was still head of the NKVD, Yagoda is recorded as having remarked to an NKVD colleague that “Felix [Dzerzhinsky – founder of the Cheka that became the OGPU that became the NKVD] would have had us shot for the way we behave today.”

    It’s impossible to imagine his successor the “poison dwarf” Yezhov saying or thinking the same. This made Yezhov the ideal head of the secret police during the height of the great purge, and its inevitable ‘final’ (in a political, not literal, sense) victim when things began to return to a soviet-normal rate of arrests.


    Aside: we have surely all of us, at some point in some action film, thought, “Why work for the bad guys??!!” Indeed, Yagoda’s argument for the divine is, at first glance, less than compelling (in the sense that the outcome should less have surprised him). Yezhov met the same fate and only Stalin’s death saved Beria, maybe by just days or weeks – and Beria did not survive his colleagues fear of him long (“Why work with the bad guys?!” – which cuts both ways in Beria’s case.) Conquest quotes a historian – Gibbon IIRC – on how often the Byzantine favourite “instead of being suffered to possess the reward of guilt was soon afterward circumvented and destroyed by the greater villainy of the minister himself, who retained sense and spirit enough to abhor the instrument of his own crimes”, while noting that Stalin’s reasons for disposing of Yezhov were probably more practical. One may argue there is indeed a moral meaning in all this, if less direct than Yagoda’s reasoning.

  • If memory serves he was the one who coined the word ‘islamophobia’. Hoist by his own petard methinks. (Kevin, March 10, 2020 at 9:20 am).

    That is correct in the sense in which we talk of Emperor Trajan building Trajan’s column or Louis XIV building Versailles, etc. As holder of certain important positions, he played a major and controlling role in causing it to be first a thing at all and then an offence for which our speech could be policed. In the prior-thread comment that I link to from the first comment of this thread, I note he himself is no longer eager to suggest he actually coined the word as such – and, to be fair, FAIK may never literally have claimed exactly that.

  • It’s not that Trevor has “started to move”, it’s that he has *not* moved with the times and is now out of fashion. (Nullius in Verba, March 9, 2020 at 9:15 pm)

    Although that sentence is not without truth (as I have complained), it is perhaps not wholly fair to Trevor to treat this as the whole truth. While the left’s ever-leftward march leaves anyone behind in a less evil position who merely sits still, Mr Phillips, if I understood him correctly, expressed regret only a few years ago for things he noticed in 2007 that he now admits should have concerned him, but did not back then. So while his party today is yet worse than it and he were “more than a decade” ago, there is a case for saying he has moved a bit himself in recent years, over and above that widening gap.

    And of course, one can argue that actions speak louder than words, that in terms of ‘tone’ and ‘feel’ – in terms of making a documentary the narrative would rather we did not see, for example – Trevor has moved a bit. A few years ago, a (now former?) friend told him to be much more ‘nuanced’ in his more recent remarks. Trevor’s not becoming much more nuanced could have as much to do with making Labour feel he’s “no longer reliably one of us” as the things he has actually said.

  • Jim

    “If the ideas of Islam were put forward by middle-aged white men then Islam would be banned in many European countries.”

    I have long said the same, though I don’t claim it as a unique thought. To be provocative my comment has been ‘Hitlers only mistakes were not to have be brown skinned, and not to have claimed some divine inspiration for his actions, if he had the modern Left would love him’.

    One wonders what exactly would happen if someone today started a cult/religion and drew their principles virtually word for word from the Koran.

  • APL

    James Strong: “If the ideas of Islam were put forward by middle-aged white men then Islam would be banned in many European countries.”

    LOL!

    Sahil Moslem 6071. “It was narrated from Al-Jurairi Abu At-Tufail: ‘I said to him: ‘Did you see the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)?’ He said: ‘Yes, he was white with an elegant face.”

    Sahil Bukari (63) Narrated Anas bin Malik: “while we were sitting with the Prophet(PBUH) in the Mosque, a man came riding on a camel
    He made his camel kneel down in the Mosque, tied its foreleg and then said: “Who amongst you is Muhammad?” At that time the Prophet(PBUH)
    was sitting amongst us leaning on his arm. We replied, “This white man reclining on his arm.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Mr Phillips, if I understood him correctly, expressed regret only a few years ago for things he noticed in 2007 that he now admits should have concerned him, but did not back then.”

    Could be. He may have grown more concerned, and more outspoken. But still, the things he seems to have got into trouble recently for saying are the sort of things he seems to have been saying long ago.

    Muslims must accept that freedom of speech is central to Britishness and should be preserved even if it offends people, Trevor Phillips has said. The chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) said we should “allow people to offend each other”. And he suggested that Muslims who wanted a system of Islamic Shariah law should leave the UK.

    “To be provocative my comment has been ‘Hitlers only mistakes were not to have be brown skinned, and not to have claimed some divine inspiration for his actions, if he had the modern Left would love him’.”

    Hitler’s only mistake was to lose the war. Many on the left did love him. It was only in retrospect that he was re-labelled. They didn’t hate Hitler because they opposed his white-over-brown racism. They opposed white-over-brown racism because of its association with Hitler. (And because it allowed them to successfully attack the right for not opposing racism, and therefore being like Hitler.)

    But you might be interested in the case of Hajj Amin al Husseini, who was nationalist, socialist, big pals with Hitler, brown-skinned, religious, and whose political successors are loved by the modern left.

    “One wonders what exactly would happen if someone today started a cult/religion and drew their principles virtually word for word from the Koran.”

    Islam is basically a fundamentalist (but somewhat illiterate) return to the ways of the Old Testament (still part of the Christian Bible), which is a pretty common sentiment among Western religious cults. Much of it used to be Christian doctrine until relatively recently (in historic terms), too.

    It was in reaction to the Western/Christian version of these practices that we changed the rules to outlaw all this stuff. The Muslims are just lagging behind us.

  • APL

    Phil B: “I’ll leave this here …”

    The typical lefty response to that, would be: “Huh! The Sun, that’s as reliable as the Daily Express”.

  • Paul Marks

    The experience that Mr Philips is going through grimly familiar to me – from my own experience with another political party.

    Different comments on different things (written in different years) put together as if they were one text – and words torn from their context. Even words written by someone else (in a long post – a post that was partly accurate and partly inaccurate) blamed on me – as if I was a copy editor for someone I have never met.

    In my case there was no meeting with me (either for when I was suspended – or when my appeal was turned down) – not even a telephone conversation. I was destroyed by e.mail – by people I have never met, or even spoken to. Not so much a “Star Chamber”, as some have called it, more just a “Kangaroo Court”. Hard though it is for me to admit – but I was treated with less injustice by the Guardian newspaper (who at least spoke to me – an opponent), than by the political party I had faithfully served for some 40 years. Other members of the political party (including the present leader of it), who have said “offending” things were treated quite differently – de facto different rules for different members of the same organisation (I am certainly NOT saying that they should also have been treated in the despicable manner that I was). I hope Mr Philips is not treated with the injustice that I was.

    For the record – I am not a “racist”, I do not believe that some races are morally inferior to others (I judge people as individuals). I certainly do not believe that skin colour is morally important.

    As for Islam – I oppose some of the teachings and deeds of Muhammad. Some of things he taught his followers – not everything he taught them, and some of the things he did himself – not everything he ever did, although I have never (as far as I know) used the very strong language that such men as Prime Minister Gladstone and Winston Churchill used on this subject.

    And I repeat the point I made in the “offending” 2016 Facebook post – it is highly offensive (“offensive” being the word I used) to pretend that Jewish refugees in the 1930s behaved in the way that Islamist terrorists have behaved in our time (indeed one could extend that to the attacks over the last 14 centuries). So the claim, by the “liberal” establishment elite, that the present situation of mass migration is like “Jews in the 1930s” is both false and offensive.

  • Paul Marks (March 11, 2020 at 2:36 pm), from your description, it sounds like the people who complained about your pointing out how offensive was the 30s-to-today comparison would be offended by the tenth line of my poem (and the other lines too, no doubt 🙂 ) – my sympathies.

    (Stealing the compassion due to victims and applying it to perpetrators has been a speciality of the PC for a long time.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Indeed.

    Of course, it’s a rather common nasty tactic, learned in the schoolyard unless the child is already saintly by nature or by training.

  • Julie near Chicago (March 11, 2020 at 8:01 pm), it is certainly learned by school bullies, but my schooldays memories were that it was not so common beyond that group that a child must be ‘saintly’ to be without it. Dianna Wynne Jones describes being the target of it in her youth from a girl (a very nasty piece of work) that she was evacuated with, and seeing it in a school during a visit when she was a grown author. She also puts it in her books (brief incident in ‘Fire and Hemlock’ – bully Myra “did some expert whining” so Polly is the one sent to the headmistress). And of course C.S.Lewis used it in his sixth Narnia story ‘The Silver Chair’. (Disney made an increasingly wretched mess of adapting the first three. I guess “The Horse and his Boy” is the one they will never make a film of, or else really travesty, but I suspect they’ll bowdlerise the school scenes in ‘The Silver Chair’ if they ever make it. 🙂 ) In both these cases, it is done by school bullies.

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