Category: GENERAL ISSUES

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CHIEF CONSTABLE JON MURPHY – POLICING THE TOXTETH RIOTS

Merseyside Police’s present chief constable, Jon Murphy, was a PC at the time of the Toxteth riots. Here he recalls the role of the Operation Support Division. We were the reserve which was brought out to try and relieve the pressure on the police who were behind the shields. Most of them were young lads, in a uniform, in shock. They were stood behind the riot shields. We would form behind them at a point. An instruction would be given and bear in mind we didn’t have mobile phones then [and] the radios didn’t work as well . . ....

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AMERICA’S NEW JIM CROW SYSTEM

Despite voting in its first black president in Barack Obama, data shows much of black progress in America is a myth. Ever since Barack Obama lifted his right hand and took his oath of office, ordinary people and their leaders around the globe have been celebrating America’s “triumph over race”. There’s an implicit yet undeniable message embedded in his appearance on the world stage: this is what freedom looks like; this is what democracy can do for you. If you are poor, marginalised, or relegated to an inferior caste, there is hope for you. Trust us. Trust our rules, laws, customs...

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WE NEED A MORE DIVERSE SUPREME COURT

All eight appointments to the bench since that of Lady Hale in 2004 have been white men. Just two weeks after it was reported that women in the legal professions are still finding it difficult to break through the glass ceiling, here comes another setback. Though an official announcement has yet to be made, it seems that the next two appointments to the supreme court will be men. Sir Nicholas Wilson and Jonathan Sumption QC were said to be in the running when Sir John Dyson was appointed in March 2010. This time they’ve made it to the finish line....

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DID DAVID CAMERON REALLY MEAN WHAT HE SAID ABOUT MULTICULTURALISM?

It is not often that I am inspired by our senior political figures. But I felt inspired after David Cameron’s 2007 visit to Birmingham’s Sparkbrook ward, which I represent as one of three elected Respect councillors. He stayed in the area for two days and spent a night with a local Muslim family and was so clearly impressed by the experience he wrote in glowing terms in the Observer about what he had learned. He didn’t just churn out lazy cliches a la “I stayed with a Muslim family and they were nice to me shock”, but describes his experiences...

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BLAME CONSUMER CAPITALISM, NOT MULTICULTURALISM

Multiculturalism is dead, long live multiculturalism… It’s not a slogan that slips easily off the tongue, but it’s the only one that seemed to capture the bizarre dissonance of a media abuzz with David Cameron’s speech in Munich on the failed policies of “state multiculturalism” and my Saturday morning shopping in Hackney’s Ridley Road in east London. Dozens of nationalities jostle for the best vegetables, dresses, blankets and cookware. The air is full of the smell of Turkish bread and African salted fish, the stalls are heaped with yams and chilis. The street traders’ banter is littered with the Cockney...

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DAVID CAMERON’S ATTACK ON MULTICULTURALISM

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was accused of playing into the hands of rightwing extremists as he delivered a controversial speech on the failings of multiculturalism within hours of one of the biggest anti-Islam rallies ever staged in Britain. Muslim and anti-fascist groups questioned the prime minister’s judgment and sensitivity to the issues, saying he had handed a propaganda coup to the hard-right English Defence League as 3,000 of its supporters marched through Luton chanting anti-Islamic slogans. Some of crowd were jubilant, saying that Cameron “had come round to our way of thinking”. Paul Bradburn, 35, from Stockport, said Cameron...

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ETHNIC DIVERSITY AT THE TOP

Management teams whose commitment to ethical values and ethnic diversity is purely superficial can foster workplace cultures that harm individuals and their organisations, according to new research. In order to be truly ethnically diverse, private sector organisations must expand their focus beyond checkbox exercises and consider the informal cultures they create, finds a report by race equality thinktank The Runnymede Trust. The possible consequences of work environments not rooted in diversity, according to the report, include conflict-ridden working relationships, unhappy and under-committed employees and, in extreme cases, a threat to the sustainability of the business as a whole The report,...

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THE HOLOCAUST, RWANDA, CAMBODIA … SURVIVORS’ STORIES

To mark the liberation of Auschwitz 66 years ago, five people who survived either the Holocaust or subsequent genocide talk about their mementos from that time…. January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the date, 66 years ago, when the largest Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated. Decades later, survivors’ stories are still emerging. “For every story we know, there are others we will never know, from communities that were wiped out during the Holocaust but also subsequent genocides, particularly in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Darfur,” says Carly Whyborn, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. “We must use...

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SARAH PALIN’S ‘BLOOD LIBEL’ BLUNDER

Sara Palin’s misappropriation of a phrase from the history of antisemitism in discussing the Giffords shooting is a staggering affront… The sense of victimhood of the Tea Party and its fellow travellers should now be well known. It was Glenn Beck, after all – the man who accused America’s first African American president of being “racist” – who last year told a rally of his followers in Washington that they had taken on the mantle of the civil rights movement. Now Sarah Palin, former vice presidential candidate, has repeated this same repellent inversion, accusing those who criticised her for her...

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WHY THE EQUALITY ACT WILL STOP EMPLOYERS FROM ASKING PRE-EMPLOYMENT HEALTH QUESTIONS

Once the act’s in force, application forms containing medical questions can only be used where they are relevant to the role or to help disabled candidates get jobs Most of the Equality Act 2010 is due to come into force on 1 October 2010, including section 60: prohibiting the use of pre-employment health questionnaires before a job offer is made. This provision is intended to protect disabled job applicants from discrimination during the recruitment process. Employers will no longer be able to adopt a “one size fits all” approach and send out questionnaires containing questions about general health and medication...