Category: GENERAL ISSUES

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TOXTETH RIOTS 30 YEARS ON: LEROY COOPER SPEAKS OUT

Leroy Cooper will forever be known as the man whose arrest sparked the Toxteth riots. Sat in front of an exhibition of his paintings and collages at Keith’s Wine Bar, in Lark Lane, he said: “It’s been a black cloud hanging over me for years. “I always say to people ‘I wasn’t there’. I was actually arrested in what they call the sparking incident, but I was taken away from the street and was in Risley remand centre for six to eight weeks. “My memory of the riots is being imprisoned, worrying what was going to happen, because I could...

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JIMI JAGNE – MEMORIES OF THE TOXTETH RIOTS

  Jimi Jagne, now 47, recalls the part he played in the Toxteth riots. I was a 17-year-old youth, Toxteth born and bred, and I was actively engaged in the uprisings. At one point, on the penultimate day of the riots, on July 27, I was arrested and subsequently received a conviction for my part in the rioting. Like everyone else, it was a part of what was happening among the residents and the community at the time. There was a long, long history of police trouble. Walking around the community during the daytime was bad enough, but when it...

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TOXTETH RIOTS – 30 YEARS ON PROJECT

On  Friday 1 July 2011, the Merseyside Black History Month Group (MBHMG) kicked off a series of events to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Toxteth Riots with the opening of Toxteth 1981 at the International Slavery Museum, Albert Dock. Toxteth 1981 is a historical photographic exhibition of images of the riots, some being shown publicly for the first time in 30 years. The exhibition closes on 1st July 2012. It is a collaboration between Merseyside Black History Month Group, Writing on the Wall and National Museums Liverpool. Dr Richard Benjamin, head of the International Slavery Museum, said: “The...

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TOXTETH REVISITED, 30 YEARS AFTER THE RIOTS

In July 1981, some of the most violent rioting ever seen in Britain erupted in the Toxteth area of Liverpool. Thirty years on, the local community is still paying the price. After the second night of fire and rage, police burst through the door of the Simon family home in a little terrace along Beaconsfield Street in Liverpool, snatched 13-year-old Michael and flung him on to a pile of other young bodies packed into the back of a van. “I thought I was going to be killed,” recalls Michael. “There were 10 in the van and I was on top...

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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...