The attack made by minister of equalities Kemi Badenoch against the work of anti-racism writers is clearly false but dangerous

·4-min read
<p>Minister of Equalities Kemi Badenoch</p> (UK Gov)

Minister of Equalities Kemi Badenoch

(UK Gov)

We are deeply concerned by the recent attack made by the minister of equalities against the work of anti-racism writers, including our member, the bestselling author Reni Eddo-Lodge.

In an interview (published in The Spectator magazine on 24 October 2020) the minister implied that the work of Ms Eddo-Lodge and some of our other members and peers advocates for racial segregation. The minister’s words: “Many of these books – and, in fact, some of the authors… – actually want a segregated society.”

The allegation here is not only clearly false but dangerous. It risks endangering the personal safety of anti-racist writers. In recent years progressive writers, politicians and activists across Europe and the United Kingdom have been physically attacked and killed by far-right extremists.  

It is in this climate that we ask the government to ensure ministers are responsible with their language, avoid spreading misinformation and apply better judgement in order to protect the lives and freedom of minorities.

Such profoundly incorrect and inflammatory statements by a government minister are also alarming as they are arguably in breach of the ministerial code.

We ask the government to ensure that ministers adhere to the highest standards of public life, uphold democratic values such as freedom of speech and act with a duty of care.

The Black Writers’ Guild

Kwame Kwei-Armah  

Cherish Shirley

Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman

Inua Ellams  

Sara Collins  

Sharmaine Lovegrove  

Afua Hirsch  

Nels Abbey  

Jendella Benson

Sile Edwards

For the full list of signatories, click here

Jeremy Corbyn unable to see bigger picture

Jeremy Corbyn protests that the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party has been “dramatically overstated” ('Corbyn rejects damning ruling that he failed to act to stop discrimination’, 29 October) and hopes to minimise its importance by telling us that it involves “only around 0.3 per cent” of the membership.

This is an attempt to obfuscate the fact that this means between 1,500 and 1,800 members, depending on when membership of what we are continually told is Europe’s largest political party is counted.

The absolute number better reflects the seriousness of the problem. If, as Mr Corbyn tells us, one antisemite is one too many, we should be told why nearly 2,000 were (and presumably still are) allowed membership.

Ian Reid

Kilnwick

Instead of swallowing his pride and accepting the EHRC report’s damning indictment of his leadership ('Key reactions after ruling finds party broke law under Corbyn’, 29 October), Jeremy Corbyn can’t resist squirming, excusing himself and seeking to shift the blame.

Can he not recognise that the nation’s need for coherent opposition to an incompetent government is far more important than internal party politics and his personal reputation? The much vaunted “man of principle” needs to eat humble pie and recognise that politics isn’t all about him.

Graham Powell

Cirencester  

Dyer situation

I share Danny Dyer's concerns about the number of public school-educated cabinet members (‘Danny Dyer calls for working class representation in politics’, 28 October). And it’s not just the government that is affected: 7 per cent of pupils are educated in private schools but are massively over-represented in many fields of further education and employment (65 per cent of senior judges are privately educated; 52 per cent of diplomats; 44 per cent of newspaper columnists; 32 per cent of Oxbridge offers).

Can it be good for our society to exclude so many of its citizens from the best universities and jobs because their parents cannot afford private school fees? Is it now time to end what Theresa May called in 2017 “the burning injustice” of this disparity? At the very least, is it time to challenge what Michael Gove called in the same year “the egregious state support to the already wealthy, so that they might buy advantage for their own children”?

William Barnes

Glastonbury

I couldn’t agree more with Danny Dyer. The only reason that the likes of Boris Johnson are running the country, or more accurately running it into the ground, are that they are privileged. Their parents have inherited wealth, which enables them to send their children to private schools, such as Eton, where they are taught that they are superior to just about everyone else and learn to use archaic Latin phrases in an attempt to prove that superiority.

I am not a cockney like Danny but I am the son of a Sussex farm labourer, thrown out of our cottage when my father succumbed to PTSD following the Second World War, and saved by the provision of a council house, which is not a “luxury” available to those being evicted as a result of the current policies of the Tory regime. Those educated in public schools are unlikely to have experienced the trauma of a 10-year-old facing imminent eviction.

David Felton

Wistaston

Hit the sauce

I’m so glad the main achievement to date of our new worldwide ability to make great trade deals means that I won’t have to pay any extra for the one or two bottles of soy sauce that I consume every year.

David Wallis

Cirencester

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