The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) won their case against the BNP as a judge has temporarily banned the party from recruiting new members for having a constitution which could still discriminate against non whites; but is this a hollow victory against racism in general?
The EHRC will probably be patting themselves on the backs after winning their court case against the BNP. Since late last year the EHRC has taken the BNP court on the basis that the party’s constitution discriminated against non whites.
This ongoing court battle resulted in the BNP amending their constitution and voting for their first non white member, Rajinder Singh, who has a hatred towards Muslims.
It could be argued that this whole affair had made the BNP a more dangerous political party. With non white members the BNP has the perfect recruiting drive to attract whites who can join the party without the fear of being labelled racists, and more dangerously they can attract non whites like Rajinder Singh and inflame inter-ethnic tensions in communities.
Now the EHRC has objected to the BNP’s new constitution on the grounds that it now indirectly discriminates against non whites because they amended the membership criteria and at the Central London County Court Judge Collins ruled that they were still in breach of the Race Relations Act (1976), barring the party from recruiting any more members until they have complied.
What does all this achieve?
The question that one could ask is what does all this achieve? What exactly is the EHRC’s strategy? Already the BNP gained more supporters after leader Nick Griffin appeared on BBC1’s Question Time. According to the Daily Telegraph 22% of voters would consider backing the BNP in a local, European or general election.
When you look at the BNP’s policies on immigration they make it clear that non whites will be offered money to leave and that they will ensure that the white population remains the majority. Why would anyone in their right frame of mind want to vote for a party like that? One answer is that these are protest votes, but that does not make sense when you ask the question why a tolerant person would vote for a far-right party?
The Conservative Party has traditionally been seen as more anti immigration than Labour, voters could have defected to them but they have not, they are choosing to support a party which prides itself on being anti-immigration and most importantly anti-multiculturalism. These are the kind of areas which are not explored for obvious reasons.
Britain is far from a tolerant, multicultural society. According to a report by the former Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), titled ‘A lot done, a lot to do’ “Currently, 67% of people from ethnic minorities live in the 88 most deprived wards in England.” How is this multicultural?
According to Leslie Manasseh, Chair of the 2007 Black Worker’s Conference the unemployment rate for black workers is double that of whites due to racial discrimination in the employment market. He added, once in employment black and minority ethnic workers face racial barriers to job-related training, education and promotion, and are still disproportionately concentrated in the service sectors such as public services, retail, hospitality, restaurants, banking, finance and insurance.
The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report titled, “Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System” (2006-2007), is the first inquiry into the overrepresentation of young black people in the criminal justice system since 1981.
The report found that, “Black people of all ages are three times more likely to be arrested than white people…Black people constitute 2.7% of the population aged 10–17, but represent 8.5% of all those arrested in England and Wales…Black people are just over six times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white people…”
There was also evidence that, “Once they have been charged with an offence, black young offenders are significantly less likely to be given unconditional bail compared to white young offenders and black young offenders are more likely to be remanded in custody compared to white defenders.”
Adding to this it was found that, “…young black people and young people of ‘mixed’ ethnicity, when sentenced, are more likely to receive more punitive sentences than young white people. Whereas black young offenders accounted for 6% of total offences in 2004–05, they received 11.6% of total custodial sentences.”
When you look at these various statistics you do not have a picture of a tolerant British society and trying to disrupt the gains of the BNP is not dealing with the root causes of racism. The EHRC does not take into consideration that laws do not make a person non racist, it only compels them to behave in accordance with the law.
Perhaps this has been the problem all along with the Race Relations Act (1976), it deals with social behaviour but it does not and cannot change people’s attitudes towards another race and this is where the EHRC and the government are clearly weak.
The battle to eliminate racism is clearly an uphill struggle and frustrating the BNP is clearly a waste of time when you look at the whole picture. Racism is embedded deep within British society and for this the EHRC have no answers whatsoever.
Will the EHRC take employers to court? Will they take the criminal justice system to court? Will they take local authorities to court? This is unlikely because all these institutions pay lip service to the Race Relations Act (1976), but the statistics show a different picture.
There is a greater battle to be fought on many fronts and the EHRC is wasting time and resources targeting the BNP.
In light of all this their victory over the BNP is hollow.
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