It comes as no surprise to hear that black mps find Parliament “riddled” with racism and sexism. The real shock is that it remains so hidden in a culture of denial. It is a real problem for the British that it has been put about for so long that they are about tolerance and fair play that it becomes impossible to understand or believe that discrimination exists. That is unless you are a black MP and Dawn Butler, member for Brent South, has spoken out. Why others don’t speak out is not so much of a mystery when you consider that patronage and privilege plays such a part in getting on. Many prefer to keep their heads down and play the system. Ms Butler makes the point that she has to “pick her fights” because discriminatory acts and behaviour are so common place.
All this comes some years after the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry looked at “institutional racism”. Other reports have also drawn attention to the racial question including Rampton and Swann. Lord Swann, however, refused to accept the findings of his committee arguing that educational failure was the result of a disfunctional culture rather than discriminatory practices rife in society.
Raghib Ahsan’s victory in the House of Lords when the Labour Party was found guilty of racism has not been recognised as the achievement it is. The conspiracy of silence effectively protests the perpetrators of highly discriminatory behaviour of paid officilas. Rather than let Raghib remain a local politician and then move on to become a Member of Parliament all sorts of tactics were used to wheel in a place person. Khalid Mahmood won his selection in Perry Barr on what was widely recognised as a fraudulent postal vote. So cocky were the regional officials who were so deeply complicit that they allowed it to happen for real in the local elections in Birmingham. While the councillors involved were put on trial our officer heros remained with heads down behind the parapet.