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Trevor Phillips “to join the BNP soon” says mayor Ken

by Lester Holloway
31/8/2006

KEN LIVINGSTONE has launched a blistering attack on Trevor Phillips saying he expected the CRE chief to join the British National Party soon.

cap
Outspoken: Ken Livingstone

The broadside came after Phillips claimed the Notting Hill carnival was not an expression of multiculturalism but instead just a big party.

The Commission for Racial Equality chairman said calling the carnival multicultural was like saying Morris dancing or Scottish caber-tossing was multicultural.

Yesterday Phillips was forced to apologise to an academic after he admitted he “mangled” a report by inaccurately claiming it warned that Britain was descending into “ghettos.”

Today, speaking on BBC London radio, the London mayor blasted Phillips for his comments about carnival.

'the other side'

“I don't know where he's going. He accused me of being a racist when during the first Mayoral election I asked him to be my deputy. He's going so far to the other side I expect he'll be joining the BNP soon.

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Caber-tosser?: Trevor Phillips

“He has turned the CRE into a vast press office and wound up the legal work. He's one of those people who assumes he can drift into jobs without doing the work.”

Livingstone was echoing a common criticism that Phillips spends too much time chasing newspaper headlines at the expense of doing his real job.

Under Phillips' tenure, the CRE has dramatically slashed the number of legal cases it takes on, on behalf of racism victims.

The CRE only took on three cases for the whole of Britain last year yet Phillips awarded himself an inflation-busting 13% pay rise.

Critics also accuse the CRE of failing to ensure public bodies are producing worthwhile race equality schemes as they are required to do under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.

out-source

Since Phillips became chairman in 2003, the vast majority his press office have been white staff. He often out-sources the organising of conferences to the mainly-white consultants Neil Stewart Associates.

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Shami Chakrabarti: the best and only choice for head of the new single equalities body.

Campaigners have expressed horror at the fees being charged for a CRE conference in November to celebrate 30 years since the 1976 Race Relations Act was passed.

The 'Race Convention 2006', organised by Neil Stewart Associates, is charging £350 for voluntary sector organisations – a fee that will put off the vast majority of black campaigners.

The bad news is that's the cheapest ticket. The commercial sector have to stump up £816 for the two day event. “This will be an all-white conference. What a way to mark 30 years of the CRE”, said one outraged critic.

Phillips was forced into a humiliating apology after making a speech last year claiming “fully-fledged ghettos” were developing in Britain.

Phillips admitted his comments were based that claim on research by Dr Mike Poulsen of Macquarie University, Australia, but the findings had been misunderstood.

Speaking yesterday to the Royal Geographical Society's annual conference, Phillips said: 'I should … apologise to Mike for mangling his work a little in a speech I made last September – and for his graciousness in accepting that even if my account of his presentation here was a little off, that the conclusions I drew were consistent with his findings.'

But Dr Poulsen did not say that Britain had ghettos, areas where there is little or no racial mixing on any level. Dr Poulsen said there were “crossed wires” amid a media and political storm surrounding his research.

Phillips is bidding to become chairman of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) despite previously describing it as a “train-wreck waiting to happen.”

Many key figures across the various equalities strands which will make up the new single equalities body are privately hoping Phillips does not get the job. Lord Herman Ouseley has dropped heavy hints that Phillips is not the right choice.

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Resources:

Shadow Report to the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Statewatch: “Observatory” on CIA “rendition”

pdf British Institute of Human Rights: Media Briefing on the Human Rights Act

pdfThe Human Rights Act: Exploding the Myths

Human rights: a broken promise

pdf First Step: The Human Rights Act

Links:

European Human Rights Centre

Minority Rights Group

IMADR

Human Rights Watch

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance

Council of Europe

Liberty

Institute for Public Policy Research

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

Charter 88

Statewatch

United Nations

Birmingham Race Action Partnership

Know Your Rights

WITNESS

Amnesty International

European Network Against Racism (ENAR)

UNITE TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS: sign the statement against the erosion of civil liberties and human rights by new anti-terrorism proposals A Black Manifesto No 2 ID FREE FAROUQ PDP ASSOCIATES Power to the People

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