THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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An end to racism

The issue of the week in England was racism. The three stories that brought the topic to the fore were the trial of two of Stephen Lawrence's murderers, the eight match ban handed out to Luis Suarez of Liverpool FC by the FA and Diane Abbott's tweet denouncing all white people as pracitioners of 'divide and rule.' Together, they illustrate the mess we are now in on this subject.

Under the apartheid system in old South Africa, the Population Registration Act of 1950 required every citizen to be classified by race. This led to such nonsenses as the 'pencil test' (no, ladies, not that one). The fact that categorisation had to be done by such ridiculous means rather suggested to me at the time that - as well as being immoral - apartheid was plain stupid. I can't help feeling that the angels on pinhead-type discussions about whether Suaraz and Abbott are 'racists' suggest the same about anti-racist legislation in Britain.

Stephen Lawrence's murder was a terrible crime. Murder has always been regarded as a terrible crime under the laws of England. It was no more terrible however because he was killed for being black. To suggest otherwise, as his mother and the political parasites who have fed on her grief for a decade do, is racist. A human being had his life taken from him. All decent human beings should feel equally troubled by that. Those who are more troubled because he was black are just as racist as those who are less troubled.

Diane Abbott's stupid tweet has highlighted the hypocrisy of all those who make a good living out of 'diversity issues' and racism. In their eagerness to big up the issues - all the better to prosper from 'fighting' them - they become guilty of the 'crimes' they oppose. In post-apartheid South Africa, black and coloured people still have to be categorised, because under current law black people benefit more from 'positive discrimination' than coloureds. Some version of the pencil test is still being applied and there is a common saying among coloured people now that;

We were not white enough under apartheid, and we are not black enough under the ANC

Why care about these intellectual inconsistencies? Because, for one thing, the Lawrence media circus has cost the people of England - all of us, of whatever colour - one of our most important legal protections, the rule against double jeopardy. The loss of that protection is, quite simply, a greater tragedy either than the death of Stephen Lawrence was, or the escape without punishment of two of his murderers would have been. Blackstone's formulation that;

better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer

...seems to have lost its force in modern England. He would have been as horrified and afraid as I am at that. Why should I be the only libertarian blogger not to quote the famous lines from A Man for All Seasons in this connection?

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Even a libertarian state would be barely counterbalanced by other forces (e.g. churches, charities, corporations and professions) but a social democratic state is a gorilla in a flea circus. Civilisation requires that individuals be protected from such enormous force and the rule against double jeopardy was a key example of such a protection. A state able to persecute individuals by repeated prosecutions can weaponise the justice system for use against anyone who annoys it.

If you legislate against racism, you end up with inarticulate young men being pilloried for the stupid things they say in heat. You end up with Manchester United cheating at football. You end up with young people afraid to befriend black or Asian schoomates for fear that, should any argument arise, they can be demonised by the simple deployment of a fearful magic word. In short you end up with injustice. Not the odd example of a guilty man going free, but a systemic injustice that divides ethnic groups and, ironically, promotes racism. If Stephen Lawrence's death was worse because of the killers' motivation, then his murder is more important than mine would be. That is racism in itself and is likely (though it hasn't succeeded yet) to provoke racism in me.

I don't deny racism exists. I have seen and experienced it. It is a crassly stupid viewpoint and its expression is impolite at best. There is no place at my dinner table for anyone who espouses it. Nor however, is there any place there for thugs and hypocrites who seek to exploit it to make a parasitical living, to attack freedom of speech or to weaken the only form of equality for which I give a damn; equality before the law.

Picture credit (and I think it's a splendid picture, though the artist would probably disagree with every word above) Beth Consetta Rubel


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wargasm jawspasm

“Race crime excludes when someone becomes a victim because of the colour of their White skin. It also excludes attacks on White nationality, culture and language.
Any racial hate crime that is reported to the police by Whites is treated less seriously, even if it could be classed as a major incident“ - Fixed that for You.

Anti racist is code for anti White

Asia for Asians - Africa for Africans - White countries for everyone but Whites

Suboptimal Planet

"ruts worn in language by the repeated passage of truth"

Beautifully put.



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My suspicion is that double jeopardy was abolished because the political and legal establishments did not want ordinary people to realise the power of cat-and-mouse prosecutions. The penalties actually imposed for murder are so light and the penalties available for attempted muder so heavy that it might have been better to prosecute the two suspects for attempted murder.

But the politicians do not want calls for cat-and-mouse prosecutions of IRA terrorists released under the Good Friday agreement.


Abbott did us all a favour. I was asked if I knew of any examples of discrimination and immediately said "Diane Abbott". Nice to have it at the ready.


I don't think it was hobbled by 'institutional racism' I don't really think there was so much of that as is made out at all. 'Cop'-out words.

I figure it was mostly incompetence and an individual here or there who let racism 'color' their views and maybe some good 'honest' corruption in there. I read some of the groups parents were gangsters.


Good article which I support. Just read article on same subject over on Open democracy which takes the opposite view. Left my 2 pen'orth as did someone else. States the culprits avoided prosecution, not for the lack of evidence but, due to the case being hobbled by 'institutional racism'. Also has a list of racist murder victims since Stephen's murder. Highly selective in my opinion. No mention of double jeopardy, or joint enterprise.


It is wrong. A man's a man for a' that. Every man's death diminishes me etc. etc.

I am not more diminished if the man in question is of my race, or less diminished if he's not. Justice should be colour blind.

All cliches, I know. But sometimes cliches are ruts worn in language by the repeated passage of truth.


"...hopelessly compromised by political agents..." is a good way of putting it. I have never seen a better argument for the separation of powers. Politicians should have stayed out of the law enforcement / judicial process. Instead, they sought to make political capital and succeeded only in seriously worsening race relations. I have no doubt that people will die in future as a result of the cynical exploitation of the Lawrence family's suffering by politicians on the make (and not just the extreme leftists hanging on to them, but also the mainstream politicians)


Good point about the private prosecution. It is such a difficult case, hopelessly compromised by political agents.

It seems scandalous that double jeopardy was qualified without Regina even having had a crack at a prosecution.


I do agree about double jeopardy point. Basically the state was incompetent and to make up for that every citizen has to loose part of their rights and freedoms. It looks a bit like how the EU run referendums. If the wrong result comes out then just do it again until you get it right.

I don’t really understand what the point of ‘racially aggravated’ is.

If someone has their arm broken by someone is it any less painful or serious if it was done by someone who hated them for supporting a different soccker team or if it was done by someone who hated them because they had a different shade of skin. Or by someone who decided they looked at them funny?

If someone is murdered are they more dead if it was done because they were a different skin tone. Do their loved ones miss them any more?

Would it just be an aggravating or mitigating factor that is considered in passing sentence?.

I found something on direct gov that seemed to say different:

“Race crime doesn't just mean when someone becomes a victim because of the colour of their skin. It also includes nationality, culture and language.
Any racial hate crime that is reported to the police is treated seriously, even if it could be classed as a minor incident, because of the fear that racist crime can create within communities.“

It does seem wrong to me, unfair, that exactly the same physical crime can be treated less seriously for one person than another and that is exactly what that means.

oliver cromwell

Hi Guys, I need your help in slaying a particularly vicious marxist troll, grab your axes!“>GRAFKORD

Mac the Knife

"There is no place at my dinner table for anyone who espouses it."

You in a nutshell Tom. There are few old-fashioned gentlemen knocking around these days, but your place among them is secure.

Carry on Tom, carry on...


I have the film on my box, must watch it (again), saw it first time on release and times since. Pity that More could not extend his principles to William Tyndale, but errare humanum est.


Not just the police being put in harms way for ideological reasons, but "we, the people"-that is why consent is increasingly being withdrawn (insofar as it still exists in any meaningful form).
This is prevalent in all forms of "authority", which previously benefited from the people's goodwill.

Catherine in Athens

Excellent reasoning. I think we will come to rue the day we lost double jeopardy.


Your reasoning is persuasive, but none of us advocates of Blackstone's formulation is keen on guilty men going free. We just accept it as a cost of imperfect human justice, in a way that we can't accept the conviction of the innocent. A point a lot of people are missing in the Lawrence case is that the guilty men were acquitted because the Lawrence family brought a private prosecution before improvements in forensic science provided strong enough evidence to secure a conviction. The CPS decision NOT to prosecute was vindicated by the resulting acquittal. In a sense both juries were right, given the evidence available at the time. If double jeopardy remained in its centuries old form, the two killers so far convicted would be free now - but it would have been Mrs Lawrence's fault.


Well put Tom, as persuasive as ever.

Whilst I agree about the value of double jeopardy limiting the power of the state to mount malicious prosecutions, I am much less keen on obviously guilty men walking free because of it.

It sticks in my craw that following acquittal a guilty, in the sense that they did it, person should be able to laugh at the law in perpetuity, irrespective of the weight of evidence that might come to light. Nobody should laugh at the law or hold it in contempt.

Had the gang in the Lawrence case publicly gloated about getting away with it or mounted the murder weapon on a plaque over their fireplace, double jeopardy would rightly have been seen as the anomaly it is.

Surely the issue should be the evidential threshold and mechanism for any retrial, a complete ban is as absurd as would be a ban on appeals for successful prosecutions.


Outstanding article Tom. Cultural-marxist dogma such as the Macpherson Report imposed by our 'progressive liberal elite' has turned the police into a laughing stock. I should know, I was a police officer for 16 years until 2008 when I resigned. As ever, the biggest losers are the public who suffer from an impotent and neutered police 'service' ran by servile and craven senior officers. Fighting crime and protecting the weak and the vulnerable is not a priority any more. Diversity, incluson and respect for ethnic minorities are paramount. Your observations on the criminal erosion of ancient civil liberties and racism are brilliant. Keep these artciles coming, you are one of the few voices of common sense and reason.


Lots of work for lawyers is not so bad, you know. It keeps some very tricky people from mischief. But the truth is there's plenty of work for good lawyers in helping a free society function, without generating counter-productive stuff like this.

More seriously, lawyers beavering away to interpret and apply bad laws undermine the credibility of the Law itself - respect for which is diminishing daily. We used to have policing by consent, but that consent has been withdrawn as policemen are increasingly put in harm's way to enforce ideological, not moral, norms.


Btw, loved the pencil test nonsense-totally Monty Python.


Yes, a very good aricle.
New Labour probably did more damage to our liberties than anything since the Second World War. They were, of course, abetted by that most insidious of organisations, ACPO.
The politicisation of the police continues apace.


Er, 'lucid and passionate argument' ...
Apologies for lapse in usual pedantry!


Seconded. Lucid and passionately argument in favour of balance and justice.
You are right: the loss of double jeopardy is a crime in itself, and a huge shift in our legal system & liberties which should not have happened without at the very least public debate.
And in creating ancillary laws to cover 'hate' crimes and a raft of new offences to fall into those categories, we have created (as you say) a climate of hypersensitivity around what is and isn't offensive - plus lots of work for lawyers (never a good thing IMO!). Yet all of these offences - all the way up to murder in seriousness - were already perfectly adequately covered by the existing laws of England & Wales.
I agree that the outcome of the Lawrence Case may inadvertently promote that which it seeks to condemn.


Excellent article.

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