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5.0 out of 5 stars The Stephen Lawrence murder: What 'really' happened,
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This review is from: Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics (Civil Society) (Paperback)This is an excellent study.
It is written in a very readable style and should feature prominently on any course that in any way relates to The MacPherson Report, it's findings, and it's effects on British society and it's Institutions.
I suspect to many it will be something of an 'eye-opener'.
It certainly was for me.
The Stephen Lawrence murder must be one of the most high profile murder cases of all time here in Britain ?
It has rarely been off the front pages for long over the last 18 years or so.
Add to this the number of television programmes and discussions dedicated to this subject and I can confidently say, it is certainly without equal (in terms of media coverage) during my life-time.
Considering the level of media coverage it really is sort of surprising that the actual story has become so distorted.
The MacPherson Inquiry into the murder may indeed have been one of the most important moments in British criminal history (according to Wikipedia) but I fear it may be so for the wrong reasons.
The premise of the MacPherson Inquiry was to investigate the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) investigation into the murder (an 'internal' investigation had already been completed by the Kent Constabulary and indeed MacPherson regurgitated much of the Kent Report as part of it's Inquiry)
The Kent Report found NO evidence of any racism on the part of ANY investigating police officers.
Now comes the surprising bit.
Neither did the MacPherson Inquiry (contrary to popular opinion)
The MacPherson Panel invented a new type of racism and called it 'Institutional Racism', they then applied this 'retrospectively' to their findings, and announced that the Metropolitan Police Service, and indeed English society as a whole was infected with it.
The problem is that, though they referenced previous descriptions of various definitions of what had been previously understood as 'Institutional Racism', definitions that varied enormously, MacPherson never actually plumped for any of them, instead describing their own version of 'Institutional Racism' as something rather intangible. The MacPherson panel accepted that there was nothing in the 'rules, regulations, and operating procedures' within the MPS that was identifiable as being racist
This new form of racism (as defined by the MacPherson panel) was usually practised by people 'unconsciously', or 'unwittingly', it had no set form, needed no evidence to prove it's existence, was not found in the rules and practices of an Institution (somewhat surprising considering it's title), and commonly the victim also didn't even recognise it's presence, nor that they had been affected by it.
A bit of a will o the wisp one might say (check out the Report if you think I am making this up)
It was this that the MPS and English society as a whole was found guilty of despite the evidence, rather than because of it, and it was based on this rather nebulous 'non-definition' that the 800 year old Double Jeopardy Law was changed, in order to get the Stephen Lawrence suspects back to court.
The MacPherson Inquiry that produced the Report was beset by all sorts of anti-racist pressure groups, rules of procedure and evidence were relaxed, and witnesses were harassed by members of the Inquiry Team and by the crowd in the public gallery.
'They were urged to confess their guilt and repent'.
This study by three academics loosely described as being 'English Ethical Socialists' dissects the MacPherson Report and illustrates with admirable clarity, just what a nonsense it actually was.
ALL the terms of reference were allowed to be set right from the outset by special interest anti-racist groups, empirical evidence counted for nothing, and the accused (the Metropolitan Police Force and indeed English society as a whole) were assumed to be guilty and only then afterwards, a suitably vague, catch-all, unprovable, woolly definition was concocted to make the formal accusation.
One of the MacPherson conclusions that really surprised me was their 'criticism' that the MPS 'were colour blind' in their handling of the Lawrence family.
The police should have approached the family 'first and foremost' as 'a BLACK family' according to MacPherson.
They should NOT have treated them as just another grieving family, but as a 'grieving BLACK family'.
They should not have been 'colour blind' but more 'colour aware'.
That sounds dangerously like good old fashioned 'stereotyping' to me.
Isn't that placing too much emphasis on their race/culture ?
I think it is.
Remember, Martin Luther King Jnr in the Civil Rights Movement in 1960's America, called for 'colour blindness'.
He urged that people be judged 'by the contents of their character', NOT by the colour of their skin.
The MacPherson panel completely reversed this.
Skin colour/ culture is EVERYTHING according to the MacPherson panel, and people should be treated according to which group they belong to rather than as an individual. They turned the clock back to pre-Martin Luther King days, when this certainly was the case.
The MacPherson Report entrenched racial divisions rather than usurped them.
A very important moment in British legal criminal history ?
But I suspect for all the wrong reasons.
It does make one wonder just how many people who make vague reference to 'Institutionalised Racism' as defined by MacPherson, have ever even looked at the Report that gave birth to it.
Perhaps they should.
I think the MacPherson Report needs to be revisited and overhauled, or just scrapped.
It was a nonsense.
Although it was ostensibly all about the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation, I think the Stephen Lawrence murder was actually lost in the political circus that very quickly grew up around it.
This very rigourous but very readable investigation should be read by anyone who wonders what it was all about.
After all, the ongoing implications of the MacPherson Report continue to affect all of us.
Why have I written this review?
Why am I concerned about what really happened in this case ?
Because I believe that the Stephen Lawrence case quickly became a 'rallying cause' for the devotees of 'identity politics' in the UK.
These same people are the very people who hijacked the 'Left' in the UK in the 1970's and went on to all but destroy 'the Left' as a political force in the UK.
Running through the Stephen Lawrence campaign is a strong undercurrent demonising the 'white working class' in the UK and that is just not acceptable in my view.
The person, or people, who murdered Stephen Lawrence deserve to be brought to justice just the same as any murderer anywhere does and I have absolutely no hesitation in saying that, but the fact is that close examination of the facts shows that the 'myth' that surrounds this case is largely just that - a myth.
The real story of what actually happened was quickly lost amongst the 'political circus' that quickly grew up around the case.
Some surprising facts from the investigations ?
FACT 1: No evidence was ever produced confirming the assertion that the boys accused of the murder set out specifically to attack a 'black person' on the evening of Stephen's murder; they had a track record of attacking people of all sorts.
FACT 2: No evidence was ever produced (despite the fact that bodies like the MacPherson panel tried their hardest to for years) to support any specific accusations of racism against any of the investigating police officers in the case.
FACT 3: More prominent members of what is commonly referred to as 'the establishment' got involved in the case from within hours of the murder than is the case for the vast majority of murder cases either before or since, again rather contradicting the (zionist ?) mainstream media assertion that 'the establishment didn't want to know because he was black'.
The mainstream news media 'Stephen Lawrence Story' is a gross distortion of what actually happened, both during the murder and afterwards, if one goes by the evidence of the case as presented to "the MacPherson Enquiry' to an extent that really surprised me I have to say.
I saw an article questioning things and that was what made me start looking.
I think it is important to make the point that 'identity politics' the philosophy which drove 'the campaign group', is not 'Left Wing', because they definitely claimed to be representing 'the Left' in their campaign.
One is not Left Wing because of the group one belongs to.
The 'Left' is open to everyone, and the group one belongs to (in ethnicity terms) is entirely irrelevant.
To these people it is everything.
A person is, or isn't 'Left Wing' because of the values that person holds, not because of the ethnic group the person belongs to.
The Stephen Lawrence campaigners made this case into an issue about race (ethnic identity) in a way that it never really was.
It was a nasty senseless murder of a young man just starting out to make his way in the wider world, and there are in my view far too many such murders in present day Britain.
However, I believe we need less stress on 'difference' (in ethnicity terms) in this country, not more, because I believe it exacerbates tensions rather than reduces them.
Read this book and the MacPherson Report and make up your own mind about the 'real' story that the 'actual evidence' of the case told.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crit of reactions to Stephen Lawrence murder (1993) and 'institutional racism',
This review is from: Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics (Civil Society) (Paperback)The title is misleading - the book is about the Macpherson Report into Stephen Lawrence's murder in 1993. After it, the commentariat all started to say 'the police are riddled with racism' despite the fact that 'no evidence of racism in the police who dealt with the case was ever produced.' Macpherson invented the phrase 'institutional racism'.
Dennis and Erdos date the racism industry from 1991: CCETSW ['Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work'] Diploma in Social Work guidelines 'set out in detail the new orthodoxy'. The 'self-evident truth' that 'racism is endemic in the values, attitudes and structures of British society.' No dissent ... would be tolerated. Colleges and courses that did not accept it would lose their licence to train social workers. Evidence of doubt was evidence of unsuitability...'
The Report was published in February 1999. Most of the book describes the inquiry, a sort of kangaroo court. (For my taste the three chapters on historical and sociological padding is of doubtful validity. For example, it is suggested all hate is more or less irrational and can never have a sound basis).
'There was more than a score of barristers... Witnesses were examined and cross-examined. But there were no defendants and no jury. Sir William [MacPherson] alone was responsible for assessing the degree and nature of the truth... His three advisors were the Rt. Reverend Dr John Sentamu, Bishop of Stepney; Dr Richard Stone, a general practitioner and chairman of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality; and Mr Tom Cook, a retired senior police officer. ..'
There was constant noise from the public gallery. The 'Black Police Association' is mentioned. (There is no white police association). ACPO, Association of Chief Police Officers, apparently a profit-making organisation, gets a mention. Pages 82-3 are on editing of taped interviews for the report, giving a false impression. There are pages and pages including a supposed expert witness who simply repeats the same stuff in different words.
I hate to sound querulous and captious and also lazy - but a straight account of the proceedings would I think have brought out their grotesqueness better. But at any rate this is an important effort at viewing these events objectively.
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Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics (Civil Society) by Ahmed Al-Shahi (Paperback - Sep 2000)