Liddle under fire over 'racist' blog

Abrasive comments on ethnicity and crime spark fury with fellow 'Spectator' writer threatening to quit in protest

Rod Liddle, the former BBC journalist turned magazine columnist, was at the centre of a race row last night after suggesting that London's African-Caribbean youth were responsible for the "overwhelming majority" of violent crime in the capital and had given only "rap music" and "goat curry" in return.

In a 91-word post on his blog for The Spectator, Liddle made reference to the case of two black teenagers jailed for plotting to murder a pregnant 15-year-old girl by throwing her into a canal.

Liddle describes the pair as "human filth" and continues: "It could be an anomaly, of course. But it isn't. The overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community. In return, we have rap music, goat curry and a far more vibrant and diverse understanding of cultures which were once alien to us. For which, many thanks."

Liddle's comments prompted outrage. Simon Woolley, the director of the pressure group Operation Black Vote, claimed: "Rod Liddle abandoned rigour for bigotry a long time ago. In recent months he has become more emboldened about expressing his racism. That Rod Liddle is a racist is in no doubt. The real crime is that he is published by The Spectator."

Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North, said: "It is obviously statistically false to say that the 'overwhelming majority' of the crimes listed by Rod are committed by young black men... The interesting thing is why he chose to post something which, if you chose another set of hysterical racial stereotypes and substituted Jew for Afro-Caribbean, would not have been out of place in a speech by Oswald Mosley.

"We have all got so used to Rod Liddle's low-level racism that it has lost the power to shock."

Bonnie Greer, the playwright who recently appeared on Question Time to debate with the BNP leader Nick Griffin, said that Liddle's post was deliberately provocative and she could understand why it had been labelled racist. She added: "My response would be to say that the overwhelming majority of paedophiles, murderers, war-mongers and football hooligans are white males and all we got in return was beans on toast and Top Gear."

One of Liddle's astonished colleagues at The Spectator immediately wrote a column criticising him. Alex Massie, wrote that upon reading Liddle's column he considered resigning. "How delightfully refreshing to see someone trot out the kind of tired, stale prejudice you can find in thousands of boozers across the country," wrote Massie. "Or at any BNP meeting for that matter. This isn't a matter of being 'politically correct', it's just a matter of behaving in a decent fashion."

Speaking to The Independent, Liddle insisted that he was not a racist. "I cannot think of anything more vile than racism," he said. "I think it is disgusting. The issue here is not racism, it is one of multiculturalism. There is an important argument to be had about crime levels in London, Manchester and Birmingham which are down to culture. It is nothing to do with race.

"There are some people who have responded to it [the blog] who are racists and I do not like that. And there is a cabal of white liberals who responded with a knee-jerk, but I think there is a strong centre point which is where I would be."

Liddle said Ms Abbott was a hypocrite for criticising him when she had chosen to send her son to a private school, citing race as a factor in her decision: "I will be sending my daughter to a state school in London which is 75 per cent African-Caribbean and I do not have a problem with that. Like I said, this is not an issue about race."

It is not the first time a Rod Liddle article has caused controversy. In August he apologised for an article in which he pondered whether or not he would sleep with Harriet Harman, eventually deciding he would not. Last month he wrote about "Somali Muslim savages" who stoned to death a 20-year-old woman who had committed adultery. He ends the piece with a comment, widely interpreted as sarcastic, which read: "Incidentally, many Somalis have come to Britain as immigrants recently, where they are widely admired for their strong work ethic, respect for the law and keen, piercing, intelligence."

Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, said: "The Spectator stands up for the right to offend; our blogs often say things that people find offensive but that's part of our right of free expression. Rod is one of the greatest writers in Britain today. His column and blog are loved by readers. It's a significant part of my job as editor to defend people's right to be offensive."

Bigoted outburst? Rod Liddle's blog

Those benefits of a multi-cultural Britain in full... Let me introduce you all to this human filth. [Here he links to a Daily Mail article about two black rappers throwing a pregnant 15-year-old into a canal.] It could be an anomaly, of course. But it isn't. The overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community. Of course, in return, we have rap music, goat curry and a far more vibrant and diverse understanding of cultures which were once alien to us. For which, many thanks.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Manager

£55,000 - £65,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accountant with ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat