ANOTHER VIEW; A bad month for blacks

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The Independent Online
So, it seems that just one humble superintendent is to face disciplinary charges in connection with the death of Joy Gardner. Once again we are asked to accept that the real culprits will not be brought to account.

The real culprits are much higher up the ladder in the Metropolitan Police. Theirgrotesquely named Aliens Deportation Squad, based in the same building they work in, was using sticking plaster, belts and body belts for use on unsuspecting, mainly black, human beings. None of these implements featured in the official Police Manual on restraint methods and Commissioner Condon told me himself after Mrs Gardner's death how horrified he was at their use.

The black community is reeling after a month of sustained insult. The acquittal of the three officers charged with Mrs Gardner's death was met with disbelief. How could they get away with trussing up a black woman and winding tape around her face while she suffocated? How could the judge tell the jury not to be influenced by any matters of race or politics?

Next we saw a sustained attack on our brightest and best black sportsman, the Olympic athlete Linford Christie, and the test cricketers Devon Malcolm and Philip DeFreitas, the latter being accused of disloyalty by virtue of their parentage.

Into all of this strides Commissioner Condon, declaring last week that 80 per cent of all muggings in London are carried out by black people, and failing to produce evidence for the assertion. Not for the first time, the black community is hung out to dry to placate factions within the Met, and a Home Secretary desperate for brownie points on law and order.

The days when black people are going to beg for acceptance in this country are over. The last month has shown that we will never be accepted here, however hard we try, and that whenever convenient we will be used as scapegoats for every social ill. We are at the bottom of the social and economic ladder, our youth are in crisis, and we see the revival of naked racism. Any progress made in the Eighties is now attacked as "political correctness".

We now need to consider our options. Two weeks ago, at the Jamaica Expo Fair in London, hundreds of people queued at a desk set up to give advice to those wanting to return to Jamaica. This very morning, a new glossy magazine arrived on my desk, entitled The Returnee, aimed at black people who are packing their bags to get out of Britain. Several thousand have already gone. For those who stay, the road ahead looks treacherous, uninviting and increasingly physically dangerous. Unless there is strong action quickly at the highest level, sadly this may well be a very long hot summer, and the notion of a harmonious and multiracial Britain will be confirmed as a cruel joke.

The writer is MP for Tottenham.

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