Thursday, 13 January 2011

A defense of racism

My namesake, former Detective Superintendent Mick Gradwell has come out in support of Jack Straw's controversial remarks about the problem with some members of the Pakistani community. The problem I have with Jack's remarks is that they are racist. Let me try to put this into context. I don't know where Mick Gradwell lives but let's say that you can work out a square mile that includes his house which may also include the highest numbers of rapists or any other criminals you care to mention. Try to think of a crime that you would find particularly distasteful. Then publish the comment that Mick Gradwell lives in this area. Then tell Mick he has to go around with a badge saying that he lives in this area.

This is exactly what has happened with Jack's remarks. He has identified a group that we can all recognise and said they are associated with crime. Mick's views are based on working in Blackburn in the 1970s. So if he had worked in Arnside would he have a different view?

From what I have read Mick is a clever person so how does he fail to see the overt racism in Jack's remarks? I am particularly concerned because Mick's words have been widely reported, not just in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, but also by the BBC and the Independent. I hope that nobody who knows me would mistake his words for anything I might utter, but we do share the same name so I suppose there is some potential for confusion. This wouldn't matter when Mick is just talking about the latest police community initiative but it does in this case.

The best rebuttal of what Jack Straw said that I've found so far is by Yvonne Ridley, at,
It's purely a coincidence, by the way, that her remarks on the subject were published on the same day as mine and that we both used the headline "The last straw?", or maybe it's a case of great minds thinking alike. Anyway, I'd like to draw your attention to her words

"As a journalist of more than 35 years, I’ve sat through countless court cases and trials and listened to similar, horrific stories pour forth. As long as there are vulnerable young women, of no particular faith and skin color, they will be targeted by criminally-driven men of no particular faith and skin colour."

but please read the whole of it - it's all good.

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