Up To Racism Statement on Jason Ablewhite
Stand Up to Racism believes that all forms of racism are totally unacceptable,
and for this reason was appalled to learn that our newly elected Police
and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, has refused to apologise unconditionally
for anti traveller comments he made in the past and when challenged
on a number of occasions he has dismissed his comments as 'pub banter'.
We should never forget that Gypsies were one of the main victims of
the Nazi holocaust. Even today they are one of the most discriminated
against groups in Europe.
In 1999 the McPherson report concluded that the police were institutionally
racist. Nearly 20 years later, is it really acceptable for the person
elected to hold the force to account, to make light of using racist
language, and then to refuse to apologise? As someone who is responsible
for setting policing priorities we can have no confidence in his judgement
or ability to do so without discrimination. The election of Mr Ablewhite
has set policing in Cambridgeshire back years.
Use of the word 'pikey' is not, as Mr Ablewhite, suggests, just harmless
'banter'. We agree with gold medallist event rider Phoebe Buckley, whose
family is old school Romani Gypsy, who said that the use
of such derogatory language from a leading public official risks making
such opinions respectable. Jason Ablewhite threw the word pikey
around and I just dont believe he would think it was OK to use
[similar terms towards] any other ethnic minority.
The use of the term is deeply offensive. Comments such as those of Mr
Ablewhite have had terrible repercussions on families like Ms Buckleys,
who said her parents are not registered to vote because they feel that
politicians wouldnt take them seriously. Such derogatory
language risks reinforcing the marginalisation of this community, making
them second class citizens.
Gypsy Roma Travellers are the biggest ethnic minority in the county;
these remarks are of grave concern, and call his competency into question.
We therefore agree with The National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller and
Roma Women and call on the chairman of the Conservative Party, Lord
Feldman, to suspend Mr Ablewhite pending investigation or an unequivocal
statement condemning anti traveller racism and undertaking to treat
all sections of the community equitably.
Rose for Cambridge Stand Up to Racism
signed by Richard Howitt, MEP
Councillor Mike Todd-Jones, Cambridge City Council
Councillor Ann Sinnott, Cambridge City Council
Councillor Oscar Gillespie, Cambridge City Council
Councillor Martin Field, March Town Council
Tom Woodcock, secretary of Cambridge and District Trades Council
Cambridge Area Momentum
Steve Sweeney, The People's Assembly
Huw Jones, parliamentary candidate for SE Cambridgeshire Labour in 2015
Zareen Taj, Cambridge Stop the War Coalition
James Youd, Secretary, Cambridge Unite Community Branch
Sue Birtles, Cambridge Labour Party
Shahida Rahman, author, member of Cambridge Liberal Democrats
Iman Ibn Tahaikt
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