The now infamous New Year shooting of two young women in Birmingham has created a picture of anarchy in some of our inner city areas.
Many of the comments from Birmingham community leaders, activists against violence and friends of the family of the victims formed a fearful picture of a breakdown of social order in their area. One community leader, interviewed on television, blamed the killings on the fact that the local police were too lenient. Another activist claimed that the fact that there were seemingly no witnesses to these or other murders was due to the bad historic relationship between the police and the ethnic community. Many of the family and friends who were happy to appear in front of the TV cameras and radio microphones sought to explain away what happened by blaming the Government, the police and anyone else they could think of. There was only one aspect on which most of these people were united a complete unwillingness to take personal responsibility.
The two young women who were murdered were British. So in all likelihood was their killer(s). These are people who were brought up in this country, taught in British schools and whose whole understanding of community values should have been shaped by living in this country. So it is our society that has produced young men who are keen to join gangs, carry guns, deal in drugs and shoot unarmed women with utter callousness. One of the results of the Birmingham shootings has been that even those on the left of politics in this country have begun to touch on the previously unmentionable fact that much of the gun crime in this country is the result of black-on-black violence.
The continuing sense of separateness that many ethnic minorities feel from the rest of British society has been noted by agencies such as the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) which, in leading the clamour for minority rights, has established a very dangerous principle that it is lawful and in some cases obligatory to discriminate in favour of certain racial groups. The Commission’s fight has been wrong because it has emphasised, to the exclusion of all other characteristics, that race and skin colour are important.
I believe it is high time that we gave serious consideration to disbanding the CRE and recognise that in this country it is much more important to have a Human Rights Commission which works to value all human beings whatever their race, colour or creed. One should remember that it was as a result of a campaign from the race lobby and in particular the CRE that the police were forced to rescind their stop-and-search policy because it was all too often directed at young black men.
Yet if reaction to the Birmingham horror is anything to go by the police have been put into an impossible position because the initial reaction from black community leaders was that police lenience, which has included turning a blind eye to the use and dealing of drugs coupled with the general air of lawlessness has led to vicious, armed gangs taking over control of many streets in our inner cities. On this basis the police can’t win and they should surely now be given the proper authority and backing to enforce the law as it stands.
Until we put to one side differences based on race or religion and reject the concept of cultural separateness within a single society, rather than concentrating on the rights and responsibilities of each and every one of us, it is inevitable that gangs and ghetto communities will continue to practice their own version of justice.
I sincerely hope that this country does not continue to accept cultural separateness especially in our inner cities unfortunately we only need to look at the experience of the last few decades on the other side of the Atlantic, in many of the larger cities in the United States, to see just where this path will take us.