Stamp Out Racism

Europe has a sad history of xenophobia and racism. History records various holocausts committed by successive barbaric European regimes in the form of ethnic cleansing, such as the Spanish Inquisition and abroad in the Americas, Australia and Africa. We may have thought that the Nazi genocide of our Jewish neighbours was the last time, but it happened again in Bosnia and continues in Chechnya, Gaza and other places.

Racism is the oldest and worst form of extremism and terrorism. I attend the Holocaust Memorial Event every year and, my children and I, actively participate with public readings. The horrors that are recounted are so inhumane it beggars belief that human beings were capable of such terrorist and extremist acts. We must never be complacent on this issue and never fall into the trap that economic or other difficulties are caused by a particular race or religion.

We have witnessed British sport personalities like Sol Campbell and Lewis Hamilton suffer publicly at the hands of racists in Europe and it is a real cause for concern that racists have been elected as MEPs by other European states and, indeed, here in Britain, the BNP has also claimed electoral successes including the 2009 European Parliamentary Elections. We must not allow the clock to be wound back.

South Africa was an apartheid regime, which the British people, as distinct from the British conservative Government of the time, successfully helped to overthrow with boycotts and demonstrations. However, Apartheid is not yet extinct and, according to Nelson Mandela, thrives in Israel.

The brutal massacre of hundreds of children in Gaza outraged all decent people of the world but barely got a sneeze from our politicians. How can children be slaughtered without any recourse to justice?

Yet Tory MEP for London, Charles Tannock, sits on the Committee of Human Rights and, astonishingly, is a member of Friends of Israel. On the Israeli regime's child killing record Charles says, "much of that suffering is caused by Palestinian leaders themselves." The Liberal Democrat MEP for London, Sarah Ludford also supports Israel. In fact, a whole host of politicians actively support the apartheid regime of Israel and they can be distinguished by their silence over Israel’s brutal atrocities or misrepresentation of the facts.

From where did these politicians form such radical views and become so distant from our core British values? A Euro Poll named Israel as the main threat to world peace. Killing children is wrong, period - regardless of who the victim or the perpetrator is.

We must defeat all forms of racism and exercise our voting rights to extinguish racist extremism and racist terrorism. Unfortunately, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights consistently maintains that, whilst laws exist to combat racism, member states are not enforcing them. However, the UK is held out as one of the best examples of enforcing anti-racism laws.

The true solutions lie in getting to know one another and celebrating what we have in common. If we work to promote an environment to enable this, both in terms of access to services, service delivery and education, we will in turn overcome barriers to trade and employment. I conducted one such pilot project very successfully called Young Impressions.


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