Socialist Worker

Targeting whole groups will increase the anger

Issue No. 1962

Eight bullets pumped into a Brazilian electrician, a Sikh barrister wearing a turban stopped and searched on his way to court, other hourly injustices and humiliations.

That is the reality of the “racial profiling” the police have admitted they are deploying.

It will not stop terrorism. But it does provide a Trojan horse to further undermine the freedoms of ordinary people — black, white and Asian.

There was a record increase in stop and search of Asians before the attacks on London. It didn’t prevent them taking place.

Nor did the harassment and repression of Irish people in Britain disrupt the capacity of the IRA to engage in a 30 year campaign.

What the blanket targeting of whole groups does do is reinforce the bitterness and alienation the government claims it wants to ease.

It creates a false sense of security by giving the impression that the authorities have a way to end terrorism, when they don’t.

A climate is being fostered in which anyone with black or brown skin is officially seen as deserving of less freedom than everyone else. Increased racist violence is the inevitable result.

The authorities are seeking to intimidate whole communities from getting involved in open political protest. The repression will not stop at black and Asian people. This week the government banned protests and the use of megaphones from a wide area of central London.

A raft of other attacks on civil liberties, including the introduction of ID cards, is on the way. All will be accompanied by appeals to anti-terrorism (and often a hefty dose of racist “profiling”). They must be resisted.


Pensions report

Exposing false crisis

Professor Tim Congdon is an unlikely target for the Daily Telegraph. He sits on the advisory council of the thinktank Politeia along with Tory luminaries such as David Willetts.

Yet Congdon has produced a report on pensions for this body which slated the government’s Pensions Commission for exaggerating the scale of the supposed crisis.

The commission is headed by Adair Turner, former head of the Confederation of British Industry. Ahead of his report, due in November, he has argued there is a £57 billion pensions funding “hole”.

The government has floated the idea that people will have to take out private pensions.

Congdon argues there is enough money to meet future retirement needs. His remedies are not ones we share, but he at least challenges the arguments behind the headlong rush to scrap state pensions.


Northern Ireland

Abuse turns to praise

Once The Sun’s editorial declared, “Gerry Adams — the two most disgusting words in the English language”. Headline writers and politicians competed for words of abuse to describe the IRA. “Bastards” was a favourite.

Now all that has changed. Al Qaida is totally different to the IRA, argues Tony Blair.

Right wing commentators chime in arguing that the IRA were always reasonable people ready to negotiate, unlike Islamic bombers. Hypocrisy is an overused word, but it jumps to mind reading the establishment’s reaction to the IRA’s cessation of its armed struggle.


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What We Think
Sat 6 Aug 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1962
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