Dear IRR News subscriber,
We start 2020 by publishing a path-breaking article in Race & Class, which asks how a genuinely anti-racist feminist approach can tackle serious sexual violence without demonising entire communities. In ‘Failing victims, fuelling hate’ (free to download) Ella Cockbain, a key researcher of child sexual abuse/exploitation, and criminologist Waqas Tufail, together dissect the arguments of the various architects of the ‘grooming gangs’ narrative while documenting the violent impact it has had, both to Muslim communities and victims of sexual violence.
We are also advertising this week a new communications officer post at IRR– an exciting new opportunity for applicants with a flair for communications and a commitment to anti-racism (deadline Friday 7 February 2020).
With the death of academic Roger Scruton on 12 January, many younger IRR News readers may have been googling to find out more about the views of a man that our prime minister has described as the greatest modern conservative thinker who ‘had the guts to say what he thought’. In fact, Scuton’s influential thoughts are well-known to us at IRR News! These included the demolition of multiculturalism and the notion of anti-racism, and the conviction that the West was being undermined by Islamic values. Unlike that other gutsy man, Enoch Powell, Scruton did not speak directly to the nation; rather as ‘thinker’ and don, his views emerged in tomes and journals, including the influential Salisbury Review, which he helped to found and then edited from 1982 to 2001. It was there that Margaret Thatcher’s New Right honed its narrative of Britain’s transformation into a foreign land. And a multitude of shrill columnists and commentators then took that view into the tabloids – where it became and remains the new, divisive, racist common sense.
It is reflected in the legislative programme announced in the Queen’s Speech, which as Frances Webber comments in a new piece for IRR News, sets ‘the public’ against its ‘enemies’ – Gypsies and Travellers who offend ‘hardworking taxpayers’; offenders, who are to be locked up for as long as possible (with no mention of rehabilitation); suspected offenders; foreign national offenders; foreigners who persecute our armed forces by seeking redress for torture or murder; universities and local authorities seeking to bring morality into pension scheme investments.
We outline in detail, in our regular calendar of racism and resistance, the human cost of legislative measures such as these, as refugee and human rights charities warn that the result will be more children risking their lives trying to reach the UK under lorries.
IRR News Team