Shawcross, Knowsley and Policing Britishness

Shawcross, Knowsley and Policing Britishness

Fortnightly Bulletin

Written by: IRR News Team

IRR News 2 – 16 February 2023

Just two days after William Shawcross, reviewer of the government’s Prevent Programme, criticised its ‘expansive approach’ towards the ‘extreme right’, it was supporters of the far Right, some armed with hammers, that orchestrated a riot, hurling lit fireworks at the Suites Hotel, Knowsley, Merseyside, which housed asylum seekers (Far-right leaflets claimed ‘5-star Hotels for Migrants Whilst Brits Freeze’.) Displaying the patrician’s knack for ignoring the blatantly obvious, Shawcross had loftily surmised that ‘mildly controversial or provocative forms of mainstream right-leaning commentary’ have ‘no meaningful connection to terrorism or radicalisation’. No doubt, those politicians who, in the past months, have indulged in stigmatising rhetoric and inhumane policy will find consolation in Shawcross’s conclusion.

But campaigners, both in England and Ireland, will not be easily tricked into disavowing the link between extreme-right rhetoric and policy and violence against migrants and refugees, as highlighted in part two of our four-part series Britannia Enchained which is published today. The escalation of violence in Knowsley is the latest in a relentless far-right campaign targeting accommodation for asylum seekers, which each week we document in our calendar of racism and resistance. A wave of anti-immigrant demonstrations has also taken place in Ireland since November last year, rallying around the slogans ‘Ireland is full’ and ‘Irish Lives Matter’, with protests outside hotels housing asylum seekers leaving residents scared, confused and re-traumatised. A key tactic that has provided ammunition for these protests is the weaponising of violence against women and girls, as we regularly reporton IRR News.

In this week’s calendar, we document further criticisms of the Shawcross review, as well as his claim that ‘anti-Prevent narratives dominate the discourse in British universities’. And in another move that indicates a new low for European asylum policy, we note the European Council’s response to the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria has been to strengthen measures to ‘prevent unauthorised migration’ from the region.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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