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Posted on 14 December 2001 at 13:08 GMT

Racist Blunkett Blames The Victims

HOME SECRETARY David Blunkett has turned aside from devising new draconian "anti-terrorist laws" to making crass, racist comments about Britain's ethnic minorities.

Blunkett ignores that part of the new report on last summer's riots in Burnley, Bradford and Oldham that suggests that the nazi British National Party may have been involved.

He blames immigrants, insisting that immigrant communities integrate more and become "British", making sure their children adopt British "norms of acceptability" including learning the English language.

HUGO PIERRE, education convenor of Camden UNISON, comments:

"Blunkett's statements about 'not being able to speak English' isn't even true. In Asian communities there's a very high level of understanding of English.

His whole aim is to get his government off the hook. Why does a Labour government allow jobs to disappear? Why are they selling off public services? And why are racial attacks on Blacks and Asians growing? Blunkett blames it all on Blacks and Asians who are their chief victims.

Racist housing policies and other factors force Asian families to move mainly into the poorer areas of towns and cities. Racist attacks - not taken seriously by the police - have forced people to move together where they feel safer and can also organise their own cultural activities.

But especially with the collapse of the big industries, racist employment practices also divide people. New Labour rules over a society with rising unemployment rates and high poverty levels, especially for Black and Asian communities.

Segregation exists in society; Blunkett's trying to blame the people forced to live in Britain's poorest areas for the problems this causes.

It's because of the New Labour government policies - their failure to solve the problems of unemployment, bad housing etc. - that some working-class people have turned in protest to far right parties like the BNP.

Blunkett's comments are a gift to the racist far right. Nick Griffin, leader of the nazi BNP has said that he will use Blunkett's policies in his party's campaigning leaflets!

Socialists need to expose Blunkett's lies. There's a very high proportion of young people in the ethnic minority communities who speak English and have high qualifications but many of them are unemployed or in low-paid, unskilled and temporary jobs.

Blacks, Asians and all workers need to get together in campaigns on jobs in particular. Trade unions have an important role to play.

The public sector has a lot more employment for Blacks and Asians than the private sector.

The unions should fight the creeping privatisation which the government is proposing. Such a campaign would also get support from most workers and help cut across the racism which Blunkett is shamelessly peddling."

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