Once again we find ourselves being supportive of Nick Clegg’s campaign for greater social mobility. In his Scarman lecture, held 30 years after the Brixton riots, he said that banks and football clubs should do more to offer opportunities to ethnic minorities. He went on to say:
“The real lesson from the last 30 years is it is not enough for a society to reject bigotry,” and continued
“Real equality is not just the absence of prejudice. It is the existence of fairness and opportunity too.”
Nick asked: “why are there over 400 more young black British men in prison than at Russell Group universities?”
Turning to banks and their role in encouraging ethnic minority entrepreneurship he said that they:
“have just as much responsibility as everyone else, arguably more responsibility, to help Britain build a strong and dynamic economy. Unleashing black and ethnic minority talent is their duty too”.
“Why is it that members of some of our ethnic communities want to start their own businesses, but their success doesn’t match their ambitions?,”
“We know, for example, that 35% of individuals from black African origin say they want to start a business, but only 6% actually do. Are they having problems accessing the loans they need?”
Then on the topical issue of race and football, given Sepp Blatter’s recent comments, Nick Clegg asked:
“how many black managers are there in the Premier League? Zero.
“And in the top four divisions? There are just two, despite the fact a quarter of all players are black.
“If you are a white player you have a one in fifty chance of moving into management. If you are a black player? One in five hundred.”
The British and the Sepp Blatter affair
It is encouraging that for all our faults we were generally outraged by Sepp Blatter’s comments about racism in football and many commentators noted that this did show that anti racist attitudes were now firmly embedded in the British psyche. As Yasmin Alinhai-Brown writes in the Independent:
“When the BBC’s David Bond finally got Blatter to accept he was wrong about racism in football, he reflected our nation’s moral leadership. I know I go on about racial injustice in Britain and will again. This week though I must acknowledge that we people of colour have more rights and more indigenous friends in the UK than do those settled elsewhere in Europe. And for that, much gratitude and respect.”
Eric Pickles to announce a UK curry college
Under recent government legislation migrant chefs will now be required to hold a graduate-level qualification, five years’ kitchen experience and command a salary in excess of £28,000 per year after food and accommodation. Non-EEA chefs who have not completed a graduate-level qualification will be banned outright.
The Guardian has reported on the initiative of the communities secretary, Eric Pickles, to establish a UK curry college. It writes:
Pickles’s “curry college”, as it is being called, would see the government backing a school to train British people from all backgrounds to become chefs specialising in Indian food as an answer to the crisis in the £3.2bn curry industry triggered by the Home Office’s ban on bringing in chefs from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
The paper goes on to say:
The idea is backed in the long-awaited integration strategy being hammered out between Whitehall departments, which says the government is to “support British excellence in the Asian and Oriental catering” sector.
The strategy, which has yet to get final approval by Downing Street, will see a distinct shift away from Labour’s language in this area. Talk of promoting local community cohesion is out and talk of promoting integration is now in, with “tolerance” as the new watchword. It follows David Cameron’s Munich speech earlier this year when he criticised “state multiculturalism” and argued that the UK needed a stronger national identity.
It should be noted that the views expressed are a personal opinion