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Delingpole: Stephen Lawrence Day Is Politically Correct Nonsense

Lawrence
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
JAMES DELINGPOLE

Happy Stephen Lawrence Day, everyone!

No, I had no idea, either. But luckily I’ve just been reminded by the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid:

What I particularly cherish about Stephen Lawrence Day is the way it captures so perfectly almost everything that is wrong not just with Theresa May’s government in particular but with modern Britain in general. I see it not as some fake event we should all scoff at but rather as a stirring call to arms containing all manner of important messages like: “enough is enough!” and “we cannot let these people win” and “let’s never, ever vote Conservative again unless they can sort out this godawful mess of their own creation”.

Stephen Lawrence was a black British teenager who died in 1993 after being stabbed in a racially motivated attack. His death was very sad, not least because by all accounts he was a decent, hard-working, promising kid not involved in gang violence. But should an untimely death at the hands of thugs really be a sufficient criterion to have a whole day named after you?

I’m not sure that it should. Since Lawrence’s stabbing, many hundreds of other teenagers of all races — but especially black teenagers, sadly — have been murdered in the streets. But none of them is going to get a day named after them. Hardly: not least because if you added up all the victims there wouldn’t be days enough in the year to commemorate them. Why, then, is Lawrence different?

That’s a purely rhetorical question. Lawrence has been singled out because the circumstances of his death were so very unusual: the perpetrators were white. This provided Britain’s left-liberal Establishment with an extremely rare opportunity to promulgate its breast-beating fantasy narrative that Britain is a fundamentally racist country which must do more, much much more, to expunge its white guilt.

This fit of cant led to the Macpherson Report, an investigation into the Stephen Lawrence affair by a Scottish judge who concluded that the reason the police had been so slow to track and arrest the perpetrators was because of something called “institutional racism.”

The consequences of Macpherson were an absolute disaster for social cohesion, for effective policing and for the fair and just operation of the law. The police became more politically correct, both in its recruiting and in its policing methods.

Not only were they forced largely to abandon “stop and search” of ethnic minorities, with the inevitable result that knife crime dramatically increased and more of those ethnic minorities ended up dead. But it was also forced to waste more time investigating “racist” incidents according to a new, ultra-low bar: a “racist” incident was a racist incident if that was how any of the people involved, even passers-by, perceived it to be so.

Judges too were told to adjust their sentencing accordingly: beefing up the tariffs if a crime said to have been motivated by some kind of religious or racial or homophobic “hatred”.

So poor Stephen Lawrence, though absolutely no fault of his own, ended up creating an Orwellian Britain in which “thought crime” entered the statute books, in which equality before the law was abandoned in favour of special privileges for ethnic minorities, and in which, tragically, more black people ended up being stabbed to death because the police were now more scared of being thought racist than they were of being thought rubbish at stopping crime.

All of that happened in the Tony Blair era.

The current Prime Minister Theresa May merely put the icing on the cake of this politically correct lunacy when, last year, she declared that the anniversary of Lawrence’s murder should henceforth be commemorated every year.

Among those endorsing the new event, almost needless to say, were the woke royal couple — shortly to be banished to Africa, thank goodness — Princess Meghan and her consort Harry.

It was a gesture entirely typical of useless May: a kind of bread-and-circuses announcement designed at once to curry favour with the left and to distract people on the right from the utter failure of her Conservative government to do anything remotely Conservative.

Of course, it will have quite the opposite effect: reminding the people of Britain just how utterly remote our liberal elite are from their wants and needs; making them more determined than ever to overturn a status quo in which the entire progressive Establishment — including the younger royals and, apparently, most of the Conservative government — appears to be conspiring against them.

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