The leader of the UK’s main left-wing opposition Sir Keir Starmer has said “everybody should have unconscious bias training” as he committed to taking such a course himself after being criticised for distancing himself from the Black Likes Matter UK movement.
Newly installed Labour party leader Sir Keir had initially welcomed the BLMUK movement with open arms, speaking in support of the organisation and even posting an image to social media of himself taking a knee on the carpet of the official opposition offices inside parliament.
Yet as some political figures in the United Kingdom had pointed out, behind the agreeable-sounding name of Black Lives Matter there was a hard-left political organisation riding the zeitgeist and using the powerful BLM message to deliver a radical program of reform. As it became clear BLMUK was actively campaigning for extremist positions like abolishing the police in the United Kingdom, some figures who had previously given unequivocal support walked back earlier positions, with Sir Keir entering into a u-turn last week.
Speaking on British television, he attacked the policy of police abolition and called Black Lives Matter a “moment”.
'Will you undergo unconscious bias training' after referring to #BlackLivesMatter as a "moment"?
— LBC (@LBC) July 6, 2020
The comments led to criticism of the Labour leader by his own activists, which ultimately led a second u-turn Monday morning during a radio call-in on LBC radio where a Labour activist challenged Starmer to recant his position.
Claiming he’d misspoke in his earlier remarks, Starmer told the caller: “What I was saying last week is that Black Lives Matters needs to be a moment, and I meant a defining moment and a turning point, not a fleeting moment… I don’t regret it [taking the knee] at all.
“It was an expression of solidarity, of recognition, of the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and what they stand for across the world.”
Telling her he would undertake diversity training, Starmer continued: “In the Labour party we are introducing [unconscious bias training] for all our staff and I’m going to lead from the top on this and do that training first. I think it’s very important, we took a decision to introduce this across the Labour Party, and I think that’s the right thing to do and I should lead by example by doing it first.”
Farage: ‘Black Lives Matter Is a Dangerous, Marxist Organisation Hell-Bent on Anarchy’ https://t.co/sp1XrNOugF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 9, 2020
In a remarkable admission — or perhaps another comment to be walked back in the coming days — Starmer also made clear his views on the state of thinking of the majority, when he told radio host Nick Ferarri that he thought diversity training should be much more widespread. He said: “I think everybody should have unconscious bias training, I think it is important. There is always the risk of unconscious bias.”
Providers of unconscious bias training courses claim they combat “deeply ingrained” learned behaviours which impact on daily decision making. the intention is that through attending such courses, recipients can “adjust” their own thought processes permanently. It is not yet clear whether forcing “everybody” to attend a government-mandated lecture on how to think properly will become an official Labour party policy.
Last week, the UK state broadcaster the BBC told its presenters and guests to not wear BLM badges on air as a “step too far” when it comes to the meeting the terms of political neutrality imposed upon it by the charter which governs the corporation — and allows it to collect funding through a television tax.