In 2010, the Audit Commission says "the make-up of [Midland Heart’s] board does not fully reflect the community it serves".
Midland Heart is a Birmingham based company, 42 per cent of the city’s population is non-white. Yet 100 per cent of the company’s executive directors are white.
On March 6 2014, a panel member of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, Dr Richard Stone, tells Martha Kearney, in a BBC Radio 4 interview, institutional racism is worse than it was 10 years ago. A fact Midland Heart confirms by employing fewer BME senior managers since Bill Morris became its chair in 2007.
Midland Heart pays its chair £25,000 per year to work five days a month. Nice work, if you can get it!
In a few ways Midland Heart, as an employer, is what Ford Dagenham engine plant was like in the 1990s.
Ford did, as does Midland Heart, have an "equal opportunities" policy.
As did the Transport and General Workers Union which elected Bill Morris general secretary, Britain’s first black trades union leader, in 1992.
Ford’s workforce was almost evenly split between BME and white at Dagenham. However, a BME senior manager was, as is with Midland Heart, a rare bird.
Because of better pay and conditions, a driver in Ford’s Truck Fleet was a much sought after job. Of the 1000 drivers Ford employed, only 20 BME managed to break through the "wall of racism" and secure a job as a driver.
The "racial imbalances" in managers and drivers were, Bill Morris said, "the callous and systematic failure" of Ford to implement its equal opportunities policy.
Unlike Midland Heart, Ford was less skilled at playing the race card.
In 1991, five faces of BME were replaced with white faces in Ford’s "Everything we do is driven by you" advertising campaign.
Morris described the "whited out" advert as "deeply offensive". He said: "this is an appalling situation which reveals the depth of racist attitude in our society".
In contrast to Ford’s clumsy act of overt racism, Midland Heart plays the race card with enough cynicism to make Enoch Powell blush.
Traditionally, politicians played the race card by saying nasty things about BME which wins the votes of the racist portion of the white electorate.
In the 1964 general election Peter Griffiths played the raced by saying "If you want a [n-word] for a neighbour, vote Labour".
Today, playing the race has taken new forms as Midland Heart best shows.
Midland Heart plays the race card by using BME as window dressing to hide, make deniable, its intentional rather than unwitting racism.
What else can explain why in six years of Morris' "strategic leadership" a "wall of racism" has replaced a glass ceiling "locking out" BME from managerial and executive jobs at Midland Heart.
The chief executive officer of Lambeth Council, Derrick Anderson says: “where you have black leadership, then getting the authority to reflect its racial diversity is much easier”. Morris’ chair of Midland Heart is the exception.
Doreen and Neville Lawrence, families and friends provide proof that institutional racism of the Midland Heart kind can be exposed for what it is: cynical and self-serving.
In the process of exposing it, the lives of the victims of institutional racism are either put on hold permanently or destroyed.
However as Aswad sings, "It's not our wish that we should fight but it's our wish that we should be free, equal rights stands for all, equal rights that's all we want."
*****Opinion and comments of Herald Kissmerass