diverse & equal
Midland Heart’s inherent racism is not immune to anti-racist disinfectant
By Tony Rebel

Unlike Oswald Mosley’s bootboys who ruinously infected the lives of the Windrush generation, "today’s racist bullies are corporate, taxpayer-funded, suited and booted", says Alexander Bustamante.

In certain ways, the children and grand-children of the Windrush generation are in fact more vulnerable to the ongoing discriminatory practices of the likes of Midland Heart than their parents and grand-parents were.

First, Asian, Black and minority ethnic communities no longer share the same level of solidarity which first generation commonwealth immigrant did in order to fend off the overt racism they faced in the 1950s, especially in employment and housing. 

Second, the legal protection and support from the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) are no longer available to victims of racial discrimination by landlords and employers such as Midland Heart.

CRE acted in accordance with its aim: "We work for a just and integrated society, where diversity is valued. We use persuasion and our powers under the law to give everyone an equal chance to live free from fear of discrimination, prejudice and racism."

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) replaced CRE in October 2007. But, very much like Midland Heart’s "five interrelated values", EHRC’s aim is stated but not real. 

A former CRE chairman, Lord Herman Ouseley says EHRC "has failed as an organisation and if it were to cease to exist, most of the people it was created to support would not notice its disappearance".

The cut-backs in funds for community-based law centres and Legal Aid, which provided free advice and representation, is the third reason why institutional racists now have free rein to beat up, mash up, trash the lives of Windrush descendants.

An act of racism carried out by public sector bodies such as the police or Midland Heart affects the victims in two ways.

First, the discriminatory act means the victim is treated less favourably, or murdered in Stephen Lawrence case, because he is black, for example.

Second, the victim suffers a further disadvantage if he complains about the unfavourable treatment.

In the case of the Lawrence family, they become the object of a Metropolitan Police smear campaign. While Midland Heart’s tenants face civil prosecution.

The Lawrence family and supporters are living proof that the disease of institutional racism, and its pathogen - corporate bullying, is not totally resistant to anti-racist disinfectant applied by individuals unwilling to be cowed by threats of revenge: "legal costs".

Bullies the world over rely on an assumed advantage they have over their victims. A playground bully’s advantage is often muscle, physical strength reinforced by a gang of thugs. Midland Heart relies on its financial muscle relative to tenants’ poverty.

However, recent history shows that size, deep pockets, does not always matters. For 20 years a part-time bar worker and gardener, Helen Steel, and a single parent, David Morris, fight the best lawyers MacDonald and the British government can buy, and win!

In 1990, MacDonald issues legal writs against the pair for libel. MacDonald demands they either apologise for comments contain in the leaflet "What’s wrong with MacDonalds"; or risks £100,000 damages.  They refuse.

Neither Helen nor David is legally trained. Deny Legal Aid, they represent themselves.

The McLibel trial costs MacDonald over £10 million in legal fees and remains a global public relations disaster for the company.

In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights judges that the British government breaches the right of Helen and David to a fair trial by denying them Legal Aid. The government further breaches their right to freedom of speech.

Helen and David’s message to people on the receiving end of corporate bullying of the Midland Heart kinds is: 

"The McLibel campaign has already proved that determined and widespread grass roots protests and defiance can undermine those who try to silence their critics, and also render oppressive laws unworkable."

Who said ordinary people can't change the world?

*****Opinion and comments of Tony Rebel********