THE non-virus-related news story that has gone viral this week has been the suspension of Trevor Phillips from the Labour Party.
Phillips was appointed during the Blair years to be the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). The CRE had been chaired by Gurbux Singh, but he resigned after an altercation with police at a cricket match which resulted in a £500 fine. Phillips inherited an organisation that was described at the time in an official report as ‘inefficient, self-serving and faction-ridden’. He helped stop the rot.
And yet it appears that the powers-that-be in Labour accuse Phillips of making racist comments over a number of years, comments which only now have resulted in his suspension. What’s going on?
It is possible that this is a nobbling exercise associated with the current leadership campaign, the length of which seems designed to keep Jeremy Corbyn and his fellow-travellers in charge for as long as they can get away with it. But I digress.
Before the General Election, two parliamentary candidates were replaced at the last possible moment. Sally Gimson and Jas Athwal had their candidacy stalled due to intervention from party headquarters and were replaced by Corbynists, one of whom, Sam Tarry, went on to be elected. Both Gimson and Athwal were nobbled by unspecified last-minute complaints.
What has this to do with Phillips?
It is quite possible that Keir Starmer (assuming he wins) would have invited Phillips into the Shadow Cabinet as a way of repositioning Labour’s stance on race away from the insanity of Diane Abbott and Dawn Butler. Abbott is on record as claiming that ‘white people love playing divide and rule’ with the black population. Butler objected to Jamie Oliver selling a ready meal called ‘Jerk Rice’, accusing him of cultural appropriation.
Starmer may already know Phillips as Starmer was running the Crown Prosecution Service at around the time Phillips was running the CRE, and the CRE may have been of help in crimes involving racism, or that were racially sensitive. Phillips is a member in Starmer’s constituency Labour Party. Sally Gimson helped head off a Corbynist move to have Starmer deselected prior to last year’s election.
It is even possible that Phillips is helping Starmer in his campaign, something that may now have to stop.
Once Starmer had exiled the Corbynists to the back benches, Phillips could have been elevated to the peerage, rather as Shami Chakrabarti was by Corbyn, to re-position Labour’s policies on race relations as a shadow minister. Having stabilised what is now the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which coincidentally is investigating Labour over anti-Semitism, Phillips could have helped do the same for Labour. Having chaired the EHRC, Phillips would have been the best person to help implement their statutory recommendations. It seems likely that Phillips in the Shadow Cabinet would have been disadvantageous to the Corbynists remaining in the Labour Party hierarchy after the departure of Corbyn and his crew.
But the nobbling of Phillips might make the above proposal harder to realise. Of course this is all highly speculative, but on the issue of ‘playing the man’, the Labour leadership has recent form. Just ask Gimson and Athwal.