The race card, the British Left, and John Terry
The Left has always had a parallel motive in the debate on race. It has always used the race card as a means to promote its broader agenda of censorship
So, former England football captain John Terry has been cleared of racial abuse despite admitting that he had indeed used the words “f**king black c**t“ in relation to Anton Ferdinand in the now notorious incident at Loftus Road in October last year.
The resolution of that apparent contradiction is simple: Terry was cleared after the court accepted his defence that he had only used the words in the form of an incredulous and sarcastic response to what he thought he had been accused of saying by Ferdinand. While accepting that Terry’s argument was credible, the judge also accepted it was unlikely that Ferdinand had in fact made such an accusation against Terry anyway.
In a nutshell, it was all smoke and mirrors, nothing could be proved beyond doubt and “the only verdict the court can record is one of not guilty," as the judge put it.
And so it goes. That is why we have courts. Rather than sort such matters out according to prejudice, superstition, ulterior motive or the baying of the mob, we trust in the rule of law.
In this case, we don’t have to take much on trust. Anton Ferdinand himself hadn’t wanted the case to come to trial, and the only available evidence had already been widely publicised on youtube in an obviously inconclusive video of Terry appearing to mouth words that he didn’t deny uttering anyway.
It would only ever come down to the context and, short of a confession, proving the case against him was always going to be a non-starter.
In that sense, it should never have gone to trial in the first place. But the fact is that it did. We are where we are. And now the matter can rest.
Or rather, not.
The Liberal Left in Britain is still baying for Terry’s blood, and given their stranglehold over much public discourse in British political life there’s a chance they’ll get what they want. As the Guardian newspaper put it in an (utterly misleading and dishonest) editorial today:
“There's no reason for Mr Terry to be cleared by the FA – or to remain Chelsea captain. For either body to treat him normally after this is tantamount to declaring that it is perfectly fine to bellow the words "f**king black c**ts". (My deletions; in an irony they will certainly not understand, the Guardian had no compunction in bellowing the offending words in full)
Now, the Guardian, like everyone else in British politics, is right to take racism in sport, as elsewhere, with the utmost seriousness. Dehumanising people because of the colour of their skin is abhorrent and unacceptable. Few would disagree. And it is also worth noting that in the early days of the battle against racisim, the British Left stood at the forefront of the fight while some on the Right were slow to come forward.
But the Left in Britain has always had a parallel motive in the debate on race. For it has always used the race card as a means to promote its broader agenda of censorship of opinions it does not like, as anyone who went to a university any time from the 1970s onwards can testify. Remember the "No Platform for Racists and Fascists" policies that were used to close down Zionist groups and to intimidate the Right in general?
The race issue can raise the emotional temperature to boiling point. It can fuel the kind of indignation on which so much of Leftist politics depends (which is not to say that one should not be indignant about racisim, or to seek to root it out wherever one finds it).
Over decades, it has thus been abused to silence discussion about immigration, however reasoned and enlightened. It has been used to promote a culture of post-colonial guilt, despite the fact that Britain abolished slavery and employed its military to stop the slave trade, and despite the fact that most former colonies are only too happy to be members of the Commonwealth, the successor institution of empire.
It is used today as a way of abusing critics of multiculturalist ideology and, above all, as a diversionary tactic against a proper understanding of the dangers of Islamism.
With this in mind, the term “Islamophobia“ may well be the most misused term in the political lexicon: a phobia is an irrational fear which leads to hostility. While it is certainly irrational to fear people merely for their adherence to Islam, there is nothing remotely irrational about fearing Islamists who use Islam as a justification for terrorism or political absolutism, or indeed about having deep concerns about the implications of extending the reach of Sharia law in Western societies.
The race card can be general as well as specific. I have been personally witness to its use against critics of the European Union, supporters of the Iraq war, and opponents of the Iranian nuclear programme.
In a famous case in June, the journalist Laurie Penny slammed historian David Starkey as a "racist" for suggesting that a gang of Asian sex offenders who preyed on white girls needed to be "inculcated in the British ways of doing things." One may well want to ask Starkey to define terms and then elaborate. But given that he was talking about cultural practices, in what sense is this racist? (The ringleader of the gang also called the judge a "racist" at the conclusion of the trial.)
In sum, abusing the race card is not an incidental item in the armoury of the Left it is central to it. Which brings us, by a roundabout route, back to John Terry.
Is he a racist? Did he really employ the words "f**cking black c**t" innocently, in the manner his defence described?
How on earth to do I know? How on earth do you know? How on earth does the Guardian know?
But I do know how outlets such as the Guardian abuse the issue of race and why they need to keep the fires of indignation burning. (In the above mentioned editorial, the Terry case was tied in to a recent series of articles about racism on the internet which featured “Islamophobia“ highly).
For the rest of us, the way to deal with John Terry is to accept the ruling of the court. That ruling cleared him of racism and accepted his defence. And there the matter should end.
Robin Shepherd is the owner/publisher of The Commentator. Follow him on Twitter @RobinShepherd1
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