So Trevor Phillips, occasional darling of the Murdoch press, is a member of the Labour Party. That came as news to me, given his propensity to attack the party, along with his willingness to peddle Islamophobic bigotry in support of Rupe and his downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun. But, it seems, Phillips has been a Labour member. And now he has been suspended. So the Murdoch press is backing him.
And what better place to display their support but the front page of the supposedly upmarket Times? So there it is: “Labour suspends race pioneer over Islamophobia claims”. An “exclusive” is claimed for the article, which means Phillips went blubbering to the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker first, which on its own would justify suspension.
This is, after all, the same paper that ran the “Muslim fostering” story which did for the reputation of Andrew Norfolk. It’s the paper edited by John Witherow, under whose less than totally principled leadership the Sunday Times retained the services of specialists in illegal information gathering. But the Times wants us to know that “Many of [Phillips’] statements date back years”. And that he’s done nothing illegal. But bigotry is not illegal.
Andrew Norfolk - credibility trashed
The Times also tells that Phillips “says he is victim of Labour’s adoption of a cross-party group of MPs’ definition of Islamophobia as ‘a kind of racism’ hostile to ‘Muslimness’ … the accusations are based on his public statements on how to integrate Muslims”.
What those accusations are, is not known. But just to ensure that Labour’s NEC, who may consider Phillips’ case, has the broadest possible collection of evidence to inform its decision, I would refer them to the pack of malicious lies he cobbled together for the Sun in the wake of the Times “Muslim fostering” story. Here, he compared an emergency foster placement with the torture and killing of toddler Victoria Climbié. I kid you not.
John Witherow - history of bad behaviour
He lied about the foster parents not being proficient in English (no proficiency in English, no appearance on the register of potential foster parents). He lied about the placement being driven by Tower Hamlets Council, making the placement because they wanted to be seen to be “pro-Muslim”. He lied that the placement was “like child abuse and the council must pay”. He lied that there were parallels with grooming gangs.
Jennie Formby - condemned for merely doing her job
Worst of all, by the time Phillips’ Sun article appeared, the Case Management Order in the “Muslim fostering” case had been made public, and as a result he, Norfolk, the Murdoch press, and all those who had been gullible enough to swallow the bigotry, were bust.
But enough: as the Times wants us to know that Phillips used to be chairman of the Runnymeade Trust, let’s see what they define as Islamophobia: "Any distinction, exclusion, or restriction against, Muslims that has the purpose or effect of... impairing human rights & fundamental freedoms in... any field of public life”. Then see Phillips’ Sun article.
Moreover, Zubaida Haque of Runnymeade, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, was unimpressed: “There are now over 300 cases of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, which is in government, and yet all we're hearing about is Trevor Phillips' suspension from the Labour Party for his anti-Muslim views. And just to be clear: *Islamophobia is anti-Muslim racism*”. And she had some guidance for those unsure of Phillips’ bigotry.
“It has been shocking to hear Trevor Phillips use the language of the far right re: Muslims, and to argue that ‘Muslims are not like the rest of us’ and they're becoming ‘a nation within a nation’. You can't pick and choose what is racism based on your preferences for a group”. He would not have got away with saying that about Jews. So he should not get away with saying it about any other religious and/or ethnic group.
Meanwhile, the indefatigable Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain has been on BBC Radio 4 to discuss Phillips’ past form, as in “Trevor Phillips' ongoing unfounded claims about Muslims that not only align with far-right Islamophobes but are used by far-right Islamophobes to justify their divisive hatefulness and targeting of Muslims”.
Sadly, the tribalism of the Murdoch shilling takers has already kicked in, with David Aaronovitch of the Times sneering “I can only imagine that [Jennie Formby]’s action against [Trevor Phillips] is one last great act of self-harm before [Keir Starner] or [Lisa Nandy] get in there to clean out the Augaean [sic] stables”.
Trevor Phillips has been shitting on Britain’s Muslims for years now - for the benefit of those not-at-all-racists in our free and fearless press. He is an Uncle Tom, a Useful Idiot, a paid patsy who has squandered his credibility for a few more paycheques.
And now it’s all Labour’s fault. Except it isn’t, and he’s finally been busted.
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