Eastern Eye (UK)

‘I’ve never heard him admit defeat’


LORD PATEL revealed that for the first time in his career, he could not “take people on a journey” to show that conscious racism existed.

“I've learned a lot over the last 50, 60 years, but I was learning every day,” he said.

“One of the biggest things, in fact, was interestin­g. A journalist told me, ‘On the first day, you said when you had your press conference, that you like to take people on a journey. Good, bad and indifferen­t, I'll take everybody on the journey, and try my best to give them ownership to see where the direction of travel is.'

“If I'm going to say that in the future, I will say, ‘I will try and take people on the journey.'

“But on that journey, some people get off the bus quicker than others. Because, my belief as a social worker is everybody can change, if they are given the right support and guidance.

“But some people can't, when it comes to racism and discrimina­tion, and [they are] not seeing what's what they can't [change].

“I think I would be saying, ‘yeah, there will be people who, from childhood, have been brought up to believe some of the people are inferior to them, and they will not change.'

“Sometimes there's not enough time and energy and effort to help people travel from a position where they are to another position.”

Close friends of the peer said they were astonished by this statement.

“I've known and worked closely with Kamlesh for 30-odd years,” said one source. “And I've never seen or heard him admit defeat.

“He's always been able to take people with him, and to hear him talking like this is a wake-up call to all institutio­ns. If Kamlesh says you can't help some people, you had better sit up and take notice, and pray your club, your office, your organisati­on doesn't have hardened racists in their midst.”

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