Sunday Express

Forget the badge and salute the sentiment


AS IT’S been so supremely successful on the football pitch it seems fair to use a sporting metaphor to look back at events of the past few days and ask: was it last week that the Black Lives Matter organisati­on “lost the dressing room?”

Before going into detail concerning the growing backlash to the group, let’s stress a couple of key points.

Racial inequality is a cause for valid concern in this country and much more could and should be done to tackle it. Black people, along with other minorities, should not suffer prejudice in employment opportunit­ies, policing, education or anywhere else in the sort of decent, advanced society in which we all want to live.

However, while the sentiment behind the organisati­on is wholly admirable, some of its other goals are downright chilling, dangerous and plain wrong.

The killing of George Floyd in the US – now the subject of an ongoing trial – was always going to cause reverberat­ions around the world once that video was posted. But, though many hoped that eight minutes and 46 seconds of chilling footage would bring about changes that would echo down the centuries, now it looks as if – in the UK at least – it could be over before summer ends.

The welter of organisati­ons that raced to support BLM’S UK offshoot should take a long, hard look at their actions if they failed, as most surely did, to do the slightest homework about the group.

What was the Premier League doing when it supported players having the BLM words on the back of their shirts instead of their names, as well as their logo and joining in on “taking the knee” before games?

This is a movement that wishes to “abolish” capitalism, yet a finer example of capitalism than football, in which a player can earn £300,000 each week for kicking a ball, would seem impossible to define.

Last week the Premier League was forced to rush out a statement.

Remember that grotesque anti-semitic mural of what resembles a group of Jewish bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of seemingly oppressed workers that got Jeremy Corbyn into trouble?

Black Lives Matter Oxford used it to promote a rally, only taking it down after someone of Jewish ancestry complained, which prompted the Premier League to release a statement clarifying that it is only seeking to support “a single objective of eradicatin­g racial prejudice”. But it’s

IF THERE were any lingering doubts concerning the health of the Prime Minister I’m delighted to be able to report he’s in robust form. He chose my radio breakfast show to take calls from listeners for the first time since locking down the country – and dodging death with his own battle against Covid-19.

While gravely serious over the loss of life and the need to continue to respect social distancing when the pubs reopened yesterday, the old Boris Bounce was back on other matters. When I challenged him for his view over


Police Commission­er

Dame Cressida Dick denies “going soft” in the face of BLM and other demonstrat­ions. But what else are we meant to call a policy by which officers were sent in to contend with an illegal street music festival in Brixton, South London, that had turned ugly with crimes ongoing, but with no more protection than a high-vis vest? where some of BLMUK’S goals lie that make it shameful that so few have done any research to gain a fuller picture. They also want to “de-fund” and abolish the police and use the money for health and education.

Quite who will guard us from burglars, terrorists and rapists goes unanswered. But we know there won’t be anyone going to jail as they also want to close the prisons and detention centres as they are “inhuman, overcrowde­d and unsafe”. Free trade with Israel would also be halted, but Free Palestine supported. In 2016 the organisati­on decided to blockade airports as climate change is “racist” and austerity would be banned as it is a “neo-liberal, racist, classist, sexist government measure”. If in doubt, denounce anyone or anything as “racist” the fact his father had broken regulation­s and flown off to Greece, he suggested, with a twinkle in his eye, that I asked Stanley the next time we had lunch. (Confession time: Johnson Senior is a tremendous lunch partner and we have a great time, as many restaurant­s can attest!)

And when I asked if he’d wear a mask in public, like other leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, he produced one from his jacket pocket with a flourish. Despite my pleas though, he declined to wear it... but, if you’re interested, it bears a picture of Florence Nightingal­e! and the bandwagon continues to roll. Credit then to the likes of Matthew Le Tissier, Chris Sutton and Patrice Evra who have spoken out about what seems to be a blanket instructio­n for football pundits to wear a BLM badge. Le Tissier told his Sky Sports bosses of his concerns at supporting a group that doesn’t believe in the police.

BT Sport’s Chris Sutton agrees and has intelligen­tly written: “There is a difference between Black Lives Matter the message and Black Lives Matter the organisati­on.”

On Tuesday on Sky Sports, Evra – along with Gary Neville, Jamie Redknapp and Kelly Cates – was without a badge.

And when something as achingly liberal and “right on” as the BBC reportedly bans the badges, it tells you everything you need to know about the depth of concerns.

This UK organisati­on makes Corbyn look like Margaret Thatcher but to be relegated to the sidelines after such a promising opening is an own goal indeed.

PERPETUALL­Y moaning Meghan Markle, aka the Duchess of Sussex, has revealed her most recent gripes. They are, according to papers lodged in a US court, that she felt abandoned and “unprotecte­d” by the Royal Family while pregnant and “My wedding made the UK £1billion.”

Funny, having watched the ceremony I could have sworn Prince Harry was there too! Perhaps I need a drive around Durham to check my eyesight?

 ?? Picture: SAUL LOEB/AFP ??

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