The-Latest forces sacking of Mayor's 'race gaffe' aide

Marc Wadsworth - The-Latest - EXCLUSIVE

It was my genuine concern that new Mayor of London Boris Johnson might allow his closest policy-makers to quietly dump the race equality agenda that prompted me to find out for myself.

I was put in touch with "his master's voice" James McGrath, Johnson's Tory leadership-imposed political minder, who invited me for a coffee at City Hall. McGrath's insensitive and frankly arrogant comment that Black people should "go home" if they didn't like his "right-wing" boss running the multiracial capital was breathtaking.

The shocking remark was made in response to a column in the Voice newspaper I showed him written by veteran Black rights activist and controversialist Darcus Howe.

Now McGrath has been sacked by Johnson. The Times phoned me to tell of his forced "resignation". It both shocked and saddened me that the seasoned political operator's hubris cost him his job.

I did not rush into print with a story straight after the extraordinary meeting with McGrath on May 20. Instead, of a megaphone monologue I attempted a private dialogue. But, for a month, despite reminders from me, I waited in vain for McGrath's promised response. I found his apparent contempt for the serious issues raised - both at the meeting and in a document I sent him afterwards at his request - very disrespectful.

Press Association told me that The-Latest.Com had made history as the first UK citizen journalism site to force the resignation of a public official. According to PA, bloggers in the US have been much more successful at this. PA said that our scoop was a fine example of an alternative website breaking news that the mainstream missed.

A senior news executive friend at the Mail on Sunday, who was annoyed that his editor declined to use the story when it was first posted on The-Latest, congratulated me on the scoop. He said I should pursue the point it seemed the race equality issue was being jettisoned by a City Hall Conservative administration that considered 'anti-racism' as 'left-wing'. Hence, Mayor Johnson's apparent decision to drop the theme from the annual Rise music festival next month.

Unreported, was the McGrath comment to me that City Hall's Tory rulers had "no race policy", as they are obliged by law so to have. They wax lyrical about fighting crime and improving public transport but have a blind spot when it comes to the promotion of good relations between Black and white people in the most racially diverse city in the world.

Eminent lawyer Patricia Williams, an American professor who made waves in the middle-class British circles in which Johnson moves with her insightful BBC Reith Lectures, said that "specific legal remedies such as affirmative action, and the counter to those, which has been appeals to colour - blindness - not just colour-blindness as a social ideal but as a kind of literal mandate that seems to be requiring that you eliminate all reference to race even when you're trying to remediate the effects of racism."

She added: "That's the paradox, it seems to me - that you can't talk about what it is that you're trying to remediate. Therefore you can't talk about it sensibly. It's like the image of the three monkeys, Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil. To me, that image represents the wrong kind of colour-blindness, because that's just plain blindness, rather than unself-consciousness about race or about the mark of colour."

The-Latest 's scoop has been widely picked up by the new media and blogs. It is running on BBC News, Guardian Unlimited, Daily Telegraph, Independent, Daily Mirror, Times, Sun, Metro, Sky and many other websites. And The-Latest post bag has experienced a flood of missives, some of it nasty hate mail directed at me. As influential Guardian blogger Dave Hill said, the Tories and their allies have spent more energy attacking the journalist who broke the story rather than McGrath's slurs against Black people.

Just as alarmingly, the controversy has prompted the fascist British National Party to invite Boris Johnson into its ranks. The dramatic firing over with, Mayor Johnson must now match his declared commitment to multiculturalism with action, starting with the adoption of a "one London" race equality policy and the hiring of credible senior officials to implement it.


58 Responses to "The-Latest forces sacking of Mayor's 'race gaffe' aide"


Thu, 06/26/2008 - 02:51
<p>How lovely, and CONDESCENDING of you.</p><p>No they probably don&#39;t refer to themselves as &quot;The Original Inhabitants&quot;, as I said, that&#39;s how I refer to them. </p><p>They actually don&#39;t refer to themselves as Aboriginies and Torres Straits Islanders either, unless speaking to people like you who are able to excuse with a flick of your pen the likes of Mr McGrath for using a very very well known racist put down here in Australia (Mr McGrath being an Australian as has been covered so many times that you have to make a conceited (no not a spelling error) effort to actually ignore it.</p><p>They refer to themselves as Koori&#39;s, Gunai, Murray etc. And yes, they probably would like it to be written in stone, that at the time their land was invaded and taken over to form what is now Australia, where ther are treated as thisd class citizens who are drunks and whingers who should &#39;just get over it..&#39; , at that time, THEY ACTUALLY EXISTED.</p><p>Can&#39;t really tell THEM to&nbsp;  leave (or go back to) where they came from if they don&#39;t like it now can you.</p><p>By the same token, you would leave the argument with a comment about capitals on the internet, doubtless smug that you have landed a killer blow.</p><p>Terra Nuilus IS NOT DEAD. It is EXTANT. It will be dead, when it is taken off the books. Until then, The Original Inhabitants of this Land, who commemorate &quot;Invasion Day&quot; when folks like McGrath celebrate &quot;Australia Day&quot;, thank you for your grammatical attention to their history.</p><p>Now explain the grammatical correctness (as opposed to political correctness) of Mr McGraths freudian slip, and how he&#39;s just a very naughty boy who didn&#39;t know what he was saying. &quot;It&#39;s all been taken out of context...&quot; is the usual place to start.</p><p>What you expect, and what is so, and the difference therin, is your path to wisdom. Otherwise, you only have your expectations, and we have your uninformed opinion. </p><p>By any chance would your empty vessels be a pot and a kettle?</p>

David Kendrick

Fri, 06/27/2008 - 01:57
Spangler,I am pleased that you clarified that the name you used for &quot;them&quot; is one that&nbsp;  you chose.There is only one Torres Strait. Mariners might be confused if there was more than one.I did not excuse McGrath. I did not use a pen. I doubt anyone &quot;like&quot; me would excuse prejudice, including racism. I have pointed out that Wadsworth&#39;s reporting of McGrath&#39;s comment exhibited prejudice.I am aware that McGrath is Australian. I am not so sure that he is an immigrant. I was not motivated by where he was born. I joined the site because I did not like prejudiced comments saying that Australia is racist.Our world would be in turmoil if everyone is sent to where &quot;they came from&quot;.&nbsp;  The transport would be very expensive and we might all be crowded into some very small areas.It is good to see that you are shouting less. However, my comment was not intended to be a blow of any kind. I thought rudeness was obvious. You could consider refraining from shouting.Let me know which &quot;books&quot; contain the term terra nullius. I shall look. If you mean legislation then I shall try to have the reference removed if it is used inappropriately.&nbsp;  I have&nbsp;  pots, a kettle and one heavy black pan. Does that count?I did notice that today&#39;s top article on this site is about Robert Mugabe. He frequently talks of differences in creeds and colour. He then has people arrested, beaten and killed. He does not spare anyone on the basis of their ethnicity or beliefs. A bad man is a bad man.


Mon, 06/23/2008 - 16:27
<h3 class="post-title"> Lynton Crosby: globetrotting, spreading dirty dog whistles </h3> <img src="" border="0" width="195" height="299" align="right" /><em>Narrogin WA, April 18 2005</em> - If you read what everyone should have read around the 2001 Tampa election, you would know Lynton Crosby reasonably well. After all, thanks to Crosby John Howard successfully scooped up his unlikely win at that election through applying a considerable degree of wedge politics, designed by his former advisor Lynton Crosby in his role as the Liberal Party&#39;s election campaign director.<br /><br />Crosby employs a particular nasty brand of politics, and it seems his consultant strategy works: since January this year he&#39;s been pottering around in the UK, helping the Tories under Michael Howard (no relation to little Johnny down here in Australia) to improve his chances to steal government from Tony Blair&#39;s Labour, and soon he&#39;s off to New Zealand. <br /><br />This morning we heard that after the UK election, to be held on May 5th, Crosby&#39;s off to New Zealand - that is, if we can&#39;t stop him. We wrote a letter to Helen Clarke, the Prime Minister of Kiwiland.<br /><br /><span class="fullpost">On this page, a line-up of the British and Australian press about Lynton Crosby&#39;s travels and meddling in UK politics. The media is not sparing him, but he does his grubby work in a climate that seems to be befitting his approach. In March this year I wrote in the script of the forum <a href="">Don&#39;t Mention the Refugees</a>: <br /><div style="font-style: italic; margin-left: 25px">&quot;Meanwhile, Howard&#39;s senior advisor Lynton Crosby is in the UK selling Australian-made refugee wedge-politics as an election platform to the threatened Tories, the Dutch announce a deportation of up to 26,000 refugees who have lived in the community for up to a decade with undecided outcomes, and in Italy&#39;s government the echo of &#39;shooting them out of the water&#39; still reverberates through parliament while the European Union hopes to circumvent international law and tries to replicate Philip Ruddock&#39;s &#39;refugee warehousing&#39; policy. Fortress Europe&#39;s success is built on the model introduced to the world community by Australia.&quot;</div><br />Globalisation? Well, sort-of - that is, globalisation of the politics of storing, locking up, warehousing, and banning of refugees and asylum seekers, and excluding them from the massive wealth of western countries.<br /><br />Below our press release is the report we received this week from New Zealand. It&#39;s followed by media reports from January through to April. And there&#39;s more to come.<h3>Block Lynton Crosby&#39;s visa for New Zealand, says refugee group</h3><strong>Project SafeCom Inc.<br />Media Release<br />Monday April 19 2005 9:00am WST<br />For immediate Release<br />No Embargoes</strong><br /><br />&quot;John Howard&#39;s former advisor Lynton Crosby, who currently acts as the campaign director for the British Tories, and who was the campaign director during the 2001 Tampa election and beyond, should be barred from entering New Zealand on character grounds,&quot; WA Refugee group Project SafeCom stated today.<br /><br />News is breaking in New Zealand (item below) that Mr Crosby will be employed by the NZ conservative party &#39;National&#39; as a campaign consultant in that country&#39;s election after he finishes his role for Michael Howard&#39;s party after the May 5 UK election.<br /><br />Lynton Crosby has refined &#39;refugee wedge politics&#39; and &#39;dog whistle politics&#39; to such an extent that he hires himself out as a campaign director to conservative parties &#39;around the world&#39; in order to improve their chances to win elections. Crosby is currently the campaign director for the British Tories under Michael Howard, while New Zealanders are said to have their next election around September this year.<br /><br />&quot;Mr Crosby election tactics are deliberately designed to create a considerable degree of xenophobia and fear for &#39;refugee invasions&#39;, and his strategy consists of creating the most shameful and grubby tactics - spreading mis-information and uninformed but sensational opinion and debate - we have seen and experienced in Australia since the Tampa election in 2001, and we&#39;re now seeing the same phenomena developing from the conservatives in the UK,&quot; Project SafeCom spokesman Mr Smit said.<br /><br />&quot;It is vitally important that the New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Immigration Minister Paul Swain discern his approach as an attempt to embed low gutter politics in New Zealand society. We would not wish the amount of division and animosity - divisions which are still tearing Australia apart in many ways - upon anyone, especially not on New Zealand, a country that may these days well carry, rather than Australia, the label of &#39;The Lucky Country&#39; for asylum seekers.&quot;<br /><br />&quot;New Zealand has an admirable record in terms of their refugee treatment, so much so, that they&#39;ve been willing to take up the &#39;slack&#39; for Australia, for example in accepting many Tampa refugees, while not exposing John Howard&#39;s scandalous post-Tampa politics in a generous employ of diplomacy.&quot;<br /><br />&quot;Mr Crosby is not an honourable man, and his entry into New Zealand should be stopped on character grounds. Project SafeCom is currently developing communications with Prime Minister Helen Clark, Immigration Minister Paul Swain and his Associate Immigration Minister Damien O&#39;Connor.&quot;</span>


Mon, 06/23/2008 - 21:16
McGrath does <strong>not </strong>in any way suggest that anybody should &#39;go home&#39; or &#39;go back&#39;. He is directly asked how he feels about Afro-Caribbean people leaving - so bear in mind, he was aleady presented with a specific ethnic minority, he did not choose that group of his own violition, and he was already told they would leave, so he did not suggest that course of action. He then said what amounts to &#39;let them do what they want if they are unhappy&#39;. <p>How is this racist? And more importantly, how could it be presented, morally or legally, as, (and I quote) &quot;Blacks should &#39;go back home if they don&#39;t like Mayor&quot;? He in no way suggested this - it is a clear misrepresentation of what James said, changing his words and falsely attributing a racially imflammatory phrase - &#39;go home&#39; - to him.</p><p><strong><br /></strong></p>


Wed, 06/25/2008 - 23:10
<p>Having ignored all the info regarding how it is a racist put down and the history of these people, you are free to believe as you do, and live with the consequences.</p><p>Those of us who know what was being said, can say &#39;live by the (s)word, die by the (S)word. <br /></p>

David Kendrick

Mon, 06/23/2008 - 22:19
Mr Wadsworth,McGrath&#39;s instant verbal response to a reasonable although provocative question might indicate an underlying racial prejudice.You have been reported as writing of Mcgrath&#39;s comment as&nbsp; &quot;robust and as distant from being politically correct as his country.&quot;Your words, as reported, were written and therefore presumably considered.It is your right to be ignorant. I am bemused that someone who champions the campaign against racism can say something so prejudiced.You may loath me when you know me if you want, however, please don&#39;t blithely label me or my country. That is the essence of prejudice.David

David Kendrick

Wed, 06/25/2008 - 00:32
I don&#39;t know McGrath and I know very little about him. I have not seem him quoted as saying that any voter should go home or go back to their country.All forms of bigotry are bad, whatever the creed or colour of those epsousing them, and should be fought. They should be fought intelligently.In my view, this was not &quot;well done.&quot;