The news that AWEMA probably has a successor was dropped into my lap today by a combination of ennui and serendipity. Well, when I say ‘successor’, what I mean is, we have a new all-Wales anti-discrimination body representing the black and minority ethnic population (BME). It couldn’t really be a new AWEMA, could it? I mean, Naz and the gang are irreplaceable . . . God! I miss ’em! Will we ever see their like again? (Almost guaranteed, given how the Labour Party and the Third Sector operate in Wales!)
The new outfit of which I speak is Race Council Cymru (RCC) and, like AWEMA, it is based in Swansea. In fact, just a few streets away from Castell Malik. (Though according to the website Swansea is in ‘West Glamorgan’ . . . which went out of existence in 1995.) The website suggests RCC is a somewhat new organisation, for it’s very light on information and almost devoid of history. Which should be no surprise if it is replacing AWEMA. Because this might mean it was formed in a bit of a hurry. Anyway, what does the website tell us?
Well, for a start, RCC seems to be run by a ‘Volunteer CEO’, Mrs Uzo Iwobi CBE, a Nigerian with a background in the police, the Commission for Racial Equality, and academe. The profile given on the website does not say if she’s a Labour Party member. If ‘Volunteer’ means unpaid then this suggests an attempt to avoid the, er, ‘misunderstandings’ of the recent past. But if Mrs Iwobi isn’t being paid, then how does she earn her crust, and does she have staff to help her run RCC? (Worth asking of course because AWEMA gave staffing arrangements and salary levels the attention they deserve. Old Naz was firm about that.) Nor could I find information about funding. For even if Mrs Iwobi is giving her time for nothing, there must be expenses; if only hers, plus office rental, website, and other incidentals.
Information was provided on the Board of Trustees. These are: Judge Ray Singh CBE (Chair); ‘Chief'(?) Mel Jehu, retired career cop (Vice Chair); Mrs. Norma Glass MBE (General Secretay); and Mr. Richard Davies (Treasurer). How nice to see a member of our Jewish community represented on the Board. The following have been co-opted to the Board: Mrs. Mutale Merrill OBE (CEO, BAWSO); Ms Rocio Cifuentes (Director, EYST); Mrs Sujatha Thaladi (Director, MEWN Cymru); Mr. Martin Jones JP (Adviser to the Board of Trustees).
As an example of the slipshod nature of the RCC website, under the photo for each Trustee we are invited to ‘Read More’, but no further information is provided for either Ms Cifuentes or Mr Jones; and for a couple of the others it merely repeats what’s on the main Trustees page. But some of these names rang bells. Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill is the wife of Travers Merrill, Chief Executive of the troubled Rhondda Life Ltd, mentioned recently in this post. Ms Cifuentes has also caught my eye. Unsurprisingly, Mrs Thaladi’s outfit, MEWN Cymru, has also been mentioned on this blog. It begins to look like just another round of BME / Third Sector musical chairs.
I only found out about RCC through an item today on the BBC Wales website (which disappeared completely, even from the regional page, soon after I tweeted about it!). Anyway, this story concerned a report compiled for RCC by Professor Heaven Crawley, Director of the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Swansea University. Think about that for a minute – an organisation wanting certain ‘findings’ asks an academic who also stands to benefit from those same findings to conduct research on its behalf. And guess what? Prof. Crawley found that there is indeed a lot of racism in Wales. (Example: People ‘looking’ at women wearing the hijab. Or, “My friend, right . . .”.) Cue filling out grant application forms and smooching politicos.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pissed off with people moving to Wales, often getting red carpet treatment, or being given lucrative and prestigious publicly-funded posts – only for them to turn on us. It doesn’t matter whether they are ranting bigots or retiring academics; too many seem determined to portray us Welsh in the worst possible light, because it serves a certain agenda. Given away by the enthusiasm with which the Labour Party, the anti-Welsh Labour Party – often using the Third sector – joins in the attacks.
Don’t dismiss what I’m saying out of hand because you happen to be on the Left, and perhaps view me as a reactionary oddball. Just give some thought to the intellectual continuum that allows ‘respectable’ academic research such as that done by Professor Crawley to give succour to creatures like this (play video). For isn’t it a proven fact that we Welsh are intolerant and racist! (Not forgetting, “ignorant bastards”.)
That’s how it works: some drunken Jack makes an out-of-order remark to a Muslim woman and this and similar incidents are amassed and inflated by Labour’s Third Sector and supportive academics into a damning corpus of evidence against a whole nation; done in order to reduce resistance to further English colonisation and to undermine demands for more control over our national life. I can see it, which is why I will speak out. But it seems to be a bit of a blind spot for our patriotic Left.