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Was William Henwood’s comment about Lenny Henry racist?

6 May 2014

6 May 2014

My colleague Hugo Rifkind has been bien-pensanting around the issue of racism, to interesting effect. His thesis, in last week’s mag, seems to be that Ukip is a racist party because it says it isn’t a racist party. I suspect Hugo could show you racism in a handful dust. He also refers to the case of Ukip party candidate William Henwood, who according to Hugo ‘declared that Lenny Henry should “emigrate to a black country” and “does not have to live with whites.”‘

On the BBC’s Question Time, meanwhile, Yvette Cooper (14.00) alleged that Henwood had said that Lenny Henry should emigrate to Africa because of the colour of his skin. Both Hugo and Yvette have deliberately made what Henwood said sound a lot worse than what he actually said – Yvette by entirely making up the quote, Hugo by removing it from its context. Henwood was responding to Lenny Henry’s complaint that there were not enough people from ethnic minorities on our television screens and too many whites.

Henwood’s point, I think, was that Britain is a largely white country, at the moment, and that if Lenny wanted to see more black faces on TV he could go and live some place where they constituted a greater proportion of the population. It was not a clever nor particularly nice thing to say, but I don’t think it is racist, per se, is it?


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  • StephanieJCW

    Yes it was – particularly when placed within the context of what Lenny said. He was discussing representation of minorities IN LINE WITH the proportion of the UK population.

    To which he was told to f*ck off to a ‘black country’ (I paraphrase.) Nasty thing to say, lazy debate and yes, racist.

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    I think this is what back in the 1970’s the unions called the “parity” argument. Beware of saying that there should be x no of black comedians to correspond to x number of those racial types in the general population. There might already be too many of you and Len old mate you might end up queuing up for benefits with White D if yer not careful. The other problem for LH is to describe himself as a comedian. Taking the piss out of his own racial type – condensed milk sandwiches, the sexual-savagery of Mr Wildebeest etc – is not funny in the least and only makes matters worse…

  • bilejones

    Who gives a damn?

  • Martin Jennerson

    Liberals seemed to find the idea that you can define countries as “black” or “white” racist. I would like to see them ridicule African black people who consider their countries black.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Over 30% of players in England’s top four football divisions are minorities. The Rifkind’s and Henry’s of the world ought to be demanding a reduction so that the racial makeup of English football reflects that of the population, which is still around 80% white.

    Of course one expects that they will instead continue demanding that there be more minority managers, as that would reflect not the population but the demographics of the players.

    Valuing skin colour over character and merit is always going to lead one astray, yet some people never learn. Rather than working to inspire, train, and mentor the next generation of black comedians and actors, these people simply want that quick hit to feel good about themselves.

  • stearl33

    “I suspect Hugo could show you racism in a handful dust”

    Very telling and pithy observation. I’m going to steal that.

  • The Elderking

    Basically Henry wants to replace native Britons with people of immigrant descent – as if the BBC wasn’t already over representing them, their cultures and opinions.

    Sounds pretty racist to me.

    Plus he gets free media coverage for his faltering career.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    In the run up to an election, partisan political hacks are poring over statements by one political party for evidence of racism. Then they put their meagre haul on display and trumpet that the entire party must be racist. Humbug!

  • Roisin

    “I suspect Hugo could show you racism in a handful of dust.”

    Well, apparently dust is primarily made up of dead skin, so if there was no black skin present in said handful of dust, questions would need to be asked.

  • transponder

    Britain, it seems to me from my perch here in the Deep South of the United States (hallelujah and I’m an atheist, too) is so far up its alimentary canal that it can’t tell fair from foul or sweet from sour. Britain is one of the very few — they can be counted almost on two hands — nations that have ever lit up the human-occupied planet. And yet we are reduced to this.

  • Donafugata

    Lenny Henry is the racist by favouring black people over all others.
    Mr. Henwood was just trying to be helpful by suggesting that a majority Black Country would automatically have more of its own on TV.

    As some wit already said, Lenny Henry is from the Black Country so he could try going there.

  • carpetburn

    move to a black country?

    But he’s already from the black country!

    bum bum!

  • Agrippina

    No I think Hugo was just writing a piece to help his dad’s party to hold onto some voters, by constantly telling us that UKIP and its supporters are racist, which is untrue but its the only line of attack they have at present.

  • DougS

    I have to come clean and admit that I thought that this guy had just up and attacked Lenny Henry out of the blue. It seemed crass and illogical. I had not heard that he was responding to that remark by Henry, until now.

    As a UKIP member, I generally rejoice in the MSM’s frenzied attacks on UKIP because it shows they’ve lost the debate and are reduced to mud-slinging – almost always counter-productive.

    In context, Henwood’s remarks are completely sensible – I hope he wasn’t drummed out of UKIP just because the way way this story was spun!

  • Liz

    Is it racist per se to suggest somebody leave their home country forever when they criticise the BBC? No, it’s racist per quod.

    Is it racist per se to suggest it because you don’t think they have the right to criticise the BBC? No, it’s racist per quod.

    Is it racist per se to believe they don’t have that right because this isn’t their country? No, it’s racist per quod.

    It is racist per se to reach that conclusion on the basis of that person’s race? Bingo.

  • Mr Creosote

    I don’t know about you Rod, but I’m sick of being told what i can and can’t say,think and do by these deluded, silly knotted scarf-wearing knobs with their man-bags and their pink shirts.

  • FrankS2

    If racism means judging people by their skin colour, then Henry too is racist.

  • Bert3000

    “I don’t think it is racist, per se, is it?”

    What a jaw droppingly stupid thing to say.

    • GeeBee36_6

      ‘What a jaw droppingly stupid thing to say’. Well of course it is, in the context of modern Britain. Or what the late Bernard Levin would have called ‘from the phenomenon of the altered standpoint’. You must know this really, but you pretend not to. If a person with characteristic A complains that he finds television is largely represented by people displaying characteristic B, in a country where those of type A constitute a minority, Type B people might legitimately complain that type A people are rejecting the status quo, in a way that presupposes it would be better for all concerned if that status quo were inverted. If that were to happen, and people of type A eventually constituted the majority, what might they think when type B people made an exactly similar complaint? My guess is that they would invite the type Bs to stop complaining and accept reality. Which, of course, is exactly what certain type Bs are saying to a certain type A today.

      Yet you consider this to be stupid. And we all know why, of course.

  • Nkaplan

    In context it clearly and obviously is not racist, just rude, crass and irrelevant. Most on the left (I include Rifkind) long since ceased to be able to draw such worthwhile distinctions. Thankfully Rod you demonstrate that all is not lost and that some of you retain the ability (or is it merely the willingness?) to think.

  • Grey Wolf

    Mr Rifkind, do you listen to (c)RAP music?

    • Kennybhoy

      How long did it take you to think that one up…?

      • Grey Wolf

        3 or 4 minutes after I was done with the article. Why?

        • Kennybhoy

          Which article? And wot for your Disqus activity padlocked?

          • Grey Wolf

            Which article?
            Take a guess.
            And wot for your Disqus activity padlocked?
            A valid choice exercised.

  • CraigStrachan

    I suppose I just don’t see the connection between expressing an opinion about the proportion of ethnic minorities on screen and voluntary expatriation. Henwood obviously sees one, but then I suspect he probably thinks black people “going back to Africa” is the solution to quite a few probems.

  • Grey Wolf

    ”It was not a clever nor particularly nice thing to say, but I don’t think it is racist, per se, is it?”

    It is NOT RACIST at all. What is boringly, predictably stupid is what Mr Henry had said.

    The country is now completely in grips of the Cultural Marxists – the politicians, the media, the globalists, all of them. It’s a strange situation – growing capital oligarchies with increasing centralised power whose social behaviour normatively is beholden to diversity, PC, cultural reductionism, dissolution and smelling racism everywhere. They go to make war outside but support dissolution at home!!

    • Neil Saunders

      This is the new default ideology of our elites (irrespective of party labels): eye-wateringly right-wing market fundamentalism in the economic sphere wedded to Cultural Marxism (aka Political Correctness) pursued with Jacobinesque zeal in the sociocultural sphere.

      • Grey Wolf

        Very aptly put. ”Jacobinesque zeal” – spot on!

  • Chingford Man

    Did Dawn French leave Lenny because he wouldn’t take her anywhere apart from a Premier Inn?

  • anotherjoeblogs

    i have lived abroad and was told zillions of times to get back to the UK whenever I criticized the host country, very often they had a point and it was acceptable; yet sometimes if I pointed out a ‘elf and safety issue, I thought it was irresponsible to shoot the messenger.
    As soon as I turn on tv or the radio, I hear accusations of someone getting flak for racist comments and 100% of the time the accused is a white male. It’s tiresome and well just very silly but most of all patronizing.

  • Kennybhoy

    A wee bit behind the curve here Maister L…?

  • Hereward

    Well, Sfin in a rational country that wd be true, but in an intolerant politically correct liberal dictaorship it does not work like that. The only peole who can be racist are indigenous white males. African ethnics can call us whitey with impunity but if we call them blackie(neither terms I find attractive,by the way) then we are racist rather than just rude. It is the same if we use the diminutive for Pakistani, whereas all over the world we are referred to as Brits. Doesn’t worry me, but the reverse is a sign of ever-increasing entitlement and over-sensitivity by ethnic minorities, which may mask underlying anti-white racisim.
    By the bye , it’s not much different with militant feminism, and I wonder as young man now how you make a pass without being open to charges of harrasement or worse? Maybe one just waits for the female to make the first clear move?.
    It’s all bizarre and probably indicativ eofa soceity in decay and dysfunction.

    • Thoughtful Ulsterman

      The reason “Paki” is deemed taboo is precisely because Indians don’t like being called Pakistanis. Why? Because they fcking hate them. Therefore, one could also use the same logic to argue that it is “sectarian hatred” to avoid such a natural diminutive to refer to a Pakistani.

  • Raw England

    Lenny Henry must despise our country. He wants to see Whites become absolutely powerless. And he totally blames the lack of capability in his own racial group on us Whites.

    His demands for enforced quotas are deadly sinister.

    This is a privileged, wealthy black doing his utmost to further marginalise the suffering, powerless White working class in their own country.

    And its going to happen. Ed Vaisey and the BBC director have actually committed to his sinister manifesto to force, by law, even more foreigners on our screens, and in behind-the-scenes-power. He’s in constant contact with them.

    The most oppressed, forcibly disadvantaged community in England is the English working class; the people whom this country actually belongs to.

    • Grey Wolf

      Actually the oppressed class is white working class English. Minor correction.

      People like Cameron, Blair, hedge fund owners, currency speculators are doing very well. Things, for them, have never been better.

  • John Lea

    Ironic coming from Lenny Henry, who’s unfeasibly long career (almost exclusively on the BBC) has been founded on the colour of his skin, and his charidee work for Africa. Has anyone ever found the man remotely funny? Comedians of a similar calibre (Les Dennis, Jim Davidson, Stan Boardman) were dumped years ago, presumably because they were old-fashioned white blokes.

  • Hugo Rifkind

    Depends on the dust, Rod. Depends on the dust.

    I suppose I did remove it from context, but only for length and because I didn’t think the context terribly important. Although if you want context, then the context was Henry complaining that non-white faces occupy 5.5% of screen time (and ever shrinking), despite accounting for 14.5% of the population. Which seems a reasonable thing to worry about to me, albeit not one to pass laws about.

    And the idea that the best way for Henry to deal with this was not by seeking to calmly lobby for change in this country (his country) but by pissing off to somewhere else where they might give a damn about what people like him thought, does, to me, seem sort of close to what the word “racist” means.

    • Chris Bond

      Follow the logic. recent report highlight UK population will be 30% no white by 2050 (which given reports now days means this will likely happen by 2020). SO at that point we will need to keep 30% of all jobs etc for non white people?
      That’s population replacement. It also makes a mockery of the claim immigration is beneficial for English people.
      I don’t dump myself down in Taiwan, Japan or Hong Kong and demand that their workforce is colour coded do I?

      • Hugo Rifkind

        Well, no. But mainly because I don’t think positive discrimination is terribly helpful in the long run. Although, if 30% of people were non-white, then a society in which 30% of jobs go to non-white people would be sort of desirable, wouldn’t it?

        • fundamentallyflawed

          How many of the 14.5% non whites wish to seek a media job in the first place? Do we not also need to consider the needs of multi-cultural whites? Should Polish immigrants for example not also receive equal coverage on TV? I believe it its against the law to discriminate on race and religious grounds yet if the best candidate is the wrong colour (IE white) then that’s what you are doing.
          Much like all women short lists the answer is positive discrimination which should be no sort of answer in any meritocracy.

        • Chris Bond

          short answer – no.
          Long answer –
          first lets establish what we mean as white here – of anglo saxon genetic lineage = English.
          If you have x amount of job roles, and the population is Y (Y>X due to mass immigration of non English people) then to demand that 30% of X be reserved for non English people is illogical, stupid and morally hideous.

          Illogical because to attempt it is to disregard differences in population (you want 15% of a bacon processing factory to be Muslim?) is a renunciation of logic.
          Stupid because it relies on clearly non factual basis (see Ed’s article on darwin today, and then dive head long into HBD.
          Morally hideous because It’s organised, legalized genetic population replacement on the back of claiming these people are here for our benefit (English being our).

          The benefit for English people is non existent short of reverting to religious mystical calls to diversity as strength and immigrant enrichment. Ultimately It’s religious ends dressed up in material garb.

          • Tom M

            Beautiful, tell him again but louder.

        • oldestel

          I wonder what percentage of jobs at the Spectator go to non-white people.
          Just wondering – I don’t know – but guessing that, outside of catering and cleaning, the answer is none.
          England makes more sense when you learn to distinguish between masters ands serfs.

        • Nkaplan

          Not really. A society in which nobody cared what percentage of people with certain skin-pigmentation were in any given profession i.e. a non-racist/ colour blind society is desirable.

        • La Fold

          How many white people work in Indian or chinese restaurants then? A logical extension of this would be that it is desirable that 70% of people who work in curry houses should be white?
          There is a whole slew of reasons why there isnt a simple correlation between the two figures.
          Why are the Chinese and Indians so over represented in IT, Mathematics, Science based occupations, Medicine and under represented in say sports and the media? One reason is the attitutde to education and the culutral desirbailty of a professional occupation. This is also one of the few reasons the only place you’ll really see poor chinese and Indian people is in China and India.

        • Tom M

          What a daft statement. Just examine that will you? How would you choose your employee under this regime? By his or her ability to do the job or their skin colour? Who would police the scheme?
          Positive discrimination is unhelpful in the long run? Who would decide how long a run was? Is it the same length for all situations or does it vary according to regional or ocal needs?
          Read Chris Bond’s post below he is much more composed about this than I am.

        • DougS

          Presumably the ‘Hugo Rifkind’ British 4 x 100m relay squad would comprise two whites, one black and one mixed race sprinter…….approximately.

        • Rtd Colonel

          Should their be more heterosexual representation on and within the BBC – compared to the estimated 97% of the population being heterosexual they seem somewhat underrepresented especially in the areas of chat shows

      • Donafugata

        Bravo, Chris.

    • allymax bruce

      The term ‘racist’ means only what it suits your ideologies to mean, Hugo; which, is not what it means as a majority-issue perspective to the rest of our Islands!
      Ps, I couldn’t believe that crap your spouted on yer last article, Hugo; where do you get these ideas you represent the majority-of-perspectives?

      • Hugo Rifkind

        Maybe read the column first, eh? I think I give a pretty clear definition.

        • allymax bruce

          Hugo, I read it, and couldn’t believe my eyes; according to you, I’m a skirt-wearing, Talisker-drinking, neanderthal!
          Cheers!

          • Hugo Rifkind

            Maybe a different column??

            • allymax bruce

              Yeh, that’s what i meant; but thanks for your replies, Hugo; you can stand your ground. That’s good to see.
              Julie Burchill just went right-off on a self-ingratiated petulant strop when I criticisd her article.
              Ally.

          • Hexhamgeezer

            I thought drinking ‘Tally’ was one of the few things that made me neanderthal lite! Aa cannit afford Lagavulin 16 every day…..

    • Raw England

      Question: Do you accept that Britain has always been a White country, and that White people have the right to their own homelands, and to not become powerless minorities in their own lands?

      • Hugo Rifkind

        Well, this is easy. I don’t recognise any “right” to preserve a majority skin tone, no.

        • Raw England

          Have you seen the visceral anger black and Muslim communities have towards Whites?

          Please do explain as to how you see that visceral, murderous rage playing out when we Whites are the minority population in our own countries.

          • Hugo Rifkind

            That’s just drivel, though, isn’t it? Enoch Powell was predicting rivers of blood over half a century ago. Still waiting.

            • Raw England

              When Enoch Powell made his accurate prediction, there was hardly any of them here. And the ones that were here accepted the primacy of the native people.

              Do you think the future black and Muslim majority will give us Affirmative Action, and preferential rights? Do you see this coming future to be a safe place for delicate White women, and proud White men?

              Do you realise that slavery will be wrought upon us? They want vengeance. And this slavery will exceed the horror of any other.

              • Hugo Rifkind

                There will never be a “black and Muslim majority”. A future larger non-white minority, though, will likely be pretty much the same in most respects to everybody else.

                • Raw England

                  Of course they will, Hugo.

                  Because all the evidence so far clearly demonstrates that, doesn’t it

                • Hugo Rifkind

                  Well… yes.

                • oldestel

                  But it doesn’t Hugo.
                  There is a world outside the north London dinner party circuit, but you don’t visit.
                  Sorry, but you are as blind to reality as any 18C French aristo swanning around Versailles in his wig.

                • Hugo Rifkind

                  As I’ve said before, I only wish I had the life that some people on these boards claim I do. It sounds bloody amazing.

                • Kennybhoy

                  Oh you fucking bell end….

                • James Allen

                  How did that one get through? I normally get pulled up for writing “balls” or something equally inocuous….

                • MC73

                  Justification of fair comment?

                • oldestel

                  Not nearly as amazing as many other people have to endure

                • oldestel

                  Ah Hugo, one wage packet away from the workhouse eh?

                • Chris Bond

                  Don’t argue with him. It’s the equivalent of trying to talk a Muslim out of Islam, or a Catholic out of Christianity.
                  His views are not based on fact, reality or abything so mundane. His views are based on sentimentality, religiousity and fantasy. He dosn’t know it, but it is.
                  try this –
                  a)the population of muslims will steady themselves as the population becomes wealthier and more westernised – the birth rate will decline.
                  b) Muslim population must not be expected to acquire western societal requirements ala multiculturalism as to do so will be akin to genocide.
                  notice the lack of connection between the two points?
                  How about
                  a) south africa shoulld be majority ruled by black people who didn’t build it.
                  b) England should not be majority ruled by English people who built it.
                  Notice the gap? I can go on all day.

                • fundamentallyflawed

                  1) Crimea should not have a referendum as its a question for all Ukrainians
                  2) Scottish independence is a matter for Scottish people only

                • Hugo Rifkind

                  If you care, and I suspect you don’t, I’d agree with both a)s and neither b).

                • Kennybhoy

                  Hey N*zi B*tch!

                  I would consider it a very great favour if you wid’ refrain from up voting me!

                • Raw England

                  Oh such a charming man you are.

                • Richard

                  That is wildly optimistic. A substantial proportion of ethnic minorities already behave in radically different ways to native Brits.Btw Do you think Colonialism did not take rights off subject peoples?

              • Kennybhoy

                Jesus wept this reads like a Klan tract from post bellum Dixie…

                Why don’t you fuck off to Stormfront where you belong N*zi?

              • James Allen

                There are plenty of white people living perfectly happy lives on Caribbean islands ruled by black people descended from slaves – a people who suffered unimaginable cruelty. Yet there is no talk of vengeance… far from it (I had a great time staying with local people in Barbados, for example). I think your fear is misplaced!

            • Chingford Man

              Anyone who goes to some of our urban centres where we have allowed people of a very different character to the indigenous population to replicate their homeland should be worried about our future. What will Bradford and Birmingham look like in another 50 years? What will be the implications for our children and grandchildren? I know Hugo is a blinkered bien pensant but the rest of us are entitled to be worried.

            • La Fold

              So did you know all the coloured chaps at Cambridge then Hugo? Casue ive got a feeling you dont spend a lot of your time, in say, Bradford or Tottenham or Southall?

              • Hugo Rifkind

                I virtually live in Tottenham. 65.3% of my borough is non-white. Where do you live?

                • La Fold

                  Currently got digs in Palmers green.

                • Raw England

                  How did you feel when the Black Riots (AKA London Riots) kicked off, Hugo?

                  Did seeing those hordes of black youths burning down our country, looting our shops and physically attacking the public give you a nice warm feeling?

                  Imagine that X by 10,000.

                  That’s our future.

                  You’ll still be defending immigration and multiculturalism even when the hordes are banging down your door.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  Virtually? In a 2nd Life kinda sense?

            • Nkaplan

              Agreed the above is drivel – the idea that blacks and (any significant number of) Muslims in the UK are viscerally (or otherwise) angry towards Whites is farcical.

              But re rivers of blood – do you remember 7/7? Not sure what you’re still waiting for….

            • Hexhamgeezer

              Instead of rivers we got innumerable unreported and undereported streams, not to mention outright denials.

            • Alexandrovich

              You’re still waiting? You didn’t see any blood on the streets of Woolwich? But then again, what Powell said was
              ” Like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood”.” Of course, I do accept that he was an educated man.

    • Kennybhoy

      No’ the point Rifkind. Everything you wrote about UKIP, of which party I am no supporter, could with equal justice have been written about the other three main parties. Maister Murray demolished this particular line of nonsense back on the 28th of last month in his “Are you fit to be a Liberal Democrat? (A response to Nick Cohen)”.

      Oh and Maister Cohen is a better writer and and, I suspect, a better man than you ya’ petulant, self-important wee wretch!

    • rodliddle

      No Hugo mate, you still either don’t get it or are determined not to. It wasn’t piss off to a country where they might give a damn about people like him, it was piss off to a country where his wish for greater numbers of black people on tv would be realised. That is not racist. It may not be very nice and the bloke may BE a racist, but that observation is not racist. And don’t be daft about 5.5 per cent of screen time “ever shrinking”.

      • Hugo Rifkind

        Well, Bafta has it as 7.4% in 2009, down to 5.5% in 2012. Which is pretty shrinky. Might have stopped shrinking next time they do the maths, I suppose.

        I think it’s only okay if you start from the assumption that what Lenny Henry was saying was that the situation should be reversed. Only, he obviously wasn’t saying that at all. I mean, from his perspective, television in “a black country” would be even less representative of his actual situation, wouldn’t it?

        There’s a presumption here, though, that black people must want some form of black domination, just as white people must want some form of white domination. Which again, brings us back to that word again.

        • Kennybhoy

          Fight! Fight! Fight! :-) :-)

        • Nkaplan

          “There’s a presumption here, though, that black people must want some form of black domination, just as white people must want some form of white domination.”
          Outside of your mind where is there any such presumption? Henry said he wanted to see more black people on TV, the idiot from UKIP told him someone he could go and see such a thing – who said or presumed anything about anyone dominating anyone else??

        • CraigStrachan

          Right. Henwood might be happier if he went to live in a white(r) country. Iceland, perhaps? Although they probably wouldn’t take him.

          • oldestel

            Cannot infer that from what he actually said.

            • CraigStrachan

              And how do we get to voluntary expatriation for Lenny Henry as a solution for the issue he raised?

              • oldestel

                ??

                • CraigStrachan

                  Exactly.

          • Grey Wolf

            In your effort to see racism underneath every stone you will surpass every milestone of stupidity. Get a grip, mate.

          • allymax bruce

            That’s not the issue here, Craig. The issue of the argument is that by proportion, if Lenny wants to see more black faces on tv, then he would need-to, (should-go) to a majority black country. It’s really a simple non-biased, non-racist argument. And sensibly correct. It could be said Lenny’s comment was racist, seeing as ‘britian’ is a predominatly white country, but I don’t think so; Lenny’s a comic, he’s always going to use shock statements to get his comic across.

            • CraigStrachan

              Why can’t he just stay in Britain, which is his native country, and exercise his rights as a citizen and licence-fee payer to make representations about the BBC and argue for more ethnic-minority representation on the airwaves, if that’s his issue? I mean, I don’t recall Mary Whitehouse being told to leave the country, do you?
              (btw you just know Mary would be a Ukipper if she were alive today).

              • allymax bruce

                Hi Craig; of-course Lenny can ‘just stay in Britain’; that’s not the issue here. The issue is how to contextualise Lenny’s comment. The fact Lenny has the freedom to comment in such a contentious way, is tantamount Lenny, (vis-a-vis Mary Whitehouse), is not discriminated against.
                The fact, blacks are not at the same proportion on tv, as whites, is not the issue here; (this is Britain; a predominantly white country. Where-as, ‘Africa’ is predominatly a black country/continent), we’re talking, specifically about Lenny’/Henry’s ‘Freedom-of-Speech, ‘Free Speech; but moreover, their ability to use their rhetoric as a ‘Freedom-of-Speech. There’s absolutely nothing racist about this issue; and I’m sure Lenny would agree.
                Kudos to Rod Liddle.

        • Baron

          Quote from the Independent “The 2011 census recorded 5 per cent of British people as black or mixed race, but as a third of British footballers are black or mixed race …” .

          Would it also be your argument, Hugo, this, too, is a domination by skin colour, which ‘brings us back to that word again’, and should be sorted out?

          • balance_and_reason

            A valid point in that it is utterly ridiculous and emphasises how utterly ridiculous master Rifkinds article was

          • allymax bruce

            Yes, that’s the example Rod should have used to qualify his argument verses Craig.
            You’re quite clever, Baron.

        • James Allen

          Mr Henwood aside, this debate is rather interesting in respect of the responsibilities and obligations that should be reasonably expected of immigrants and the society into which they have immigrated. Should a society that welcomes immigrants be considered racist if it fails to adequately reflect the ethnicity, culture and values of its immigrant population? Or should immigrants be expected to assimilate into their newfound surroundings and effectively “like it or lump it”? After how many generations do immigrants cease being immigrants or labelled as being “of immigrant stock”? Is skin colour a valid basis for ethnicity or should we be colour-blind in our differentation between groups of people?

          That said, I suppose one could point out the obvious in regard of Lenny Henry; he is a black man lobbying for more black actors on TV; to whom will the BBC turn to fill the gap?

      • Kennybhoy

        Fight! Fight! Fight! :-)

      • CraigStrachan

        Except Lenny Henry’s point was that he would like to see more ethnic minorities on tv in Britain, which is, after all, his country.

        Henwood’s response was basically to say he should piss off back to Africa if he doesn’t like it here. It was clearly, classically racist.

        • oldestel

          “Henwood’s response was basically to say he should piss off back to
          Africa if he doesn’t like it here. It was clearly, classically racist.”

          But Craig, that was basically not at all what he said – don’t put words into people’s mouths.

          Incidentally, may I congratulate all and sundry on the pretty civilised way that this thread is proceeding (caveat – havent read everything)

          • CraigStrachan

            It is very much the sense of what he said. If he had said “piss of back to Africa”in terms, I don’t think anyone would be arguing that wasn’t racist.

            • rodliddle

              But he DIDN’T say that, Craig. You can’t accuse a bloke of being racist for something which he might have said but didn’t. That’s sorta ludicrous, no? I’m not saying that what he said was nice, simply that it wasn’t racist.

              • CraigStrachan

                I really don’t see the difference in the underlying sentiment. He’s saying that the solution to Lenny Henry’s concern about the proportion of ethnic minorities on tv in Britain is for Lenny to move to a black country. Which is a non-sequitur that can only be made to follow if you start from a position that equates blackness with foreigness, and regard black people as somehow not fully or properly British.

                • rodliddle

                  Nope; it’s a logical answer, factually. It may be nasty, and unkind to Lenny Henry, but it’s not racist. He’s not necessarily regarding black people as foreign. If anything the implication is that skin colour shouldn’t matter a damn.

                • CraigStrachan

                  If he’s not necessarily regarding black people as somehow foreign, why does he go straight to the “leave the country if you don’t like it” trope? I mean, it’s a strange response to what is basically a piece of TV criticism, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you find it odd to be told to leave the country based on an opinion you expressed on here?

                • rodliddle

                  A straightforward response to a straightforward complaint. You want to see more black faces on tv, go somewhere where the proportion of black people is a lot larger than it is here. I’ve been told to leave the country more times than I can count, Craig.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Except Lenny Henry presumably wants to see more black faces on tv here in Britain, the country he is from and where he lives. I can imagine one of them white metropolitan liberals saying something like what Lenny Henry said. I doubt they’d be told to leave the country as a result, though.

                  But it may be the whole thing is just a big misunderstanding. Maybe William Henwood meant “the Black Country” not “a black country”. And Lenny Henry’s Dudley born-and-bred, know what I mean?

                • Kennybhoy

                  Maister S. During the Cold War I frequently exhorted fellow travellers to fuck off to the Evil Empire. Nowadays I do the same to those Muslims and their non-Muslim accomplices who advocate for Sharia…

                • CraigStrachan

                  Bet you’ve never sung The Famine Song, though! (I hasten to add, neither have I).

                • Kennybhoy

                  Actually I have sung The Sash, Green Grassy Slopes,Derry’s Walls and Build My Gallows High. I was stuck on a train with a few hundred Orcs at the time though so I plead neccessity m’lud! :-)

                  PS I kid you not, I was the only one there who knew all of the words! lol

                  PPS I note that wee SonOfSands failed to respond to our challenges and has been notably absent from the subsequent Gerry Adams posts by Maister Murray…

                • CraigStrachan

                  Well, I’m impressed you know the words, for sure.

                  And yes, I had noticed SonOfSands had gone a bit scarce. Maybe he’s looking up the name of that cousin?

                • balance_and_reason

                  Is that not racist…surely he should just want to see good TV…staffed by the best people for the job…distinguishing between people on the basis of colour is WRONG, LENNY YOU HYPOCRITE.

                  Clearly the percentage of immigrants from the subcontinent and Africa have risen very sharply in the last 14 years. Is it reasonable to draw an immediate line and say more people of colour on TV?, most of those guys are just trying to find their feet, learn english, get a job and what not….Lenny is playing politics….I think he wants a new job.

                • Neil Saunders

                  I’m from England, Craig; I was born here and I’ve lived here all my life. If I were to say – for the sake of argument, you understand – that as a white English person I’d like to see more white English people in England would that make me a racist? If so, in what way would this differ from what Lenny Henry said about wanting to see more black people on television?

            • oldestel

              But he didn’t say “Piss off back to Africa” – you wanted him to have said that – but, sadly for you, he didn’t – life is full of disappointments Craig.

              • CraigStrachan

                He might as well have. That was very clearly the sentiment.

                • oldestel

                  But he didn’t
                  Do you have a problem with the English language Craig?

                • CraigStrachan

                  No, but I do try to read for meaning and subtext.

                  You should try it. In this case, the meaning is clear and the text isn’t even particularly sub.

                • oldestel

                  “You should try it. In this case, the meaning is clear and the text isn’t even particularly sub.”

                  No Craig, I’ll judge you by what you said, and I’ll judge him by what he said, and I would be obliged if you learnt to do the same.

    • Grey Wolf

      You are a natural practitioner, it seems, of the Frankfurt School ideas / techniques – smelling racism in everything and measuring it down to the minutest of details to prove yourself right.

    • Nkaplan

      “Henry complaining that non-white faces occupy 5.5% of screen time (and ever shrinking), despite accounting for 14.5% of the population.”
      Presumably someone had to work that out. Doesn’t that seem a bit…. well deranged to you? I mean who honestly cares enough to trawl through sufficient footage to find such a factoid? And if you do care about the colour of people’s skin so much isn’t that just a bit insane?

      • Nkaplan

        Also what do these figures actually mean? Does Lewis Hamilton for instance (who is half white) count as a white face or a non-white face? Or do we just count every hour he is on tv as half an hour for the white category and half an hour for the non-whites (as if this were some kind of absurd team sport – perhaps this is giving you some kind of idea about how perverse any such ‘study’ is). Moreover does the fact that Lewis typically appears with his face covered by a helmet prevent him from being counted at all? Do we only count him during the time he appears on screen outside his car, or when he is leading a race, or for every moment either he or his car appear on screen??

        The figures you quote are evidently meaningless, a few minutes thought would serve to demonstrate it, but as has been remarked ‘thought is hard and a few minutes a long time” a least for those who have more to gain by self-righteous emoting.

    • The Masked Marvel

      Context not important? Without the context of Henry’s statement, Henwood wouldn’t have said anything at all. Hugo, your pushing for race quotas isn’t going to convince anyone, either. It’s clear from your last line that you actually meant to suggest that Henwood is a racist and this was merely a chance glimpse into his soul. You would have made in fact a better initial argument if you had included the context of Henry’s remark in the first place.

      Which begs the question: what other racial quotas do you believe to be reasonable, and in which industries? Is it not racist to assign value to people, as you and Henry appear to be doing here, according to the colour of their skin above other qualities?

    • Kevin T

      Does it ever occur to people like you that it’s not about the races of the people on television, it’s about their social background? How many working class white people are on television? Judging by the hilarious Home Counties accents of most of the younger characters in Eastenders, not many. Getting into acting or just about any form of showbiz in this country is a game for the well off, for people whose mummy and daddy can indulge them with stage school or a degree in the performing arts. If you’re from an estate and go to a school with no drama classes, you can basically forget it. Minorities in this country are disproportionately less well off. You can argue that’s unfair but what you and Lenny Henry seem to want is to get more black people onto TV, not more poorer people in general. Since you need to have some ability to do these jobs, the likelyhood is those minorities who are middle class and have some experience with performing will get a fast track into the media while working class people will continue to be shut out. The sad thing is the average lefty would be fine with that.

  • Toxteth O’Grady

    God love you Rod, you will soon have your door battered down and be dragged away to the Gulag.

    • Kennybhoy

      Dinnae kid yersel. Maister L is the token eccentric dissentor hereabouts.

      As I wrote above Maister L is more than a wee bit late to this particular story. Maybe he is trying to make up for his last post in which he happily joined in the orchestrated UKIP/Farage bashing hereabouts…? 😉

      • rodliddle

        I didn’t do any UKIP bashing, organised or randomly. Though I wouldn’t vote for them. You Tims get a bit touchy………

        • Kennybhoy

          Afternoon Maister L! :O)

          I thoct’ that would provoke a response! 😉

        • Tom M

          Tims?

          • rodliddle

            Offensive and derogatory word for Scottish/Northern Irish Catholics, Tom.

            • Kennybhoy

              Wrong Maister L. If you want to be offensive and derogatory then stick to Taig and Fenian and Tarrier! :-)

              • rodliddle

                I prefer Tim.

          • Kennybhoy

            Like the “bhoy” suffix in my pseud, “Tim” indicates that I am a supporter of Celtic FC. Scholarly opinion is divided as to whether it derives from a Roman Catholic street gang in the East End of Glasgow back in the early C20th or is just rhyming slang for “bhoy”. Contra Maister L the name is’nt considered offensive or derogatory, does not refer to Catholics per se, and has always been used by Celtic fans to refer to themselves.

        • transponder

          Why wouldn’t you vote for them? I would — gladly and with pride in my heart. Why wouldn’t you? What would UKIP have to be or do to persuade you, if that’s possible?

        • Shenandoah

          Why the h8ll not, big boy?

  • anyfool

    Henry`s demand that black people be given preferential treatment indicates he thinks that other black people are not capable of gaining jobs on merit, that can only be the conclusion as black and especially Asians are over represented on TV.
    He has fell hook line and sinker for the liberal whites who claim to speak for ethnics, you could say that these people are enslaving blacks by assuming they are incapable of thinking and fighting their own cause and must bow to their superior judgement.
    You can read confirmation of this in the Guardian, the bible of the superciliously superior guilt ridden white slave masters.
    Only this time it is any who do not think as they do who they want to keep under the lash, working class black and white held in contempt together, at least that is one thing we have in common.

  • Alexsandr

    Henry was plain wrong. People should get opportunities not because of the colour of their skin or their gender or whatever., but because of their talent. Positive discrimination has no place and should be abhorred.

    • Donafugata

      Exactly.

      What’s the point of watching a play on TV where everyone is black but nobody can act?

    • 1DrFortuneMBezzla7

      Black comics and actors are discriminated against for not being Lenny Henry.

      It would be nice if other black talent was given a chance

      But oh no. It’s Lenny Henry all the way.

      • Alexsandr

        Why? He hasn’t been funny since Tizwas.

  • La Fold

    Course it wasnt racist. It was just poorly thought out and misguided, much like lenny henrys comments about wanting to see more black faces on tv was.

  • Mr Creosote

    Of course it isn’t racist – more a case of Black Country man being asked to move to a black country to see more black faces on TV, the arithmetic logic is impeccable.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    Anyone who wants to inflict Lenny Henry on innocent Africans must have questionable motives.

    • allymax bruce

      It’s all out-of-control; political correctness, Labour’s destructive nuance to ‘britain’s’ indigenous peoples, and the extremely debilitating Bureaucracy, that propounds a ‘positive discrimination ethic to minority-issues/ethnics’, before the indigenous population. Is that what my uncle, dad, grandad fought-for, and died-for, in this ‘brittain’? So we could be taken over by a mass of massively different cultures, ethics, of foreigners, in our own country?
      Fact is, Labour, Hugo Rifkind, and the imbecilic Lefties, all proclaim ‘progressives’, while destroying the infrastructure to allow any progressive polices to exist; it’s all self-defeating, hence Labour boom & bust politics and governments. Best thing ‘britain’ could do is to welcome a controlled and minimal immigration policy, while never-again voting Labour!
      Don’t vote Labour, they are destroying ‘britain’.

      • Chris Bond

        Don’t vote Labour?
        Waste of time. All the parties are in on it. Labour Lib Dem and Cons = same thing.
        Short of UKIP coming to power, removing the entire education establishment, civil service and withdrawing us from US influence and the UN and EU, this will continue until collapse under the weight of immigrant populations.

      • Raw England

        Your best comment ever, Allymax.

        • allymax bruce

          I’m just telling it like it is, Raw England.
          I see your points most of the time; and, you have the Establishment to counter, and their ‘ethical journalism that ties the sheeple to what is only ‘acceptable’ in perspectives/thinking; that’s a hard fight you’ve got there.

  • edlancey

    “waycist” – the thoughtcrime where to be accused of it is to be found guilty of it – with no appeal permitted.

  • sfin

    No – in fact, one could argue that Lenny Henry’s remarks about too many white faces on television were racist – but then Lenny Henry is a paid up member of the ‘right on’ brigade and is, thus, immune from such accusations.

    • Tom M

      Agreed. My point entirely.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      Diane Abbott is Lenny Henry in drag but far funnier!

  • fundamentallyflawed

    Typical Leftist misquotes and lies… The same was done to Farage over his quotes regards women in investment banking. This is why politics turns many people off – debate is quashed and devolves into name calling and smearing

    • Wessex Man

      This is why we must fight them and their lies and cover ups. For instanse, David Bishop, Tory County Council candidate had to resign after posting anti Islamic and homophobic comments on Twitter or the Liberal Democrat Councillor who beat up an eastern european barman and told him to get off back to his own country or the Tory Mayor of Swindon who said of disabled people ‘We don’t allow m*****s to still have s** do we?’

      Nothing like a good old smear against UKip when you’ve lost all economic arguments is there?

      • Adam Carter

        It is disappointing that anyone should post anti-Islamic comments. Islamic teachings are perfectly transparent. In an Islamic society non-muslims do not have the same civil rights as muslims. And women do not have the same rights as men.
        Why would anyone post comments in opposition to teachings like that?
        I guess that candidate must heve been a waycist.

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