Brown defends racist Prince Harry


From British daily The Morning Star:

Brown leaps to defend racist prince

(Monday 12 January 2009)

by PAUL HASTE

ANTI-RACISM campaigners demanded that politicians show “zero tolerance” towards racism on Monday after the Prime Minister leapt to the defence of Prince Harry’s “Paki” comments.

The prince, a British army officer and third in line to be Britain’s unelected head of state, was caught on film referring to a captain and fellow graduate of Sandhurst military academy as “our little Paki friend.”

The prince also called another officer a “raghead” as he trained to be sent to support the US-led occupation of Afghanistan, where his duties included calling in air strikes in a war that has claimed the lives of some 28,000 Afghan civilians.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown went on TV on Monday to defend the prince, claiming that he would be “given the benefit of the doubt” by the public. Although the comments were “unacceptable,” Mr Brown added that he believed that Prince Harry was “a role model for young people.”

But the father of the Pakistani soldier abused by the prince, Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Abbasi, dismissed the attempt to play down the comments.

“I am very, very hurt. I strongly condemn the fact that Prince Harry used that language against my son,” he said. “That word he used is a hate word and should never be used against any Pakistani.”

National Assembly Against Racism spokeswoman Sabby Dhalu was just as direct. “This is a racist remark, pure and simple,” she stormed.

“Attempts at justifying it only serve to make the kind of racist abuse that is experienced in schools and workplaces across the country appear acceptable.”

She added: “Politicians should make clear that such crude racism will not be tolerated, whoever it comes from.”

Anti-monarchist campaigners Republic excoriated the prince’s racist remarks as a “disgrace.”

Spokesman Graham Smith insisted: “There cannot be double standards when it comes to racism in public life.

“Harry Wales has not only demonstrated how he is unfit to be a possible future head of state, he has shown he isn’t even fit to be a leader of men and women in the armed forces.

“It is high time Harry was stripped of his title and privileges and withdrew from public life.”

The prince’s racist comments follow an incident in 2005 when he wore a swastika armband to a party, offending many Jewish people.

Army condemns comments

THE army’s deputy head of recruiting admitted on Monday that Prince Harry’s use of racist language could harm the military’s attempts to attract people from ethnic minorities.

Colonel Paul Farrar said that the use of words that could cause offence was “unacceptable” and “clearly offensive.”

He added: “None of this helps the army and whatever we do to try and encourage people from diverse backgrounds to join.”

Major Glenville Lindsay, a black army officer who is a senior ethnic minority recruiter, said that he thought that language like that used by Harry was “a thing of the past.”

He insisted: “Banter should never offend. I would never make an assumption that it’s OK to use words like that.”

See also here.

With Prince Harry again embroiled in controversy over his latest “unroyal” behaviour—referring to a fellow Sandhurst cadet with a racial epithet—politicians, army brass and the media lined up to draw a line under the unsavoury affair: here.

A magistrate who used the term “Paki shop” in court will not be sacked, the Office for Judicial Complaints has said: here.

6 thoughts on “Brown defends racist Prince Harry

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