This video from Britain says about itself:
30 December 2015
Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin said today that comments he made to then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1985, when several major British cities were gripped by riots, were “badly worded and wrong.”
In a memo to Thatcher, Letwin blamed “bad moral attitudes” for rioting in mostly black inner city communities. He said white communities had lived for decades in similar conditions without rioting.
He was at the time an influential adviser to Thatcher and helped shape her government’s response to the inner city disturbances.
The memo was released by the National Archives under a rule requiring government documents to be made public after three decades.
By Rob Wells in Britain:
Thursday 31st December 2015
A STORM of condemnation threatened to engulf Tory eminence grise Oliver Letwin yesterday as equality activists warned his recently revealed racist remarks are reflected in 2015 government policies.
Cabinet Office minister Mr Letwin claimed in a 1985 government memo that inner-city riots were caused by “bad moral attitudes” — and argued schemes to get poverty-hit black people into business would see them “set up in the disco and drug trade.”
Ms Abbott said that the economic and social reasons for the riots were laid out plainly in 1981’s Scarman report.
So, four years later, “for Oliver Letwin to say that the rioting was caused by black people’s moral degeneracy and … if you tried to encourage us to go into business, we’d only go into discos and drug-dealing, is quite appalling,” she told ITN.
The secret memo, published under the 30-year rule, dates from when Mr Letwin was a Thatcher adviser in the No 10 Policy Unit.
He said yesterday: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence these comments have caused and wish to make clear that none was intended.”
But Ms Abbott, who defeated Mr Letwin in the 1987 general election, was categorical: “Even 30 years ago, had he said those views publicly, people would have been shocked.”
And rights campaigner Darcus Howe said: “If a black man had said something quite like that he’d have been called into Scotland Yard and and he might be charged with incitement to riot.”
Mr Letwin’s words “reflect not just an attitude to black people but his attitude to inner cities generally [and] anybody living in an inner-city community … must wonder about David Cameron’s policies today,” said Ms Abbott.
Such views linger, she said, “particularly when it comes to housing.”
“Oliver Letwin said you couldn’t invest in council housing because people would only vandalise it. I think this is reflected in Tory attitudes today.”
Operation Black Vote director Simon Woolley branded Mr Letwin’s words “despicable” and “truly, truly racist.”
He said the test would be whether Letwin “can hold to account his boss” on his promise to end race discrimination.
And former Equality and Human Rights Commission head Trevor Phillips said that “if Oliver really wants to be contrite” he should say something about “how they’re going to make good on the Prime Minster’s pledge to attack race inequality.”
I was one of those people Letwin wrote his memo about – and as a former policeman, I find myself unsurprised. Letwin’s party is the same one who only two decades prior to his memo ran an election campaign saying ‘If you desire a coloured for a neighbour vote Labour, if you are already burdened with one vote Tory’: here.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
‘Sorry guv’ is not enough
Thursday 31st December 2015
OLIVER LETWIN has apologised unreservedly for “badly worded and wrong” comments that he made nearly 30 years ago, so that’s OK, right?
Possibly it depends on how seriously you take the spectacle of someone born with a silver canteen of cutlery in his mouth spewing out demeaning remarks against not only black people in particular but inner-city residents in general.
Letwin has been excused by some commentators on the grounds that it’s unfair to hold his behaviour of three decades ago against him now.
Things have clearly changed a great deal — and for the better — in the intervening period.
However, even then he wasn’t simply voicing commonly held opinions of the time, irrespective of former Equality and Human Rights Commission chairman Trevor Phillips’s assertion that his remarks wouldn’t “have raised a single eyebrow at the time.”
As Hackney North MP Diane Abbott points out, the Scarman Report into the 1981 riots in Brixton — expanded to include subsequent events in Southall, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester — had already been published.
The effect of racial discrimination, police brutality, unemployment, inadequate housing and social exclusion in provoking a violent reaction on the streets had already been documented and measures proposed to improve matters.
Many people within the police, politics and media were compelled to confront their own prejudices and unthinking readiness to accept stereotypical formulations in favour of realising that Britain was already and would remain a multiethnic and multicultural society.
Letwin and his fellow future Tory MP Hartley Booth — who had to resign office later over false denial of a personal relationship — set their faces like flint against any temptation to take residence in the 20th century.
They were influenced neither by Scarman nor by the Church of England report Faith in the City that was commended to Thatcher by Anglican former bishop of Liverpool David Sheppard, asking her to take inner-city poverty seriously.
Booth claimed that the report was an “unwitting dupe of the extreme left” likely to subvert “support for the hard-pressed forces of law and order” and to whip up racial tension.
He and Letwin, who both worked at the time in Thatcher’s policy unit, alleged that state funds were being used to support “destructive far-left groups.”
This was music to their patron’s ears, as was similar claptrap that investing in a £10 million communities investment programme would merely “subsidise Rastafarian arts and crafts workshops” or help black entrepreneurs to “set up in the disco and drug trade.”
The same goes for their rubbishing of suggestions to build new local authority housing since homes would decay or be vandalised.
Abbott’s description of Letwin’s comments as “almost laughably ignorant” is unchallengeable, as is her observation that his contempt for black people is extended to inner-city residents in general.
This old Etonian’s mealy-mouthed attempt to draw a line under his scandalous statements by classifying them now as “badly worded and wrong” won’t wash.
He has form a yard long from being an early proponent of using Scotland as a “trailblazer” for the poll tax to displaying contempt for his constituents by dumping their letters to him in a set of bins in a London park.
Letwin has been constantly protected by those who share his wealth, background, acquaintances and political attitudes.
His gaffe-strewn career is extended now by his role as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, saving him from huge exposure to the public eye.
He collects membership of countless Cabinet committees and implementation taskforces, placing him at the right hand of David Cameron and George Osborne.
Will they do the decent thing and sack him or back their fellow dependant on hereditary wealth and privilege?
Don’t bet the rent on decency winning out.