Stand Up To Racism Statement on Jason Ablewhite

Cambridge Area Momentum supports the following statement:

Cambridge Stand Up to Racism believes that all forms of racism are totally unacceptable, and for this reason was appalled to learn that our newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, has refused to apologise unconditionally for anti traveller comments he made in the past and when challenged on a number of occasions he has dismissed his comments as ‘pub banter’.

We should never forget that Gypsies were one of the main victims of the Nazi holocaust. Even today they are one of the most discriminated against groups in Europe.

In 1999 the McPherson report concluded that the police were institutionally racist. Nearly 20 years later, is it really acceptable for the person elected to hold the force to account, to make light of using racist language, and then to refuse to apologise? As someone who is responsible for setting policing priorities we can have no confidence in his judgement or ability to do so without discrimination. The election of Mr Ablewhite has set policing in Cambridgeshire back years.

Use of the word ‘pikey’ is not, as Mr Ablewhite, suggests, just harmless ‘banter’. We agree with gold medallist event rider Phoebe Buckley, whose family is “old school Romani Gypsy,” who said that the use of such derogatory language from a leading public official risks making such opinions respectable. “Jason Ablewhite threw the word ‘pikey’ around and I just don’t believe he would think it was OK to use [similar terms towards] any other ethnic minority”.

The use of the term is deeply offensive. Comments such as those of Mr Ablewhite have had terrible repercussions on families like Ms Buckley’s, who said her parents are not registered to vote because they feel that politicians “wouldn’t take them seriously.” Such derogatory language risks reinforcing the marginalisation of this community, making them second class citizens.

Gypsy Roma Travellers are the biggest ethnic minority in the county; these remarks are of grave concern, and call his competency into question. We therefore agree with The National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller and Roma Women and call on the chairman of the Conservative Party, Lord Feldman, to suspend Mr Ablewhite pending investigation or an unequivocal statement condemning anti traveller racism and undertaking to treat all sections of the community equitably.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Stand Up To Racism Statement on Jason Ablewhite

  1. I would just like to say that I have publically apologised for the comments I made on Facebook in 2010.

    I fully accept that comments made between myself and fellow councillors can be interpreted as offensive and abusive to members of our community.

    There is no excuse for this sort of inappropriate language and I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused. I also apologise for using the term ‘light-hearted banter’ in my initial response to complaints. I realise now that this came across as dismissive – there was certainly no intention of malice or prejudice in these comments.

    I am here to represent all our communities and I want to reassure everyone that I will do just that.

    Jason Ablewhite
    Police & Crime Commissioner


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s