Monday, 16 June 2008

Boris Johnson scraps free anti-racism Festival

Boris Johnson has decided to scrap Europe's biggest anti racism festival and replace it with an entirely non-political event, it was revealed today.

Suspicions that 'Rise: London United Against Racism' would be re-branded as an apolitical festival were raised, when initial publicity material bore no mention to anti-racism.

But a coalition of anti-racist groups has now confirmed that the anti-racist message has been dropped and the festival will be called simply 'Rise' from now on. A spokesperson for the National Assembly Against Racism said today:

"We were contacted by the Greater London Authority last week and told anti-racism will no longer be the central message of the Rise festival. This is confirmed by initial publicity which drops the message "London united against racism" and all reference to opposing racism. Support for the festival from performers and communities has always been based on this anti-racist message so the change is sure to be highly controversial."

However, one person for whom the announcement will not be controversial is BNP assembly member Richard Barnbrook. 

In a written question to the mayor last week, Barnbrook criticised London's support for the 'Love Music, Hate Racism' and asked for assurance that London would not be paying for policing and clearing up the event. 

The announcement that the GLA will no longer be financing it's own anti-racism event will therefore be warmly welcomed by London's favourite fascist.

No more bang for our bucks

The reasoning behind Boris's move is not yet clear. However, whatever it may be, it is not based on getting more bang for Londoner's buck. 

Because re-branding the festival will almost certainly increase the costs of putting on the event as acts will not want to perform at the reduced rate of previous years, when there is no political motive for them to do so.

But like Boris Johnson's decision to scrap half-price fares for London's poor, this decision will have had more to do with meeting political dogma than with any sensible management of the capital. 


Anonymous said...

Stinks of Gilligan and Policy Exchange I'm afraid. Now if the festival had been called unite against al-quaradawi in the other hand, then that would have been okay.

Chris said...

Have you seen the Mayor's press release?

It's almost as if the anti-racism element never existed.

'We have always been at war with Eurasia...'

Anonymous said...

We're all adults here so let's be honest. Rise was never just an 'anti-racism' festival: it was a device for a bunch of left wing activists like Lee Jasper and his buddies in Socialist Action to abuse public funds for their political ends. Why was the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, dribbling apologists for the Communist dictatorship in Cuba, given a stage? Why were the Socialist Workers Party allowed a stall? Why were volunteers from the SA-dominated group NAAR paid to hand out Trot propaganda?

You didn't seriously imagine that kind of stuff would survive Ken's departure, did you?

The Tory Troll said...

Did I mention anything about Cuba?

My problem is with expunging the anti-racist message. I couldn't care less about the rest.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Munira Mirza, Boris's head of Arts & Culture, is as against racism as you are. However, she may take the view that preachy music festivals with heavy-handed political sloganeering isn't really the best way to encourage people to get along together.

Ms Mirza has written extensively on the subject, including this rather excellent article:

The Tory Troll said...

Thanks for the link to the article. I'm not quite sure what it has to do with Boris scrapping an anti-racist event and replacing it with a bog-standard festival, but there you go.

Perhaps if we just don't mention racism or fascism then they might just disappear. It's a great approach. Boris could try the same with the new routemasters and cutting congestion. if he just doesn't talk about them, or look at them or think about them then maybe they will just go away.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps if we just don't mention racism or fascism then they might just disappear."

Conversely, we could hold a big 'anti-racism' festival every year. That will really help beat the racists. Thank goodness we've had Rise for the last decade or we might have ended up with fascists in the London Assembly.


The Tory Troll said...

Yes, meeting their demands once they're in power is much more sensible. He is the 'listening' mayor after all.

Anonymous said...

Barnbrook doesn't like Rise - ergo we should keep it as it is.

Barnbrook doesn't like Mugabe - ergo we should keep him in power.

The brilliant logic of Tory Troll.

The Tory Troll said...

Oh dear you've gone and brought 'the Mugabe' out on me. Why did you have to go and do that? You were doing so well as well.

All mentions of Mugabe, Zanu liebour, etc are automatically moderated out of the blog, and with that Mr Trot Watch (that is your name is it not?) your time is up.

stuart_graham said...

Clearly, London isn't 'united against racism' as the mayor doesn't think it important.
The message going out from this is 'don't worry, my administration isn't going to do anything about challenging racism'
I'm sure the BNP is already giving Johnson a high rating.