A Tale of Two Cities    
    Colin Vernon contrasts the treatment of two recent murders    

At the time of going to press, the two murder cases discussed herein had not been solved. This article reproduces newspaper coverage and comment. It makes no judgement and passes no opinion, as to the identity, race or colour of the perpetrators.

Young or old, white, black or brown, the violent and unnecessary termination of a life shames our nation. But shameful too is the blatant hypocrisy of those who, having played their criminal part in the creation of an unstable, rapidly disintegrating, multi-cultural human jungle, feign horror and astonishment when some of the residents behave like animals.


Peckham, South London, Monday, 27th November. A ten year-old Nigerian boy is stabbed in the leg and dies, from loss of blood, as he enters the high-rise block where he lives. The Prime Minister refers to the matter in the House of Commons, and the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, visits the Oliver Goldsmith primary school where Damilola was being educated. With the naivete to which we have long become accustomed, he invites those in the know to come forward and name the killers. William Hague, leader of the opposition, asserts that: "The murder should make society review the values and circumstances that enabled the crime to happen." Clearly, when it comes to profundity George W. Bush has a serious challenger in Mr Hague!

Meanwhile the boy's father is to have an interview with Tony Blair. He fears that Damilola was targeted by young black racists of West Indian origin. He had told his parents that he was being picked on for his African accent, for having a pale skin, for being a studious, computer-literate pupil. Forty per cent of the school's pupils are of African origin, 23 per cent of Afro-Caribbean origin, while just 13 per cent are of white United Kingdom origin. Chief Lola Ayonrinde, a former mayor of Wandsworth, declares that "Damilola was the typical victim for this area. He was black, he was male and he was Nigerian. He was the latest in a series of attacks perpetrated by the West Indian community. Nigerian people are not popular in this area because they try to fit in and do well."

What the papers had to say

Within a week tens of thousands of words had been penned on the murder of Damilola, and it was also headline news on national and local TV for several days. Here is a brief selection:-

‘His primary school has been condemned by OFSTED: Of 600 pupils almost all are refugees or from an ethnic minority - half from West Africa. In many of Southwark's schools, discipline is poor, teaching appalling and exclusion commonplace’

(Daily Telegraph.) The paper went on to claim that they (the residents of Peckham) were:

‘entitled to adequate policing that disregards the platitudes of the Macpherson Report, and instead stamps out drug dealing, muggings and attacks. ’

(Pious words from a newspaper which rigorously suppresses any opinions from nationalist sources.)

‘Is it any wonder teachers are deserting in droves, and in areas like North Peckham children end up wandering the streets in packs like wild animals? Who'd be a copper or a teacher these days? Jack Straw complains about the walk-on-by society, but who in their right minds would dare risk getting involved? They can expect to find themselves either lying in the gutter with a knife in the guts, or standing in the dock accused of assault or worse’

(Littlejohn in The Sun.) Not remarkably well written but, at least, to the point.

‘The liberal intelligentsia has helped to bring about the very social conditions over which it so agonisingly wrings its hands. For example it has pretended, like Marie Antoinette playing shepherdess, that the police and the criminal justice system are the enemy or oppressors of the poor: and only now, when the consequences of this silly pretence make themselves manifest, does it pause for thought, though it will forget in a week or two, and resume its normal work of weakening the police still further.’ (Dr. Theodore Dalrymple.)

‘Every week one hears of new horrors: of muggings; of gangs of youths attacking old people for their handbags and jewellery, and young people for their mobile phones. You see them lurking outside the local newsagent's, the railway station and in the shopping malls. They seem to be everywhere. We are paying a high price for the polarisation of London's social classes and, unless this problem is addressed with urgency, there will be many more Damilola Taylors and the streets of London will become no-go areas for ordinary working people.’ (Graham Boynton.)

(You could have told us about this a long while ago Boynton.)

‘The Peckham Boys, the Deptford Ghetto Boys and the Brockley Crews: their names are already daubed in graffiti on the walls of the new library. They gather outside after dark while staff inside continue valiantly to promote football and computer clubs as distractions for teenagers being enticed into low-grade gang warfare.’ (Daily Telegraph report.)

‘We know who they are, we arrest them, we charge them, they go to court and get a slapped wrist and then they are back here again. They think we are powerless, and quite frankly they are right’ (Police spokesman.)

‘What is most striking about the estate in Peckham where Damilola Taylor was so shockingly murdered is its total absence of the ties that bind. Into this dreadful estate, and many others like it, has been thrown a hugely various collection of people from all over the world, from all kinds of different cultures, speaking tens of different languages; the place has been turned into a monstrous Tower of Babel, with a ceaseless incoherent yammering, speaking only of mistrust and misunderstanding.

‘How could there be any community? How can multiculturalism foster community ? The miserable inhabitants of these ghettos are all victims of a terrible moral failure in this country, a failure of understanding, of conviction and of political leadership.’ (Minette Marrin.)

(In my book this lady frequently scores eight out of ten for coming close to the truth.)


Bramley, Leeds, Wednesday, November 29th. We are now in the second city of our tale, the drugs capital of the North. Around midday, Edna Slater, aged 74, returns from walking her pooch, enters her ground floor flat and is savagely beaten with a lump of wood and then strangled. This was not indeed a mindless, pointless crime. Edna's killer(s) walked away with £78-00, this being her pension, and some costume jewellery. Detectives were horrified by the sheer savagery of the attack. The Yorkshire Post editorial commented: "Life in her neighbourhood has been described by those who occupy it as a constant struggle against drugs and hardship, which together present an unrelenting danger to everyone in the area." A young mother told the newspaper: "We've been broken into four times for money and jewellery - anything that can pay for their habit."

Edna's violent death was not mentioned, as far as I am aware, in the House of Commons. Nor did Mr. Straw arrive on the doorstep the following day, and none of the old lady's friends or relatives has so far secured the promise on an interview with Tony Blair. And the Daily Telegraph gave her just 86 words on an inside page. But then, this cruel murder was not of a headline-grabbing nature; in fact just another incident in a drug infested inner city hellhole.

Edna, by the way was white.

Ultra violent and no ray of hope

Last year saw the largest rise in violent crime in London since the mid-l990s - a total of 156,880 attacks including 180 murders, an increase of 19 per cent and 30 per cent respectively. Added to this, there were 2,270 rapes last year, an increase of 14 per cent. To add to the gloom, Sir John Stevens, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has announced that his force is in crisis and 3,000 bodies short of requirement. Recruiting has been severely handicapped since the publication of the Macpherson Report and as is well known, officers still serving are jumping off the sinking ship as fast as they can make it. Straw's promises of extra policing cannot be taken seriously.

New Labour has no answer, except perhaps to turn everything over to the European Commission and thus avoid responsibility. As Richard Littlejohn puts it: "We are all going to hell in a handcart." And our rural residents are no longer safe. The scourge of violent crime fans out from the inner cities and engulfs us all. Is there anything that can be done? Even a BNP government would not be able to work miracles. But it would at least tackle the job. It would tame the streets and instigate those humane and sensible policies which the establishment is scared even to mention, and thus give new hope to folk of all races. Meanwhile, we can expect things to go from bad to worse.

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