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Forgiveness hard to find for some after peer's inadvertent 'nigger in the woodpile' remark .........

 
Stewart Cowan, 10/7/08

It was not an uncommon phrase as I remember, even in the 70's and was always meant inoffensively, yet in today's climate some people feel like rounding up a lynch mob, especially if there is the chance of political point-scoring.

During a speech on Monday on the housing and regeneration bill, Lord Dixon-Smith, the 73-year-old conservative spokesman for communities and local government, let slip the now taboo phrase.

It is recorded in Hansard and reads (Column 528),

"The Homes and Communities Agency is not a body to which we object in principle. As the Minister has explained, it is an amalgamation of the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships. Of course, the nigger in the woodpile, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has already pointed out, is that it still incorporates what I call the hangover of the new towns legislation."

After the speech, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville said, "My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, he used a phrase about a woodpile. If your Lordships’ House were happy, I think it would perhaps be helpful if the wording of the phrase were revised."

To which Lord Dixon-Smith replied, "I apologise, my Lords; I left my brains behind. I apologise to the House."

Despite his immediate apology to the Lords and one given later to Lord Strathclyde, the Conservative leader in the Lords, that should have been the end of it, but not for certain people.

According to The Times, this prompted a wave of condemnation across Parliament. Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “I regard this remark as racist, because it’s deeply offensive. It shows a lack of understanding and sensitivity to the ethnic community and seems to come from a throwback age when people used that kind of phrase as if it was normal. We will judge Mr Cameron on how he responds.”

What is the 'ethic community?'

Mr Vaz was born in Aden of Indian parentage, but he decides to turn the issue into a broader ethnic battle to try and make the most from Lord Dixon-Smith's unfortunate slip of the tongue.

Mr Cameron has responded by rightly standing by his peer. I wait to see if Mr Vaz decides to stir up more trouble along ethnic lines.

Denis MacShane, the former Europe minister and anti-racism campaigner also wants David Cameron to ask Lord Dixon-Smith to resign.

Of course all this over-reaction, unforgiving nature and cheap and nasty point-scoring helps the mainstream media ignore real news.

By the way, as a Christian, I believe there is only one race: the human race. Maybe if instead of 'race relations' we call it 'people relations' we can learn to forgive each other without boiling over in rage about 'racial' issues.

Of course, the powers elite use divide and rule to make it easier for them to control our lives.