High black crime rate? We didn't plant IRA bombs

It has been a rather odd week, of inconsistencies and odd events. I agreed to appear in a studio discussion on BBC Radio 5 Live. The producer told me that I would speak about the Channel 4 discussion which I chaired just before Christmas on gang rape. Then I would, along with others, take calls on the phone from the general public.

I was rather taken aback when the presenter bolted from the starting gate with the statement that the programme "will be about statistics and more statistics". Then he added that some statistics leaked from the Home Office indicated that blacks commit more crime than whites. For days after I rummaged through the broadsheets for these figures and they appeared to have fallen off the face of the earth.

The same with another report. London Tonight boasted an exclusive: a young man had been arrested for the murder of Stephen Lawrence and a charge was expected shortly. Thereafter nothing. It fell off the other side of the earth.

Then the New Cross fire of 1981, in which 13 black teenagers died, was back on the agenda. The forensic scientist returned from the grave with a computer. The fire, the new technology concluded, had started in a foam-filled armchair in the sitting room. The computer apparently dismissed the bottle with a wick and fuel found outside the front window; there was no firebomb, it said. Further, the computer was able to tell us that three people were in the house at the time of the fire. I had numerous calls from radio and television seeking my comments. But I am saying nothing for now because I have a fair idea of what will eventually be suggested. Those in authority and some of the parents ought to be a little more careful and circumspect.

Let me return to these figures about blacks committing more crimes than whites. I am told that these are too sensitive to publish. Publish and be damned, I say; I just do not believe these figures.

Has my grandson, Natty, been mugging old ladies from his pushchair on the way to nursery of a morning? Are those elderly West Indian women we see shuffling along on Sunday mornings not really going to church but intending to break through windows to steal television and stereo sets?

It is time that these figures which are trotted out about crime and blacks and Asians and Serbs and Croats and all and sundry were severely audited. A white man called Radio 5 Live to say he was mugged in Cheltenham, reported the matter to the police, told them the assailant was white and the police insisted he was black. I simply do not trust the source of these figures.

I prefer experience to statistics. I wonder how many of the arrests and convictions were actually injustices. One man in Birmingham was stopped and searched on 34 occasions, without charges being brought against him. Are these in the statistics?

Let's have a look at parliament. Envelopes stuffed with Mohamed Fayed's pound notes, undeclared interests, lies, perjury, pornography! All involving whites. Abbott, Boateng and Grant? Clean as a whistle. Diane Abbott will declare her son's underpants as an asset rather than be suspected of dishonesty. I am sure that not a single murder in Ireland or during the IRA mainland campaign was carried out by a black man.

From whence comes this awesome criminal reputation? Well, the Lawrence inquiry will publish its findings shortly and the Home Office will be exposed for its incompetence. Is it a coincidence that we now hear smears against the Caribbean population, attacks on our legal representatives, hints dropped about the true causes of the New Cross fire?

Those who are responsible for all this seem bent on provoking the Caribbean population to street protests and riots so that we can be seen to get a very good hiding. They are aided by our black chattering classes who are sitting at the sidelines waiting to crow about the failures of the Met and the rest of them. They deserve each other.

Darcus Howe is an outspoken writer, broadcaster and social commentator. His TV work includes ‘White Tribe’ in which he put Anglo-Saxon Britain under the spotlight. He also fronted a series called Devil’s Advocate.

This article first appeared in the 05 February 1999 issue of the New Statesman, The New Statesman Essay - Think, think and think again