RACISM SLUR ON THE WORD 'BRITISH'; and Empire Is Linked to the Holocaust

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Byline: STEVE DOUGHTY

THE word 'British' is tainted with racism, according to a controversial report endorsed by Ministers yesterday.

In an outbreak of political correctness that is certain to infuriate millions of ordinary Britons, the authors went on to assert that the idea of the 'British way of life' is a lie.

It called for a 'rethinking of the national story and national identity' to reflect the views of Asian, black and Irish people. The report was produced for the Runnymede Trust race think-tank with the blessing of Home Secretary Jack Straw.

One controversial passage suggested: 'It is widely understood that Englishness, and therefore by extension Britishness, is racially coded.' The idea of the British nation was 'deeply entwined' with race and should be 'symbolically written out of the national story'.

The report even drew historical links between the British Empire and the Holocaust.

According to the authors, anyone claiming that race relations depend on strong immigration policies is playing the race card, while Euro-scepticism, a tough line on law and order and dislike of political correctness are all linked to racism.

The call for the concept of Britishness to be consigned to the dustbin of history found an immediate welcome from Ministers yesterday. Three years ago, Mr Straw launched the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain that produced the findings and Home Office Minister Mike O'Brien hailed it yesterday as 'a timely report'. But Tory party chairman Michael Ancram last night described the report as 'profoundly misdirected'. He said it 'amounts to a list of mainly illjudged and damaging recommendations which will hamper employers, doctors and teachers and saddle taxpayers with the bill for countless review bodies and commissions'.

Mr Ancram said an inclusive Britain needed to be founded on 'the British tradition of tolerance, of respecting people for their character rather than their colour, not an approach based on patronising and politically correct nonsense'.

As an example, he praised the 'united display of pride' from British athletes and supporters at the Sydney Olympics. By contrast, the report was promoting 'patronising distinctions'.

The report said the future of the country was 'endangered by the many varieties of racism and exclusion that disfigure modern Britain and that have been woven into the fabric of British history for many centuries'. …