Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Singh's Reward for Disgrace

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Singh's Reward for Disgrace

Article excerpt

GURBUX SINGH, lately head of the Commission for Racial Equality, is a disgraced man. He has lost his job, lost all chances of the knighthood that might have rewarded it, and lost his reputation, as a result of a drunken scuffle after the India-England Test match last month. He is, however, [pound]120,000 richer, since he is being paid a year of his salary, funded by the taxpayer, which will leave him comfortably able to cover his [pound]500 fine and [pound]50 costs. What is quite remarkable is not merely that Mr Singh leaves his post in such circumstances with this handsome payoff, but that apparently he sought to keep his job despite the episode, a position which involves, inter alia, monitoring aspects of the operations of the police. If Mr Singh had fallen from grace merely as a result of a little tipsiness after an exciting Test Match, perhaps the affair might have been regarded differently.

But Mr Singh was not merely tipsy, but obnoxious. When he was restrained by police, he threatened them by proclaiming that he knew Blair - that is, Ian Blair, the deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police - and said they would lose their jobs, with the immortal words: 'Don't you know who I am?' He also tried to head-butt a policeman. Such behaviour could not have been sanctioned: it was a distasteful attempt by the man to use his connections and his position to prevent him being treated like anyone else. It is not the first time Mr Singh has suffered unwelcome publicity. As the chief executive of Haringey council, he was criticised for his managerial skills by the parents of Victoria Climbie, the child who was killed by her aunt when she should have been supervised by the council's social services department.

Quite why he now leaves office with a year's salary is anyone's guess.

Jubilee triumph

RECENTLY, THE DUKE of Edinburgh was asked, during an official function, what he most enjoyed about the Jubilee. His answer was: "Going on holiday in August".

We all sympathise. Both the Queen and the Duke are richly entitled to their vacation following the conclusion of the Jubilee celebrations. …

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