Johnson in the wake of the Race and Disparities report: we are committed to building a fairer Britain

“Boris Johnson has vowed that all of Government is “fully committed to building a fairer Britain” and taking action to reduce racism and inequality – after backlash to his landmark race report. It comes after a study out today concludes that the UK “no longer” has a system rigged against people from ethnic minorities. The PM said today the report had set out a “positive agenda for change”. He added: “It is now right that the Government considers their recommendations in detail, and assesses the implications for future government policy”… But critics blasted it as a “PR” exercise and an insult.The report said today that the success of ethnic minority Brits should be seen as a “beacon” to the rest of the world. And it claimed that geography, family structure and social class had a far bigger impact than race on how people’s lives turned out.” – The Sun

Mercy Muroki: The race lobby is attacking a straw man

“Let’s be clear. The commission did not find evidence of what is considered “institutional racism” but we acknowledge the concept might be legitimate under certain circumstances. What we found was that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture, and religion have a more significant impact on life chances than racism itself. The race lobby will attack a straw man and resort to ad hominem insults because they’re not willing to engage with evidence they do not like…The commission’s findings reveal that disparity isn’t always discrimination, that causes are complicated, and that solutions should reflect that. Our recommendations are intended to bring about a better future. Entertaining lazy generalisations about “institutional racism”, on the other hand, has failed to bring about change, and it will continue to do so.” – The Times

  • Tyranny of the woke mob – Katharine Birbalsingh, Daily Mail
  • Report has sensible points but lacks credibility – Sathnam Sanghera, The Times
  • Proof that lines dividing us are based on class, not race – Rod Liddle, The Sun
  • Number Ten in denial – Simon Wooley, The Guardian
  • Victim culture so damaging – Iram Ramzam, Daily Mail
  • Clegg’s pious defence of Facebook is brazen hypocrisy – Jawad Iqbal, The Times
  • A basic misunderstanding of how racism works – Kalwant Bhopal, The Guardian
  • The battle against Left victimhood has just begun – Sherelle Jacobs, Daily Telegraph
  • The report should be welcomed by those who wish to see tangible solutions to inequality – Times Editorial
  • The Left can’t accept that Britain isn’t institutionally racist – Daily Telegraph Editorial

> Today: ToryDiary – Race and disparities. A report so commonsensical but consensus-challenging that we’re surprised it was allowed to happen.

EU Commissioner: Europe will be served first by AstraZeneca vaccines from Belgium and Holland

“A senior Brussels policymaker has sought to quash British hopes of obtaining AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in the EU, saying “zero” jabs would be shipped across the Channel if the company failed to meet its commitments to the bloc.  Thierry Breton, internal market commissioner, played down the likely outcome of talks that have been ongoing between Brussels and London over vaccine production, saying “there is nothing to negotiate” between the two parties.  Production from the Seneffe plant in Belgium and the Halix factory in the Netherlands “more or less” matches AstraZeneca’s commitments to Brussels, and so must be reserved for the EU, he said. “ – Financial Times


  • Pfizer accuses Brussels of holding back vaccine effort – The Times
  • Macron blames “British variant”, shuts schools and shops for a month – Daily Mail
  • …As his poll ratings drop their lowest in six months – Daily Express
  • Barnier says farewell to the Commission “without nostalgia” – Daily Express
  • “Brexit bogeyman” Coveney says he’s been stressing the need for Protocol flexibility to Brussels – Daily Express
  • UK shellfish farmers threaten legal action – The Guardian
  • EU’s moral authority crumbling fast – Liam Halligan, Daily Telegraph

> Today: Columnist Garvan Walshe: Merkeldammerung. Germany’s polls put the Greens within striking distance of government.


  • Jenrick says AstraZeneca 100 per cent safe – The i
  • Clotting due to AstraZeneca vaccine is rare – The Times
  • Sunak confirms he opposed circuit-breaker – Daily Mail
  • One in five ask for a test, less than half self-isolate – Daily Mail
  • 99 per cent turned up for second vaccine appointment – The Sun
  • Third of hospital patients readmitted within four months – The Guardian
  • Drakeford confirms Welsh restrictions to be eased – Wales Online
  • PSNI say it was obliged to ensure Donohoe walk complied with Covid and parading leglislation – Irish News
  • Parents back daily testing – Manchester Evening News
  • Third night of mayhew after rules relaxed – The Sun
  • We can’t afford baseless doubts about the AstraZeneca jab to spread – Sun Editorial

Yesterday: Columnist Daniel Hannan: I hate everything about the lockdown. But most of all, how much we like being bossed around.

Migrant crossing surge in this year’s first three months

“Ministers fear that there will be a surge of crossings this year as people smugglers attempt to traffic as many people as possible across the Channel before Priti Patel’s overhaul of asylum rules comes into effect. Last week the home secretary announced plans to treat asylum seekers who enter the UK illegally differently from those who come here via legal routes. Those who arrive illegally will not be entitled to the same amount of government support, while their applications will be downgraded and even successful applicants will be offered only temporary protection and will be regularly reconsidered for removal from the UK.” – The Times

Ofsted to investigate sexual abuse in schools

“Mr Williamson said: ‘Sexual abuse in any form is abhorrent and it is vital that these allegations are dealt with properly. ‘While the majority of schools take their safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously, I am determined to make sure the right resources and processes are in place across the education system to support any victims of abuse to come forward. This Government is committed to ensuring victims feel supported to refer the most serious allegations to the police via the helpline, safe in the knowledge that everything possible will be done to bring offenders to justice.” – Daily Mail

  • Helpline for pupils – The Times
  • Batley grammar school Mohammed cartoon investigation to start on April 12 and conclude by the end of May – Yorkshire Post
  • Our sex-fixated society is a threat to women – Ann Widdecombe, Daily Express

> Yesterday: John Bald on Comment: Yes, Jess Phillips. Ministers indeed dropped the ball on sexual violence. Under Labour.

Raab warned he is breaking the law over 0.7 per cent

“When the Government announced its plan to abandon the target of spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on aid temporarily, the Foreign Secretary promised MPs they would get a veto over the proposal. But he has now decided against putting it to a vote, i understands. A group of 28 MPs from seven different political parties have written to Mr Raab claiming he is in breach of the law by failing to reach the 0.7 per cent goal instituted by David Cameron. They said: “The ex-Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, has recently investigated the legality of the Government’s failure to pass new legislation before the development cut was announced. He was clear that the International Development Act 2015 does not make provision to change the 0.7 per cent target itself, only to miss it.” – The i

Sunak’s Cameron slapdown: “Prime Ministers or anyone else” should follow the rules

Last night it was revealed that Lex Greensill was formerly at the heart of Downing Street, with a No10 email and phone number. Critics said it sparked further questions about the level of access he was given, and demanded answers. Mr Sunak said last night: “I think it’s important that, whoever people are, whether they’re prime ministers or anyone else, that they follow the rules and the guidelines that we have in place for lobbying.” – The Sun

  • Party funds paid Arcuri legal bills – Daily Mail
  • Gupta owes billions to Greensill – Daily Telegraph
  • Stratton says Johnson was cleared of accusations of impropriety after investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct – The Times
  • “The recent exposure of Cameron’s role in the collapsed Greensill Capital financial services empire has generated real shock.” – Max Hastings, The Times

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – The Greensill saga must not become a pretext for reducing ministers’ access to outside expertise

Starmer: will he won’t he will he won’t he oppose vaccine passports?

“Covid passports being used for everyday social activities once the pandemic has eased would be against the “British instinct”, Sir Keir Starmer has told The Telegraph. In his most critical comments on the idea to date, the Labour leader said in an interview that the Government must not leave it to pub landlords to decide whether to make such checks. Sir Keir stressed that using Covid status certificates in the UK was a complex issue, adding that he would scrutinise government proposals before deciding whether to oppose them. But he said: “My instinct is that, as the vaccine is rolled out, as the number of hospital admissions and deaths go down, there will be a British sense that we don’t actually want to go down this road.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour is challenging the privatisation of buses – Sebastian Payne, The Times
  • Doctors’ concern about vaccine passports – The Times
  • He has a second shot at making a good impression – Simon Kettle, The Guardian

Alba Party unveils candidates

“A former SNP MP and co-host of Alex Salmond’s controversial TV show has been unveiled as one of the latest candidates for the Alba Party. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who was the MP for Ochil and South Perthshire between 2015 and 2017, will stand in the Central Scotland region.  It came as Alba confirmed it has met its target of standing four candidates in every regional list across Scotland. The party will not contest constituencies, but will field candidates in each of the eight regional lists, where MSPs can be elected with just six per cent of the vote. It hopes to build a “supermajority for independence” by picking up pro-Yes votes on the list.” – Herald Scotland

News in Brief

  • The Sewell Commission is a game-changer for how Britain talks about race – David Goodhart, Policy Exchange blog
  • Latest civil service Remainer fifth column secret letter shocker – John Redwood’s Blog
  • Is pollution really causing penises to shrink? – Stuart Richie, New Statesman
  • Homosexuality’s Christian roots – Tom Holland, UnHerd
  • Spiritual not religious – James Mumford, Spectator