One of the most brilliant books about race, British and Caribbean history and the history of capitalism that has ever been written. It is such a work of genius I have read it once and want to read it twice more to digest the details! Should be required reading in schools in Britain and the Caribbean. Also discusses slavery and capitalism in India, Brazil, Cuba, Santo Domingo. The author was writing in the 1940s but the book is perhaps even more dynamite today than when it was written. The author Eric Williams was a stellar academic at Oxford University and went on to become the first independent Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
My first ever report on the Today programme the BBC’s flagship current affairs show. : A policeman’s conviction for manslaughter this week for killing footballer Dalian Atkinson in a mental health incident has put the spotlight on how police handle mental health. The police deal with over half a million calls outs to mental health incidents every year. And a number of forces saw big increases in call outs last year because of the lock downs and virus. These figures are surging even higher now. Many of these incidents are connected to alcohol and drugs. The police watch dog has called for greater scrutiny on use of Tasers after what it described as disproportionate use against black men and those with mental health issues.
My second report on National TV this century! Watch my headline report on Newsnight on BBC2.
After months of investigation, I broke this story featuring a major UK-wide probe into the sharp rise in police use of force (UofF) during the full national lockdown – April/May 2020 – compared to the same months the year before.
The investigation reached a broad demographic of over 10 million people – from teenagers to pensioners – across a variety of media platforms including online, radio, TV and print.
After publication on the BBC News website (over 640K page views) https://bbc.in/3p2hTPc the story showcased on the main news bulletin for BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat (audience 8 million, 6 million online). Subsequently, it featured on BBC1 London main news bulletin (audience 600,000). It headlined as a 12 minute film on BBC2 Newsnight (audience 600,000). It was heard on a BBC Radio 4 morning bulletin (audience 5 million) https://bit.ly/2LRcX19 It featured as a double-page in the Guardian https://bit.ly/2LZJgL0 the Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8980847/Eight-Met-police-probed-black-student-pinned-ground-punched-arrest.html and the Metro https://bit.ly/3bTG2U3
My first report on National TV this century! Three quarters of forces showed increases in UofF of up to two thirds. Home Office figures demonstrate black people are six times more likely to be subjected to UofF than white people. As development producer and on-air reporter, I obtained data from police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – 37 out of 44 forces . Much of this was not publicly available. Shocking mobile phone footage, filmed by witnesses, that had never been broadcast on TV, or shown in full on any media, provided an alarming episode of police UofF. Three weeks before the death of George Floyd, a young female student was tackled to the ground by multiple Metropolitan police officers. A male officer had his knee on her neck suffocating her while she shouted, “I can’t breathe.” Losing consciousness, she told a female officer that the male officer was “killing her.” While restrained on the ground she was repeatedly punched and kicked by four officers. At the local police station, male officers participated in her being strip searched. Again, she was held down by multiple officers till she couldn’t breathe, and punched repeatedly.
Although this was the only case study featured, my investigation revealed this was not an isolated incident. I spoke to a number of black children and adults who had been stopped by the police in lockdown and assaulted or subjected to excessive force. Watch my headline report on Newsnight on BBC2.
Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are still by far the worst paid ethnic groups in England and Wales according to official figures at the end of 2020. The data from the Office for National Statistics showed they earned over 15% less per hour than the average white British worker. And what’s very interesting is that almost half of Pakistanis – who are the lowest paid ethnic group – have a degree much more than white British people. Having a degree normally predicts high income so something else is going on here. Listen to the interview I and Halima Begum the head of Think Tank the Runnymede Trust did with the BBC Asian Service. And to a female hospital consultant of Pakistani origin tell me about her experiences of discrimination which she believes were caused by her gender and ethnicity.
Azeem Rafiq central figure in the Yorkshire County Cricket racism storm.
Families wanting access to full extract cannabis oil as a medical treatment for their severely epileptic children will be taking the UK government to court to allow the medication to be prescribed on the NHS. They warn that, as many parents have lost jobs because of the Corona virus outbreak, they can no longer afford the thousands of pounds for private prescriptions and that their children could die. The law changed at the end of 2018, meaning medical cannabis could be prescribed by individual specialist doctors in the UK. But, very few NHS prescriptions for epilepsy have been written. Instead patients have been forced to spend large sums of money at private clinics which have recently opened. I went to one listen to my BBC Radio 4 report.
Pleasure working with
A Ministry of Defence review commissioned after 6 male soldiers were arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 17 year old female soldier has found “unacceptable” and “persistent” inappropriate sexual behaviour in the armed forces. The review sets up a new body, The Defence Authority, to deal with such behaviour and complaints about how the military police deal with reports of serious offences such as sex crimes. But the MOD’s own figures show its getting worse at investigating sexual offences. Listen to my BBC Radio 4 report.
A mum from the North of England has pleaded with the National Health Service to give her 11 year old medicinal cannabis after he was placed on an end of life care plan. Angela Norton from Macclesfield has 2 children with drug resistant epilepsy. She says the controversial medication could be their only hope of living. Figures out earlier this year from the NHS show that no-one was recorded as being prescribed medicinal cannabis by GPs in the whole of England last year despite the drugs being legalised in November 2018. Watch my BBC report on North West Tonight.