A woke civil servant from the Environment Agency – a DEFRA quango – has attempted to “cancel” an elected English mayor for emphasising that poverty is as much a barrier to kids’ life chances as the colour of their skin. The power of faceless bureaucrats…
In response to the George Floyd protests last month, independent Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston told constituents via a post on Facebook:
“Black Lives Matter. And All Lives Matter
“The horrific incident that took place 4,000 miles away is raising tensions here. The way George Floyd died must never happen again…
“Don’t listen to careless talk in the media about white privilege… Deprivation here appears to be colour blind.
Preston also made the fairly non-controversial point: “The biggest barrier to progression in life in Middlesbrough, and almost anywhere, is always the same: poverty”.
This obviously angered the Government’s Environment Agency, who told the mayor “the recent viewpoints expressed by [him] in relation to the BLM movement and white privilege… do not reflect our own values and position on diversity”; formally no-platforming Preston:
Speaking to Guido, Mayor Preston was outraged, pointing to his decade-long fight for refugees and immigrants, and a subsequent post a couple of days later in which he clarified his intentions:
“I completely accept the pain that people are feeling and I want to re-state that I definitely accept the facts that black people and all people of colour face discrimination.
“Being white, I am fortunate that my skin colour has never held me back in life – but I am committed to continuing to listen to those who have suffered and do suffer discrimination”
Despite this, one month later Catherine Saxon – the Environment Agency’s North East Area Director – still told him his views on white privilege “do not reflect our own value and position on diversity” and therefore they could not be seen together. Preston is clearly well-meaning, yet the civil service are trying to cancel him for not being woke enough…