1994 Charles John Cobb Memorial Lecture by Bernie Grant MP on the rise of racism in Britain

This is the complete lecture:


The following are three extracts from this lecture with transcripts:

That war (the first Gulf War) wasn’t supported because a number of us felt that war was the first of the neo-colonialism or neo-imperialism wars that we expect to be fought over the next period. A number of us felt that there is a new world order in the offing particularly with the end of the Cold War.

Some 50 of us in the House of Commons, all Labour MPs, registered our objections to the Gulf War because we felt at that time that it was a racist war. We felt at that time it was a war about oil, that it was a war where the countries of the north, the countries of the west, wanted to show and demonstrate to the world at large that they have huge arsenals”


When I came here in 1960s we had to fight the Teddy Boys and so on. We fought in Notting Hill and we had to fight. Then things changed and we made a bit of progress and we stopped the fight against people like the National Front and British Movement. And everyone thought we made progress. We had a few Councillors elected and the odd MP or two, and people thought oh well we are moving forward. But we are finding that now, not only do we have to get back to defend ourselves in Britain, we have to defend ourselves in Europe as well”.


I would like to say to any Labour Government that will come in, and I am sure that Labour will come into power, that when you go to Europe you have to do the reverse of what the Conservative Government is doing. You have to fight for your black citizens because when you fight for the most oppressed, when you fight for black people, you are fighting for working class people. You are fighting for people who are oppressed all around the country, because if black people are a1t the bottom of the ladder and if we can fight to get them to move one rung up the ladder then everyone above them also moves up one rung of the ladder apart from everything else. So I believe we will see a change in Britain. I believe that change will come only when a Labour Government is elected, and I hope that you will be there along with me fighting to ensure that we do have the return of a Labour Government. That we do see not only an end to the poverty and deprivation that persists, and an end to racism in all its forms. Thank you very much.”