Rod Liddle

The scoundrel’s last refuge is to cry “racist”

The scoundrel's last refuge is to cry "racist"
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During the feisty game between Swindon and Millwall on Saturday, there was a bit of a bust up between Swindon’s Kevin Amankwaah and Millwall’s veteran striker, Neil “Bomber” Harris. I cannot recall seeing Harris so infuriated in ten years of watching him play. Afterwards, all became clear. Harris fought a long and well-reported battle against testicular cancer several years ago. He told a local newspaper that Amankwaah had sneered at him because of this, making a reference to the fact he possessed only one testicle. Amankwaah, by way of response, lied – he denied saying any such thing. But something happened at Swindon; maybe Amankwaah’s colleagues rounded on him. Because a day later the defender apologized for saying a very nasty thing which had been said “in the heat of the moment, emotions running high”. It was a bit of a mealy-mouthed apology and did not placate even Swindon’s supporters, who bombarded their local newspaper with condemnatory blogs. So, what did Amankwaah say next? Come on, you can guess. It used to be patriotism that was the last refuge of a scoundrel – not any more.

Yes - Amankwaah claimed that he had been racially abused and implied it had been by Harris. I dunno what Bomber said to him out there on the pitch – maybe, when the ball went out of play, he approached Amankwaah and whispered in his ear that he thought Mary Seacole was a useless nurse and wasn’t even black. Certainly Harris denies outright any form of racial abuse, and he has never been accused of such a thing in the past. But an allegation of racism changes everything – and remember, according to British law now, if someone makes an allegation of racism then it is de facto true, rather than the last recourse of some lying thug.