Take the knee

Why do those who abuse Priti Patel get a free pass?

Remember when Labour MP Clive Lewis got into trouble for saying, ‘On your knees, bitch’? It was at a fringe event hosted by Momentum during the Labour conference in Brighton in 2017. Lewis uttered the line as a joke to the actress Sam Swann. People went nuts. Labour bigwigs accused Lewis of misogyny. He eventually ‘apologised unreservedly’ for his ‘offensive’ language. That phrase — ‘On your knees, bitch’ — sprung back into my mind this week as I read an exchange between Alastair Campbell and Priti Patel. No, Campbell did not use the B-word. He is far too civilised for that. But he did tell Patel to get on her

Taking the knee isn’t the best way of showing black lives matter

As a black football fan who grew up going to matches in the seventies and eighties, I know more than most about the beautiful game’s troubles with racism. I can still remember my own club West Ham United being the first English Football League side to select three black players in their starting team on Easter Saturday 1972; and I can still recall, for two seasons in a row, a particular section of fans in the old west side stand ‘Sieg Heil’ saluting during every home game. Nowadays, racism in football is less obvious but it still exists – and it needs to be called out. But I’m convinced that

Are England fans allowed to be proud of the St George’s Cross?

It’s starting to feel like the only flag you can’t fly in England is the England flag. Wave the Pride flag out of your living room window and your neighbours will gush. In fact, flying the Pride flag is practically mandatory in June, Pride month. Every town hall, school, bank and social-media site is draped in the rainbow colours. Such is the omnipresence of the Pride flag that it is actual headline news when someone refuses to wave it. For the second year running, Ockbrook and Borrowash Parish Council in Derbyshire has decided not to fly the Pride colours. The BBC was on this bizarre case pronto. ‘Anger as Pride

France is divided on ‘taking the knee’

Until this month ‘taking a knee’ has not been a French phenomenon. When the Black Lives Matter movement spilled out of America twelve months ago and spread across the world, France was one of the few Western nations where it failed to make any headway. In a bold television address at the time, Emmanuel Macron declared that there would be no statues toppled in France. Meanwhile, the leader of the far-left France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, rubbished the idea of ‘white privilege’. The French looked on in bemusement as Britain seemed to lose the collective plot, hauling down statues, denigrating Churchill and then, when the rugby and football seasons started, dropping to their