No. 10 knows its gaslighting report on race discrimination is divisive – and continued with it all the same

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Everyone who knows anything about politics knows that the government's new report on race discrimination that dismisses the idea that there is institutional race discrimination in the UK was pre-determined to deliver that outcome.

The PM's adviser, Munira Mirza, who chose the Commission that prepared this report has said she does not think that there is institutional racism, but that there is a culture of grievance instead.

Tony Sewell, who headed the Commission, is known to share that view.

It's the outcome the Mail wanted, of course.

But there is a problem. No. 10 knows it is not true. That's because its own senior race advisor has been saying so, and quit on the day the report was issued. As Politico reports this morning:

Boris Johnson’s most senior Black adviser has resigned, Playbook can reveal. Samuel Kasumu, who is No. 10’s special adviser for civil society and communities, informed colleagues of his decision yesterday morning – just as the government released its controversial report on race and ethnic disparities.

As they note, Kasumu had the job within Downing Street of reaching out to ethnic minority communities and played a key role in this week’s Lenny Henry vaccination campaign encouraging Black Britons to get their shot. He had, however, been suffering “unbearable” tensions within No. 10, believing the government was pursuing “a politics steeped in division.”

It did not take a rocket scientist to work that out. It has taken courage to say so, and act.

This government is pursuing a brand of politics steeped in division. It is trying to foment that division. It wants to divide and rule. It believes it can do that. A supine Opposition lets it get away with it.

And in the meantime real lives are impacted, the hurt runs deep, and the knowledge that it is being willfully inflicted will add to the anger.

It is very hard to imagine policy more callous, more stupid, more designed to break down society and more intent on creating lasting harm than this. But that's the type of government we have. And I will say so whilst I can, in the expectation that one day I may not be able to do so.