Courting the Racists?

‘Black Lives Matter’ is a response to racial inequality, ‘White Lives Matter’ is the name of an American neo-nazi group, and the phrase is unashamedly racist, and white supremacist. Photo by Tees Valley Monitor
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A racist flag on Eston Nab, Redcar and Cleveland has now been taken down ‘voluntarily’ and replaced.
A triumph of diplomacy?
Not exactly.

The St George’s flag with the ‘white lives matter’ slogan on it has been removed from Eston Nab to be replaced by a fresh one.

Who did that?

And what prompted them to do so?

Councillor Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council issued a statement on 22 July claiming that the council was “… in dialogue with a number of people and partners in the area to find a long term solution to issues surrounding the flying of various flags at the site.”

At the time, Tees Valley Monitor asked Lanigan whether these ‘partners’ included those who had put up the flag on the Nab in the first place.

They received no reply.

Tees Valley Monitor was concerned that the group who claimed that the flag was a memorial to murdered soldier Lee Rigby, was being treated as a stakeholder rather than a nuisance.

They also pointed out that any condemnation of the racist slogan and those who put it on the Nab was conspicuous by its absence from Lanigan’s statement.

The news, on 24 July, that the flag had been replaced appears to bear out these suspicions.

As the flag was replaced on the evening of 23 July, it could not have been in response to the negative press coverage in the Northern Echo and the Gazette the following day.

Was it as a result of the council’s ‘dialogue’ with its ‘partners’?

Lanigan is quoted in the Gazette as saying that the flag had been removed ‘voluntarily’, but did this include an agreement that another flag would be put up?

The ‘memorial to Lee Rigby’ has been restored, it appears. Except the presence of a flag without graffiti does not eliminate the manipulation of Lee Rigby’s memory by some people promoting white supremacist agenda.

The apparent negotiation with the council over this, cements the Nab as a personal billboard, used for advertising other right wing and white supremacist causes as they see fit (as they also did with protests there in support of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a.k.a. Tommy Robinson).

From the day it was installed in 2013, this has been nothing other than a insult to the soldier’s memory. The installation of a new flag, apparently with the blessing of the leader of the council, certainly with no condemnation, simply adds to that insult.

This episode is a stain on Redcar’s reputation and it is time that Cllr Lanigan took some responsibility and have council officers take the flag and flagpole down, then take a leaf out of Bristol City Council’s book by asking those who installed it to foot the cost of its removal.

Councillor Lanigan also needs, publicly and unequivocally, to distance herself from extremists and to commit to keeping the racists out.

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