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Thread: Racial Slur or Misunderstanding?

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Racial Slur or Misunderstanding?

    Racial Slur or Misunderstanding?

    In this feature, with the assistance of those at the eye of the storm, Martin revisits a cricketing controversy from 1995.

  2. #2
    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Fascinating article, fred. Must admit that the furore rather passed me by or at least hadn't snagged itself on some cormer of my memory. I was a student in 1995 tho, so my recollections of contemporaneous events may be slightly compromised by certain lifestyle choices.

    It's hard not to feel some sympathy for Frith but he was perhaps badly advised in publishing an article from a chap described in the article you linked to about his correspondence with Mr Blair as "a political writer". That the article was published by The Libertarian Alliance possibly betrays Mr Henderson's political leanings.
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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Prior to 'joining' Cricket Web, I spent several years being part of the same internet chat-room as Robert Henderson. From the start, he was keen to air his views about this and related matters, as well as his grievances about his treatment in 1995. I was equally keen to point out that his arguments, supposedly based on statistical analysis, we actually statistically flawed, as well as being morally dubious. Although he makes some fair points about qualification criteria for English sporting teams, any prolonged discussion made his political leanings clear enough. For instance black players are, by definition, not English. When pushed about whether this extended beyond guys who moved here at a young age to born & bred players such as Mark Butcher, he opined that the latter was disqualified due to 'duff parentage'.. For all his supposed love of free debate, intellectually strong arguments against his point of view were simply ignored. After a while, it became clear that I was better spending my time elsewhere.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post
    Prior to 'joining' Cricket Web, I spent several years being part of the same internet chat-room as Robert Henderson. From the start, he was keen to air his views about this and related matters, as well as his grievances about his treatment in 1995. I was equally keen to point out that his arguments, supposedly based on statistical analysis, we actually statistically flawed, as well as being morally dubious. Although he makes some fair points about qualification criteria for English sporting teams, any prolonged discussion made his political leanings clear enough. For instance black players are, by definition, not English. When pushed about whether this extended beyond guys who moved here at a young age to born & bred players such as Mark Butcher, he opined that the latter was disqualified due to 'duff parentage'.. For all his supposed love of free debate, intellectually strong arguments against his point of view were simply ignored. After a while, it became clear that I was better spending my time elsewhere.
    Wish now I'd spoken to you when I originally embarked on this, which was about three years ago!


  5. #5
    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    Wish now I'd spoken to you when I originally embarked on this, which was about three years ago!
    Happy to provide more info if you're interested. Maybe better done by email though. If any of the mods want to delete any potentially libelous parts of my previous post, I won't be offended.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Does your email addy begin dand?

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    Does your email addy begin dand?
    Yup. Feel free to drop me a line any time.

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    LOL your libel laws are so ****ed.
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    the odd case here or there doesn't prove a great deal. Didn't Singh win his case anyway?
    What about when other countries specifically make sure your laws are unenforceable in their own country? Surely that proves the balance isn't where most other countries think it should be.
    Last edited by silentstriker; 01-04-2012 at 09:44 PM.

  11. #11
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    AFAIK, those laws aren't really popular within UK either.

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    You don't believe that the thread of libel (and the heavy cost of defending it, plus the onus being on the defendant) creates an atmosphere where people might not say things that are true just because a more powerful entity can simply afford to sue them?

    I haven't seen polls in the UK, but I was under the impression they were unpopular. Happy to be corrected.

  13. #13
    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Robert Henderson has made the following comment - when I have a bit of time, and in order to be fair to him, I will post up the rest of it (my original draft with his comments) - the only reason I haven't done so now is because I need to reformat it in a way that makes it easier to read.

    Robert Henderson The belated and to me unannounced publication of Martin Chandler's Racial Slur or Misunderstanding? perpetuates factual inaccuracies and misrepresents my views. It will be interesting to see whether CricketWeb allow me to reply or whether they will do what all the mainstream media outlets have done since the publication of Is it in the blood? in July 1995, namely, allow me no opportunity to reply.

    Chandler contacted me in April 2010 to ask me to comment on his draft article. This I did together with supplying him with some other documents to support what I was saying and to fill in the background . A copy of the draft article with my comments interleaved within it (my comments are italicized with RH at the beginning and end of each comment) are below. From that document the reader may judge how honest Chandler has been in his re-writing of his draft following the receipt of my commentary. Chandler promised to come back to me in his last email to me of 7 May 2010. He never did.

    There are certain issues I will expand upon. The first is Chandler's attitude to Frith whom he represents as a victim who was merely offering me a platform for views he did not share. The truth is that Frith did share my concerns. Here is what he said in a letter to me in March 1994:

    \"Let me just assure you that I was one of the earliest to feel a sense of unease at the number of foreign players piling into the England XI. It\'s hard to separate oneself from the personal side of it all I know all of them - even the reclusive Caddick - and like them almost without exception. But the principle seems wrong, and I think that there has been some sort of dislocation in the national psyche. How can a true Englishman ever see this as his representative side despite all the chat about the commitment of the immigrant?\"

    I supplied Chandler with these details but instead of incorporating these into his published article to show Frith to be a liar he still goes along with the line that Frith did not share my views.

    Despite Frith's contemptible treatment of me through his refusal to publish my reply to the pages of abuse and criticism he published in the August 1995 WCM and his denial that he shared my views, I never criticised Frith until he published his autobiography Caught England Bowled Australia several years later. I did not criticise him because I was genuinely sorry about his loss of the WCM editorship. I just saw his as a weak man who had buckled before the storm. However, that changed with Frith's autobiography, because not only did he libel me and repeat his lie about not sharing my views, he produced this contemptible gem:

    "Robert Henderson, , the author (who had previously had letters published in the Sunday Telegraph and, this very month, in The Cricketer, was all but invisible and inaudible through all the uproar. It would have been so different had a leading and accessible writer penned the article. Instead, I, as editor, was taking a double blast, and the perception eventually became so ludicrously blurred that I was considered by some of the more careless as having been the actual author. The Telegraph Magazine later gave me a "Flying Duck Award" as Editor of the Year, stating that I "cast doubt on the patriotism of black and Asian England players" and that Wisden subsequently attracted a flurry of writs and had to pay out undisclosed damages to Devon Malcolm. I suggested they should publish a correction and apology for this particularly sloppy piece of journalism, and they did so two months later. I now wonder whether I should have pressed for compensation. P334.

    Frith not only knew the vast effort I had made without success to get a public voice in both the press and the broadcast media, but he himself had denied me the opportunity to make a public response. Despite that he wants to blame me for not being publicly invisible. You genuinely could not make it up.

    Frith did claim in a letter to me that he could not publish my response because he had been ordered not to by the WCM management. Here is Frith writing to me not long after the article was published viz: '...in view of the furore (an understatement) which has followed publication of your article in our July edition, I have been told by the management of Wisden that I should not accept anything further from you. I hardly needed telling,for the past fortnight has been probably the most difficult of my life.'

    What self-respecting editor would allow the owner of the paper to put such a bar on his freedom of action? Frith should have published and be damned or resigned. I did explain to him shortly after the article was published that if he played the pc game and apologized and pretended he did not believe what he believed it would do him no good, merely lead him to humiliate himself before getting the inevitable sack when those who held his job in their hands thought he had served their purpose. Sadly, he did not take my advice and suffered the as I predicted.

    The other issue directly relating to WCM which requires comment is the question of the libel actions. None of those who sued included me in their suits. You will find few libel cases in England in which the author of the alleged libel is not sued along with the publisher. They did not do so because I made it clear to Frith that if I was sued I would take the matter to the floor of the court. The fact that none of those suing was willing to take that risk tells you they had no confidence in their case. Unsurprising, because the PCA employed counsel rapidly advised DeFreitas and Malcom there was no libel. Why did WCM not fight the suits? Very simple. The owner of WCM John Paul Getty jnr was desperately trying to bury his sordid past by flashing his vast wealth in polite society including the world of cricket. Getty did not want to fight and win actions which would have gone against the prevailing climate of political correctness and queer his pitch with the upper echelons of English society. [Note to CricketWeb owner: no libel can exist in that statement because Getty is dead].

    The third and last issue is not directly related to WCM, although it ultimately derives from it. For reasons only they can explain, Tony and Cherie Blair tried during the 1997 General Election campaign to have me prosecuted for malicious communications and assault by sending them letters (I kid you not). There was so little substance to their complaints that the police never attempted to interview me and the CPS ruled that no crime existed on the same day the papers were sent to them. Despite that, I was then made the subject of surveillance by Special Branch (definitely) and MI5 (probably) for the period of Blair?s premiership. During that time I received death threats, underwent a protracted internet campaign inciting violence against me and had my post routinely interfered with. When I reported these matters to the police no meaningful investigation was undertaken. My experience is summarised neatly in the Early Day Motion put down by Sir Richard Body:

    CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD 10:11:99

    Sir Richard Body

    That this House regrets that the Right honourable Member for Sedgefield [Tony Blair] attempted to persuade the Metropolitan Police to bring criminal charges against Robert Henderson, concerning the Right honourable Member?s complaints to the police of an offence against the person, malicious letters and racial insult arising from letters Robert Henderson had written to the Right honourable Member complaining about various instances of publicly-reported racism involving the Labour Party; and that, after the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaints of the Right honourable Member and the Right honourable Member failed to take any civil action against Robert Henderson, Special Branch were employed to spy upon Robert Henderson, notwithstanding that Robert Henderson had been officially cleared of any illegal action.

    This motion is now part of the official House of Commons record.
    Early day motion 1008 - CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD - UK Parliament

    Those wishing to know more about the my battle with the Blairs should go to When Tony and Cherie Blair tried to have me jailed Living In A Madhouse

    The behavior of the Blairs,, the response of the police to my complaints of death threats and incitement to violence and the resolute determination of the mainstream media not to touch the story should every person in Britain. As the Leveller John Lilburne said over and over ?What they do to me today they may do to you tomorrow.?

    I will leave you with one question: why are people so terrified of allowing me a public voice? After all, I am just one person with no power, wealth or influence, so of what are those who do have power, wealth and influence afraid?

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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    Robert Henderson The belated and to me unannounced publication of Martin Chandler's Racial Slur or Misunderstanding? perpetuates factual inaccuracies and misrepresents my views. It will be interesting to see whether CricketWeb allow me to reply or whether they will do what all the mainstream media outlets have done since the publication of Is it in the blood? in July 1995, namely, allow me no opportunity to reply.
    I haven't read any further than that (although I definitely will), but why not encourage him to join the forum if he's so worried about you not passing on his views? That way he could just.. post them...
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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    **** me gently. Bitter much?

    Imagine he's great fun at parties.

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