Police investigate Tory councillor after comments broadcast on YouTube

The Leicester Mercury reports:

Police are investigating remarks made by a councillor at a meeting to discuss plans for a travellers’ site.

Robert Fraser, county councillor for Groby and Ratby, said Romanians would “stick a knife in you as soon as look at you”, and that some Europeans “make the Irish look like complete amateurs”.

Travellers’ spokesman, Alfred Kefford, said he was outraged by the Conservative councillor’s “racist” comments.

He heard them after footage of the meeting was posted on video website YouTube. He complained to the police.

Today, Coun Fraser, a former county council member for equality, apologised and said he regretted the “spur-of-the-moment” remarks…

Mr Kefford, chairman of the Leicester Gipsy Council Liaison Group, said: “I’m appalled, shocked and disgusted at these comments.

“They are racist. A lot of damage has been done and seeing these comments on YouTube, of all places, is very, very hurtful.

“If they were directed at any other ethnic group, there would be a public outcry.

“We are trying hard to break down barriers between the gipsy community and the public, and things like this certainly do not help.

Conservative MP Stephen Dorrell, who was also at the meeting, has denied the comments were racist:

I don’t think it’s racist because I don’t think that Romanians are a race of people. The comments are anti-Romanian.

He also said:

I don’t think what he said should necessarily lead to his resignation, but his words were extremely unwise and plain wrong in my view.

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  • There is a lot of confusion about ‘race’, which if the quote from Stephen Dorrell is correct he seems to share. In the dim and distant days when I studied anthropology it was generally accepted that there were only five racial groups: any sub-groups would be what we today tend to refer to as ethnic groups. Thus the Roma are not a race, the Jews are not a race, Arabs are not a race, etc. But to suggest, as Stephen Dorrell does, apparently, that you cannot therefore be racist by making derogatory remarks about ethnic groups seems to me to be employing language in an overly-pedantic way.

  • The word Roma doesnt exist! They are gipsies! Dont confuse Roma and Romanians!

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