Munira Mirza – “Spiking” the Race Inequality Commission

Munira Mirza

This week’s matrix analysis begins, like many a journalistic tragedy/farce, with Brendan O’Neill. On 16/06/20 he published an article in The Spectator defending Priti Patel and Munira Mirza. They had both received criticism for their responses to the BLM movement and recent debates about the defacement/removal of statues of historical figures. As we shall see below, Mirza has been repeatedly challenged in the past for her comments around race and racism. According to Brendan this is because, “Nothing winds up the woke set more than an ethnic-minority person who refuses to sing from their hymn sheet.” He does qualify his praise of Mirza by stating, “For the record, I know Mirza and she has written for my magazine, Spiked!” This article is about the establishment connections Mirza and O’Neill fail to mention, for the record.

Let us pause and reflect on the term “woke” in its’ original sense, and ponder its use here by Brendan as a sneering slur. To be “woke” is to be “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)” . Surely no matter how we perceive its use or misuse, we can all agree being aware of, and attentive to, such issues should not be considered worthy of derision? Her apparent opposition to such approaches is why there has been such consternation caused by the appointment of Munira Mirza to lead the preliminary stages of a governmental race inequality commission.

We should point out here that we, like Brendan, are both white males and are therefore acutely aware of the privileges we enjoy, and in no way seek to invalidate or erase the experiences of those referred to in this article.

Brendan states:

“The fury over Mirza’s role stems from the fact that she has dared to question the contemporary left’s view of racism. She doesn’t believe Britain is an institutionally racist country. She is critical of the ‘culture of grievance’ that encourages ethnic-minority groups to conceive of themselves as permanent victims being held back by unassailable structures of hatred and prejudice.”

So if we are to believe Brendan, the criticism Mirza has faced is because she does not conform to the Left-wing/“woke” interpretation of recent events. It is because “she does not believe Britain to be an institutionally racist country”. What this means, to us anyway, is that either Mirza is unaware and inattentive to the racial issues of the UK, which seems unlikely, or that she is aware and attentive to these issues but does not believe them to be significant.

The Guardian describes several incidences in which Mirza has “refused to bow to received wisdom” concerning accusations of institutional (and incumbent Prime Ministerial) racism. She also contested David Lammy’s report into the experience of BAME people within the UK criminal Justice system. This was published in Spiked! Online, the Editor of which is…Brendan O’Neill. This regular engagement with, and commenting on, issues of race in the UK would certainly suggest she is not unaware or inattentive to the national discussion!

The connection between Brendan and Mirza goes deeper. If you refer back to our previous post about Brendan you can see some of his, and Spiked! Online’s other connections to the establishment, including the Koch brothers. In this post we will focus on Munira Mirza and other members of the now defunct (possibly in name only) Revolutionary Communist Party, and analyse the infiltration of their “Libertarian” principles into the upper echelons of the UK establishment.

MUNIRA MIRZA

An advertisement for sex parties for elite couples (single women also welcome…entry is not guaranteed!). The parties were once run by Munira Mirza’s partner (and now Strategist and Opposition Researcher for the Conservative Government) Dougie Smith. Image courtesy of the Daily Mirror

Munira Mirza, educated at Oxford, is currently Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit, reporting directly to Boris Johnson. She previously worked for Johnson as Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture and is now in charge of the government’s new Inequality Commission.

She has contributed papers to the Institute of Ideas think-tank, as well as to Spiked! and Rising East. Mirza co-founded the Manifesto Club, a libertarian/ anti environmentalist organisation, with Brendan O’Neill and Frank Furedi.

She is a former employee of Policy Exchange think-tank. This organisation was founded by Frances Maude and Archie Norman, the current director is Nicholas Boles. (For further info see our previous article on Contact Tracing) Archie Norman is a former chairman of ITV plc, and was formerly an MP, holding the (dubious) record of being the only person to be both an MP and Chairman of a FTSE 100 Company simultaneously.

Policy Exchange shared offices with Cchange (2001-2007) a sister think-tank whose former board members include Boles, Maude, Norman, Theresa May and Colin Barrow. Both Barrow and Boles are also linked to Localis, a think-tank mentioned last week in relation to current Chief Strategy Advisor at No. 10, Ed Lister.

Dougie Smith, Mirza’s husband, was a co-ordinator for the Cchange think-tank. He is also a former speechwriter for former PM David Cameron. Smith has served as the Head of Political Selection at Conservative Intelligence, a private firm that conducts political research for the Conservative Party. Former guest speakers at CI events include: Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Theresa May. He now reports to Dominic Cummings and Ed Lister in his new role as a” strategist and opposition researcher” for Boris Johnson’s PM office.

Dougie Smith is also a co-founder of “Fever Parties”, a company offering high-end sex parties for couples in London. This reminder of Berlusconi’s ‘Bunga-Bunga’ parties nicely symbolises the avarice and appetites at the heart of this government. The current Tory cabinet are certainly Libertines if not Libertarians. Boris is the walking embodiment of the Id, a truly psycho-sexual Prime Minister, he and his colleagues’ sole imperative to satisfy the primal urges of the privileged: Power, Status. Wealth.

Smith was unrepentant about the nature of these parties when the story broke. “Fortunately we’re living in the 21st century and even naturally censorious people tend to feel slightly self-conscious about wagging their fingers at what consenting adults do behind closed doors.”

We do, indeed, live in the 21st century – the era of Me Too – and would suggests that many people will be uncomfortable about parties described by the Daily Mirror as:

“exclusive house parties for good looking couples under 40 years of age.” (official quote from Fever)

To attend one of the parties, couples would have to submit photographs and pay £50 to cover costs.

Single women were also permitted to attend the parties, but the site warned “entry is not guaranteed.”

We can only speculate on the criteria that would be applied to determine whether single women would be allowed entry to one of Dougie Smith’s parties – and why the same opportunity wasn’t afforded to single men. It raises the spectre of exploitation of young women by those with wealth and power and we would hazard thar many voters (not merely “naturally censorious” ones) would despair that someone involved in facilitating this plays an unelected role in government.

This is also a stark reminder of the infamous Presidents Club Charitable Trust fundraising dinner, where female hostesses were repeatedly subjected to lewd comments and inappropriate physical contact from the exclusively male guestlist. One of the prizes was lunch with then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson according to the Financial Times, who broke the story. Attendees included then Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families (and current Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry) Nadhim Zahawi.

REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNIST PARTY

A characteristically “revolutionary” article by Brendan O’Neill – in this case lamenting a mildly revolutionary act

Munira Mirza, like Brendan O’Neill, is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party.   A key part of the RCP’s activism was to publish a periodical called “Living Marxism” which folded due to legal action over the accuracy of reporting during the Balkan War. Many of the editorial team and contributors of LM and the RCP went on to found Koch-sponsored alternative political magazine Spiked. Listed below are former RCP members and LM affiliates who continue to have a notable profile in contemporary public discourse:

Mick Hume was a journalist for Murdoch owned The Times and The Sun. He was launch editor and now editor at large of Spiked!.

Claire Fox established Libertarian think-tank Academy of Ideas/ Institute of Ideas. She was also an MEP for the Brexit party. Her sister Fiona Fox is Director of think-tank Science Media Centre. She was criticised for supporting the IRA bombing campaign on mainland Britain but has since been made a peer in the House of Lords, an honour bestowed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

James Heartfield – Also a Spiked! Contributor.  Stood as a Brexit party candidate. Married to Eve Kay-Kreizman who is a TV producer. Worked on Against Nature on Channel 4, a 1997 documentary critical of the environmental movement.

Martin Durkin is a TV producer and director. Managing Director of WAG TV. Programmes include the Great Global Warming Swindle (2007) and Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story (2008)

Frank Furedi founded the RCP and is now a Director and contributor to Spiked! as well as a major shareholder with Jennie Bristow. He and Bristow had a joint book published by Civitas (another 55 Tufton street think-tank from our earlier article).

Jennie Bristow is a former Daily Telegraph and current Spiked Contributor and major shareholder.

Keith Teare is another Spiked! contributor but also founded several internet ventures including Cyberia, Easynet and Accelerated Digital Ventures Ltd, all of which have employed former RCP members. Cyberia is a cyber security consultancy. Easynet is a “managed service provider” (whatever that is!) and Accelerated Digital Ventures is an investor in tech companies.

Helene Guldberg is a co-founder and managing director of Spiked!. She has previously been a Director of Journalism Education Ltd which in turn manages the Young Journalists Academy and Young Academies Group. The YJA is a “unique programme aimed at inspiring and training the newsmakers of tomorrow”  and is endorsed on its website by BBC Journalist Richard Lawson and Daniel Finkelstein of the Times. Finkelstein is a former Chairman of Policy Exchange and Conservative MP. Finkelstein also founded Social Market Foundation, a think-tank located at 11 Tufton Street.

For more information regarding RCP infiltration into the science and research spheres of the UK establishment George Monbiot provides this essential article from 2003.

Conclusion

Spiked! proudly brands itself as a “publication fond of puncturing all manner of ideological balloons — fearless in challenging orthodoxy and fighting for free speech”. Strangely, for a journal so intent on laughing at ideology, Spiked! and its contributors spread a consistent right-wing message – hostile to environmentalism, identity politics and campaigns to redistribute wealth.

Predictably, given their close association with the billionaire Koch brothers and the incumbent UK government, Spiked! and associated persons produce articles generally supportive of the current Conservative government, albeit couched in the “revolutionary” language of the RCP – such as Brendan O’Neill’s outrageous Spectator article (analysed here) claiming that Boris Johnson’s ultra-wealthy Brexit government are fighting back the tide of elitism!

The role of this group is particularly insidious in the case of Munira Mirza’s appointment to lead the government’s race inequality commission. The fact that someone who has previously denied the existence of systemic racism will now lead an inquiry into systemic racism is beyond satire – but Munira’s matrix of connections among high-ranking media figures like Brendan O’Neill ensure enough favourable media coverage for the charade to proceed.

Thousands of Black Lives Matter protestors took to the streets in a spontaneous democratic eruption earlier this month. Government, business and media collusion has, as ever, safely put the lid back on the threat of a genuine democracy which addresses the needs and concerns of the masses.

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