People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said,
“DUP MP Gregory Campbell’s comments regarding the BBC programme Songs of Praise is despicable dog-whistle racism.
Campbell and his colleagues are consciously modeling their racist appeals on former US President Donald Trump and the far-right.
Campbell’s racism must be viewed in the context of increased hate crimes and the arson attack on the Belfast MultiCultural Centre. This is about consciously stirring people up against people of colour at the heart of our communities and giving encouragement to bigots.
Campbell’s remarks also need to be understood in the context of the PSNI crackdown on Black Lives Matter protests. This discriminatory police crackdown was backed to the hilt by the DUP and all the Executive parties – nationalist, unionist and Alliance. There is no doubt this has legitimised racist attacks. It has also emboldened Campbell and others like him to spew their racist nonsense.
The DUP is desperate to deflect from its central role in the Stormont Executive’s collective responsibility for a year of calamitous policies. Racism and sectarian bigotry are its default response when they come under pressure.
We are fully supportive of the North West Migrants Forum and the BAME Community call for Campbell to be held accountable for his remarks.
If the DUP was serious about tackling racism and discrimination they’d put him out. That won’t happen. The House of Commons should bar him – but much of the Westminster establishment indulges in same kind of race-baiting Campbell is seeking to exploit.
It’s up to everyone who considers themselves progressive to push back against racism in our communities. We need to fight for a welcoming, diverse and tolerant society. We can’t allow Campbell to undermine the kind of unity we need to strengthen workers rights, save the health service and protect the vulnerable in our communities.”