Artillery Row

Charity boss fired after criticising Black Lives Matter

Nick Buckley was sacked from the organisation he founded nine years ago

An award-winning charity boss who prevented thousands of young people joining gangs has been sacked after he criticised Black Lives Matter.

Nick Buckley, MBE, founded Mancunian Way after Manchester City Council made him redundant in 2011.

Buckley decided to continue the work he’d done for the council by helping young people escape gang culture. He ploughed his redundancy money into the charity and for the first two years worked for free.

But after a blog post he wrote on Medium, in which he described BLM as ‘post-modern, neo-Marxists” who were “call[ing] for the destruction of Western Democracy and our way of life,.’  he was sacked by his charity’s trustees.

In the article the 52-year-old started by saying: “Of course black lives matter. Let’s get this obvious point over and done with at the beginning”, but went on to criticise the political agenda of the organisation BLM which sought to repudiate the values expressed by Martin Luther King:

‘We have spent the last 70 years trying to move away from seeing the innate differences in people and trying to see only the character of the individual and judging them on their actions. It is the Martin Luther King way. It is the right way.’

Mr. Buckley, who is from Longsight in south Manchester, said in the nine years they had been operating, Mancunian Way had brought 12 cases of child sex exploitation to the police, including a 12-year-old girl who was being sexually abused by dozens of men. Those helped by Mancunian Way also include thousands of black and asian young people.

His team of 20 encourage young drug-dealers to quit, by pointing out how little they are earning compared to the risks involved. He told The Critic: ‘We sit them down and get them to work out their hourly pay running drugs. Often it works out at less than £3 an hour. They realise they’d be making more money, and be in less danger if they were stacking shelves in Asda. They hadn’t done the maths before.’

Buckley says he does not bear a grudge towards the charity trustees who “panicked” when the backlash against his article started. He describes them as “lovely people”, and says he does not see himself as a victim.

According to the Mail on Sunday it started when Reece Williams, a poet who works for a mental health charity in Manchester, wrote on Mr Buckley’s LinkedIn page: “Please know that we will be doing everything in our power to have you removed from your position. Expect us.”

Days later, a petition calling for him to be fired was posted on Change.org by Karlet Manning, who also works for a mental health charity. The petition, which received just 465 signatures, claimed he had “undermine[d] the Black Lives Matter movement whilst working in a diverse community” and said his views were “inappropriate” and “insensitive”. Those signing it went further, with ‘racial equality campaigner’ Marilyn Comrie commenting that he was “a white supremacist who should not be working with BAME youth”.

The row moved to social media where his article was shared widely by left-wing campaigners. After Mr Buckley was informed via email that he had been sacked the word ‘victory’ was added to the Change.org petition page with an image of a red flag.

Buckley said he felt compelled to speak out against BLM because of the damage it would do to his work. ‘How,’ he asked, ‘can we persuade vulnerable black youngsters to get a job rather than join a gang if they’re being taught that the whole society is out to get them? I believe I’ve helped more people from taking this course of action than if I’d taken the knee. Organisations like Black Lives Matter are damaging the next generation and people like me will be left to pick up the pieces.’

The ex-charity boss received an MBE in recognition of his dedication to the local community in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list. Mancunian Way has also received several awards including one in 2015 from Greater Manchester Police for helping to keep the city safe.

A former trustee of the charity, Mike Smith, has set up a petition to have Nick Buckley reinstated. It currently has over 12,000 signatures.

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