The month started with me bringing back my staff from furlough, so the multi award winning charity I founded 9 years ago could get back on the streets to support young people to make positive informed choices that improve their own lives now, and into the future. I had assessed the financial impact of Covid-19 on the charity, which had been significant, with the cancellation of contracts, loss of grants and fundraising events unable to proceed.
I was fairly pleased with myself that even during a world pandemic, I had led the charity to financial stability where we could easily survive Covid-19. We guaranteed all staff 100% wages while on furlough, including self-employed staff, because it was the right thing to do.
Then suddenly the world went crazy with the brutal killing of a man 4000 miles away in the USA.
People shouted ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the whole of the UK came together to condemn and express shock at the level of police brutality we witnessed. The UK was shocked, saddened and upset at the sight of a man begging for his life before he collapsed into unconsciousness and died.
People of all skin tones came onto the streets of UK cities to show solidarity, but almost immediately the solidarity turned into self-flagellation, as a small but vocal ‘Social Justice Warrior’ class proclaimed that the UK is a racist country, that all white people are privileged and all minorities are persecuted.
This caught my attention and I asked myself ‘Who are BLM?’. Within seconds I was on the internet and reading their website. I was shocked. It was so radically far left that even Jeremy Corbyn would struggle to support all the aims and objectives: defund the police, overthrow capitalism and disrupt the nuclear family. It was a neo-Marxist, anarchist, political agenda. They were not hiding their aims, they were not shy about their Marxist beliefs, they put it all on their website for the world to read.
Luckily for them, the UK only has a limited amount of wifi data per month and unfortunately in June 2020 we had run out of data because of constant Covid-19 internet searches. We were all waiting for July when our monthly allotment of data would be renewed so we could checkout BLM. Isn’t it always the case that you run out of data at the most inconvenient times!
The infamous ‘largely peaceful protests’ in London that led to 27 police officers being injured gave me a glimpse of things to come. I decided to write a blog on BLM to explain who they are, what they want, and why marching under their banner would only offer support to a movement that wants to destroy everything we have built through as a community. This, to repeat, is their openly proclaimed goal.
I wrote the blog not to express a personal opinion, but because I have dedicated the last two decades to improving the lives of working class young people. I set up a charity using my own redundancy money and savings. I could not stand by and watch the next generation of young people be brainwashed into thinking that their country is inherently racist, that systems are constructed to make them fail, and that the police are out to kill them. This goes against everything the charity stands for, and more importantly, goes against everything that we know to be true. A positive attitude, hard work and personal responsibility is the key to success in the UK today. Guaranteed. I see it every day while supporting young people to succeed. I don’t know what other people see, but I can be fairly sure they don’t see the young and struggling young people I see every day.
I decided to publish my blog and only advertise it on LinkedIn, as you can expect a better level of discussion. Not everyone agreed with my blog and some people commented to inform me of the fact they disagreed. Comments were respectful, but not one person challenged any of my points or facts. A handful of people emailed me privately to say they totally agreed with my blog, but could not state this publicly due to fear of professional repercussions. How little did I know that their fear was completely genuine and I should have taken note.
I grieved. Nine years of hard work was vaporised and my reputation was destroyed
After a week with only a dozen comments, I had forgotten about the blog and was spending most of my time designing a new mentoring scheme for young people.
I had purposely kept the blog off Twitter for obvious reasons, but unknown to me it had been shared with the Twitterati and we all know that Twitter will have its say. Within a few days an online petition was launched to have me removed as CEO of the charity I set up and spent twenty years of my life building. A corporate supporter withdrew funding, as they were fully behind BLM, the trustees panicked and my contract was terminated on 15th June 2020.
It would be easy for me to criticise the trustees and attack them, but I will not. They are lovely decent people. I invited them to be trustees, and we were close friends up to three weeks ago. We are still all the same individuals we were three weeks ago, none of us have changed. The only difference is we disagree on one issue. They were not up for a fight when the smears came.
I grieved. Nine years of hard work vaporised, my reputation destroyed, I felt all alone and was back at the beginning as an unemployed kid off a council estate.
After a week I heard from an old friend. A little voice inside began to speak; stand up, brush yourself down, take responsibility for your actions, reject any sense of pity or victimhood and for God’s sake fight back like a man. I have told 1000s of young people that life is not fair, bad things happen to good people, that every situation offers new opportunities and never treat yourself as a victim. It was time to take my own advice.
I started to think about a fight back. Then there was a knock on my front door and a reporter from the Mail On Sunday smiled at me. Sometimes in life the pieces fall in your favour. We chatted about my recent popularity on Twitter and the following termination of contract from the charity I founded. It felt so good to get everything off my chest and defend myself against ‘The Mob’.
On the same day, I received a phone call from a former trustee at my now former charity who was appalled at the whole situation. He asked if he could start a petition to have me reinstated. I agreed.
The Mail On Sunday article hit the shelves on 28th June and my social media exploded with support, love and offers of help. After two weeks of negativity and abuse, the real voice of the UK was heard and 1000s of people stood by my side. I was overwhelmed and will be eternally grateful for every single person. I received 100s of personal messages; job offers, financial support offers and simple messages stating I had done the correct thing and thanking me. The hate mob did not comment, did not respond and did not defend their views. We had silenced them. We showed the country that cowards will not fight back when they are outnumbered. 400 people signed the petition against me, over 15,000 people signed the petition in my support.
Within a few days of my story hitting the web, the cracks began to appear in BLM UK, as they casually attacked Jews. Sir Keir Starmer got off his knee to explain that he did not support the BLM political agenda of defunding the police. The BBC issued a statement informing staff not to wear BLM badges on air as the movement had been hijacked – by its founders! The Premier League rushed out a statement explaining that it did not support the aims of BLM, was only trying to highlight racism and had completely forgot about their own antiracist campaign ‘Kick It Out’. The FA also confirmed it would be backtracking. Many current and former footballers should be praised for standing up and speaking for themselves.
The cracks are now there and will widen as more companies slowly, extremely quietly, start to back away from BLM, as more of the general public begin to wake up and speak up. Courting a popular cause may have short term financial benefits, but when it implodes and you are associated with antisemitism, fascism, lunacy and the anger of the British people, then you need to look at your organisation’s senior management and re-evaluate your mission statement. Bandwagons are dangerous when you hit rocky ground.
Of course it’s a coincidence that these cracks started in the wake of my story. But I do hope that my lonely refusal to be cowed did add a little extra pressure, more scrutiny, press attention and social media exposure. I am proud and happy that I did not bail. I know it takes courage to do this when the denunciations come, but ignore them when they’re not made in good faith. The truth is a great shield and the public are ultimately fair.
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