Senior diplomat arrested for losing it with “fucking Jews”

Rowan Laxton

Rowan Laxton

The Times:

“News reports today said that Rowan Laxton, 47, allegedly shouted “f***ing Israelis, f***ing Jews” while watching television reports of the Israeli attack on Gaza last month.”

He is – remains – a senior diplomat in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. But who’s going to take him seriously now?

David T adds to a piece by Brett on Harry’s Place:

“This is a HUGELY serious matter. Rowan Laxton is responsible for foreign policy is South Asia: i.e. in Pakistan and India. The Evening Standard reports:

Mr Laxton is still working as normal as head of the South Asia Group at the Foreign Office. He is responsible for all the UK’s diplomacy in that area and for briefing Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who is Jewish.”

Sid on Pickled Politics:

“I think this is far more serious than Carol Thatcher’s “golliwog” comment.

When discussions on PP turns to matters in Zimbabwe, as they sometimes do, I am yet to hear anyone making a comment on the lines of “Mugabe, that fucking n****r!”. And if there were, I am pretty sure that the outrage would be universal and correct from commenters across the board, as it should be. But it is now commonplace to see racist material against Israeli leaders or Jewish people whenever the discussion has turned to the I/P affair, as it often has in the last 2 months.”

Joshua Rozenberg on the application of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act.

Update 28/02 – The FCO has suspended him pending disciplinary.

UCU NEC Elections

Ballot papers for the NEC elections in the UCU will be dropping into members’ in trays in the next few days. Below we reproduce advice from a group of independent NEC members – sometimes known as the ‘unity network.’ This group provides the best hope of redirecting the union towards genuine representation of its members.

We think this is good advice for those who wish to curb the control of the union by the pro-boycott slate put forward by SWP/UCUleft.

(In the election for president, whilst both Terry Hoad and Stephen Desmond are opponents of a boycott of Israeli universities, Stephen has been a very clear and outspoken voice on the NEC, and for this reason we think he deserves your first preference, with second preferences going to Terry. We reprint the recommendations of the unity network unchanged and in full below, and trust you to make up your own minds).

We will publish candidates responses to questions from Engage in a separate post. Please vote, encourage your colleagues to vote, and pass on this message.

Dear Friends,

Please find below a list of recommendations for the current round of UCU elections. The list is a recommendation, designed to maximise the number of seats these candidates can win: if you have your own preferences please follow them but continue preferences for these candidates. The candidates listed below all strongly support the position that the priorities for UCU must be to put workplace and industrial issues to the forefront of the agenda. Unlike others in the election, all of the candidates below were free to write their own manifestoes and set out their priorities directly to you, the members. All are free to vote on their own platform and will vote in the NEC according to the arguments made on issues, not according to policy decisions determined in external bodies to stifle debate in the NEC.

While voting may seem a laborious process, we would strongly encourage you to vote this year, as the NEC more than any other body sets the direction which the Union takes. Please exercise the preferences to cover all those in the list: the first two years have proven that transfers and fractions of votes are vital in the election. In addition, please resist the urge to only vote in sector-specific elections.

Also please forward this list to as many colleagues and UCU members as possible encouraging them to vote through unofficial e-mail lists, research lists etc (NB: UNLESS IT HAS BEEN SANCTIONED THROUGH COMMITTEES OR GENERAL MEETINGS, PLEASE DO NOT USE BRANCH MEMBER LISTS AS CANDIDATES HAVE BEEN WARNED ABOUT THIS). Voting does make a difference in this election as there are vast differences between candidates as to what the union’s priorities and directions should be.

Vice-president from the higher education sector

  • Terry Hoad (University of Oxford) # 1
  • Stephen Desmond (Thames Valley University)# 2

Honorary Treasurer

  • Alan Carr (Open University) #1
  • Fawzi Ibrahim (College of North West London) # 2

North West, higher education sector (2 seats)

Recommend that those in University of Manchester, Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University vote Dobson(1), Brooks (2), Other NW members vote Brooks (1) Dobson (2)

  • Roger Brooks (University of Liverpool)
  • John Dobson (University of Salford)

South, higher education sector (3 seats)

Recommend that those in the University of Kent post-92 institutions (except Portsmouth) and vote Hayes (1); Sussex, Southampton, Exeter, Bath, Bristol and Portsmouth vote Guild (1); Open, Oxford, Surrey and Reading vote Kane (1). After that vote the remaining two candidates #2 and #3

  • Jim Guild (University of Sussex)
  • Dennis Hayes (Canterbury Christ Church University)
  • Lesley Kane (Open University)

Scotland (HE): Honorary Secretary

  • Angela Roger (University of Dundee)

Scotland (HE): President

  • Lesley McIntosh (Robert Gordon University)

UK-elected members, further education (5 seats, at least one in land-based education, at least two women)

  • Monica Goligher (Belfast Metropolitan College) woman
  • Tricia Gott (Bradford College) woman
  • Kathy Taylor (Northumberland College) woman

UK-elected members, higher education (7 seats, at least one post-92, at least two women)

  • Dave Anderson (University of Glasgow)
  • Philip Burgess (University of Dundee)
  • John Dobson (University of Salford)
  • Jimmy Donaghey (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • Joe Gluza (University of Cambridge)
  • Anne-marie Greene (University of Warwick) woman
  • Bob Langridge (Oxford Brookes University) post-92
  • Bethan Norfor (Open University) woman

Representative of disabled members

  • Roger Walters (Open University) HE

Representative of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members

  • Stephen Desmond (Thames Valley University) HE
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