National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller & Roma Women are calling on the Chairman of the Conservative Party Lord Feldman of Elstree to suspend Tory PCC candidate Jason Ablewhite after inappropriate comments made of Facebook regarding Gypsies and Traveller’s comes to light
NAGTRW has learned that the Tory Candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner and Executive leader of Huntingdon District Council had in that past made comments on Face book in which he made reference to people [apparently known to him] depicted in a photograph as “Pikey’s caught on camera !!” this was in response to another poster Tom Sanderson also believed to be a Tory Councillor with Huntingdon District Council,making the comment ‘ Someone give these two some tarmac to lay’
Mr Ablewhite has passed the comments off as ‘ banter’ and says he apologises for any offence caused, telling the Cambridge News that it was ‘private at the time’ – “If its just private friends having a laugh, if it’s no different to if you’re just down the pub doing the same’ The comments were made in 2010, and Mr Ablewhite has pointed out that he was not leader of the Council at that time.
NAGTRW do not find Mr Ablewhite comments to be acceptable on any level and if anything his comments to the Cambridge News makes it very clear that, worryingly, he fails to see any wrong doing in using highly offensive racial terminology on a a Facebook page while posting as ‘ Councillor Jason Ablewhite’
The fact that a person that can make these comments in a public space [internet] and claims not feel it is in appropriate is deeply concerning when there is a possibility that the same person could hold a post as important as that of Police and Crime Commissioner.
NAGTRW would ask the Conservative Party to examine their Equalities Policies and to also consider the rights of Gypsies and Travellers not to be subjected to racial insults. It does not matter that the people in the photograph are not Gypsy or Traveller people, it is offensive that in order to take a rise from them he resorted to such terminology.
Mr Ablewhite can not be put forward as a responsible or appropriate candidate since these comments have come to light. If Mr Ablewhite were to make reference to any other ethnic group for similar purposes then he would certainly be held accountable and it would be an expectation of that accountability that he would be suspended – and the Gypsy and Traveller community have every right to expect the same.
In recent days much has been made of the Ken Livingston comments – and the word racist has been freely used by Tories – so let’s see what they are prepared to do when it’s one of their own.
Racism has cost Gypsy people the same horrendous fate as it has cost the Jewish community – we too were murdered in our tens on thousands in the Holocaust – yet the Tory Government REFUSE to appoint a Gypsy /Roma person to the UK Holocaust commission, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with Mr Ablewhite’s comments.