A Cambridge academic has been slammed for questioning whether the chairman of a race report has a doctorate, before saying: ‘Even Dr Goebbels had a research PhD.’
Dr Priyamvada Gopal, 53, asked whether she was right to think Dr Tony Sewell – who oversaw the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities – was ‘not in fact Dr’.
She continued her attack on the 62-year-old asking where his degree was from and what research he undertook for it.
The postcolonial studies professor conceded he did hold a doctorate – a PhD from Nottingham University – but made the bizarre reference to the Nazi Joseph Goebbels.
Social media users were shocked by the comment and asked why she would make the comparison.
Former ITV News presenter Alastair Stewart OBE said: ‘This is obscene and devalues anything and everything you have to say.’
Researcher and analyst Kyle Orton wrote: ‘To introduce the Nazi insinuation in a tweet admitting that your previous accusation was a lie is quite special.
‘Also revolting and contemptible. But it is Gopal and it is Thursday, so has to be expected.’
LBC journalist Matthew Thompson added: ‘Honestly. Whatever criticisms you might have of the report, what an utterly disgraceful thing to tweet.’
Cambridge distanced itself from Dr Gopal’s post, saying it ‘profoundly disagreed with the gratuitous comment’ but said it supported staff expressing their views.
Dr Priyamvada Gopal (pictured), 53, asked whether she was right to think Dr Tony Sewell – who oversaw the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities – was ‘not in fact Dr’
She continued her attack on the 62-year-old (pictured) asking where his doctorate was from and what research he undertook for it
Dr Sewell was chair of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which was released yesterday.
The long-awaited study was branded a ‘whitewash’ by some because it concluded there is little evidence of institutional racism in Britain.
Factors such as geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion were found to have more impact on life chances than racism.
Overseen by chair Dr Tony Sewell, the findings from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities were branded a ‘whitewash’ by the Left, but welcomed by other campaigners
Dr Sewell has a PhD in education from Nottingham University.
He also has honorary doctorates from Exeter and Essex universities and is a ‘a much-acclaimed fellow of UCL’.
He gained an English literature degree from Essex University when he was younger.
And Dr Sewell was a lecturer in education at Leeds University and chair of the mayor of London’s inquiry of education.
But in a thread of tweets today, Dr Gopal railed against him saying: ‘Am I correct in thinking that it’s not, in fact, ”Dr” Tony Sewell?
‘I mean, if we are doing to pander to the establishment, then surely the establishment’s rules matter.’
She continued: ‘Where is the doctorate from and what is the research that provided it?
‘Okay, established. It is, in fact, Dr Sewell. Fair enough. Even Dr Goebbels had a research PhD. (University of Heidelberg, 1921).’
She added: ‘This matters because faux research credentials are being waved around in giving this ludicrous report gravitas.
‘And the title, Dr, I’m afraid to say, has to be earned by hard work, monarchy can’t confer it on you.’
The landmark review found children from many ethnic minorities do as well or better at school than white pupils
The review highlighted the different fortunes of ethnic groups, pointing out that white British boys from poorer backgrounds are among the most disadvantaged. These figures show the difference between the mean score for the group and the grand mean score across all pupils – which is equivalent to zero
No10 plays down resignation of PM’s adviser on ethnic minorities amid race report backlash
Downing Street has played down the resignation of the PM’s most senior black aide as ministers faced backlash over a ‘whitewash’ race report.
Boris Johnson heaped praise on Samuel Kasumu’s ‘great’ work in encouraging vaccine take-up among ethnic minorities after it emerged he is leaving No10.
The news surfaced after the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published a controversial study on inequality in Britain.
But a spokesman for the PM said Mr Kasumu had planned to go for ‘months’, and will be staying until May.
They added: ‘Any suggestion that this decision has been made this week or that this is linked to the CRED report is completely inaccurate.’
Her comments were surprising given in 2018 she accused King’s College porters of racism when they refused her access and called her ‘madam’ instead of doctor.
The Cambridge College quickly hit back and said there was ‘no wrongdoing or discrimination’ from its staff.
Last year the university backed Dr Gopel after she tweeted ‘White Lives Don’t Matter’.
Social media users were shocked by Dr Gopal’s latest comments, branding them ‘vile’ and called for her to apologise.
Professor Petro Nicolaides, visiting professor at Birmingham City University, wrote: ‘Check someone’s credentials before you tweet such nonsense.
‘And when you do get it so wrong (see thread), either apologise or delete. The link to a monster like Goebbels is abhorrent.’
Marcus Walker, a clergyman in the Church of England, put: ‘I suppose it’s lucky Professor Gopal is not a humble porter or there would be hell to pay.’
Former newspaper editor Neil Wallis said: ‘That is a genuinely, stunningly, vile thing to say.
‘You must constantly boil inside with hatred for anyone who dares to think other than you.’
Doctoral Candidate Oxford University Brooks Newmark posted: ‘What an utterly vile tweet from this so called academic from @Cambridge_Uni – I hope the University look into this.’
Mail on Sunday commentator Dan Hodges added: ‘And the critics of Sewell accuse him of a lack of academic and intellectual rigour.’
Dr Rakib Ehsan from the Henry Jackson Society said: ‘Another truly toxic and divisive voice in Britain’s race relations debate.
‘Looking to discredit the achievements of a respected Black British academic, by bringing the Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany into the discussion. Dreadful behaviour.’
Architect Chris Rose wrote: ‘The black author of the race report is being compared to an actual Nazi by an academic at Cambridge University.
‘Not sure why anyone would employ someone so determined to tarnish their reputation.’
Graeme Bunker said online: ‘What a disgusting thing to say. It should be retracted and those who fund such hate should stop.’
Rebecca Lowe posted: ‘Always sad to see people casually using Nazi analogies to win arguments.
‘This kind of instrumentalising entrenches a dangerous and deeply wrong dilution of the horrors of that regime.
‘What an embarrassingly poor example to set to your students, to whom you owe so much more.’
A spokesman for Cambridge University told MailOnline: ‘We profoundly disagree with the gratuitous comment made by Professor Gopal on social media.
‘However, as clearly stated in our policy on freedom of speech, we support the right of all Cambridge staff and students to express their views, however disagreeable or controversial.’
The commissioners behind the race report:
Dr Tony Sewell (chairman): Brixton-born son of Jamaican immigrants who has previously questioned claims of institutional racism in Britain. The 62-year-old was raised in London and worked as a teacher, first in London and then for two years in Jamaica. He gained a PhD for a thesis called ‘Black masculinities and schooling’.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock: Space scientist and presenter of The Sky At Night since 2014, when she replaced Sir Patrick Moore. Born in London to Nigerian parents. The married mother-of-one, 53, is a physicist and mechanical engineer once helped create a hand-held landmine detector. Works to inspire schoolchildren to work in science and technology.
Aftab Chughtai: A retail businessman who runs Aftabs in Alum Rock, Birmingham. A member of the Grenfell taskforce he was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to business and the community. chairman of the West Midlands Police Independent Advisory Group and co-founder of Brexiteer group Muslims for Britain.
Keith Fraser: A former police officer who worked for the Met and West Midlands police in a career spanning 32 years, rising to the rank of superintendent. Currently chairman of the Youth Justice Board. Birmingham-born son of Jamaican immigrants who became a bus driver and secretary respectively. Last year he spoke of being a victim of stop and search when a serving officer and accused forces of ‘unconscious bias’.
Naureen Khalid: Experienced school governor and educatuion blogger who set up @ukgovchat, an online forum for school governors. Mother of three who originally trained as a geneticist before moving into education.
Dr Dambisa Moyo: Economist and author who was previously on the board of Barclays Bank. Born in Zamia and educated at Oxford and Harvard she was one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2009. Author of ‘How Boards Work’ and ‘Dead Aid’, which criticised post-war economic support for African countries. Her website described her as ‘a pre-eminent thinker, who influences key decision-makers in strategic investment and public policy’.
Mercy Muroki: Oxford-educated social policy researcher at the Centre for Social Justice, commentator and columnist. Born in Kenya to parents who moved the family to Northampton. Became a single mother at the age of 18 to daughter Rosalind and has spoken about surviving on Universal Credit. Brexiteer Tory who introduced Sajid Javid at the 2019 Conservative Party Conference. This month she told the Sun: ‘I just don’t subscribe to woke, academic culture.’
Martyn Oliver: Teacher, chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust which runs more than 30 schools and runs a zero-tolerance discipline regime. He backs moves to extend the school day, especially in deprived areas. He told Schools Week today: ‘The evidence is clear: give schools the resources to extend the school day and they will enrich the social and cultural capital of every child while boosting their academic performance.’
Dr Samir Shah: TV producer, a former deputy chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum and a non-executive Director on the BBC Board. His firm Juniper TV produced Boris: The London Years and Theresa Vs Boris: How May Became PM for the BBC in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Kunle Olulode: Director of the Voice4Change England charity which has more than 400 organisations as members. A member of the Government’s Windrush Working Group in 2018 he co-curated the Black And Banned season at London’s South Bank which ‘considered the impact of censorship in black film, literature and music’.
Blondel Cluff: Chairman of the National Lottery Community Fund, which hands out money to charity, since February. Solicitor and former diplomat for the British Overseas Territory (BOT) of Anguilla, who is chief executive of the West India Committee charity
Dr Sewell today defended the report and dismissed ‘ridiculous and offensive’ claims it downplayed the ‘evil’ of the slave trade.
In his foreword he said there was a new story to be told about the ‘slave period’ and about how ‘culturally African people transformed themselves into a remodelled African/Britain’.
But Halima Begum, chief executive of the Runnymede Trust, a race equality think-tank, disagreed.
She said: ‘I’m absolutely flabbergasted to see the slave trade apparently redefined as ”the Caribbean Experience”; as though it’s something Thomas Cook should be selling – a one-way shackled cruise to purgatory.
‘The cultural deafness of this report is only going to become clearer in the coming days and weeks.’
Dr Sewell said: ‘It is absurd to suggest that the commission is trying to downplay the evil of the slave trade. It is both ridiculous and offensive to each and every commissioner.
‘The report merely says that, in the face of the inhumanity of slavery, African people preserved their humanity and culture.’
The race report was months in the making and produced by a group of 12 experts – only one of whom was white.
The report, commissioned by the PM after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, said Britain was no longer a country where the ‘system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities’.
In a foreword, Dr Sewell rebuked ‘negative calls for ”decolonising” the curriculum’.
He said a Making Of Modern Britain teaching resource should focus on the influence of the UK during its Empire period, how ‘Britishness influenced the Commonwealth’ and how local communities influenced ‘modern Britain’.
He added: ‘There is a new story about the Caribbean experience which speaks to the slave period not only being about profit and suffering but how culturally African people transformed themselves into a remodelled African/Britain.’
Mr Johnson insisted today there are ‘serious issues that our society faces to do with racism’ and that work needed to be done to ‘fix it’.
And he suggested the government will not agree with ‘everything’ in the report’s conclusions. ‘Look, this is a very interesting piece of work,’ he said.
‘I don’t say the Government is going to agree with absolutely everything in it, but it has some original and stimulating work in it that I think people need to read and to consider.
‘There are very serious issues that our society faces to do with racism that we need to address.
‘We’ve got to do more to fix it, we need to understand the severity of the problem, and we’re going to be looking at all the ideas that they have put forward, and we’ll be making our response.’
Although the study came under heavy fire, many campaigners voiced support.
Duwayne Brooks, a friend of Stephen Lawrence, said he agreed not all disparities in the UK were caused by racism.
He told Times Radio: ‘What the report is doing is comparing life for the ethnic minorities in Britain, in comparison to the European countries, where life would be much, much worse than how it is today.’
He added: ‘It’s not as simple to just say that the black people of Britain cannot get jobs because they’re black. And that’s what people want the report to say.’
Baroness Kishwer Falkner, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, added: ‘This report rightly identifies the varied causes of disparities and by making recommendations to address them gives the Government the opportunity to design policy targeting the sources of inequality.’
‘It is no wonder they are losing the expertise from their team.’
Yesterday Dr Sewell said some communities were haunted by historic racism and there was a ‘reluctance to acknowledge that the UK had become open and fairer’.
He said the review found some evidence of bias, but often it was a perception that the wider society could not be trusted.
NHS Providers said it disagreed with the report’s conclusions and said there was ‘clear and unmistakable’ evidence that NHS ethnic minority staff had worse experiences and faced more barriers than white counterparts.
Sabby Dhalu, of Stand Up To Racism, said: ‘Suggesting Britain should be regarded as a ‘model for other white-majority countries’ is an insult to all those who lost their lives due to racism.’
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak said progress had been made in tackling racism during an interview.
He told ITV’s Peston: ‘If I think about the things that happened to me when I was a kid, I can’t imagine those things happening to me now.’
The 264-page report also called on ministers to tackle online abuse, lengthen the school day to help disadvantaged pupils, force police to switch on body cameras during stop-and-search encounters, and establish an independent body to target health disparities.
The report said: ‘The evidence shows that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism.
‘That said, we take the reality of racism seriously and we do not deny that it is a real force in the UK.’
It added: ‘We have argued for the use of the term ‘institutional racism’ to be applied only when deep-seated racism can be proven on a systemic level and not be used as a general catch-all phrase for any microaggression, witting or unwitting.’
The report said: ‘The life chances of the child of a Harrow-raised British Indian accountant and the child of a Bradford-raised British Pakistani taxi-driver are as wide apart as they are, partly because of the UK’s economic geography.
‘Meanwhile, the numerically largest disadvantaged group is low income White boys, especially those from former industrial and coastal towns, who are failing at secondary school and are the people least likely to go to university.
‘Unlike many other reports on race and ethnicity we have included the White group in our deliberations.
‘For a range of outcomes, White working class children trail behind their peers in almost all ethnic minority groups, although the extent of these disparities vary by area.’
So who are the distinguished panel of experts who produced landmark race report and now stand accused of ‘ignoring realities of racism in Britain’?
A landmark report that celebrates Britain as a beacon for other white-majority countries in race relations was never going to satisfy those on the Left who insist we are a racist hellhole where privileged whites oppress ethnic minorities if not overtly, then through ‘unconscious bias’.
Predictably, when the Commission On Race And Ethnic Disparities published its conclusions yesterday, its members were attacked for being government stooges.
On Radio 4’s Today programme, Nick Robinson went so far as to seem to suggest that Commission chairman Tony Sewell had been appointed only because he could be relied upon to deny there was a problem with racism in Britain.
So who are the members of the Commission who stand accused of ignoring the realities of racism in Britain? ROSS CLARK provides the answers.
Champion of underdogs
Dr Tony Sewell CBE, 62
No one is better qualified to speak on education and the black community than Sewell. Born in Brixton in 1959 to Jamaican parents of the Windrush generation, he studied English literature at Essex University before becoming a teacher in some of London’s toughest secondary schools.
He was part of the team which opened Mossbourne Community Academy in 2004 on the site of Hackney Downs School, which was described as the ‘worst school in Britain’.
In 2011/12 Mossbourne achieved the distinction of getting seven per cent of its leavers into Oxford or Cambridge universities.
No one is better qualified to speak on education and the black community than Dr Tony Sewell
Sewell went on to found Generating Genius, a charity which helps children from minority ethnic backgrounds study and follow careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.
Police gangs reformer
Keith Fraser, 54
The former police superintendent and chair of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of racism.
Born to Jamaican parents — a bus driver and a secretary — in Birmingham in the 1960s, he has recalled being stopped and searched frequently as a teenager.
He joined the Metropolitan Police in 1985 aged 18, but was still stopped by fellow officers when driving off-duty.
Keith Fraser, 54, the former police superintendent and chair of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of racism
Over his 32 years of police service, Fraser rose to become a Superintendent in the West Midlands force, before becoming the first black chairman of the Youth Justice Board and chairman of Employability UK.
He developed West Midlands Police strategy on deterring young people from joining gangs.
Aftab Chughtai MBE, 62
Unlike many academics who pontificate on racial issues, Chughtai has experience of running a business in the heart of one of Britain’s most ethnically diverse cities.
Born to Kashmiri parents, Chughtai took over running the family’s babywear shop in Birmingham, and now sits on the board of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce.
He is also chair of the West Midlands Police Independent Advisory Group, a trustee of Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust, and was a co-founder of the campaign group Muslims for Britain, which engages with British Muslims on key national issues.
Unlike many academics who pontificate on racial issues, Aftab Chughtai MBE, 62, has experience of running a business in the heart of one of Britain’s most ethnically diverse cities
In 2017, he was appointed to the Grenfell Tower taskforce, charged with scrutinising Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council’s efforts to help the community recover from the tragedy.
Mercy Muroki, 25
Born in Kenya, Muroki attended a school with no electricity and a pit latrine for a toilet. Aged five, she arrived in West London with her parents and sister.
Shortly after, her parents split — and her mother and the two children were homeless for a period.
Muroki became a mother herself, aged 18, but went on to read politics at Queen Mary University of London and study for a MSc at Oxford, where she won several academic prizes.
Born in Kenya, Mercy Muroki, 25, attended a school with no electricity and a pit latrine for a toilet. Aged five, she arrived in West London with her parents and sister
She became a senior researcher at the Centre for Social Justice, and is also a national newspaper columnist.
Race equality leader
Dr Samir Shah CBE, 78
Born in India, Dr Shah came to England in 1960 and attended Latymer Upper School in West London, before reading geography and maths at the University of Hull. He has a DPhil from St Catherine’s College, Oxford.
He began his career at London Weekend Television in 1979, before moving to the BBC, where he held senior positions overseeing political journalism.
Now CEO of his own TV and radio production company, Dr Shah was awarded a CBE in 2019 for services to Television and Heritage.
Born in India, Dr Samir Shah CBE, 78, came to England in 1960 and attended Latymer Upper School in West London, before reading geography and maths at the University of Hull. He has a DPhil from St Catherine’s College, Oxford
He has served as chair of the V&A and as a visiting professor of creative media at Oxford University.
He is also member of the Nuffield Foundation Steering Group, working on reviews into inequality.
He was chairman of the race equality think-tank the Runnymede Trust — which said yesterday it felt ‘let down’ by yesterday’s report — for two decades and has been a member of the Holocaust Commission.
Lord Kakkar, 56
Ajay Kakkar is a prime example of the success many families of Indian origin have enjoyed in supposedly racist Britain.
He followed his father into medicine, studying at King’s College, London, followed by a PhD at Imperial College. He is now Professor of Surgery at University College, London.
He is the director of the Thrombosis Research Institute, and has worked with the NHS on its strategy to prevent dangerous blood clotting.
Lord Kakkar, 56, is a prime example of the success many families of Indian origin have enjoyed in supposedly racist Britain
He was made a life peer in 2010 before being appointed as a member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council in 2014. He serves as Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission.
Lord Kakkar chairs medical research charity the King’s Fund, sits as a school governor and is also a commissioner of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
TV space scientist
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, 53
Born and brought up in London, Aderin-Pocock moved between 13 schools, struggling with dyslexia, to eventually win a place to read physics at Imperial College London.
She completed a PhD in mechanical engineering, in the course of which she developed a novel instrument to measure materials just microns thick — a device which was later marketed commercially by the university.
Born and brought up in London, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, 53, moved between 13 schools, struggling with dyslexia, to eventually win a place at Imperial College London
Now a distinguished space scientist, she has presented the BBC’s Sky At Night for the past eight years.
Much of her time is devoted to inspiring new generations of astronauts, engineers and scientists, and visiting inner-city schools to tell their students how she became a scientist — busting myths about careers, class and gender in the process.
Child safety expert
Naureen Khalid, 59
From a British Pakistani background, Khalid achieved a Masters in Genetics at Karachi University, and later a MPhil at the University of East Anglia.
She is now an educational specialist who has sat for more than a decade on the governing boards of several schools and academies.
She also serves as an expert for National Online Safety, an organisation which helps to protect children online by providing safety training to schools.
From a British Pakistani background, Naureen Khalid, 59, achieved a Masters in Genetics at Karachi University, and later a MPhil at the University of East Anglia
She presents at education events, and has co-founded a national forum which helps support school governors and provides them with a space to exchange ideas and experiences.
Globally feted academic
Dambisa Moyo, 52
Moyo was born in Lusaka, Zambia, but spent some of her childhood in the U.S. She took a chemistry degree at the University of Zambia, followed by a DPhil in economics at Oxford University and a Masters in Public Administration at Harvard.
She worked at Goldman Sachs as a research economist for seven years, advising developing countries on international finances, and served as head of Economic Research and Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Moyo has sat on the boards of brewing company SABMiller, Barclays Bank, Barrick Gold and U.S. oil giant Chevron.
Dambisa Moyo, 52, was born in Lusaka, Zambia, but spent some of her childhood in the U.S. She took a chemistry degree at the University of Zambia, followed by a DPhil in economics at Oxford University and a Masters in Public Administration at Harvard
She has published many books, with her 2009 work Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working And How There Is A Better Way For Africa, becoming a bestseller — while upsetting those on the Left who believe that ever-increasing quantities of aid is the best way to help the developing world.
In 2009 she was named as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and one of Time magazine’s top 100 most influential people in the world.
Martyn Oliver, 49
The only white member of the commission, Oliver started teaching in 1995 and went on to become chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust, which oversees 34 academies in the North, many of which were failing schools when the trust took them over.
The only white member of the commission, Martyn Oliver, 49, started teaching in 1995 and went on to become chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust
Oliver serves as a board member of the Department for Education’s Opportunity North-East, which aims to improve results in secondary schools in that region.
Kunle Olulode, 59
Olulode, is a former trade union activist on Camden Council who led the 500-strong Camden black workers’ staff group.
He has also served as a board member of English Heritage and is director of Voice4Change, which represents charities working with ethnic minorities.
Blondel Cluff, 60
Cluff’s parents arrived in Britain from Anguilla with the Windrush generation. A lawyer and former head of legal at Lazard Brothers (a financial and asset management firm), Cluff is a fellow of King’s College London, and has also served as a diplomat.