Saturday, November 24, 2012

Star Chamber at the Leeds City Council

Ummah Jack

We have posted previously on the dismissal of Chris Knowles from his position with the Leeds City Council (see the bottom of this post for links to earlier articles). The following article on his case was posted last week at the ICLA website.

Dangers of Star Chamber Justice at Leeds City Council: the Case of Chris Knowles

In August 2012 human rights activist Chris Knowles was dismissed from his post with Leeds City Council’s Governor Support Service. This took place without due process, without the presentation of evidence, and without the right to reply. Contrary to the most basic principles of justice he was not even given the right to appeal the decision.

Students of English history may recall that the court of Star Chamber [1] was used in a similar manner to silence dissenters and critics of arbitrary royal power. Star Chamber justice now seems to be the modus operandi of public sector agencies in the UK. Tyranny is now able to flourish in the dark areas of vague meaning, fine print, and contradictory policies. If institutions are effectively controlled by shadowy and unaccountable elites do they operate in the public interest or in the interests of hidden agendas?

Dissent is once again being silenced in modern politically correct Britain using methods just as arbitrary as those of the 17th century. If you disagree with the rulers then you risk losing your livelihood, being ostracized and socially marginalized, and even losing your liberty. The level of fear created by the application of arbitrary measures reminiscent of the Star Chamber has made free speech effectively impossible in the UK. Arbitrary justice exercised in secret is the tool of tyrants.

Communism failed in the Soviet Union because it was an ideology that pretended that the world worked in a way that it did not. Those who offered common sense reality-based solutions were branded enemies of that system. Consequently Soviet Communism collapsed due to its inherent arrogance.

Under the Cultural Marxist system of political correctness that now appears to predominate in the public sector a similar situation prevails. Dissenters are rigorously persecuted. When failure is institutionalized in this way, common sense policy making becomes impossible. This is not in the public interest and it is not the mark of good governance.

Mr Knowles’ former employer, Leeds City Council, previously employed 7/7 suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan. No wonder Sidique Khan was able to operate freely and openly in that environment, since anyone who confronted him would probably have been accused of not adhering to the organisation’s ‘values’.

An article in the Guardian about the 7/7 Inquest published on 14 February 2011 stated the following in relation to Sidique Khan’s work at Hillside Primary, a school within the Leeds City Council Local Education Authority (LEA):

“On one occasion, Khan had invited to the primary school an Islamic preacher whose “fervour” had alarmed teachers, Sparks said, though none had thought to query his position.” (emphasis added) [2]

Does the vindictive and politically motivated witch hunt carried out against Chris Knowles make it less likely that suspicious activity will be reported and catastrophe averted in the future? Will people be so fearful for their jobs that they will keep their mouths well and truly shut? Will they be terrorised into silence and abject acquiescence?

In a similar vein, is due diligence being carried out in the field of Child Protection in local authorities that follow the ideology of political correctness? After all, there have been a number of child ‘grooming’ scandals in northern mill towns that some people argue were ignored because they compromised the rosy vision of what David Cameron referred to as state multiculturalism [3]. In an article in the Daily Mail, it was reported that former Labour MP Ann Cryer had suggested that authorities had failed to act against a grooming gang for fear of being called racist. [4]

Does sacking someone for practicing free speech make children safer or does it put them in danger? Like in the Soviet Union, the practice of shooting the messenger damages society as a whole as well as the individuals within it.

Mr Knowles is an advocate of human rights and the principles of liberty. He is an opponent of sharia because sharia is a threat to such liberty. Does Leeds City Council believe in the principles outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Does it believe in the principles of the Human Rights Act? Are the philosophies that are central to these documents part of Leeds City Council’s system of ‘values’?

Decision makers at Leeds City Council seem to be making decisions without knowledge. They seem to decide not on the basis of fact but on their own preferences and prejudices. Have the decision makers who sacked Mr Knowles read the sharia law book Reliance of the Traveler by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri? Are the contents of that book consistent with equality of opportunity? If they ever get round to reading the book they will undoubtedly realize that Mr Knowles by opposing sharia has a greater commitment to equality of opportunity than they do.

Surely Star Chambers need to be confined to the history books rather resurrected in the practices of contemporary public bodies!



Chris Knowles is a civil-liberties activist for the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA). He participated in the Brussels Conference on July 9, 2012, and assisted with the writing of the Brussels Declaration.

Previous posts about the dismissal of Chris Knowles:

2012 Aug 2 The Irony of “Unison”
    7 Undue Process
    7 Chris Knowles Talks to Michael Coren
    9 Forbidden Opinions
  Nov 5 Bringing the Leeds City Council to Justice