However, one event took place in this period that was to have a profound impact on racial policy, namely the killing of black teenager Steven Lawrence in Eltham, southwest London by a group of white youths. Despite two trials nobody was convicted of this crime during this period. At the time the murder attracted relatively little media attention but a determined campaign by the parents of the dead teenager resulted in their cause being taken up by black South African president, Nelson Mandela, on a visit to London. In addition, publicity generated by the two trials, in particular the collapse of the second trial in which the defendants were acquitted, and a front page headline in the Daily Mail proclaiming the five main suspects to be 'guilty', resulted in the case becoming a cause célèbre. On return to Government in 1997 the Labour Home Secretary, Jack Straw, ordered an inquiry into the Lawrence murder to be chaired by a retired judge Sir William Macpherson.
The Macpherson report must rank as probably the most sinister and menacing document ever to have been commissioned by a British government in modern times. It contained so much malign nonsense that it is difficult to know where to begin. The report took the liberal establishment’s obsessive moral crusade against 'racism' to almost undreamt of levels of absurdity with such concepts as 'unwitting prejudice' 'unconscious racism' 'collective racism' and that which is causing the most damage, the notorious 'institutional racism', all based solely on highly questionable interpretations of the actions of a handful of police officers in this one investigation. The report defined a 'racist incident' as one that is perceived to be such, not just by the victim, but incredibly also by 'any other person'. Not satisfied with this, the definition is expanded to include 'crimes and non-crimes' each of which must be 'reported, recorded and investigated with equal commitment'. So, instead of concentrating on the investigation of criminal activity, the police are now expected to divert scarce resources to examining 'non-crimes' (whatever this means) if 'any person' considers them to involve a 'racist incident'.
Macpherson did not limit himself to introducing absurdities in the public sphere, he also sought to criminalize what people say in the privacy of their own homes. His recommendation to 'allow prosecution of offences involving racist language or behaviour proved to have taken place otherwise than in a public place', would have given the green light to allowing political establishment thought police to eavesdrop on private conversations and take action to silence the expression of any views deemed 'incorrect' on the subject of race. Had this recommendation been implemented, George Orwell’s Big Brother would have become a disturbing reality. As a further measure, Macpherson advocated the introduction of a massive state funded propaganda drive into the public sector and the educational system to extol the supposed benefits of 'cultural diversity'.
Instead of dismissing the Macpherson Report for what it was, namely a warped, guilt-induced expression of liberal paranoia, the Blair Government used its 'findings' as a pretext for humiliating the Metropolitan Police and for extending the race relations bureaucracy still more intrusively. The report triggered an orgy of confessions from public leaders admitting their guilt to the newly discovered original sin of 'institutional racism'. No organisation in the public eye appeared to want to miss out on this collective mea culpa, so the leading lights in the health service, education, higher education, civil service, the churches, the trade unions, local government and many others all owned up to their failures. Those that appeared a little tardy in admitting their guilt on this matter, such as the Army or Fire Service, discovered that other more socially aware bodies were happy to intervene and do it for them.