Dubious role model

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The prime minister has asked Commission for Equalities and Human Rights chair Trevor Phillips to organise a strategy for tackling the appeal of gangs by using senior black military figures in the belief that teenagers will look up to them as role models. The logic seems to be that it is far better for them to get shot in Basra than in Brixton.

One of those invited to make a contribution to the scheme is Tory MP Patrick Mercer. Mercer was sacked from the Tory front bench in March for saying that "idle" black soldiers used the excuse of racism as a "cover". He also said that during his time in the army it was perfectly normal for a soldier to be called a "black bastard".

While David Cameron said his comments were "completely unacceptable", another political figure went even further, saying that he was "relieved that the leader of the opposition has sacked Patrick Mercer" as it "sends a clear signal that racist attitudes and comments are not acceptable. Grown up modern politics has no place for bigots" - the figure in question being Mercer's new employer and apologist, Trevor Phillips.