South Thanet MP expresses ‘dismay’ at plan to remove ‘Uncle Mack’ Broadstairs plaque but is accused of ‘being blind’ to racism

MP Craig Mackinaly

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay has said he is ‘dismayed’ at the decision to remove the Uncle Mack plaque in Broadstairs.

The plaque is to James Summerson, known as ‘Uncle Mack’, a seaside entertainer in Broadstairs between the 1880s and 1940s.

A decision notice from Thanet council says: “This plaque has given rise to offence and hurt because the entertainment celebrated by it involved a Black and White Minstrels troupe where white entertainers blacked up their faces and behaved with distorted African-American stereotypes.”

Council leader Rick Everitt has taken responsibility for the decision for the plaque’s removal, effective from July 8 dependent on the outcome of a call in of the decision.

The decision notice says: “Following the recent Black Lives Matter campaign and the concern about statues and other commemorative artefacts which are no longer acceptable, the Leader gave consideration to similar artefacts in the district.”

The practice of ‘black face’ was used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a derogatory caricature of a black people shaping perceptions and prejudices based on race and colour.

Photo Frank Leppard

Once removed, consideration will be given to the future of the plaque and whether it can usefully be put on display in a museum setting which describes its historical context.

Thanet Independent councillor Lynda Piper has written to TDC to call in the decision, meaning it will need to be debated by all councillors.

In his weekly column Mr Mackinlay says it is time to ‘stop this nonsense.’

He says: “I am dismayed to see that the TDC leader has decided that the plaque to ‘Uncle Mack’ in Broadstairs should be taken down. Let us get this into context – this was an entertainer who worked from age 7 between the 1880s and the 1940s. There is no indication that he was an evil man– quite the contrary from what I can gather; I can but guess that at age 7 he was entirely innocent of almost everything.

“By the same standard the BBC should surely be closed and erased from memory for airing shows deemed inappropriate now. The Black & White Minstrel show was aired until 1978. We wince now at this and other television output of the era, but that was then and was deemed acceptable by the standards of the time.

“James Summerson – ‘Uncle Mack’ was an entertainer, an artist, an actor selling his skills to earn a living from a public willing to pay for it. Should we take down the various plaques to Sir Laurence Olivier (I am thinking of his role in the 1976 film Marathon Man) and others for playing evil characters or using language that a script demands? Stop this nonsense now.

“When this decision is ‘called in’ I hope that Councillors from all parties represented on Thanet District Council will simply employ common sense. We’re a happy community, let’s celebrate our diversity not highlight our differences.”

Cllr Stuart Piper

The call in has been backed by Thanet Independent group leader Cllr Stuart Piper, who said: “It is important that the decision is debated in public. The outcome will be whatever it will be but it must not give rise to any suggestion that its removal was at the request of one man or even his cabinet.

“Councillors should open it up for discussion and then the decision will be cross party in terms of its politics.”

However, the MP has come under fire for being ‘blind to racism.’ A “shocking” report of racism in the area  has been sent to Mr Mackinlay by Broadstairs councillor Aram Rawf who is imploring him to investigate.

The report includes accounts of racist attacks on young children, assaults on shopworkers and abuse of a young baby.

Cllr Rawf said: “Mr Mackinlay stated publicly that if he was presented with documentary evidence of racism here, he would investigate. I have presented him with this evidence. I am now calling on him to keep his promise and launch an investigation immediately.”

Last month Mr Rawf, who is a Labour member of both Thanet District Council and Broadstairs Town Council, accused Mr Mackinlay of being “blind” to racism in the area.

Aram Rawf 

Mr Rawf said: “Mr Mackinkay failed to mention two big Black Lives Matter marches which had taken place in his constituency and he said that he had received, few, if any, reports, of  racism in Thanet.

“I don’t think Mr Mackinlay realises how deeply his comments have upset people in Thanet, ignoring or downplaying an issue of the greatest concern to them. And many  have written to me with their own experiences of racism here.”

Mr Rawf’s report includes data showing a rise of hate crime, reports of attacks on young people and shop workers, and personal testimony from Thanet residents about racist experiences.

Cllr Rawf said: “This is an absolutely shocking report with some truly heart-breaking stories. One  woman said even her young baby received racist abuse.

“I really hope my report will give Mackinlay pause for thought and he will now join with me in tackling the real problems of our community.”

Mr Rawf came to Thanet  from Iraq 21 years ago when he was 17 as an asylum seeker. He became a British citizen in 2011 and a councillor in 2019.

Cllr Ara (in red)

Ramsgate councillor and mayor Raushan Ara has also slammed Mr Mackinlay’s stance, saying: “Mr Mackinlay has chosen to ignore his constituents in order to appeal to the minority of bigots who he believes are more important.

“In June, 1948, the MV Windrush brought the first of the “Windrush generation” to the UK, from the Carribbean. These migrants, all Commonwealth citizens, were invited to the UK, in order to deal with the manpower shortage, brought about by World War Two.

“In 2018, the “Windrush scandal” emerged. This involved these, now elderly, West Indian migrants and their descendants being declared illegal, and sent back to where their ancestors had come from. Many of these people never even been to the Caribbean, and had no roots there.

“They were denied equality of citizenship, despite many having been born in the UK. This disgraceful situation was a catalyst in the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The death of George Floyd in the USA has helped to highlight this racism.

“Although racism in some parts of the USA is far worse than it is in the UK, it nevertheless has highlighted what is going on around us. The BLM marches that have taken place across the UK have shown that people, of all ages and backgrounds, acknowledge that a change in attitude, not to mention language, is needed.

“Many people will retaliate with ‘All lives matter’. True, of course they do, but it is black lives that are in jeopardy, so therefore, the focus needs to be on them.”

Former councillor Ian Driver is charged with criminal damage of the box that covered the plaque, amongst seven charges in total, and will appear in court in September.


  1. Rick has no compassion period and wants to be centre of attention sort out the crime instead Rick the one that involves offshore leaks as in formation agents who set up the company but under a guise of other criminalities ..

  2. Well done for strong words from Craig and well done also for common sense from Lynda Piper for “calling in” the decision, which will result in a debate.

    Thanet District Council is Labour-run, backed by the Independents. The decision to remove weighed heavily on the coup last year by the Thanet Independent councillor group and the snowflake Labour councillors. Had it been Conservative-run, the question of removing the plaque would never have arisen.

    People of Thanet will be watching, and I’m pretty sure the result of this debate about the plaque will show in the next local election for councillors.

    Mark Hopkinson has already made his bed, with his comments on the previous article about wanting it to remove beliveing it’s racist (before he quickly deleted the comment). But hey, what do you expect, he’s a snowflake Labour councillor.

    Before some snowflake says the plaque is racist (it’s not), so just get a life and face the real world, seriously.

  3. Mackinlay doesn’t see racism in the area, nor poverty or anything else for that matter.

    What is he doing for £90k a year plus expenses? He’s the first to complain about taxes but has no problem rinsing us for his own gains. He remains blind to the fact that Thanet is a diverse area. He should, in this day and age, be ANTI-racist.

    It doesn’t matter if James Summerson was loved by his mum and did nice things. The plaque represents a completely racist attitude towards specifically Black people. One that prevails in Thanet to this day, as has been demonstrated by council officials both past and present. There should be no cause to celebrate racism. Ever. Not here, not now, not ever.

    • Oh look, this snowflake “Matthew Smyth” comes crawling back out of the crack in the wall to spread fake news and anger. The only thing he has accomplished today is calling the MP racist when he hasn’t been. The rest of the stuff this kid types is just boring.

      Face the real world. The plaque is not racist. But Matthew Smyth, is the typical leftie snowflake.

    • I personally have never suffered from white guilt and don’t intend to start now.slavery in this Country has been extinct for generations. You can’t expect people to feel guilt for crimes committed decades ago.

      Yes racism must end, pretty much every sane person wishes for it to end and the sooner the better but the radical left are now the biggest a bigots in this country. Instantly playing the race card when someone disagrees with their far left ideology will only turn people away from the BLM endgame and turn people against them.

      If we are going to whitewash history should we must also remember that this country has suffered slavery at the hands of the Romans, the vikings etc, should we start erasing that from our history as well? Should we start ripping down roman monuments that were build by English slaves ?

      As for the comments on the main article that “ black lives are in jeopardy” I can only assume that it relates to the police stops that have unfortunately resulted in the deaths of black men, if this is the case perhaps if people stopped resisting arrest there would be a better outcome. In most fatality’s caused by the police that are in the news the victims have all at some stage resisted arrest. Should we all start resisting arrest if we disagree with the police ?

      Racism is abhorrent but the current climate of white shaming is only fuelling racial tensions. The BLM movement has been taken over by the radical left and many people’s sympathies towards their movement are dissipating.

      Everyone is equal and no one is better than anyone else.

  4. A known criminal and women beater dies in the USA after police try to arrest him the police officers involved are charged with murder. Then a Marxist group think they can benefit from the mans death by jumping on the race bandwagon and start demanding this that and other. That’s all bad enough but what I think is even worse is the idiots who are encouraging the Marxist to defund the police and cause unrest. Why don’t they all go to Hong Kong and try protesting there. I fully support Craig Mackinley

  5. I fully support Craig Mackinley and I’m not even Conservative.

    These hardcore Labour supporters need to take a real hard look into the mirror.

    I also agree that Labour aren’t fit to run TDC and that the only people to blame for the current shambles are the extremists known as Thanet Independents that put them into control of the council. They’ve failed Thanet residents.

  6. Here we go! Not much of the community in all in it together here!
    One side sticks its head in the sand and sees no evil, the other finds witches everywhere.
    Just stop it and think of what you are saying!
    Look, being BAME or LGBT or anything that is not middle class, well off and white, is hard.
    How would Box head and Ann like it if they were discriminated against every day of the week? How would they like it if they were always at the end of the queue or racially profiled or treated as second rate all the time, because that is the life for many.
    If Mackinlay chooses not to see it, then more fool him.
    As for Marxists and George Floyd, the only ones actually defunding the police were George Osborne and David Cameron. Mr Mackinlay supported those policies at the time. If you remember it was called austerity!
    I am outraged that Ann can justify a homicide of someone giving no resistance to the police, on the grounds that allegedly he was ‘a known criminal and wife beater’ and it wasn’t in Hong Kong that the police took selfies of two murdered women.
    This is not the PRC yet, and people have the right to protest even if Ann and ‘the Box’ don’t like it.
    Can we have less from the Cuckoo club and more decency and kindness to others.
    The Box should get back into it and Ann should sit in her gated domain and stay there.

  7. All this started over George Floyd a public enemy where he lived carried a gun and could have gone on to murder someone if the police had not gone to far and killed him, who among you would want him living along side of your home, I do wonder if circumstances or lack of opportunity tuned him to crime. But this is no excuse for the black activists to stir up racial hatred with their black lives matter any normal person knows this without their ravings.Black and whites were slavers together with many other skin colours,our past history that has laid dormant for many years must not be raked over just to suit these loud mouth trouble makers out to divide our cosmopolitan nation.

  8. All the right wingers on here are such sad, insecure people. Go out in the world a bit and get yourself a life.

    • “Thatcher’s Nightmare” …says it all about you.

      A sad little hardcore leftie snowflake.

      Grow up kid.

  9. Plenty of white people are also living in poverty. Being white does not instantly make you Middle class or part of the elite. Stereotyping all white people as middle class is totally wrong just as implying all police are racist is also a falsehood and inflames racial tensions.

    Look up Jaywick in Essex, a predominately white neighbourhood that is one of the poorest areas in the uk and your postcode makes it virtually impossible to get a job. White people also suffer prejudices.

    By implying that black people are always at the end of the que you are also implying that all white people are racist which is completely untrue. Yes there are still a lot of people with negative racist views but implying the majority of whites are racist is a racial slur in itself.

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