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When too much Sugar leaves a bitter taste...

NO JOKE: Sugar’s apology ain’t worth the paper it’s written on

IT GOES without saying. Especially after The Apprentice star’s racist tweets about the Senegalese footballers in the World Cup after they had won a memorable match and were celebrating.

So I find it hard to call him ‘Lord’ after he couldn’t resist deflecting from those footballers’ joy by insisting that they looked like the black hawkers from Africa on the Costa del Sol, where he and other East End street traders spend their holidays.

A pretty random comparison, unless he means that every black man and woman reminds him of the street hawkers on the Spanish coast. If he regards the millionaire footballers of Senegal like Liverpool’s Sadio Mane like that, then which one of us wouldn’t remind him of those desperate and destitute undocumented Africans?

For those of you who haven’t been to the del Sol, the only work available there for undocumented Africans is to stand in the hot sun, hawking cheap leather products at holidaymakers – belts, handbags, sandals and that kind of thing. It is nothing to sneer at. Especially when you’re a multi-millionaire.

You would have expected Mr ‘You’re Fired’ of The Apprentice to appreciate that these African hawkers are the best businessmen on the planet. How else would you describe somebody who is making something out of nothing? Rather like Sugar himself when he used to hawk crap car radios in the Exchange & Mart back in the past.

If these African higglers had half the opportunities that Lord Sugar has had, they would wipe the floor with him on the stock markets. And he knows it. If he had half the business acumen of these West Africans who have survived the precarious Mediterranean crossing which has seen so many of their fellow Africans perish, he would be the richest man on the planet.

The only thing that holds them back is the prejudice opinions and racist tweets of the likes of Alan Sugar, which poison people’s minds against undocumented Africans. I do not say he is a racist, you would have to ask Tim Campbell about that. After all, Tim was the first winner of The Apprentice and I cannot believe that Sugar would have chosen him to work with him for a year if he was a racist.

But joke or no joke, if a similar stereotype had been made about Jews, would Sugar be laughing his head off?

Take TV presenter Reggie Yates’s infamous comments about short fat Jewish men from north-west London, for example. Suffice to say that Yates was roundly vilified for his comments and the BBC took him off air and put him on gardening leave to think about what he had said before even reconsidering bringing him back. Sugar, of course, will pay no such penalty for exactly the same ‘joke’.

Sugar ought to sympathise and help the plight of the desperate African trying to make a living on these beaches. There was a time when laws in Europe prohibited Jews from being anything but money lenders. Therein lies the anti-Semitism of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and 1,000 years of prejudice. Has Alan Sugar forgotten that?

Look, we all know what’s going on in this world. We know what a black man has to do to maintain. Black men and women from all over Afternoon promenade by the sea or a deckchair for a tan. They are there to work and I for one feel that it is the duty of us all to help them a little bit, or as we say in ‘yardie’ – to let off sum’pn, so they can live with dignity and are not humiliated by the likes of Alan Sugar in their endeavours to keep their head above water – literally.

They are not criminals. They are undocumented. They are not robbing tourists, they are trying to make a living selling to tourists. On which level do they deserve to be mocked by you, Alan Sugar?

I personally cannot pass them by without contributing towards them eating a decent meal for the day. Even if I don’t want their wares. I tip all the people who are of service to me when I go on holiday. I tip the chambermaids who clean my room and tidy my bed.

I tip the waiters who bother to serve me and my missus first rather than last. You know, you go on holiday and you can see the looks on the eyes of the waiters thinking, ‘Here’s a black family, they probably won’t tip me so I’ll not attend to them immediately, I’ll go and serve some white folks instead.

The joke is, when me and my missus were on holiday in Jamaica and we checked in to an all-inclusive just for the fun of it, some of the waiters ignored us completely. So we left $10 tips for those who bothered to serve us.

And you should have seen the crowd of waiters flocking around us the next morning for breakfast, including the ones who had ignored us in the first place. Because it is we, their fellow black brothers and sisters, who are most likely to show appreciation because we knew their plight and predicament and understand what is really going on in this world.

Having said all that, we have to give a big shout out to Dawn Butler MP for pulling Sugar up on his racist tweet. He responded typically bullishly to say: “It was only a joke”.

Yes, to him it was a joke, and if Butler hadn’t got the support of all of us, Sugar would not have had to apologise with his tail between his legs subsequently. That kind of reluctant apology ain’t worth the paper it’s written on.

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