As a leading figure in the British race relations industry Phillips admits to having been in denial about all this and to have promoted a culture of denial. We've shut our eyes, he says, to some basic facts about the human animal. People are tribal; they like to live in ethnic enclaves- and each tribe has its own culture and its own signature crimes- and we're not going to build a just and equitable society if we pretend otherwise. The grooming and abuse of young girls by gangs in northern cities went unreported, unchallenged and unprosecuted for years because the offenders were mostly from the Pakistani community and the authorities didn't want- you know- to appear racially insensitive.
Phillips wobbles about a bit. At one point he goes confusingly off piste and devotes a quarter of an hour to interviewing Les Ferdinand and deploring the lack of black football managers- but who wouldn't wobble when tiptoeing through such a field of egg-shells? Does he have solutions? Well, yes; treat everyone as an individual- irrespective of ethnic background- but that's so obviously true as to amount to evasion.
Perhaps we all need to loosen our collars a bit, self censor less, thicken our skins and be less ready to take offence. So come back Jim Davidson, all is forgiven. Is that really what I mean? Oh, I don't know. Wobble, wobble, crunch, crunch.
Perhaps it's enough for the time being that the silence has been broken.