We have withdrawn our names from the Society and Diversity category of the Comment Awards on account of the nomination of Melanie Phillips on the same shortlist. In doing so we would like to draw a clear distinction between those viewpoints with which we disagree and those which we fundamentally object to on account of their bigotry and divisiveness. We believe that Phillips's body of work falls among the latter.
Given her record, shortlisting Phillips not only makes a mockery of the category by devaluing the principles of inclusion and diversity themselves, it also legitimises her offensive attacks on immigrants in general and Muslims in particular. To nominate a columnist who holds such views undermines the integrity of the award itself and so we would rather distance ourselves from it.
The organisers of the Comment Awards have refused to remove our names from the list, and so we have been compelled to withdraw our nominations in a far more public manner than we would have liked.