LONDON -- While Queen Elizabeth II sent Christmas greetings paying tribute to those seeking peace in Northern Ireland, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson created a controversy here yesterday with an alternative holiday message in which he compared the Conservative government and party to racist and fascist regimes.
The speeches by the queen and by Mr. Jackson aired at the same time, on separate television channels. In remarks on independent Channel 4, Mr. Jackson said that living conditions for the poor in Britain were deteriorating.
"We must no longer allow the clock to be turned back on human rights or put up with political systems which are content to maintain the status quo," he said. "In South Africa, the status quo was called racism. We rebelled against it. In Germany it was called fascism. Now in Britain and the U.S., it is called conservatism."
Peter Bottomley, a Conservative member of Parliament, assailed Jackson's comments and accused the network of "stereotypical ignorance in allowing or telling their distinguished contributor to say something untrue to a national or international audience."
The queen, in her address on the British Broadcasting Corp., said that peace was "gradually taking root" in Northern Ireland.