Theresa May has (reluctantly, one imagines) removed the Tory whip from MP Anne Marie Morris after she was recorded referring to the possibility of no deal being reached over Brexit as a “n*gg*r in a woodpile”.
Here’s a recording of the MP for Newton Abbot, taken at a meeting of eurosceptics at the East India Club in St James Square, central London. Do not play the clip if this kind of language offends you, because the word is uncensored:
Here’s how Sky News reported it:
Conservatives urged to cut ties with MP Anne Marie Morris after she is recorded using the 'N' word in conversation about #Brexit pic.twitter.com/KJVUZO8WaT
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) July 10, 2017
Can open, worms everywhere.
Firstly, there is the fact that the use of this kind of language – in any context – is now rightly deemed to be utterly unacceptable. Yet Conservatives keep doing it.
This MP is not the only one to have used this kind of language – even recently – and it is notable that other Tories at the meeting did not raise any objection, or even an eyebrow, to it at the time.
Surprise, surprise. 'Despite using the racist term, none of her fellow panelists, including Tory MPs Bill Cash and John Redwood, reacted.' https://t.co/cWIA5AFurN
— Scott de Pfeffel laughs at aw that 🏴 (@StobnaBroige) July 10, 2017
For the full list, see this Independent article – and, yes, it does include one instance in which a Labour councillor used the word. It doesn’t matter which side uses it; it is always unacceptable – although we should note that Conservatives appear to use it more than anybody else.
Secondly, there is the matter of double-standards. Tories are happy to accuse Labour and the Left of – for example – anti-Semitism…
… while engaging in the worst kind of racism themselves:
These are tweets from July 10 – today, at the time of writing – in response to Anne Marie Morris’s outburst. I loved Tulip Siddiq’s response:
Thanks but I'm from North London. I'll be back home in 20 minutes. https://t.co/PHlQY6D2If
— Tulip Siddiq (@TulipSiddiq) July 10, 2017
And this debate is only about an MP’s choice of language! What about racist Tory aristo Rhodri Philipps, who offered a £5,000 reward if someone would run a car over anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller?
He said: “If this is what we should expect from immigrants, send them back to their stinking jungles.”
We could also touch upon Zac Goldsmith’s campaign against rival London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan, who was described as “The Muslim” in a derogatory manner to residents on the doorstep.
Thankfully, it is clear from my Twitter feed that those of us who aren’t Conservative MPs or Tory voters do know that there are some words that one simply doesn’t use, and expect to be accepted as civilised afterwards. The sad fact is that it is clear, from what has been said, that the Tories don’t. Here’s a sample:
The most concerning part of that Anne Marie Morris "n***** in the woodpile" clip is that none of her fellow Tories on the panel object to it
— Angry Scotland Podcast🎙 (@AngryScotland) July 10, 2017
I honestly thought we had made some progress on this dreadful type of language and to hear an MP say it, l am genuinely shocked, awful stuff https://t.co/BsPvvzp3lY
— 🌈 Angela Rayner 🌈 (@AngelaRayner) July 10, 2017
(Angela Rayner was, of course, criticised by Tories on July 9 because of her northern accent.)
Don't have a go at Tory MPs for slips of the tongue – have you any idea how hard it is to pretend you're not racist 24/7?
— EL4C (@EL4JC) July 10, 2017
Who could have imagined that a bunch of Tory Brexiteers wouldn't bat an eyelid at Anne Marie Morris' casual racism https://t.co/1fl0EtQWTQ
— Will Black (@WillBlackWriter) July 10, 2017
NEWSFLASH: the Tory party still don't consider using the word "n*gger" to be a sackable offence. https://t.co/QbxK8ptzN7
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza 🏳️🌈🏴 (@TheMendozaWoman) July 10, 2017
This brings me back to my suggestion that Theresa May reluctantly withdrew the Tory whip from the offending MP. My personal opinion is that Mrs May simply doesn’t have enough MPs to go dismissing any of them. That, in turn, may be why they feel they can say, or do, whatever they like…
No matter how offensive their behaviour may be to civilised society.
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Come on, guys, GROW UP! All this posturing over a thoughtless comment. She didn’t call anyone that. She made a mistake. What is it with this UK today that you get so exercised over a slip of the tongue?
She has lost the Tory whip, which is very harsh. What do you want? Dunk her in a witches chair. Tar and feather her? You sound like the Muslim fanatics when some poor woman is accused of insulting the Koran.
Get things in proportion. When last did you say something insulting, put someone down, make a mistake. Or are you all paragons of virtue?
This country deserves better.
It does. It deserves better than Anne Marie Martin.
It highlights just what goes on in Tory minds. They clearly believe that there is nothing wrong in using highly offensive language.
Firstly, it must be said that people must not overreact. We have reached a day and age in which everybody feels the need to be offended of behalf of other people. Aye, the “N” word has deep, offensive and derogatory connotations but we must look at the thing in context. This is not racist language but an antiquated expression, one that, until now, I had not encountered. I do not believe that the M.P. was using it to be racist, or inflammatory. As somebody rightly said, another Tory M.P. used the same expression several years since: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/2273176/David-Cameron-urged-to-sack-Tory-peer-after-nigger-in-the-woodpile-remark.html
Many might think that Ken £ivingstone should be sacked but we all know what went on there and the fact that he received little, or no support from those in his own party is reprehensible; again, I call for an end to the use and propagation of this thing called anti-Semitism, for it is divisive and can be applied to just about anything.
We must be careful, when we cry out and ask ourselves, is there just cause? In this case, I think the comment ill judged, unfortunate, thoughtless, perhaps but beyond that, not much; she was not using it to insult, as far as I can tell; it was not directed at an individual, or group of individuals but to describe a situation, as is appropriate for this now inappropriate expression.
As a member of Parliament, she ought to know what is acceptable language but I – and I may be in a minority – do not think that her utterance in itself requires the furore that has now ensued; what is more telling is what has happened since; telling people to go back to “Bongo Bongo £and” (wherever that is) IS racist and offensive and deliberately so.
And are the police going to do anything about it Don’t think so
You want the police involved? Why? Who did she injure, defraud or libel? My goodness, what a vengeful person you must be, AND at a vicarious offence. What do your West Indian or African friends think? Are they clutching their foreheads and beating their breasts? I know mine are not. They are too mature.
By, the way, just in case there is a misconception, I am a Socialist.