If someone leaps on a bandwagon against somebody else, it’s usually because they’ve got something to hide – and that is certainly true of the Conservative Party, with regard to racism.
Perhaps the Tories were hoping we’d be too busy looking at Jeremy Corbyn’s fight against trumped-up tales of anti-Semitism to notice.
Let’s start with Boris Johnson – because he’s the most high-profile racist on the Tory front bench. Here’s The Guardian:
Boris Johnson has been urged to apologise after it emerged that he attended the launch of local Tory campaign that has been accused of “dog-whistle racism”.
The foreign secretary was pictured on a visit to Romford market, in east London, last December to help launch the “Keep Havering Safe” campaign before the local elections.
The campaign went on to distribute leaflets claiming that a Labour victory would result in the borough becoming increasingly like an inner-city area with a “massive population” rise and a “crime wave” arriving from central London.
It warned that the influence of London mayor, Sadiq Khan, could lead to the borough ending up “resembling Hackney, Newham, Camden and Barking” rather than “traditional” parts of Essex.
The Conservative party chairman, Brandon Lewis, was also under pressure to intervene in the row after the local election leaflet, which one of the councillors behind it said was signed off by national party headquarters, came to light.
Former Tory minister Nick Boles was among those who criticised the campaign, tweeting: “This leaflet is disgraceful. The individuals responsible should apologise, and withdraw it, or face disciplinary action. We cannot attack Corbyn for indulging antisemitism in Labour and allow messages like this to go unchallenged. @BrandonLewis over to you.”
David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, called the leaflet “one long dog whistle about race”, saying it marked a return to the controversial tactics used against Khan when he defeated Zac Goldsmith to become mayor in May 2016.
Goldsmith was heavily criticised, including by some Conservatives, for repeatedly raising what he said were Khan’s previous links to extreme Muslim figures and for not being sufficiently tough on Islamist terrorism.
Here’s the leaflet:
See, while it’s nothing like the general election campaign of 1963 (“If you desire a COLOURED for your neighbour, vote Labour. If you are already burdened with one, vote Tory”), there is an underlying message that people of minority ethnic groups would flood into the borough, leading to the changes alleged in the leaflet – including, take note, a crime wave.
The claims are unsubstantiated – there is no factual evidence to support them – leading to concerns that the leaflet is exactly the kind of “fake news” for which Theresa May created a special ‘rapid response’ team, not very long ago.
This disgusting leaflet from the Tories in the local election campaign must surely break the Tory pledge on respect? I hope @BrandonLewis @JamesCleverly will be making sure these local Tories apologise? I am sure the rapid response Tory #fakenews unit will be on this as well? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/2gVHI0sNvM
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) March 28, 2018
The launch attended by Mr Johnson would, therefore, have been a perfect opportunity for him to start banging on about “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” again. Sorry to keep harping back to his use of those words but it never gets old.
Let’s move on. Here’s Aleesha:
Ooh, ooh, I know who that was. Was it this man? https://t.co/r6vMZ1NZvx
— Adam Bernard (@AdamBernard_HA) March 28, 2018
I have to admit I didn’t recognise Mr Blackman’s name, so I went searching. Here‘s Tim Fenton, in his Zelo Street blog, to explain:
Harrow East’s Tory MP Bob Blackman, who exploited prejudice against Dalits, sometimes also called Untouchables, in order to secure the backing of the National Council of Hindu Temples in the run-up to last year’s General Election. He was not alone in indulging the racism of the Indian sub-continent to garner votes. But there was more.
Blackman had also hosted a hate preacher in a meeting at the House of Commons. Tapan Ghosh, who is not merely anti-Islam but also anti-Christian, has endorsed Geert Wilders.
Particularly interesting for readers of This Site will be the fact that Mr Blackman is an honorary patron of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the right-wing, politically-motivated so-called charity that, it seems clear, attacks political targets such as This Writer in order to weaken left-wing politics in the UK.
Mr Fenton writes:
This organisation has assembled within its list ofHonorary Patrons at least six individuals who have either exhibited racist behaviour, used racism for their own ends, or been singularly unwise in their choice of language in areas concerning race.
[On Bob Blackman:] This less than distinguished Honorary Patron endorsed a figure – Tapan Ghosh – who “praised the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and said Muslims should be forced to leave their religion if they come to a western country”. Yet the CAA has no problem with Blackman’s presence.
The article goes on to report that Mr Blackman shared an anti-Muslim story on his Facebook page, Muslim Somali sex gang say raping white British children “part of their culture”’ from a site calling itself Hardcore News.
Mr Fenton ends in the (forlorn?) hope that CAA chair Gideon Falter will address this “minor inconsistency” in the approach of some of his honorary patrons to racism. This Writer doubts it.
After all, the CAA is thoroughly Islamophobic from top to bottom, claiming that British Muslims are highly anti-Semitic. To Mr Falter, it seems, they are just another target for his aggression.
Perhaps he should give up the pretence and join the Conservative Party. Ah, but would the CAA then lose its undeserved charity status?
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