After a week in which she desperately tried to steer the public discourse away from the racism in her own policies, it must have been disheartening for Theresa May to hear a former chair of the Conservative Party saying the following to Robert Peston on his Sunday morning show:
Considering the way Parliament hosted a debate – in fact, more like an institutionalised slagging-off of Jeremy Corbyn – over the allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, at least one response was going to be obvious:
Will there be a House of Commons debate on institutionalised racism in the Conservative Party at some point this week? Just asking for a friend.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) April 23, 2018
Well, there ought to be!
Believe it or not, though, the UK’s mainstream media seem keen – desperate, in fact – to sweep this under the carpet. Racism? Islamophobia? In the Conservative Party? The very thought!
At least, that seems to be the attitude.
I had to go to alleged Russian propoganda and fake news site RT to find a report on what Baroness Warsi told Peston viewers – and it was revealing:
“In light of the recent anti-Semitism row that has engulfed UK Labour, with wall-to-wall MSM broadcast, print, and social media coverage that has painted the issue as a “crisis” for the main opposition party, one may have thought this would have grabbed the attention of the media establishment.
“The reality? Cue the tumbleweed.
“Indeed, not even the presenter interviewing Baroness Warsi, Robert Peston, picked up the revelation to investigate the matter more fully.
“So, why the media silence? Could it be that the MSM are more focused on misdemeanors, perceived or otherwise, committed by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, as part of what some see as a concerted campaign to undermine his authority and weaken his standing as leader, for fear that one day he may become prime minister?
“Others may suggest that Islamophobia is not seen by a majority of the British media as such a terrible scourge on our society as anti-Semitism.
“Whatever the reason for the MSM blackout on Baroness Warsi’s admission, the concerns of many that large sections of the media apply lower moral standards to the Tories than to Labour, will not be adequately addressed while claims of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party are ignored.”
I have written on racism in the Conservative Party in the past – yes, even before the Windrush scandal – and it would be easy to link to those articles to show examples.
But I think it would be better to offer a Muslim’s view on Islamophobia. Here‘s Aleesha – some of you may already know her from her Twitter account; she also writes a blog, and this is some of what she has to say:
“As a young British Muslim woman involved in politics, I’ve seen the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric in British politics, and nobody is acting on it, nobody is condemning it and quite frankly, it’s disgusting that our politicians can get away with it.
“Very recently, Conservative MP, Bob Blackman shared an islamophobic page and article on his Facebook and then apologised for it when he was called out. However, this isn’t the first time that Bob has endorsed the anti-Muslim sentiment, he previously retweeted anti-Muslim posts from Tommy Robinson, a notorious bigot. Moreover, Bob Blackman had also hosted an anti-Muslim extremist in Parliament, a man who praised the Rohingya genocide, called for genocide of Kashmiri Muslims and called for Islam to be “wiped out” from this planet. What annoys me most about all of this is the entire fact that it’s hardly made the news, just briefly and there’s hardly any outrage, and our MPs aren’t condemning it or calling it out. I’d at least expect our Muslim MPs to call it out regardless of political ideologies but all I see is silence. Just imagine for a second that Bob was a Labour MP, or imagine if, in this instance, it was another religion. Just imagine the outrage. The silence from Theresa May and the Tories and their inability to act on this speaks volumes.
“Bob Blackman’s islamophobia isn’t just one case in politics. There are many. One of which dates back to the London Mayoral elections, where Zac Goldsmith launched an islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan. The Tories didn’t act, nobody acted and Zac Goldsmith still remains as an MP for Richmond.
“Go to Sadiq Khan’s Twitter profile, browse through his Tweets and look at all of the replies to them. You will almost always see islamophobic and racial abuse tweeted to him.
“I’m also writing this just after reading a Tweet from the official EU Leave account that said Britain has an “exploding” Muslim population.
“Why is nobody acting? I have been blocked by Tory councillors and Tory MPs when I call islamophobia out. Why are these MPs and councillors supporting islamophobes? It makes me think that the Tory party has an actual problem with islamophobia, not to mention the dozens of times I’ve been religiously abused by Tories.
“Are we just going to ignore it? When will we give these cases the rightful outrage? Islamophobia is absolutely normalised in British politics and nobody is really doing anything about it. The silence from our politicians shows their inability to act and their legitimation/endorsement of these views. Are we going to act, or are we going to do nothing and let MPs like Bob Blackman host more extremists in Parliament?”
Consider Baroness Warsi’s words at the top of this article and the answer is clear – at least as far as the Conservatives are concerned.
Islamophobia? They love it!
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