Two days after Baroness Warsi broke cover to accuse some of her Conservative colleagues of “extreme” and “toxic” hatred of Muslims, it seems nobody cares.
Unlike anti-Semitism, which is the stick Tories use to beat Labour again and again (even though there is more of it in the Conservative Party, as there is more of every kind of racism), it seems they have managed to convince the UK that it is acceptable to hate Muslims.
Certainly the prevalence of terror attacks on the UK by organisations claiming to be dedicated to fundamentalist Islam hasn’t helped.
But those are primarily revenge attacks, planned in response to Western incursions into the Middle East that – let’s be honest – had more to do with increasing sales for our arms industries than any desire for peace.
We see this very clearly in the Conservative attitude to Israel. Tories shower those on the Left with false anti-Semitism claims because we oppose the shocking abuses inflicted by that country’s government on the Palestinian people – while sales of weapons and ammunition to that country have skyrocketed.
On Sunday, Baroness Warsi told Business Insider Islamophobia is now “very widespread” in the Conservative party but is being deliberately ignored at the highest levels for electoral reasons – Muslims don’t vote Tory so the loss of that vote won’t hurt the party.
She said Michael Gove – recently tipped as a possible replacement for Theresa May – held “extreme” views: “I sometimes joke that Michael Gove radicalised David Cameron.
“In private conversations [I know that David] had some concerns about some of the extreme views that Michael had but over time [Gove] influenced a lot of his views.”
Mrs May herself was exposed as an out-and-out racist by the Windrush Scandal. She promised to reform the “hostile environment” policy that wrongly demonised UK citizens as illegal immigrants but it is still at work today.
Most recently, figures showed that the policy had barred nearly 2,500 doctors from taking up posts in the NHS, despite the fact that the service needs four times that many if it is to cope with the strains placed on it by Tory mismanagement.
Baroness Warsi said former campaign manager Lynton Crosby had “toxic” views about Muslims: “There is a sense of only caring about what wins us the next election and if trashing the Muslim community wins us the next election then who cares.
“If you campaign without a conscience then you’re going to run toxic campaigns. And if you run toxic campaigns then you eventually poison the nation.”
A clear example was the 2016 London Mayoral election, in which Tories targeted Hindu voters, saying Labour’s candidate – the Muslim Sadiq Khan – wanted to take away their jewellery.
Baroness Warsi said: “We specifically went out for Hindu voters saying Sadiq’s after your jewellery and I love Modi and by the way, Sadiq is an extremist. It was really amateur dog whistle politics.
“I just feel that somebody in campaign took a decision that if we throw enough dirt at him tied to the fact that he’s a Muslim then people will say this man can’t be trusted and he won’t vote for him. Terrible, terrible campaign which I think still has an effect.
“People always go back to it. People who were Conservative candidates and members couldn’t bring themselves to vote for us.”
These are strong words – and accurate. But the Conservative Party remains largely immune to the accusations, possibly due to its cosy relationship with a rabidly right-wing national media machine and the fact that, together, they have created an atmosphere of fear and hatred of Muslims.
That is why the Party has – so far – managed to resist all demands for an inquiry into Islamophobia within its ranks.
And Baroness Warsi?
This tweet says everything you need to know about attitudes to her:
Never thought I'd say this, I feel sorry for Warsi. She's done a brave thing, made herself a pariah on the right, only to have the entire Tory party and British media go "meh".
Clearly Islamaphobia is not just rife, many consider it entirely socially acceptable.
— Red 'til I'm Dead (@suziegeewizz) June 13, 2018
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