How long has the Equalities and Human Rights Commission been looking for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party now? A year?
Either it is very well hidden – which would be odd, considering the number of (admittedly mostly false) claims made against the party – or the EHRC is determined not to stop until it has managed to concoct a convincing case.
It doesn’t fill one with confidence in that organisation.
And now we see that the EHRC is trying to squirm out of handling 300 documented cases of Islamophobia – in the Conservative Party.
Does anybody else smell a rat?
According to the Mirror, the dossier handed to the EHRC – by the Muslim Council of Britain – contains information about 16 Conservative MPs, one MEP, nine election candidates and 183 party members.
That’s 209 people, so presumably some are multiple offenders. I wonder if Boris Johnson is listed among them?
The allegations include:
A former councillor calling for “unconditional surrender” by Muslims, who they label “brutes who beat, kill and maim young women”;
A local party association chair who called for Muslims to be banned;
A member who called for Muslims to be thrown from bridges;
Another member who called for the forcible sterilisation of Muslims.
The MCB also condemns the Conservative Party’s failure to suspend MP Daniel Kawczynski after he spoke at an event alongside far-right leaders, and for failing to take action on MP Karl McCartney, who shared Islamophobic and anti-Semitic social media content by Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins.
Secretary General Harun Khan said the EHRC had failed to give any response to the MCB’s first formal complaint in May 2019, and says it was ‘extraordinary’ that the watchdog had taken no action in the 10 months since.
“There is no doubt that the Conservative party has an Islamophobia crisis: it is institutional, systemic and widespread” he said,
“The party’s response has been one of denial, dismissal and deceit – this results in clear discrimination against Muslims because of their religion”
The EHRC says it is waiting for information about a promised internal inquiry by the Conservative Party, which it is claiming will be “independent” even though it is to be carried out within the party structure.
This Writer can only wish them good luck with that. We’re all also awaiting publication of the report on Russian influence on the Conservative government, and on Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri.
Wise heads think it won’t just be a cold day in Hell, but their subjects may actually have taken up residence there before these reports are published.
Former Tory-supporting columnist Peter Oborne thinks – well, see for yourself:
300 allegations of Tory Islamophobia in devastating report. No coverage in FT or Daily Telegraph. Seven paras on p.16 of Times. Nothing in the Daily Mail, Express, or the Sun. My new column for MEE:
British Tories are morphing into a party of bigots https://t.co/t3i0mT8gYJ
— Peter Oborne (@OborneTweets) March 6, 2020
In his article, he wrote:
The problem stretches from the lowest ranks of the Tory party to the very top. There is a massive problem with Islamophobic bigotry among Tory grassroots, where the MCB has provided a list of more than 100 cases.
Party members, councillors and officials have repeatedly made disgusting statements about Muslims, calling for them to leave the country, making provocative insults about the Prophet Muhammad and peddling malicious lies.
This should not come as any surprise to anyone, since poll results published by the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate last year showed that more than half of Conservative members thought Islam was “generally a threat to the British way of life”.
I’ve written before about Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow East, who shared an anti-Muslim post by Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League; hosted the anti-Muslim Tapan Ghosh, the right-wing Hindu nationalist; and shared far-right and Islamophobic content on Facebook.
Anti-Muslim bigotry is not a barrier to promotion. Nadine Dorries, who also shared a tweet by Robinson, is now a health minister. This is no surprise, given that Johnson himself has a long record of making anti-Muslim remarks.
Tellingly, Johnson is surrounded by Islamophobes. Dominic Cummings, his most senior advisor, reportedly had overall responsibility for The Spectator website in 2006, according to Stuart Reid, the magazine’s acting editor at the time, when a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban was posted on the site.
One of Johnson’s up-and-coming advisors is Chloe Westley. She praised Anne Marie Waters, leader of the anti-Islam party For Britain, as a “hero”, even though Waters has called Islam “evil” and also has links to Robinson.
But he made a very important point: the UK’s mass media are ignoring this story:
I could find nothing at all about the MCB report in the Financial Times or Daily Telegraph. There were seven paragraphs on page 16 of the Times and 11 paragraphs on page 7 of the Guardian. Nothing in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, or the Sun.
Most British newspapers are as Islamophobic as the Conservative Party itself, and in some cases, more so. This means they are effectively giving Johnson and his senior advisers and ministers a free pass to reshape the Tory party as a far-right, populist organisation of the type we already know too well on continental Europe.
It shows how the media have been manipulating your opinions and – by proxy – the actions of organisations like the EHRC.
The papers kicked up a huge fuss about the imaginary crisis of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (where I doubt if even 200 genuine cases have been found among a membership of more than half a million in the past four years).
But their silence over 300 evidenced cases of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, which is much smaller than Labour, means few people know about it and any outcry is therefore minimised.
So the EHRC can say there’s no real demand for it to investigate, despite the fact that, in real terms, it is a bigger issue.