Labour has lost a lot of ground in “ethnic minority strongholds” that has been ignored by many media commentators, according to the author of this piece’s source article (see the link below).
But is it because the party has become complacent, as the author argues? Or is it because Labour is now racist and does not care about these voters?
One obvious argument for the latter is that Labour has just spent seven years suffering an onslaught of mostly-unfounded and untrue accusations of anti-Semitism. It would be irrational for the party to be complacent about racism after that; therefore the evidence suggests this was a conscious choice.
Damningly for Labour,
Tower Hamlets, which sees British Muslims suffer some of the most deprived conditions in the UK, was notably won by Lutfur Rahman, a former Labour councillor who was banned from holding office for five years after being found guilty of a litany of fraud and corruption charges.
Why would the people of this borough turn to somebody who had been found guilty of fraud and corruption, rather than Labour?
Also lost to the party was Croydon council and the mayoralty of Harrow.
The article states that many religious and ethnic minorities, including the author, no longer have faith in Labour because anti-racism and anti-imperialism aren’t given priority in the Labour Party.
Evidence supporting this includes Keir Starmer’s tacit assertion that racism within institutions wasn’t worth tackling when he described calls from Black Lives Matter to defund the police as “nonsense”, adding that it was a shame the movement was “getting tangled up with these organisational issues”. It was particularly insensitive in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
For many, it felt as if he was saying that if voters were worried about police brutality, voting for him would not help.
Worse is the spectre of Islamophobia within Labour – which eclipses anti-Semitism to a huge degree. Starmer refused to stand up for Muslim MPs facing Islamophobia in Parliament. A report by Labour Muslims in 2020 stated that 44 per cent of “Muslim members and supporters do not believe the Labour Party takes the issue of Islamophobia seriously”. A January 2022 poll from Muslim Census also suggested that Labour risks losing half of its Muslim vote at the next general election.
Of course, Starmer’s claim to have tackled anti-Semitism has created a huge blind spot in his thinking (at the very least). So he asserts that Israel is not an apartheid state, in defiance of the majority vote within Labour to sanction that country over its apartheid policy against Palestinians.
They can’t all be anti-Semites; the level of anti-Semitism within Labour was less than the national average when Jeremy Corbyn was leader and it is unlikely to have risen exponentially since Starmer took over. Starmer’s own stance, of course, implies that he is racist against Palestinians.
Labour MPs have also been criticised for failing to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities (think of John Mann, now a Tory lord) – although this falls short of the active persecution of Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts law.
The evidence is clear: ethnic minorities see Labour providing no answer to the discrimination, state violence and indifference to both that plague them in a nation that the Tories improbably claim is not institutionally racist.
But if Starmer continues to ignore the concerns of minority communities, they will continue to abandon his party – and that will make him seem even more of a racist than he does now.
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