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Saturday, 7 May 2016

Yes We Khan

While campaigning in local elections elsewhere in the country focused on local issues, that for the London Mayoralty was turned into one where some of the nastiest dog-whistle tactics seen since the 1960s were deployed by the Tory Party to try and frighten voters off casting their ballots for Labour challenger Sadiq Khan. It was divisive and vicious. It crossed the defamation line more than once. And it was a complete failure.
The Tories’ great hope Zac Goldsmith was exposed as a lightweight, a dilettante, another of those “posh boys” with no real grasp on the problems facing most of the capital’s voters, as he is insulated from reality by unfeasibly large amounts of the money bequeathed him by his late father. To make up for this deficiency, his campaign deflected and smeared by telling voters about all those Scary Muslims (tm) who Khan allegedly backed.

Except he didn’t back any extremists: Sadiq Khan was the extremists’ worst nightmare, a modern and progressive Muslim voice who had supported same-sex marriage and thereby lost the support of his local Iman, Suliman Gani, who transferred his support to the Tories. For this, he was defamed - twice - in the Commons by the Prime Minister. Dead cat deployer supreme Michael Fallon was still defaming him this morning.

Goldsmith put his name to another vicious hatchet job on Khan in last weekend’s Mail On Sunday, whose message was “Vote for the Muslim and he’ll bring another 7/7 to London”. The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, that well known deniable branch of CCHQ, constantly smeared Khan by telling time and again of those with whom he had “shared a platform”.

This lame attempt at “Guilt by association” was taken up by the likes of the loathsome Toby Young - still spinning yesterday afternoon - who protested that it wasn’t racist to say that Khan had, yes, “shared platforms” with some who held extreme views. It’s interesting to know that Staines and Young are so stupid that they think anyone would be convinced by this tactic. And in the end, very few were convinced.

All the smears, all the divisive rhetoric, all the dead cats, they came to nothing. Londoners overwhelmingly voted for Sadiq Khan ahead of Zac Goldsmith, the eventual margin of victory being a thumping 13.6%. And that was when the Tories’ nasty tactics of frightening voters into the polling booth hit the buffers. Because, as Owen Jones has pointed out, the racism and Islamophobia was not Goldsmith’s idea. It came from the top of his party.

It wasn’t just the cheaper end of the Fourth Estate and their boot boys in the blogosphere. It wasn’t just the musings of a political dilettante. It wasn’t just spraying the credibility of London’s own paper, the Standard, up the wall (will it ever recover?). It wasn’t just the importation of dog-whistle politics. It was a concerted, deliberate and co-ordinated campaign of division of hatred from the party of Government.

The Tories will have that hung round their necks for years to come. And rightly so.

4 comments:

Arnold said...

Fallon also disputed that the Academy u-turn * announcement yesterday wasn't an attempt to bury bad news. I accept it may have been made on the first possible day, but why not wait until Monday.

* Irregular verb.
I listen to backbench opinion.
You do u-turns.

Anonymous said...

Zac Goldsmith is the tory equivalent of the hilariously stupid Dan Quayle. And doomed to the same fate. His campaign of course told us nothing we didn't already know about the tories. Root and branch they are an ugly smear on democracy, always have been, always will be.

Khan is not a terrorist and does not support terrorism. But he IS New Labour. Which means he'll make but a marginal difference to what goes on in hideously corrupt Mistake On Thames. Jeremy Corbyn can expect little or no support from him as Khan gets pushed up front by what's left of equally corrupt New Labour - and you only have to take a glance at Simon Dankzuk, John Mann, Andy Burnham and Hilary Benn to see what a lot of tenth rate spivs and bully boys THEY are. I expect Benn particularly to be part of a singular act of betrayal for his own advancement, probably Burnham too.

The local election results show little more than a gradual shake out of British politics. Considering the smears and unrelenting neocon propaganda and lies, Labour did very well to hold parity with the tories in England.

Scotland was not at all unexpected because there is still a foolish notion there that nationalism will stave off the worst of capitalism - but it will only slow it, not stop it: Nothing good ever came out of nationalism, and even less out of toryism. Long term, the Scots will come to realise this. But New Labour did even worse fearful damage to the Scottish working class and quite rightly it will take years to regain confidence there.

The general election is four years off. During that time you can expect more and worse smears against the Labour Party, probably timed to emerge in the year before the election. The main perpetrators will be the Murdoch-Rothermere Axis of Evil, but broadcast news will be just as bad in its own way.

Corbyn best ready himself for it. The lies will only worsen.

Stephen Holmes said...

Today's Telegraph reports that Zak is not a racist - by Zak's Mum.

So there you have it -

Not a racist, but shares platforms with racists - almost daily.

Shawlrat said...

And, Stephen Holmes, that Zac is the least racist person she knows. Where does that say about her other children and her friends?