Labour’s problems in dealing with accusations of anti-Semitism have been good cover for the Tories, but the pretence that it’s all about Jezza and people associated with Momentum is not going to save The Blue Team from their own little local difficulty. The Tory Party is riven with racism, and has been for decades. Now the problem is spilling out into the open, and those at the top of the party are unable, or unwilling, to deal with it.
After London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson made his latest foray into forthright bigotry, as the Independent has told, “Theresa May has been accused of staying silent on Islamophobia in the Tory party after failing to criticise Boris Johnson for suggesting women wearing niqabs resemble ‘letter boxes’ and ‘bank robbers’”. Campaigning group TellMAMA was not impressed.
Their founder Fiyaz Mughal told “There should have been some response from Downing Street distancing themselves from these comments … That was the first thing that should have been done, we are still waiting for that. It sends out a signal, sadly, to Muslim communities sadly that their worries are not taken into account”.
It shows that the lessons of Smethwick in 1964, of John Enoch Powell’s expulsion from the shadow cabinet in 1968, of a policy of “repatriation” that lasted well beyond that, the shame of the local party over the Tories’ candidate to fight Cheltenham in 1992, and the disgraceful anti-Semitic attacks by (yes, it’s it’s her again) Nadine Dorries on a Jewish fellow MP have remained unlearned. The Tories are still the Nasty Party.
Not even the right-leaning Evening Standard splashing “TORIES IN DENIAL ON ISLAMOPHOBIA, SAYS HERO IMAM” has had an effect, with a clearly exasperated Sayeeda Warsi observing “‘Tories are in denial on Islamophobia- says the hero praised around the world for his brave & compassionate response to the murderous attack in #FinsburyPark’ @standardnews … Meanwhile @Conservatives its business as usual with #Boris #Burkha dog whistle”. And there was more.
Labour activist Rachael Swindon added “It’s been more than 800 days since the Muslim Council of Britain called for an inquiry in to @Conservatives Islamophobia. They have repeated this call several times, with no answer from Tory Party HQ … Today, Boris Johnson gave them their answer”. And Jonathan Lis had a comparison for Bozza.
“For the record, no senior member of Labour’s shadow cabinet has ever openly mocked ultra-Orthodox Jewish clothing in a newspaper column … Johnson will eventually disappear into the sewer where he belongs. In meantime, Tories need to answer for Islamophobia pervading their party”. The condemnation kept coming.
BBC Radio 4’s Today programme was denounced for John Humphrys - yet again - downplaying the Tory problems. This was being swept under the carpet. Theresa May was in denial about it. And her party chairman Brandon “Barrow Boy” Lewis was absent.
All forms of racism are unacceptable. The Tories have, of late, practised many of them. As to where that puts the party’s credibility, well, I’ll just leave that one there.
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