The campaign for London’s 2020 Mayoral election has hardly started, but already the Tories have chosen their candidate, and Shaun Bailey is proving to be a campaign manager’s worst nightmare, as his past utterances have been swiftly unearthed, with condemnation of the views he expressed following in short order.
As Zelo Street concluded last week, the Tories have already lost the battle to persuade the capital’s electorate that Bailey would be worth throwing incumbent Sadiq Khan under the financially squeezed red bus Many Londoners know full well that TFL’s finance problems are significantly down to the previous very occasional Tory Mayor, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and his ability to spray money up the wall.
The latest Bailey blunder to hit the headlines has been a pamphlet from Iain Duncan Cough’s Centre for Social Justice to which he contributed. And it makes for grim reading, as Politics Home has told. “Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has defended a string of ‘raw’ comments about women and poverty he made in 2005”.
How raw is “raw”? “Mr Bailey - who is hoping to unseat Sadiq Khan as mayor of London in the 2020 vote - said ‘good looking’ local girls ‘tend to have been around’ and claimed that ‘poor people’ need ‘rules’ to stop them becoming involved in crime”. That raw. Unsurprisingly, this has been duly pounced upon. “Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan told BuzzFeed News … hat Mr Bailey had shown ‘appalling sexism and misogyny’”.
Bailey’s response did not inspire confidence. ”Now my words are being used to attack me. That's politics, and I'm up for it … But we're never going to tackle the problems facing some of our poorest communities if we only listen to career politicians”. Er, Shaun, right now, you are a career politician. Inasmuch as you still have a career.
But one media outlet is prepared to defend Bailey, and to no surprise at all it is the increasingly credibility-free Evening Standard, which in 2008 and 2012 was the London Daily Bozza, and in 2016 the Zac Express. Now, as Dave Hill at OnLondon has quipped, it is rapidly morphing into the Daily Bailey. Here’s their take.
“Shaun Bailey, the Tory contender for Mayor of London, today revealed how he has been subjected to appalling racist attacks by Labour supporters … The London Assembly member has been called a ‘vile disgusting Uncle Tom’, a ‘lying coconut’ and a ‘token ethnic’ since announcing he wanted to challenge Sadiq Khan for City Hall”.
There was more. “Mr Bailey condemned the abuse and called for the mayoral election campaign to be a ‘battle of ideas’ on issues affecting millions of Londoners, such as housing, transport and crime”. But there are two problems here.
One is that three Labour members calling Bailey an “Uncle Tom” does not quite stand up the headline, and Two, the Standard calling for a clean campaign after the Islamophobic bigotry it either ignored or cheered on in 2016 is just a bit too rich for words.
Shaun Bailey is still toast. The only question is how long the Tories will keep faith in him before they have to bite the bullet and put someone else on the ticket.
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