[Update at end of post]
One is always careful to take front page headlines in the Mail On Sunday at face value - after all, the average MoS splash usually contains more fabrication than a kit-build house - but, even the day after the story broke, the sheer idiocy of Tory Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) Afzal Amin, who was going to contest the marginal Dudley North seat, but now won’t be, is little short of jaw-dropping.
Amin held talks with the EDL. That would be bad enough, but then suggesting that two of the latter’s activists effectively get paid for canvassing - which is illegal - is worse. Worse still was Amin’s assurance to the EDL that “if I win my election in Parliament, you've got a very strong, unshakeable ally … 95 per cent of what you want to campaign against, we're with you”. And he was stupid enough to think he could trust the EDL, too.
But perhaps the most fanciful idea coming from Amin was that the EDL would announce a march against a mosque in the constituency, only for Amin to intervene and appear to be a community peacemaker when it was called off. Amin’s excuses have been, shall we say, creative: he “sought to bring people together”. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, you don’t do community outreach with the EDL.
Amin’s rather over-enthusiastic attempts to ingratiate himself with the likes of Tommy Robinson will not go down well with the Asian community, either, especially the jaw-dropping moment when Robinson asked him “You don’t like spicy food?” only to be told in reply “No, I’m not a Paki am I?” That word would be loaded, whoever uttered it. For an Asian man to use it in a clearly derogatory context is beyond the pale.
Moreover, it wasn’t just the EDL that Amin was cultivating: Channel 4 News has “spoken to a Muslim campaign group called MPAC who are claiming Mr Amin asked them to ‘attack’ him for ‘being in the army’ as it would help his ‘political career’ and make him ‘look like a moderate’”. Afzal Amin’s political career will hit the buffers tomorrow - when the Tories meet to decide his future, or lack of it. But there are further ramifications.
Whose duty was it to suspend Amin? Why, Grant “Spiv” Shapps! Yes, Shapps has suspended a PPC for deceit and dishonesty, and yes, as Littlejohn would have observed, you really couldn’t make it up. All that realisation will do is hurt the Tories even more - and not just with all those non-white voters who are now strongly considering going elsewhere in May. And then there is the potential ruckus at Northcliffe House.
The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre is shilling frantically for the Tories. He is supposed to be editor-in-chief of the MoS, which has effectively handed several marginal seats to Labour. He and Geordie Greig will be having some interesting conversations in the near future: Greig could have passed on the story and sent the EDL to the Mirror, who would have happily used it. Tories and their supporters will not be pleased.
With friends like these, the Tories are in no need of enemies. What a complete farce.
[UPDATE 1620 hours Afzal Amin, far from defending his
position robustly, has bowed to the inevitable and resigned as Tory PPC for Dudley North, a full day before he would most likely have been pushed. So that's another embarrassment for Grant Shapps avoided, then.
The inquest at Northcliffe House will no doubt continue, though. Meanwhile, all those voters from ethnic minority communities may be looking for somewhere to vote. And that somewhere is most unlikely to be the Tory Party
"Shapps has suspended a PPC for deceit and dishonesty"
Nah, the PPC has suspended for being "caught" lying and being dishonest. Spivvy Shapps is still wriggling on the hook.
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