The cynical way in which Bob Blackman, Tory MP for Harrow East, cultivates Hindu and Sikh voters within his constituency will already be well known to Zelo Street regulars: he was one of a number of Tories who were backed by the National Council of Hindu Temples in the run-up to June’s General Election for supporting a campaign to withhold caste protection for the UK’s 250,000 Dalits, also known as Untouchables.
Bob Blackman MP
As one local resident explained to Wembley Matters, “Caste discrimination is endemic within parts of the Hindu and Sikh communities in the UK - there have been instances of doctors refusing to give medical treatment to Dalits and others where Dalit couples have been refused venues for weddings. It is a discrimination which remains largely hidden to wider society”. Blackman exploited that discrimination to score votes.
And now he has gone further, hosting a meeting in Committee Room 12 at the House of Commons last week addressed by Tapan Ghosh, whose Twitter bio gives a hint of where he’s coming from. “Uncompromising Hindu activist of Bengal. Determined to fight against Islamic aggression and expansion”. Ghosh is, let us not drive this one around the houses for too long, an Islamophobic and also anti-Christian bigot. He is a hate preacher.
For him, the focus may by Hindus rather than Christians, but the modus operandi is otherwise the same as the likes of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. He is out to scare his people against the Scary Muslims (tm). Indeed, he has, as Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain has pointed out, explicitly endorsed Wilders. On his last visit to the UK, he enjoyed a cordial meeting with Stephen Yaxley Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson.
Tapan Ghosh frightens his supporters by repeatedly talking about the Muslim “reproduction rate” - the same tactics as those talking about “breeding”. For him, “moderate” Muslims are “really very small in number”. He endorses wacko fringe websites, which naturally includes Breitbart, Voice of Europe, and of course anything from Hindus who share his worldview. He has endorsed Stephen Yaxley Lennon’s Islamophobic agenda.
All of this is not difficult to discover. Yet Blackman has been happy to host Tapan Ghosh, who dressed up his bigotry in his talk “Tolerating the intolerant” as “800 years of defending human rights”. And that is not all: this talk not only took aim at “800 years of Arabic Islamic aggression” (Muslims in Bengal are not Arabs), but also “200 years of European Christian aggression”. Tapan Ghosh is as anti-Christian as he is anti-Islam.
He claims that the Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar in their hundreds of thousands are “violent”. He approves of those describing “the Nehru-Gandhi garbage”. For him, Hindus are honest; both Christians and Muslims are not. And for the purposes of cynical electoral advantage, Bob Blackman has given Tapan Ghosh his backing.
This MP, who is shamelessly playing the race card to keep himself in the style to which he has no doubt become accustomed is sitting on a majority of less than 1,800. Removing him next time round would do civilised politics a significant service.