Those getting their news from the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate, or even the greater part of the broadcast media, could be forgiven for concluding that racism is confined to anti-Semitism, and only exists within the Labour Party. Both conclusions would be understandable, given recent coverage. And both would be wrong.
Moreover, Labour has put measures in place to deal with complaints of any kind of racism within its ranks, while one party most certainly has not: the Tories might not want the spotlight shone on them with local elections coming up tomorrow, but shine it must. They are riven with every form of bigotry and prejudice, and the only response appears to be to suspend candidates - and, even then, only when the public finds them out.
The scale of the problem was illustrated by Matt Thomas, who compiled a list of Tory hopefuls who had been suspended, which he posted on Twitter yesterday.
Two suspensions related to anti-Semitism
Four candidates were suspended because of Islamophobia
Two further candidates were suspended for other forms of racism.
But what was worse was that Thomas’ list is already out of date! At least two more cases have come to light, one that of David Boston from Enfield, who posted a photo of bacon hung over a door handle, “to protect you from terrorism”, and the other being Nick Farmer from Wakefield, who lost his job “after comment about 'retards' and declaring 'it’s bleeding Karachi round here' outside [an] Asian shop”.
The Muslim Council of Britain has been calling for the Tories to take the issue seriously since 2016, after Young Dave had to say sorry “for having falsely claimed that south London imam Sulaiman Ghani supported the terrorist group Isis - a claim he used to attack Labour’s [mayoral] candidate [Sadiq Khan], who had appeared on platforms with him”.
It gets worse: Tory MP Roger Gale appeared on Channel 4 News yesterday evening and told host Krishnan Guru-Murthy “people like you do not get the issue of illegal migration”. What’s with the “people like you”? Would that be media people, or Asian media people?
And worse still is the dreadful spectacle of the Windrush debate in the Commons this afternoon, when Diane Abbott was interrupted within three minutes by a Tory back bencher wanting to deflect the debate to the subject of … yes, illegal migration. The whole reason for the Windrush scandal is that those caught up in it are not illegal migrants. They are British citizens. The undercurrent of “black = illegal migrant” is unmistakeable.
As David Lammy observed from the Labour benches, “The Commonwealth are watching this debate. And they are watching Tory MPs hectoring, filibustering, obfuscating, conflating the Windrush citizens with illegal immigrants and most of all making it look very much like the Conservative Government does not take this issue seriously”.
We certainly have a major political party with a racism problem here in the UK. And what their press pals do not want to admit is that it is the Tory Party. I’ll just leave that one there.