Despite all those lining up to demand that new Home Secretary Sajid Javid sets up an inquiry into repeated accusations of Islamophobia in the Tory Party, he has not yet heeded their calls. And those calls are not about to go away any time soon. Indeed, after Sayeeda Warsi gave an exclusive to Adam Bienkov of Business Insider, the calls are only going to grow louder. And more senior Tories are going to find themselves called to account.
It was bad enough when Sayeeda Warsi claimed the Tories tolerated Islamophbia because “they don't think it is going to damage them because that community doesn't vote for them in any great numbers … I think that there is a general sense in the country that Muslims are fair game and it is not the kind of community where you can treat really badly and have many consequences. You can get any with it”.
But when she added that some Tories were Muslim-bashing in order to win over other minorities - “It has been a classic case of 'we're not racist - we like brown people but we like this kind of brown people as opposed to this kind of brown people … It's saying 'these are the acceptable brown people and those are the unacceptable brown people' and I think that is really dangerous”, that should have set alarm bells ringing.
Bienkov cites “the example of the 2016 London mayoral election, where the party was condemned for targeting Hindu voters with leaflets suggesting that the Labour candidate Sadiq Khan, who is a Muslim, was attempting to take away their jewellery”. He could also have used the example of garnering Hindu votes by MPs promising to oppose legislation to outlaw discrimination against Dalits, sometimes called Untouchables.
That, although not targeting Muslims, used similar tactics. It was backed by three MPs - Mike Freer, Matthew Offord, and of course Bob Blackman - who stands accused of anti-Muslim behaviour, as well as welcoming a known hate preacher to Parliament. And it suggests that the Tory appetite for racism extends beyond Islamophobia.
Sayeeda Warsi points out that campaigns like that against Sadiq Khan in 2016 have proved counter-productive: “Terrible, terrible campaign which I think still has an effect … People always go back to it. People who were Conservative candidates and members couldn't bring themselves to vote for us”. And she identifies two culprits.
“She said the party, under the campaign advice of former campaign manager Lynton Crosby, had deliberately sought to trash Muslim people … She said the ‘Ukipification’ of the party's attitude towards Muslims had been triggered in large by the current Environment Secretary Michael Gove … Gove, who wrote the book 'Celsius 7/7' about Islamic terrorism, was a close ally of Cameron and Warsi believes his ‘extreme views’ caused the former prime minister to shift the government's attitudes towards Muslims”.
So while yet more pundits and other observers pass severely adverse comment upon the situation, the chances of the Tories actually taking action, considering who might be implicated in the resulting inquiry, are extremely slim. As are the chances of our free and fearless press, and indeed our broadcasters, taking the issue seriously.
Indeed, as Bienkov notes, the Tories still don’t see the need for that inquiry. No surprise there, then.