Michael Fabricant, Tory MP representing the unfortunate voters of Lichfield, ought to know all about racism, and the use of pigs as a racist device: he is Jewish. This has not stopped one of Parliament’s genuinely authentic clowns from indulging in nailed-on racism, and then pretending he did not know what he was doing.
Don't worry, you can't see the join
What Fabricant did - and did very deliberately - was to Tweet out an image of London Mayor Sadiq Khan as a pig, in a state of sexual congress with another pig (well, pig balloons, but you get the picture). This was accompanied by an image of a laughing Donald Trump. The intention was to get back at the Trump “baby balloon”, and Fabricant clearly had no problem with it, adding “Well, what can I say”.
It's no action on racism from me ...
The image, along with its caption “BREAKING NEWS: TRUMP DEFEATS SADIQ KHAN IN BALLOON WARS”, was soon deleted. But for Fabricant, the game was up. As Business Insider reported, Labour’s shadow immigration spokesman Afzal Khan was unimpressed.
... and it's no action from him. Goodnight
“[He] called for Fabricant to be suspended from the Conservative Party … ’The Tories have ignored countless calls for an inquiry into Islamophobia in their party from their own members, the former chair of their party and the Muslim Council of Britain,’ he said in a statement. ‘Clearly there's a problem, and if Brandon Lewis's respect pledge meant anything, Michael Fabricant would be suspended immediately.’”
Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain was also unimpressed. “Appalling - Tory MP @Mike_Fabricant shares a picture of Sadiq Khan as a pig … i.e. it is him being a Muslim that is somehow relevant? … FYI: Islamophobes similarly use the pig as a means of attacking Muslims e.g. bacon at mosques … What will @BrandonLewis do about #ToryIslamophobia?” About as much as he has done already - meaning nothing.
On the Labour side, there was broad agreement that Fabricant was out of order, with Owen Jones telling “The now deleted tweet by @mike_fabricant is gratuitously racist and the Tories have to suspend him now” and adding “For those claiming not to know why this is racist, a cartoon of a Muslim - or a Jewish person for that matter - having sex with a pig is deliberate and calculated racism”. Another reason the MP should not have done it.
Wes Streeting - not always on the same wavelength as Jones - agreed: “I’ve written to the Government Chief Whip to ask that action is taken against Michael Fabricant over his grossly offensive, highly inappropriate and racist tweet. I’m sick of the Mayor’s religion being used as a punchline and punchbag by racists and bigots. MPs should know better”.
Fabricant’s unconvincing response to the deluge of adverse comment was to plead “I deleted it as soon as I saw Sadiq Khan’s face on the picture … I did not see it was him. He may be a useless Mayor, but he’s a nice guy whom I worked with when he was in Parliament”. About as convincing as he is on most other issues.
OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY
And Michael Fabricant is merely a symptom of a wider Tory malaise: the party has been told repeatedly about racism in its ranks, yet neither Theresa May, nor Brandon “Barrow Boy” Lewis, have lifted a finger to act. There must be no further delay.
Racism has no place in civilised politics. That is all.