We are constantly being told that it is Labour that has the problem with anti-Semitism, yet time and again, the Tories are caught dog-whistling. Whether it is Suella Braverman talking of “Cultural Marxism”, Jacob Rees Mogg smearing Oliver Letwin and John Bercow and then claiming George Soros was behind the Remain campaign, Priti Patel channelling her inner Viktor Orbán, or Michael Gove conflating “Jews” and “Israel”, the intention is clear.
So it should have come as no surprise that the party shown to be riddled with Islamophobia is now exposed as riddled with anti-Semitism too, as the Tweeter known as Mates Jacob told yesterday: “Last night I started vetting the Tory election candidates, working my way through a list of constituencies in alphabetical order. I got as far as Aberdeen North before I found a stinker”. A, Aa, Ab, You’re Nicked.
So what did they find? As The National has Tweeted out, “Tomorrow’s front page exclusive: Scottish Tories forced to axe candidate after we uncover sick internet history of Holocaust denial, homophobia and Islamophobia”. The Daily Record has more.
“The Conservative candidate for Aberdeen North has been suspended by the party after comments he made several years ago on an online forum emerged. The Scottish Conservatives said it had withdrawn its support for Ryan Houghton, while condemning ‘all forms of Islamophobia, homophobia and anti-Semitism’”. And Houghton’s response?
“Houghton said the National newspaper had taken a ‘selective look’ at comments he made in discussions about terrorism, LGBT rights and anti-Semitism and vowed to clear his name. He said that in the discussions seven years ago, when he was 20, he referenced the views of discredited historian and Holocaust denier David Irving but had made clear in subsequent posts that he was not defending them”. Of course he did.
But while Houghton tried to cling on to his candidature, telling “I apologise unreservedly for any hurt now caused by these comments and have been in contact with members of the Jewish Community in Aberdeen”, the Scots Tories were having none of it. “The comments contained in these blogs are unacceptable and Mr Houghton has been suspended as a member of the Scottish Conservative party as a result”. And it gets worse.
Houghton is not the only Tory candidate under fire, as Politics Home has discovered. "The Tories have come under pressure to ditch a general election candidate after it was revealed he had described British Jews returning from Israel as ‘brainwashed extremist’ … The party’s Leeds North East candidate, Amjad Bashir, was forced to apologise for the remarks”. Bashir had formerly been an UKIP MEP.
He has “also accused the chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee of being an ‘apologist’ for Israel’”. Leeds North East has a significant Jewish population. It was represented at Westminster for many years by Keith Joseph. So the Tories have a stark choice: get an electoral hammering, or get a new candidate.
But there is good news for The Blue Team: Mates Jacob has also revealed “But you'll be pleased to know that their candidates in Aberavon and Aberconwy don't seem to be too awful”. What will be revealed when the search moves on to Ac? Not a good look.
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