We have known for some time now that the Tory Party has a racism problem. Mainly, this is with Islamophobia, but as Zelo Street regulars will know, prominent party figures are not above dabbling very openly in dog-whistle anti-Semitism, too. And with the General Election campaign now getting into full swing, The Blue Team is having to face up to the inconvenient fact that it harbours some serious bigotry within its ranks.
For exposing this sewer of hatred, we have the Tweeter known as Mates Jacob to thank, and their latest revelations have made the Guardian. The Tories’s problem is spelled out: “I compiled a dossier of Islamophobic posts from 15 sitting Tory councillors and 10 ex-councillors. Please read this and retweet, it's important that people see the scale and depth of the problem”. And there is more. Rather a lot more.
After giving hacks a heads-up, “If any journalists would like to see the dossier, please send me your email address via DM”, and finding that only the Guardian and Mirror seem to be interested (no comment), there is this coda: “One more thing to add - these aren't people who are ashamed of their beliefs. They're posting them on their FB statuses, in Tory-aligned FB groups and on Twitter … It’s abundantly clear that the Conservative Party is a hostile environment for Muslims”. Open racism. From elected Tory councillors.
It is that openness that has shocked observers, along with the comments, as Ian Fraser observed. “25 current and former Tory councillors have posted racist and Islamophobic content on social media. Walsall councillor Vera Waters (pictured with Boris Johnson) endorsed a suggestion that starvation in Africa was ‘nature’s way of depopulation’”. Many in the Republic of Ireland will recognise that mindset.
Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain mused “Islamophobia is truly endemic within the Conservative Party & yet they still do nothing and ignore the problem … The scale of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party continues to be ignored by the mainstream political commentariat, with little scrutiny or accountability despite the Party's total inaction & despite the depth of Islamophobia across all levels of the Party”.
But now, with the ultimate court of public opinion likely to find adversely upon their lack of action, the Tories have actually decided to do something, as one surprised Tweeter noted “25 Tory councillors suspended for racism including calling Muslims ‘barbarians’”.
The Mirror has reported a Tory spokeswoman claiming the 25 have been “suspended immediately, pending an investigation … The swift action we take on not just anti-Muslim discrimination, but discrimination of any kind is testament to the seriousness with which we take such issues … The Conservative Party will never stand by when it comes to prejudice and discrimination of any kind”. Cue hollow laughter all round.
Sadly, the reality of the situation is that it is only the Guardian and Mirror showing a willingness to follow up Mates Jacob’s work, and the impending election, that has spurred the Tories into pulling their fingers out. Moreover, there has been no action, and most likely will not be, against Jacob Rees Mogg, Priti Patel, and Michael “Oiky” Gove over their recent veering across the anti-Semitism line. Which leads to just one conclusion.
The Tory Party is institutionally racist from top to bottom. I’ll just leave that one there.
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