As HnH told at the time, “After this poll was released, Prime Minister Theresa May responded by turning questions about the poll into a political attack on the Labour Party. Leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has given a vague commitment to an inquiry into ‘all forms of prejudice’ and the frontrunner for the Conservative leadership, Boris Johnson, reneged on his previous commitment to act”. Straightforward head-in-sand denial.
What is worse this time round - HnH have once again commissioned YouGov to poll another sample of Tory members - is that, among supporters of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the state of denial is worse. For instance, “79% believe that there is no problem, just 9% think there is. Among Johnson supporters this grew to 86% and fell to 4% respectively”. And there was more in the same vein.
“Only one in six party members (17%) felt that the Conservative Party should be doing more to combat Islamophobia and other racism within the party, compared to 74% who believed that the party was already doing all it reasonably can. Johnson supporters split 8% and 85% respectively”. A party leader who has previously compared Muslim women to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers” has a more bigoted support base? Who knew?
Worse still, as the Guardian reported last December, the Tories appointed Swaran Singh to chair their Inquiry into Islamophobia. He is a contributor to Spiked, whose editor Brendan O’Neill has said “Islamophobia is a recently invented term that is mainly designed to shut down critical discussion about Islam”. O’Neill was once again lying: Islamophobia was first attested in the English language in 1923 - almost a Century ago.
Small wonder that those in the Tory Party like Sayeeda Warsi, and those outside it, like Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain, have so little faith in the Tories’ ability to tackle, far less root out, prejudice. After all, if senior ministers can dabble in anti-Semitism, and the Prime Minister can sound the Islamophobic dog whistle, why should ordinary members feel constrained by any sense of principle or decency?
The Conservative Party is a racist endeavour. I’ll just leave that one there.