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    Technorati: graph / links

    The Tories still don’t get racism

    by Sunny on 8th November, 2007 at 2:16 am    

    I didn’t bother writing earlier on the controversy surrounding Tory candidate Nigel Hastilow, who was chucked out of the party for essentially endorsing Enoch ‘Rivers of Blood’ Powell’s views, because I knew it would follow the same old pattern. He would claim that he was only reflecting the “man on the street”, his supporters would claim that he was being censored by “political correctness gone mad”, many in the Tory rank-and-file would bitch and moan but he would be sacked, maybe to be reinstated later (quietly). We’ve been there plenty of times before.

    What I find interesting, and perhaps annoying, about the whole controversy, which has been raging for a full 3-4 days now, is how morally bereft and stupid the response has been from the ‘leading lights’ of the Conservatives online.

    First we have to start with what Enoch Powell said. The current editor of Birmingham Post, where Hastilow was previously an editor, said this on Tuesday:

    Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s infamous Rivers of Blood speech, delivered in Birmingham, in which the Tory front-bencher railed against immigration and repeated a constituent’s forecast that in Britain by 1988 “the black man will have the whip hand over the white man”.

    Powell’s inflammatory language - he told of the last white woman left living in a street in Wolverhampton whose life was made a misery by immigrant families and their children whom he described as “charming, wide-grinning piccaninnies” apt to chant “racialist” at her - shocked Conservative Party leader Ted Heath and Powell was promptly sacked from the shadow Cabinet.

    Powell’s point was that brown / black people coming here would wreck this country because they only wished to subjugate white people. He saw no likelihood that Britain could ever be a multi-racial society at ease with itself. White and black could not mix at all. Not only that, he used highly inflammatory language to whip up those fears.

    So, lots of credit where it is due, Daniel Finkelstein of the Times nails exactly what was wrong with Enoch Powell.

    So what do the Tories think of all this?

    The deputy editor of ConservativeHome, hilariously, blamed the BBC and Observer for forcing the Conservative Party’s hands. That really is the height of obfuscation; he doesn’t want to say the Tory head-honchos should grow balls and stand by their racist legacy so instead we get:

    Political realities made this resignation understandable but, for me, it’s very disappointing. Most of the blame belongs to the media (particularly the BBC and the Observer) for giving Labour’s press team the scalp they wanted all too easily. There was nothing racist in what Hastilow said. Fact. Is it completely naive to wonder if the Party could have stood its ground? It would be interesting to hear Osborne or Spelman spell out exactly how they disagreed with his comments. Political correctness triumphed over common sense…”

    Here we go again - the media, political correctness are to blame… our man is totally innocent… Enoch Powell was right…. yada yada.

    Nothing racist in saying that Enoch Powell was right? In other words one can quote or agree with racist bigots without being one yourself? What rubbish.

    Meanwhile Iain Dale also concurs that, “Anyone who had actually read what he said would have been hard pressed to find anything racist in his comments.”

    Funny that, Iain Dale is on record condemning homophobia, quite rightly, but doesn’t seem to think that agreeing with someone as racist as Enoch Powell should be condemned.

    Oh incidentally, he also condemned Simon Heffer’s homophobia, who co-incidentally says in the Daily Telegraph: When will Tories admit that Enoch was right?

    I know lots of Tory MPs and peers in receipt of the Tory whip who believe Powell was right on immigration, who know he was no racist and who believe the party’s greatest sin was not to take him seriously. Are they all to be sent to outer darkness, too?

    Good question Heffer, thanks for exposing the racist underbelly of the Tories, which you belong to too.

    But there is a problem with Hastilow because, as the Birmingham Post’s editor said:

    His comments fit the Powellite agenda perfectly - casual references to foreigners, almost as if they are a sub-species, the mythology of immigration, the clear insinuation that a further influx of immigrants to this country must be a bad thing because immigrants are a bad thing. It was Enoch without the Oxbridge classicist allusions - repackaged for a 2007 audience, but Enoch just the same. Once an argument is constructed at this level, it is impossible to have a sensible debate about how best to control the number of immigrants permitted to settle in this country.

    The Tories cannot bring themselves to properly condemn racism. They will either blame the media, blame political correctness or pontificate about how difficult it is to step out of line.

    Or they launch with bluster into how immigration is so high in the UK, conveniently ignoring that Powell’s speech was about preserving whiteness 40 years ago and most immigrants these days happen to be…. white. While the country is accepting a multi-racial society as fact, the Tory high-command still cannot bring themselves to do it. Their minions scream about political correctness while the head-honchos sack racists almost as if they’re sad to do so.

    For all their talk of modernising, the Tories cannot bring themselves to accept that a multi-racial Britain is a fact of life.

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    117 Comments below   |  

    1. Sukhi — on 8th November, 2007 at 2:42 am  

      I can predict how this thread will weave in the responses. You wil be accused of political correctness, hysteria, of being in denial of the oppression of white Britons by black and asians, and there will probably be a fair few Asians agreeing with that analysis.

    2. Sam Coates — on 8th November, 2007 at 7:39 am  

      I condemn racism when I see it, not when somebody phrases something in a way that could tenuously be construed to being racist.

    3. Boyo — on 8th November, 2007 at 7:45 am  

      I read the Heffer article yesterday and didn’t read anything in it to justify your “racist” claim Sunny. But that’s probably because (jerk of knee) I’m a racist underbelly in your eyes too.

      I would be interested (and value) a refutation of his key points however because they sounded reasonably convincing to me even though, underbelly though I may be, I doubt I’m actually any more racist than, say, you.

    4. Letters From A Tory — on 8th November, 2007 at 8:32 am  

      Sorry but you’ve got this all wrong. The fact of the matter is that he WAS representing the views of his local constituents. Here is a frequently ignored quote from the BBC website:

      Mary Docker, chairwoman of Mr Hastilow’s local Conservative association, said earlier she did not think he had done anything wrong. She told BBC News 24: “He’s basically just raising issues that have been raised with him when he has been canvassing the area. “All he is doing is just relaying the views of the public, which is what a politician should do.”

      And she’s absolutely right.


    5. j0nz — on 8th November, 2007 at 9:04 am  

      thanks for exposing the racist underbelly of the Tories

      Just wandering what a racist underbelly looks like

    6. Leon — on 8th November, 2007 at 10:07 am  

      I condemn racism when I see it

      And if you’re sight isn’t as attuned as you think?

    7. Jai — on 8th November, 2007 at 10:07 am  

      “the black man will have the whip hand over the white man”.

      I was reading an article about all this in one of the major newspapers earlier this week, where Enoch Powell apparently claimed that there were many areas where he felt “some of the peoples of India are superior to white British people — intellectually, for example”.

      Tying this in to the infamous “whip hand” quote, perhaps this was one of the root causes — he was very threatened by Asians because he felt they were smarter than white people, and would therefore successfully be able to rise to positions of authority and power over them in various areas of British life.

      The fact that he clearly thought this authority would be abused to “oppress” white people indicates considerable paranoia on his part. Unless it was due to an awareness of what imperial Britain had done to Africa and the subcontinent, so he was unable to think outside of that mentality and assumed that other people would behave in the same way if they had the opportunity to do so (and/or he thought black & Asian people would be motivated by “revenge”).

      Incidentally, Powell was determined to secure the position of Viceroy of India and even learnt Urdu in order to assist this ambition. He was devastated when it became apparent that the drive towards Indian independence was irreversible and that he would therefore not achieve his dream. Gives you a further insight into his psyche, perhaps.

    8. Iain Dale — on 8th November, 2007 at 10:11 am  

      Oh, so we are not even allowed to discuss what he said now, are we? Can you just clarify something? Your remarks seem to insinuate that you believe me to be a racist. I find that deeply insulting, not to say libellous. Yes I do condemn homophobia, and I have also condemned racism many times on my blog. This kind of post brings politics into disrepute.

    9. Dave S — on 8th November, 2007 at 10:24 am  

      Bloody party politicians! The Yin-Yang of a perfectly balanced pile of turds. Two faces of the same grubby coin, that by now should have fallen down a drain, into the sewer, where it belongs.

      Forgive the over-simplified analysis here, but I think it’s appropriate:

      It doesn’t matter who is in power - they think they know what is best, so go headlong into causing massive problems of various sorts. The “opposition” parties simply sit there and pick at these problems, jeering with the benefit of hindsight like a bunch of ironically unintelligent know-it-alls. Reaching agreement is not the aim - just dominating, disagreeing on principle and squabbling like toddlers.

      Never mind what’s good for you or I - they couldn’t care less as long as they cling on to power, yet even that’s too hard to manage for some of the more egotistical maniacs.

      Population gets bombarded and whipped up by the media (who have a ruthless sell-sell-sell agenda), and harrangued into making their “choice” every five years or so. A “choice” that exists only in name, between a bunch of universally undesirable bastards. Never mind that none of them actually “represent” anyone or anything but their own narcissistic personalities.

      We let (though it’s not as if we have any say in the matter by conventional means) a rabble of dangerous, egomaniac, eliteist toddlers take the steering wheel on our behalf, and they balls it up every single time.


      I mean, I’m under 30, and I’ve spotted the pattern - it’s not as if it’s easy to miss!

      Do away with the lot of the useless bastards, so the rest of us can get on with creating functional communities where co-operation, trust and the desire to reach mutually beneficial outcomes rule.

      We do not need politicians - they are the problem, and their lust for easy point scoring and short-termist agendas will be the death of us all.

      (And when I say “death”, I mean “death”, literally.)

    10. Mike — on 8th November, 2007 at 10:43 am  


      ‘Powell’s point was that brown / black people coming here would wreck this country because they only wished to subjugate white people.’

      Piffle. Enoch Powell saw his ‘own people’ subjugating the black and brown-skinned denizens of the Third World. His anti-imperialist credentials were so strong he’d make Harold Pinter look like Norman Podhoretz.

      After all, Enoch never described himself as a small ‘c’ conservative. His views were libertarian first and foremost.

      ‘He saw no likelihood that Britain could ever be a multi-racial society at ease with itself.’

      Sorry to say this Sunny, but Powell was right. Even Madeleine Bunting, the doyen of happy-clappy left-liberalism, is coming to the realisation that multi-racial societies make us miserable and mistrustful.

      ‘White and black could not mix at all.’

      You need a quote or citation to back this up.

      ‘Not only that, he used highly inflammatory language to whip up those fears.’

      True. The ‘Rivers of Blood Speech’ was hysterical and lacked nuance. I agree.

      ‘In other words one can quote or agree with racist bigots without being one yourself?’

      Hold you horses Sunny. Enoch could speak several Indian languages. And he enjoyed travelling. Hardly a Little Englander?

      ‘The Tories cannot bring themselves to properly condemn racism.’

      Yes, the Conservative Party are SO bigoted that Shailesh Vara, Sayeeda Warsi, James Cleverly, Priti Patel and Adam Afriyie are forced to wear monocles and jackboots to compensate for their ‘inferior’ complexions!

      We’re mistrustful of immigration because we’re mistrustful of identity politics – which, as you well know, draws attention to trivial (but potentially explosive) parts of our identity: skin colour and religious dogma.

      ‘For all their talk of modernising, the Tories cannot bring themselves to accept that a multi-racial Britain is a fact of life.’

      You use ‘Britain’ to denote London and the Pennine towns. There are other places in this principality which are a lot less diverse.

    11. Katherine — on 8th November, 2007 at 11:17 am