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By Jason Michael
The media – even the nationalist media – appears to have been caught off guard to discover a handful of racist Scottish Conservative election hopefuls. Why are we so surprised? The #NastyParty has always been the party of racists and bigots.
Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tory Party, according to articles in Common Space and The National, has been “rocked” by the revelation that not one but seven – so far – of its candidates for the May 4 council elections have been outed as xenophobes and Islamophobic racists. Yet what is perhaps most shocking about these revelations is that any of this comes as a surprise to anyone. Conservativism, as the party of the British racialised state, is racist to its core.
We should remember that it was as a Conservative MP that Enoch Powell made his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech at the West Midlands Conservative Centre in 1968. He criticised in the most despicably racist terms the immigration into Britain of people from the Commonwealth nations. Removing all doubt as to which people he was referring he stated: “In this country – in fifteen or twenty years’ time – the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.”
It's appalling. But there's nothing scandalous about this. The Tories have always been the party of white British t… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
Butterfly Rebellion (@Butterfly_Reb) April 15, 2017
He was sacked from his role as Shadow Defence Secretary by Edward Heath, but then only after a public outcry at his comments. Rather than being expelled from the party he continued as a Conservative MP until 1974 when he relocated to Northern Ireland to become an MP for the Ulster Unionist Party – the Conservative and Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, where he served until his retirement in 1987. London’s Tory brass would not tolerate an outspoken racist in office, but Conservative voters clearly thought otherwise.
Bob Carr, when Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs in April 2013, recalled a conversation he had had with Margaret Thatcher – in front of his Malaysian-born wife – in which the Iron Lady herself made what he described as “unabashedly racist” remarks about Asian immigration into Australia. “If you allow too much [Asian immigration],” she told him, “the natives of the land, the European settlers, will be overtaken by migrants.” In the same conversation, he recalled, she said she liked Sydney, but that he mustn’t “allow the migrants to take over; otherwise you will end up like Fiji where the Indians have taken over.”
Carr was astonished, but he shouldn’t have been. After causing and then aggravating the worst famine in the history of the subcontinent, Winston Churchill had only this to say: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.” What Carr had actually stumbled upon was the dirty little secret of the British Conservative Part; that it is not only a racist party but that it is the original racist party of the United Kingdom.
Theresa May, while Home Secretary, saw nothing problematic about her policy of sending vans around London boroughs carrying signs telling migrants to “Go Home or Face Arrest.” This wasn’t incompatible with her Conservative politics. Her Prime Minister at the time was David Cameron, a man who, in his younger days, was a member of the Federation of Conservative Students at a time when that body was issuing badges to its members that said – at the height of Apartheid in South Africa – “Hang Nelson Mandela.” At that time the head of the FCS was John Bercow, the incumbent Speaker of the House of Commons.
Of course there is no evidence that either Cameron or Bercow ever wore those badges. If such evidence existed one would never have been Prime Minister and the other never Speaker of the Commons. That’s how it works, you see. Racism is to the Conservative Party what smoke is to fire, but being open about it – being outspoken about it – except when among friends, is déclassé. Old Enoch Powell’s racism was acceptable up to and until he went public with it. Only then did it become gutter politics.
Here in Scotland, under the leadership of Ruth Davidson – a woman who described Margaret Thatcher as “exceptional” – we are surprised to discover that so many Tory council election candidates have been exposed as racists? When each and every one of that party’s MSPs voted in Holyrood to disenfranchise EU citizens living in Scotland, we are somehow taken aback that its local government hopefuls are that bit less polished in their attitudes?
The Conservative Party does not have “a racism problem.” The Conservative Party is a racist party. Racism is so much more than the spoken or written word; racism is a whole set of attitudes and assumptions about one’s own superiority and the superiority of one’s own group over and above an inferior and dangerous racialised other. This is British Conservativism to the core. It is poisoned root and branch with these despicable attitudes. Racism is the lifeblood of its right-wing, neo-imperialist ideology. So let’s stop feigning shock and trying to pretend we don’t know the truth.
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