The Tory party has a history of racism. It hasn't and won't be able to shake it off
No matter how hard they try to ditch their ‘nasty party’ image, the mask always slips. From Borris Johnson referring to black people as “piccaninnies” to Anne Marie Morris’s “n***** in a woodpile” remark yesterday, it’s clear they simply don’t exist in 21st century.
The exact same phrase has reportedly been heard among members of the party a total of eight times in the past twenty years; god knows how many times it’s been said but unreported.
Racism is normalised and deeply rooted institutionally within the Conservative party. As evidence, those present with Anne Marie Morris at the London event did not speak up. It is clear the “N word” is seen as an acceptable term to them and they have little problem with it.
Beyond the phrase itself, here’s a – by no means exhaustive list – of racism within the nasty party:
When a Tory councillor claimed gypsies would “stick a knife in you as soon as look at you” in 2009.
When Boris Johnson wrote in the Spectator ‘black people have lower IQs’ AND in another article said that people in the Caribbean were ‘multiplying like flies’ in 2008.
When Tory councillor Peter Hobbins said not enough candidates in the 2010 election had “normal sounding English names”.
When a Tory councillor blamed the London riots on “jungle bunnies” and described people from the Middle East as “sons of camel drivers”.
When Tory MP Aidan Burley organised a nazi-themed stag party.
(The Mirror has a list of two dozen other examples, in case you need further convincing)
Theresa May has distanced herself from Morris’ comment, by suspending her, but this is not enough. I’m far from the only one that thinks she should give up her seat immediately.
And with people like Boris Johnson on the front-bench, it is unlikely the leadership care enough to weed out racist Tories. Their membership has a serious problem – and no attempt to fix up their disguise will hide what many stand for.
The Conservatives will only attract more of those with racist views now that UKIP have effectively disbanded.
There isn’t any way to bring the right into the 21st century, even with the Tories trying to erase their “Nasty Party” image. The only way to bury the racism sprouting from the party is to promote progressive values and ideals and liberation across the board.
A clear majority of people are against discrimination of any kind and so many stand up against hate and racism. That enthusiasm can help remove the Tories and their DUP allies from power – and put an end to high-up politicians spouting racist drivel.
Reece Stafferton is a performance artist and political activist. He tweets here.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.