Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is the Conservative Party Racist?

I am going to do something controversial and shocking for a Labour Party blogger, and that is to suggest that there is an accusation against the Conservatives that is unfair and untrue.
Put basically it is the accusation that the Conservatives are institutionally racist (Hat tip to Iain Dale for this story)
The Conservative Party are many things, not all of them pleasant. They can be arrogant, ill-informed, obnoxious, but all political activists have the temptation to be like that, but to say that the Conservatives are, as a whole, racist strikes me as absurd. If someone stated that it had racist members, or even one or two Constituency Associations that fail to realise that we are no longer in the 1950s, then I am more inclined to agree, but the accusation of institutional racism is unfair on many Conservative members (not all white and middle class, or "Essex Men") who, whilst politically misguided on many issues, have worked hard to help race relations in this country.
Because, strange as it may seem, there are many decent, hard-working, empathy driven, individual Tories, as there are Labour or Lib Dem activists. Misguided Tories I would agree (how could I not!), but even so. I appreciate it makes life easy to imagine all or most Tories as being like Alan B'Stard and to genuinely believe that, but it doesn't help honest debate and we bring ourselves no favours by taking such an attitude.
By all means let us attack the Tories for their lack of imagination on a Post-Thatcherite economy, or on public services, or on opportunism, but let us be grown-up about this and if individual Conservatives are proven to be racist, let us attack them in a way so as to shame the more decent members and not turn those decent members away from discussions with us by using playground-style attacks. The evidence has lately pointed to a strong public desire for less playground politics, lets honour that demand

1 comment:

Andrew Allison said...

Thanks, Paul. Jimmy Carter's comments (no doubt authorised by the White House) were a slur on those of us on the right and so were James Macintrye's.

I have fought the BNP on my blog for the past (almost) three years. People can accuse me of many things, but being a racist is not one of them.