Tag Archive for 'racism'

Is playing the race card now Labour strategy?

Osama Saeed draws my attention to a piece in the Daily Mail by Peter Oborne, entitled Blair. The veil. And a new low in politics. The conservative commentator makes some fairly bullish claims:

…Labour has made the extraordinary decision to place the politics of religious identity at the centre of public discourse, in the same sort of way that Jorg Haider’s Freedom Party does in Austria and Pim Fortuyn’s List Party did in the Netherlands

He goes on:

…Labour has cut its losses, and decided instead to stir up racial tension as a means of appealing directly to the white working-class vote. Labour activists tell me Jack Straw’s remarks have proved ‘incredibly resonant’ on the doorstep.

Oborne does not provide hard evidence to substantiate his claims but it does put Margaret Hodge’s faux pas over the BNP in a somewhat new light. I do take issue with Oborne’s implication that debate in this area should be restrained. I think this would be unproductive. If there are feelings of grievance then they should be openly aired so that they can be resolved. Debate should not be restrained but it should be conducted in a civilised, and constructive manner. If that’s what Oborne meant by “restraint” then fine, but it’s not very clear. One thought that did cross my mind, if Cameron’s Conservatives (David Davis and other dinosaurs excluded) are now to be the party of “restraint” could they, and would they, attract a new Muslim vote? After all I’ve always considered most Muslims to be “closet Tories” (socially conservative with a strong emphasis on family values and an enterprise culture) who only voted Labour because of the stronger stench of racism emanating from the right.