Socialist Worker

Tories whip up racism to save their own skins

Issue No. 2273

It’s a politician’s favourite ploy to attack immigrants for all of society’s problems. They do this to try and distract us from the real culprits.

This week David Cameron’s second major speech on immigration as prime minister showed how happy he is to play the race card and scapegoat migrant workers the moment he gets into trouble.

Unemployment figures are climbing. Cameron wants us to blame this on people who have come to Britain to try and make a better life for themselves and their families.

He claimed immigration “brings real pressures on our communities up and down the country—pressures on schools, housing and healthcare.”

He talked of people “seeking simply to take advantage of our NHS”, leading to “a discomfort and a tension in some of our communities”.

But he made no mention of the “pressures and tensions” caused by his cuts.

Cameron was playing to the gallery of tabloids and Tory right wingers who despise multicultural Britain. His home secretary Theresa May did the same with her fake story—lifted straight from the UK Independence Party—about a man who apparently avoided deportation because he owned a pet cat.

But in true Tory style, Cameron made it clear that you are always welcome if you are wealthy. It’s the poor that he and his rich friends can’t stand.

He wants us to see people coming into Britain as a burden. He ignores the contribution that generations of migrant workers have made to our society.

He says migrants should be forced to learn about “British history and culture”. A redesigned citizenship test will include questions on Christian festivals and the arch-imperialist Winston Churchill.

But the Tories are playing a dangerous game. Their talk feeds the racists and fascists of the British National Party and the English Defence League.

Cameron’s rants make their ideas seem legitimate.

When he calls on people to shop anyone they suspect might be an illegal immigrant, it effectively gives racist harassment an official seal of approval.

Behind the smooth mask, Cameron has shown that he is prepared to whip up racism to save his own skin.

The mass action of workers— black, white and Asian with roots and families from all over the world—is the best form of defiance against him.

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What We Think
Tue 11 Oct 2011, 18:47 BST
Issue No. 2273
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