Socialist Worker

Tory Hague opens door to racists

Issue No. 1746

Tory Hague opens door to racists

TORY leader William Hague forced the racist Tory MP John Townend to apologise this week for his comment that the British were becoming a "mongrel race". But Hague only acted after a huge media backlash against his failure to throw Townend out of the Tory party.

Prominent black Tory Lord Taylor rightly attacked Townend for his racism. Now Hague is punishing Taylor for speaking out by forcing him to sign a letter reaffirming his commitment to the Tories! Hague's hypocrisy is absolutely clear. He wants to claim the Tories are an anti-racist party and win the votes of the black and Asian middle class.

But he also wants to show that he is a strong hand on race issues and immigration to grassroots Tory members, who are as racist as ever. Shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe signed the Commission for Racial Equality pledge to keep racism out of the election-but only because she wants to continue her racist witch-hunting against asylum seekers unhindered.

This is despite the fact that even the police admit racist attacks increase when politicians whip up hatred of asylum seekers. "I fear racists in the street less than I fear the words of our politicians-which are sometimes taken by the racists as a licence to attack anyone who does not look or speak like them." These were the words of TGWU union leader Bill Morris at the TUC black workers' conference last weekend.

He is absolutely right to attack both the Tories' racism and New Labour's vicious treatment of asylum seekers. We can't allow the main parties to set the agenda on race. That's why the Socialist Alliance and Scottish Socialist Party are standing on an anti-racist platform, and against both Tory and New Labour attacks on refugees.


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News
Sat 5 May 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1746
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