Socialist Worker

As Tories play the race card

Issue No. 1692

What we think

As Tories play the race card

Blame bankers, not refugees

THE TORIES are going out of their way to step up their vicious campaign against asylum seekers. Day after day shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe spouts out filthy lies about refugees being "bogus". This is despite the fact that, even by the tough criteria established by the last Tory government, some 54 percent of those who claim asylum are eventually found to be genuine.

This disgusting playing of the race card is the Tories' response to the growing disillusionment with the New Labour government. The Tories understand that New Labour has upset many of its own supporters. The Tories want to try to divert this anger to their own benefit. But every lie about asylum seekers leads to more scapegoating, more racism and more attacks.

This week Tony Blair finally criticised the Tories for inciting racism. But his government is in no position to nail the Tories. New Labour has paved the way for the anti-refugee racist witch-hunt. It has made out asylum seekers, travellers and beggars to be the biggest problem in Britain. But fortunately anti-asylum propaganda is not the only thing sweeping Britain. There is also a surge of bitterness at the fat cats at Barclays Bank who are destroying scores of communities and thousands of jobs through closures.

Cinema-goers in London booed recently when the new Barclays advert was shown. There is a well of anger at the way big business is throwing workers to the wall at Longbridge in the West Midlands. Every worker, student, pensioner and unemployed person in Britain faces a choice. Do we blame other victims of a system which wrecks lives in every corner of the globe? Or do we blame that system itself? People are uniting against big business and its backers. One hundred thousand people marched in Birmingham to save jobs. Millions of people in Britain will take heart from the protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington this week. That mood has to be built on. It provides an antidote to the poison the Tories are spreading to divide us and it can build people's confidence to turn their fire on the fat cats.

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Fri 14 Apr 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1692
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