Suspensions from the Tory party this week have highlighted the racism and far right sympathies in its ranks.
The Tories were forced to suspend 14 party members over allegations of Islamophobia on Wednesday. The members posted Islamophobic and racist comments in a Facebook group for supporters of bigoted Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and other right wing groups.
The comments were collated from the group by the satirically-named Racists4Rees-Mogg Twitter account.
Dave Richardson said he wouldn’t back home secretary Sajid Javid in a forthcoming Tory leadership election. “I am a member and will not be voting for Islam to lead this country,” he said.
Charles Lamb, who also claimed to be a party member, said, “A golden rule in life is never do business with Pakies or Pykies”.
Lamb said he would vote for Boris Johnson in a leadership contest. The former foreign secretary has met with far right fanatic Steve Bannon and said Muslim women who wear the burqa look like “letter boxes”.
Andrew Spencer Machin, who posted a screenshot of an email proving Tory membership, joked about burning the Quran. And he called Islam a “wicked religion” that “must be banned from Europe”.
And Tony Madden, who said he was a member, posted a picture in support of bulldozing mosques.
Tory peer Sayeda Warsi has reiterated her calls for the party to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia. She said that it had “a deep-rooted problem of anti-Muslim comments, Islamophobic comments and racist comments.”
Warsi was held up by David Cameron as a sign of how the party had changed.
While the Tory leadership has suspended 14 members, its own racist rhetoric and policies have normalised and legitimised these sorts of views. And Javid has played a leading role in pushing racist policies—partly in the hope of proving his racist credentials to the membership ahead of a leadership contest.
At the Tory conference last October Javid said that Pakistani “culture” played a role in some recent child sexual abuse scandals. He put himself at the forefront of the Tory-manufactured crisis over the small number of refugees who made it across the English Channel over Christmas.
Warsi accused Javid of “dog whistle” politics. “However much he panders to the right of our party, sadly the right of our party believe he’s far too Muslim to be the leader of the party,” she said.
The revelations came as the Tories confirmed that they had suspended Swale borough council leader Andrew Bowles. He shared a post on Twitter protesting against Nazi Tommy Robinson’ recent ban from Facebook and Instagram.
To take on state-sponsored Islamophobia and the far right forces it fuels requires a movement against racism rooted in workplaces, campuses and communities. The Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) national demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on Saturday of next week are a key opportunity to build it.