Anti-racists and socialists have repeatedly said that Boris Johnson will use racism in order to shore up his rule and divide opposition. His 81-seat majority in parliament makes it easier for the Tories to force through more attacks.
This week confirmed that in the most revolting way.
The Tories rammed through deportations to Jamaica despite intense campaigning, public pressure and court challenges.
The move was a calculated act of racist cruelty, designed by Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel to show off their “hard” credentials.
It was an act of malicious political theatre. And the aim is to send the message that the new government will ignore the judges and trample on people’s rights to implement racist measures.
It was the same when Tory MPs were told to vote down a proposal to allow a tiny number of unaccompanied child refugees to join their families in Britain.
These desperate children were used as props to bolster Johnson.
This rancid rhetoric is one of the foundations of the Tory party, which reaches for racism when it thinks it’s useful.
In 1978, as she approached a general election, Margaret Thatcher said that four million migrants were coming from “the new Commonwealth or Pakistan”.
She added, “Now, that is an awful lot and I think it means that people are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture.”
Such words encouraged every racist and fascist.
In 2014, then-defence secretary Michael Fallon said British towns were “under siege [with] large numbers of migrant workers and people claiming benefits”.
Theresa May later initiated the racist “go home” vans encouraging people to “self-deport”.
The well-worn strategy is to turn people against false enemies to deflect attention from their real ones—the rich and the politicians who support them.
The Tories on Monday pointed out in parliament that the law they were using to deport people was passed under Tony Blair’s government in 2007.
That is to Labour’s shame.
But it’s possible to resist the racism that Johnson is unleashing.
This week showed that people are prepared to take to the streets against deportations and racism (see page 3).
Some in Labour will compromise or concede to the Tories. Instead, we need to fight to stop every deportation, every racist piece of legislation and every attempt to divide us.
Stand Up To Racism demonstrations on 21 March in London and Glasgow must be a defiant show of force against Johnson’s racist grandstanding.
We should use every mobilisation to strengthen the fightback against the Tories.