Only moments after the announcement of Sadiq Khan as our new London Mayor, Baroness Warsi led the Conservative charge against Zac Goldsmith, for running an “appalling dog whistle campaign… [which] lost us the election, our reputation & credibility on issues of race and religion“. This opened the proverbial floodgate against Goldsmith, who now is as good as drowned – swept away by the waters, out of chances for promotion in political life, for (presumably) the rest of his career. Whether he can comfortably keep a seat in Parliament past this term is another question entirely.
Fine result, but we must ask ourselves two questions coming from this. The first: how did a man who was only last year hailed as one of the most moderate Conservatives in Britain, turn to exciting anti-Muslim sentiments by plastering, atop his editorial plea, a banner of the wreckage of the 7/7 bus (a mangled metal tomb for many)? The second: why had the Conservative party not accosted the man for doing so sooner? You will find, I suspect, that the two beg the same answer: if it had worked, very few would have minded. This prejudice was calculated. It is highly unlikely that Goldsmith is a man who holds much personal fear or hatred towards Muslims, considering that his own sister Jemima (with whom he shares apparently a good relationship) is married to a Muslim Pakistani. She did mention, to such effect: “Sad that Zac’s campaign did not reflect who I know him to be — an eco-friendly, independent-minded politician with integrity”.
No, instead of a Muslimophobe unable to repress his personal resentment, I ask you to picture the mechanical mind of a political machine: a campaign formulated by CTF Comms (owned by the newly knighted Sir Crosby, of Conservative party fame), distributed by various elements of the press (the Daily Mail of which being the most blaring example), and tacitly (in some instances explicitly) accepted by those from the front-to-back-benches of his party. Whilst obviously Zac Goldsmith is the central figure, it is fairly clear that this appalling excuse for a campaign would not have been able to function if any of the aforementioned cogs were unwilling to turn. They however were. What this episode has illuminated is the willingness, still, in British politics to wield racism and prejudice as a tool to dissect those who it can be effectively used against. Do you think that those from the right, now publicly denouncing Goldsmith, do so from a moral perspective? Can you honestly believe that they would be saying the same words had he won? Similarly so can be queried regarding recent tea-cup furores about ‘anti-semitism’ (I say a matter more of insensitive wording and basic foolishness) in the Labour party. Would the personal statements of others have been thrown so mercilessly as kindle against Corbyn, by his own party, had his MP’s not hoped that Friday’s elections were an opportunity to throw him onto the fire? I shall politely leave the conclusions to you.
Sources: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3567537/On-Thursday-really-going-hand-world-s-greatest-city-Labour-party-thinks-terrorists-friends-passionate-plea-ZAC-GOLDSMITH-four-days-Mayoral-election.html https://twitter.com/SayeedaWarsi/status/728643079725551616 https://twitter.com/Jemima_Khan/status/728650886050922496