|That Race Card Again!||John Tyndall comments on the forthcoming election fiasco|
The foregoing observations provide an appropriate backdrop to an examination of the latest piece of farce to unfold itself in the Labour/Tory mudthrowing that broke out last month in the build-up to the general election.
It all started when the mischievous Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) approached the leaders of the political parties and asked them jointly to sign a declaration that they would not "exploit" the race issue during the election. What all of these leaders should have done was tell the CRE to "get stuffed". However, we could hardly expect Labour or the Liberal Democrats to do this. We might - just might - in saner times have hoped that the Tory leader would have done. But Willie Hague just was not up to it. He signed too.
But not all of his Party's candidatates were so keen. It transpired that a great many of them refused to sign. In scarcely any case were these refusals for the right reasons. They were nearly all frantically eager to proclaim their "non-racist" credentials, they just didn't like the CRE's bossiness over the matter.
But one who was a bit more courageous than the others was John Townnend, the MP for Yorkshire East. Townend made a speech in which he paid tribute to the prescience of Enoch Powell, spoke of the immigrant role in rising crime and said that immigration had brought about vast changes in Britain which nobody could deny - changes, which the tone of his speech made quite clear, were not for the better.
The Government, the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties and at least part of the Tory parties went completely ballistic over these words. William Hague, reacting like one of Pavlov's dogs to the ringing of a bell, leapt to distance himself from Mr Townend's comments, saying that they were "totally unacceptable" and that they were in conflict with the compact, which he had signed under pressure, from the CRE. The very word "unacceptable" raises certain interesting questions. If Mr Hague had merely said that he disagreed with Townend, that would have been his right. But "unacceptable" suggests that Willie believes that none in his party should even be allowed to say such things. This gives us some indication of the state of hysteria that prevails in the Tory ranks where the race issue is concerned.
There then followed news that a number of Tory candidates around the country, far from following their leader, had not only declined, like Mr Townend, to sign the impertinent CRE document, but had even made remarks in their constituencies which made it perfectly clear that - for whatever reasons, those of genuine conviction or merely political opportunism - they were appealing to the wide spread popular resentment over the handling of the refugee issue. One of them, Mark Reckless, the candidate for Medway, accused his Labour rival of wanting more, rather than fewer, refugees let into the country. Left-wing sensibilities, already cut to the raw, were utterly outraged.
The next thing was that Labour's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook made his quite silly and puerile statement that there is "no such thing as a British race" - a clumsy attempt to equate past invasions and migrations of closely related North European peoples with the more recent influxes of immigrants of wholly different and alien cultures. Cook, just like virtually everyone else in the debate, was merely trying to score party political points - a fact that did not escape the notice of Mrs Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence and an "anti-racist" if ever there was one. She accused the Foreign Secretary of trying to exploit the race issue solely for electoral purposes. For once Mrs Lawrence was right, but she shouldn't have confined her condemnation to Robin Cook. The whole damned lot are at it - Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat alike. Each party is pitching its language at what it perceives to be its own particular constituency. In the case of the Tories this constituency includes a large number of people unhappy about the huge changes in Britain that John Townend pinpointed. Hence a few token noises of sympathy with the concerns of these despised "proles" combined with totally contradictory assurances that the Tories are just as impeccable "anti-racists" is anyone else!
From out of all this hoo-ha two dominant facts emerge. The first is that the race issue - long swept under the carpet by the legions of censorship and political correctness has now come to the surface with a vengeance and is going to be a very important factor in the coming election, at least in certain areas. This is, to the undoubted chagrin of nearly the whole political class. From the grave, the voice of Enoch Powell is being heard at last, despite all attempts to drown it.
The second fact is that virtually every mainstream party politician without exception, is interested in this race issue essentially from the standpoint of whether it will help or hinder his or her chances in the election and help or hinder the political career of which the election is part. As for any genuine concern for the future of our country, this is almost wholly lacking. Such concern is the very last thing that a party politician permits to intrude upon decisions, as to what to say or do.
Just one party and one party alone contesting this election has a record of consistency on the race issue, that has endured over the years and is untainted by considerations of opportunism or expediency. This is the British National Party. That party deserves all the support it can get.