Of course ethnic minority Tory MPs shouldn’t be immune to criticism: this race row is bogus

Ayesha Hazarika
·3-min read
Ayesha Hazarika
Ayesha Hazarika

There’s no finer way to mark the end of Black History Month than petty political squabbling over race on Twitter. It all began with a weird advert attacking Chancellor Rishi Sunak for — wait for it… being rich. Well, let’s just call off the next election because the Tories are finished forever after that devastating burn. I mean the voters hate rich people, right? They absolutely never ever vote for them, either here or in America. It just doesn’t happen. The advert was so useless it made Sunak look way cooler than he is and like he should be chartering a yacht on Below Deck. I bet most folk would quite like a slice of Sunak’s lifestyle or at least a spin on his Peloton.

The Left fail to grasp that a lot of the voting public are pretty aspirational and would like to be rich. That’s not actually a crime. Yet. People vote for rich posh people. Look who they voted for in 2010 and 2015 and again in 2019. Class war doesn’t work.

It reminded me of the 2008 Crewe and Nantwich by-election where Labour staffers were sent to campaign dressed in top hats because the Tory candidate, Edward Timpson, was “posh”. Local voters hated it and Timpson won. There is plenty to attack the Government and the Chancellor on right now without getting personal, from the resurgence in Covid to the free school meals fiasco. One of the latest Tory excuses is that holiday activities are more popular than food vouchers, which is handy for all those kids who can go forage for their lunch now. Such fun.

Thankfully, the Sunak advert wasn’t produced by the Labour party, but it was seized on by black and asian Tory MPs to kick off a bogus race row. Former chancellor Sajid Javid tweeted that “the Left really do detest ethnic minority Tory Cabinet ministers”. Now, there is some truth to this, and I defended Javid when he became chancellor and was subjected to racist slurs from Left-wing activists. I applaud representation in any party, and even though I’m a Labour supporter, I suspect the Tories will deliver Britain’s first Asian or black prime minister.

Sajid Javid tweeted that ‘the Left really do detest ethnic minority Tory ministers’

But just because you’re an ethnic minority MP in the Tory party, it doesn’t mean you can’t face any criticism, especially when people from your own communities are suffering under your words and decisions. Lost in this ridiculous Twitter culture war was an important report from Doreen Lawrence about the terrible impact that Covid has had on black and Asian people because of poverty and over-exposure without adequate protection. Add that to the ongoing issues related to Grenfell and the Windrush scandal and it’s a pretty grim record. The attack on Sunak from “the Left” was ineffective and embarrassing. But Conservative Cabinet ministers don’t get a pass from scrutiny because they are ethnic minority. In the words of “the Right” — let’s not play the race card, chaps.

A sparkling Saturday reminder

I’m absolutely loving Strictly Come Dancing. It’s a sparkling Saturday night reminder of that thing we used to have called fun. I’m particularly admiring of the brilliant women representing journalism and politics on the show — GMB’s Ranvir Singh and former home secretary Jacqui Smith who’s having her Ed Balls moment. He went from bruiser to national treasure and I’m sure Smith will do the same — aided by the Labour party’s formidable phone bank operation, which will kick into action when the public voting begin. But she needs a special name. He was Glitter Balls. How about Jazz Hands Jacqui?