Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A second Tory racism story in a week

The story about A-List Tory candidate Ali Miraj puts the focus on the yawning gulf between the inclusive image the Conservatives are trying to portray nationally and the attitudes of the Tory grass roots. If you haven't read his blog, do so now - it makes for uncomfortable reading for the Cameroonies. Seems as though the nasty habits of the Conservatives die hard.

For those not aware of the background, here it is:

Bernard Jenkin MP has resigned as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative party following allegations he told Ali Miraj, an A-list candidate of Asian ethnic origin that members in safe seats will only select white, middle class, male candidates.

In his blog, Ali Miraj wrote:

Before attending my interview for the Conservative safe seat of Witham on Sunday (5 November), Brooks Newmark, John Whittingdale and Bernard Jenkin - who are losing a chunk of their respective constituencies to the new seat - all told me the same thing. "Good luck Ali, but I would be shocked if they didn’t pick a White middle-class male."

… the values you stand for and the passion with which you fight for them, is more important than the colour of your skin and/or your religion. But I am - for the first time - beginning to question this.

One does begin to wonder what more one has to do to be given a realistic chance of getting to Parliament or whether one has travelled as far as one can on merit alone.

…at the party conference last month, I was constantly told by existing MPs and party members, that the same kind of people will always get selected for the best seats. Code for "White middle-class male", again.

But it is evident that despite his (David Cameron’s] huge efforts to change the Party’s attitude to candidate selection, there is still a mountain to climb. What is gradually becoming clear, is not that the peak may never be assailable, but that some, including myself, may out of frustration, opt to abandon the ascent itself.


James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

Regarding the Ali Miraj incident though, are the Lib Dems in any position to crow about it? Plenty of ethnic minority Lib Dem PPCs complain of the same problem and the Tories at least have two BME MPs.

Anonymous said...

I think that you'll find that Priti Patel (female and Asian) is through to the next round. Racists?

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