The London mayoral race May 7, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Good piece by Owen Jones here. Khan’s victory was well-deserved. As a decent person (let’s take that word back from those who have traduced in the last decade) and a progressive, even if not quite left wing enough for many of us let’s keep in mind he is a progressive, and yes a Muslim he ran a good generous campaign. The Tories should hang their heads in shame – Goldsmith in particular. And Jones makes a further point.
After a decisive electoral victory, there is always the temptation to be gracious to the defeated. The victor shakes the hands of their competitor. All is forgiven: what was said amid the passion of the contest belongs to the past. Hearty applause is offered to the loser.
Not this time. A candidate exploited and incited prejudice and hate. He undermined community cohesion. He indicated to young Muslims that there was no point engaging in the democratic process, because even the most progressive Muslim would be treated as aiding and abetting extremists. And in doing so, Zac Goldsmith became a recruiting sergeant for the very extremists he attempted to smear Khan with.
And I think Jones makes a crucial point here:
No forgiveness, no forgetting. Wherever Goldsmith now goes, he should be met with protests, regarded as persona non grata among an already reviled political elite. When politicians are accused of “doing a Zac”, they may end up complaining on account of the gravity of the slur.
That’s not sadism. If Goldsmith does not suffer these consequences, politicians may wage these campaigns of fear over and over again. They were already emboldened by the tawdry campaign of fear used to stop Scottish independence. “It worked!”, they exclaim, as though there was no lasting consequences on the Scottish political scene.
The ‘dead cat thrown on the table’ approach should not be normalised. Goldsmith is a a seemingly decent person too. But not decent enough not to use loaded terms like ‘radical’ and insinuate risible, but politically damaging, lines about Khan’s acquaintances.
And yet Jones notes that it wasn’t Goldsmith alone:
The decency of Tories like Peter Oborne – who called the campaign “repulsive” – and former Tory candidate Shazia Awan – who called it “racist” – shone through. But they were a small minority. Now senior Tories are condemning the campaign as “poisonous” and as “outrageous”. Too late. The damage is done. And by condemning any alleged antisemitism on the left, and staying silent about anti-Muslim prejudice on the right, they reveal they have no interest in fighting racism. For the Tories, racism is a convenience: a hammer to batter their opponents with, or to exploit for political advantage.