On 8 July, Channel 4 released Dispatches: Battle For The Tory Party. And the documentary revealed disturbing statistics suggesting that Islamophobia in the party is endemic. As Dispatches tweeted:
56% of party members agreed that Islam is a threat to the British way of life.
— Channel 4 Dispatches (@C4Dispatches) July 8, 2019
In June 2019, a poll from anti-racism group HOPE not hate revealed similar results, showing that:
Just 8% of members agreed that “I would be proud of Britain if we were to elect a Muslim as our Prime Minister”, while 43% agreed that “I would prefer to not have the country led by a Muslim
67% of people in that poll also believed there are areas of Britain that operate under Sharia Law. And 45% thought “there are areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter”.
Dispatches, meanwhile, also reported finding numerous Islamophobic posts online from apparent members of the Conservative Party:
Dispatches reveals Islamophobic posts written online by people identifying themselves as members of the Conservative Party.
They have been suspended pending investigation. pic.twitter.com/J5DQ1EyvcV
— Channel 4 Dispatches (@C4Dispatches) July 8, 2019
Conservative Central Office told Dispatches that “discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong and will not be tolerated”.
These are the people who’ll be choosing the next prime minister
Other revealing results from the show’s polling, meanwhile, included that:
- “46% of party members do think concerns about climate change are exaggerated”.
- “54% of party members thought Donald Trump would make a good Prime Minister”.
- “58% of party members thought the death penalty should be allowed for certain crimes”.
- “42% thought having people from a wide variety of racial and cultural backgrounds has damaged British Society”.
- “49% said schools shouldn’t be required to educate kids about LGBT relationships”.
- “51% thought most people on benefits could get a job if they tried hard enough”.
In short, around half of the Tory members polled appeared to be Islamophobic, racist, classist, homophobic, authoritarian Trump fans who don’t trust 97% of “actively publishing climate scientists” on the world’s climate crisis.
As Dispatches pointed out, meanwhile, “almost half of the members are now over 65, 71% are male and 97% are white”.
‘No tolerance for discrimination’? Really?
In 2001, Andrew Lansley, who later became a Conservative secretary of state for health, said:
There is endemic racism in the Tory party. It is in the system.
Since then, however, it seems little has changed. Because in 2016, Unite – Britain’s biggest union – backed this ‘endemic racism’ accusation up with a long list of evidence. This included current leadership hopeful Boris Johnson’s racist and derogatory description of people of African origin as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” in a 2002 column for the Daily Telegraph.
In 2018, meanwhile, the Conservative Muslim Forum (officially affiliated to the governing party) and over 350 mosques joined calls for an official inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party. The Muslim Council of Britain has also repeatedly asked the party to investigate alleged Islamophobia in its ranks. And former Conservative chairman Baroness Warsi has been an outspoken critic of Tory Islamophobia.
As HOPE not hate reported in June 2019, though:
Only 15% of members think the Conservative Party should be doing more to combat any Islamophobia or other racism within the party, compared to 76% of members who think the party is “already doing all it reasonably can to combat Islamophobia and other racism within the party”.
This is serious, even if the corporate media won’t make it front-page news
There has long been corporate media uproar over accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party, which reportedly relate to 0.1% of the party’s 540,000-strong membership. Coverage has been so exaggerated, academics concluded in 2018, that reporting essentially became a “disinformation paradigm”. With this environment in mind, just imagine if a poll of Labour members had found that as many as 56% ‘agreed that Judaism is a threat to the British way of life’. But because it’s Islam and the Conservative Party in question, we probably won’t be seeing much corporate media coverage of Channel 4‘s latest findings. That’s why it’s on all of us to spread the news ourselves – so everyone knows just who is going to be picking our next prime minister.
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