During a week in which the Westminster media whitewashed one of the most xenophobic, hostile and backward speeches by a UK Prime Minister and turned it into a plea for a better world, one Scottish newspaper gave Theresa May the front page her behaviour truly deserved.
On Thursday morning, The National ran with:
Inside the paper, May’s attempts to drive a wedge between people born in Britain and people who arrive here later in life were disassembled with the appropriate level of ease and contempt, as seen here from Lesley Riddoch:
As Home Secretary, Theresa May’s policies have split up an estimated 33,000 families because they didn’t earn enough, she refused to time limit the detention of asylum applicants and she refused to take part in any EU relocation or resettlement scheme. More than that – Theresa May is likely to go into the next election pledged to withdraw Britain from the European convention on human rights – making us the only European country in the same position as the pariah state of Belarus.
Nasty. Very nasty, no matter what support the new Tory leader has given to specific causes.
And of course, there’s the latest – Theresa May’s Tories are now peddling myths about foreigners taking British people’s jobs to justify a shameful new immigration crackdown. Under the plans, outlined by her Home Secretary Amber Rudd, firms employing from abroad might be forced to somehow “ensure” that foreign workers don’t take jobs “British people could do”.
It is racist, counter-productive and unnecessary.
It would be unfair and false to state that there has been no criticism from Westminster media. There was some notable outrage in The Telegraph, and in a handful of columns in The Observer, The Guardian and The Independent, to name a few. But none of these papers gave May and her party the front-page battering they deserved after setting out a vision for Britain that could have been torn (as LBC Radio’s James O’Brien has pointed out) from the pages of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
In fact, most front pages either echoed the Conservative plans supportively or uncritically, and stated that she was indeed making a move for the centre ground.
To describe the policies coming out of the Tory Conference this week as the ‘political centre’ is not only false. It’s dangerous.
Perhaps one of the most devastating lines in May’s entire sorry speech was: “never again in any future conflict let those activist left-wing human rights lawyers harangue and harass the bravest of the brave – the men and women of our armed forces.” But the reaction was muted.
You know who May was talking about? Brave lawyers like Pat Finucane, shot dead in Northern Ireland in 1989 by loyalist paramilitaries in collusion with MI5, as David Cameron admitted in 2012. No one in the security services was ever prosecuted for their part in Finucane’s murder.
We already live in a country where it is possible for a lawyer to be killed with the help of the security services, where it takes 23 years to receive so much as an apology, and where those responsible are immune from prosecution. Yet May argues that we need even less accountability for our armed forces.
Couple this with May’s commitment to repeal the Human Rights Act, exempt the armed forces from observing human rights protocols during war time, and a heinous clamp down on immigrants – and you have a powder keg awaiting a match.
It is another stain on the reputation of Westminster media outlets that they have failed to denounce this conference for what it was – a joyless parade of bigotry and ignorance leading us ever closer to a Disunited Kingdom.
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