54 years since this Tory campaign poster, the Conservative Party proves it hasn’t changed a bit

A racist Tory campaign poster and Theresa May
Support us and go ad-free

A newsletter issued by a local Conservative Action Team has brought back some of the worst memories of race-baiting by the party. The leaflet targets Labour’s London mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with barely veiled racist dog-whistles.

The newsletter

The newsletter screams “Havering in danger!”, and warns that “Mayor Khan and Corbyn’s men are desperate to grab power in our town hall”. This, they say, would mean “Romford will increasingly become like an inner city area”. Subtext: this area will become less white.

In case that subtext was missed, the bullet point list of potential outcomes hammers the message home. Particularly the final three:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
  • Our cherished Union Jack flag being taken down – back to Labour’s political correctness!

  • Havering ruled by Mayor Khan!

  • Havering resembling boroughs like Hackney, Newham, Camden and Barking, rather than a traditional part of Essex!

As word of the newsletter spread, voters made their feelings known:

Racist Tory campaigns

This comes after Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign against Khan, which was littered with dog-whistle racism.

Goldsmith also wrote a piece for those known race-baiters at the Daily Mail, linking Khan to the 7/7 terrorist attacks. The piece was so overtly racist and unbefitting of a candidate for political office that it provoked an immediate and angry response from Conservative peer Baroness Warsi.

Both campaigns hold overtones of the campaign for Smethwick during the 1964 general election – dubbed the most racist episode in British electoral history. Conservative candidate Peter Griffiths ran on the campaign slogan: If you want a n*gger for a neighbour, vote Labour.

Griffiths justified his campaign by telling The Times:

I would not condemn any man who said that, I regard it as a manifestation of popular feeling.

The saddest part of this piece of history is that Griffiths won. Despite wide Labour gains around the country, Smethwick swang sharply to the Conservatives and Griffiths secured victory. As Labour’s defeated incumbent Patrick Gordon Walker left the hall, Tory supporters jeered:

‘Where are your niggers now, Walker?’ and ‘Take your niggers away!’

Not racist? Don’t vote racist!

Over half a century later, it looks like Conservatives are still race-baiting to win elections. And they should be held accountable for their tactics. But they are not responsible for the choice of individual voters to allow such prejudices to fester in their own hearts. That’s the good news. Because Britain doesn’t have to wait for the Conservative Party to change or be voted out to make this stop. We can each choose to make this change happen ourselves, right now.

Get Involved!

– Support the Stop Funding Hate campaign. Demand that advertisers withdraw funding from newspapers and websites that promote hate speech.

– Support the work of Hope Not Hate.

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via Twitter/Flickr Creative Commons

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed