Last night’s BBC Question Time went badly wrong for one gobby ‘Young Tory’ in the audience

Akala and 'Young Tory'
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A young man came to last night’s BBC Question Time in a sharp suit. And he came prepared, with one line he believed would destroy any Labour-supporting panellist. But hip-hop artist Akala didn’t even flinch before returning fire, with some painful home truths. The showdown is a masterclass in shutting down everyday racism.

Showdown

The young man – who Twitter users have branded ‘Young Tory’ – launched into what he clearly believed was his killer question:

Does the failure of Labour to gain ground in traditional working-class towns – like Dudley and Bolton – suggest that Corbyn-mania is dead?

Akala smiled for a moment before making an observation that stopped Young Tory in his tracks:

I think the phrasing of the question itself is interesting – ‘traditional working-class towns’. Is Hackney not a traditional working-class town? Is Tottenham not a traditional working-class town? Is Moss Side not a traditional working-class town? I just think the phrasing of the question is very interesting.

Akala then asked the questioner what he meant by ‘traditional’ working-class towns. Young Tory suddenly realised that everyone in the room understood precisely what he meant. When he said “traditional working-class towns”, he meant the ‘white’ vote that switched to the Tories as UKIP collapsed. And that’s not a good look. Because that doesn’t mean so-called ‘Corbyn-mania’ is dead, it means racism and xenophobia are still very much alive – and voting Tory.

Just in case anyone hadn’t worked that out, Akala asked Young Tory:

Read on...

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What is the criteria by which you’ve picked your ‘traditional’ working-class towns?

And while the harrowing expression of defeat crossed Young Tory’s face, Dimbleby interjected to save him further blushes.

But viewers were in no mood to let him off the hook.

Awkward

By the time all votes were counted in last week’s local elections, it was a good night for Labour. In London, the party won its best results since 1971. For the Tories, it was the worst since 1971. And across the country, Labour won more council seats than the Tories and all the other parties combined.

Nevertheless, the substantial UKIP local election vote swung to the Tories. This small victory helped save Theresa May from total disaster last week. But the UKIP vote won’t save her come the next general election, where it counts for just 1.8% of the vote. No wonder Young Tory had nothing else to say.

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