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.
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:
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.
— EL4C (@EL4JC) May 10, 2018
But viewers were in no mood to let him off the hook.
— •lina• (@agirlcalledlina) May 10, 2018
— Rachael Swindon #GTTO (@Rachael_Swindon) May 10, 2018
#bbcqt Akala mugged that kid off, when he said "Traditional working class towns" cos its dog whistle for WHITE working class, and the kid had no way of explaining himself absolute loser
— Yasir (@DoubleWhy24) May 10, 2018
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.
With all 150 councils declared, the final #LocalElections2018 results are as follows:
LAB: 2,323 (+62)
CON: 1,330 (-32)
LD: 536 (+75)
GRN: 39 (+8)
UKIP: 3 (-123)
IND: 143 (+10)
Jeremy Corbyn gained 62 seats: "For heaven's sake man, go!!"
Theresa May lost 32 seats: "High five!!" pic.twitter.com/5OhSy5UtQU
— Hajo Meyer's Violin (@WarmongerHodges) May 5, 2018
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.
– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
– Read and support other independent media outlets:
Media Diversified, Novara Media, Corporate Watch, Red Pepper, New Internationalist, Common Space, Media Lens, Bella Caledonia, Vox Political, Evolve Politics, Real Media, Reel News, STRIKE! magazine, The Bristol Cable, The Meteor, The Skwawkbox, Salford Star, The Ferret.
Featured image via screengrab
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.