UK Seasonal Selection Plate: Racism, Elitism, Misogyny & Blue Stilton

by Shaker ladyjulian

Okay, so I made the blue stilton up. But the rest is all here, just as the first winter decorations are going up.

Former Immigration Minister Phil Woolas (Labour Party, UK) has just been suspended for three years as a result of his dirty election campaign. Concerned that he might be about to lose, he authorized a series of election leaflets which accused his Lib Dem opponent of condoning violent Muslim extremism, accepting money from Saudi Arabia and courting "militant Islam." The court, which saw the emails leading up to the campaign, has ruled that he knew that these claims were false, and that they were slanderous to his opponent.

For law nerds like me, the judgment can be found here. The unpleasant details in the emails are at paragraph 132 onwards: knowing that it was 'likely to cause offence,' Woolas' campaign headed straight to the gutter of racism and Islamophobia, with one email saying openly that "If we don't get the white folk angry he's gone". The leaflets are appended to the judgment.

Woolas did win the election, but only by 103 votes. He has now been suspended for three years and a by-election is in the offing. He himself of course can't see that he's done anything wrong, and is apparently going to appeal.

The deputy leader of the Labour party, Harriet Harman, has laudably said that she will not welcome Woolas back, and that it is "not part of Labour's politics for somebody to be telling lies to get themselves elected." And how has the party reacted? With relief, that someone who brought discredit to them is gone? With applause for Harriet Harman's principles? Not even slightly; they're whinging that she has gone 'far too far' and that poor little Phil "has been treated in an unbalanced way." The BBC reports mutiny.

This isn't hugely surprising, for anyone who follows British politics: Harriet Harman is routinely mocked as "Harriet Harperson" as a result of her peculiar belief that women are people. The right-wing Mail once described her as a hectoring, bleating, finger-wagging nanny, and her feminist principles have won her few friends at the boys' club at the Commons.

It's depressing that the Woolas election debacle happened in the first place. It's even more depressing that the Labour party seems readier to get behind a corrupt racist than a deputy leader exhibiting principles.

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