Following from James Kirkup’s admirable piece in the Telegraph yesterday, many have since realised that, yes indeed, foul play is at hand in the ‘nasty’ Tory party. One minister, who has clearly breached the ministerial code, is being protected lock stock and barrel, whilst another, female, brown and Muslim, is being thrown to the wolves, she is facing formal investigations on her conduct. Yet the Tories want to blame everyone but themselves for the very logical conclusion that much of the media and the public are reaching- that the party is rife with a classist, elitist old boy ethos. An ethos that has meant someone like Warsi was never going to be accepted in the same way as Hunt. Though it is politically expedient to offer her up rather than Hunt, it seems that all accept he is a firewall for the Prime Minister in relation to the BSKYB debacle, she is outside of this very close knit circle, arguably because she does not share the sort of background Hunt, Osborne and Cameron do.
In the Guardian Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, came out with bullish talk condemning the media for launching a ‘lynch mob’ on Jeremy Hunt and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. It is clearly no coincidence that Clarke chose to use this highly emotive phrase to, essentially, deflect just criticism of David Cameron’s ‘hypocritical’ behaviour onto the media. I place ‘hypocritical’ in inverted commas because I have a few other words that come to mind, words like ‘prejudiced’ and ‘sexist’. They however would appear a little too inflammatory, so instead the media label the Tory action as ‘bizarre.’ Yes, bizarre indeed!
It is amusing that despite a meticulously strategized PR overhaul that has presented the Tories as a party the ‘ordinary’ can align themselves with, you know we can all call the PM ‘Dave’, it has continued to fray at the seems. From the ‘Granny Tax’, to the 50p tax abolition to the ‘pasty tax’, the Tories have shown that they are not very good at being in tune with the average person on the street. It would appear that the sort of privilege bestowed onto someone who is reportedly the ‘fifth cousin twice removed of the Queen and a seventh cousin of Princes William and Harry, and a descendant of William IV,’ cannot simply be erased with patronizing attempts at appearing plebian.
What is deeply troubling is that though the rest of the public and even Tory sympathizing media can recognize the wrong footedness of the Baroness’ referral, the upper echelons of the party are oblivious. They cannot see that their decision to hold Warsi to account is not an ‘objective’ one but one steeped in their own issues to do with religion, race and gender. Put bluntly, they have shown to the world they consider people like Warsi not one of ‘us’.
A news round up on the story:
- James Kirkup on the hypocrisy of the Tory stance regarding Hunt and Warsi
- Ken Clarke on the media ‘lynch mob’ mentality
- Donata Huggins on how the Prime Minister ‘continue to look racist until he refers Jeremy Hunt for investigation’
- Lucy Brown on Cameron’s Double Standard