Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Burn the racist!

A stupid statement, I know. However, in my humble opinion, not much more stupid than some comments made by politicians.

A Conservative peer, Lord Dixon-Smith on Monday used the phrase nigger in the woodpile during a debate. Within seconds, one of his Conservative colleagues asked him to reconsider his remarks, and Lord Dixon-Smith immediately apologised. Followed by an apology to Lord Strathclyde, the Conservative leader in the House of Lords. As Lord Dixon-Smith said, 'it was common parlance' when he was younger.

Surely that should be the end of the matter? Guy says something wrong; guy withdraws it and apologises.

However, that approach does not satisfy the mean-spiritedness of some politicians. We live in a society which goes bananas when anyone says anything racist. As James McGrath, former adviser to Boris Johnson, can testify, it is not necessary to say anything racist for you to be branded a racist.

In this case, the stupidity is being led by Keith Vaz MP, who has called for Lord Dixon-Smith to lose his job and has said that it shows a lack of understanding and sensitivity to the ethnic community. I beg your pardon? We are all members of ethnic communities, are we not? Surely such an active anti-racist campaigner such as Vaz would not ghettoise black people by implying that they alone are 'ethnics', and therefore different to the rest of us?

Vaz also says that We will judge Mr Cameron on how he responds. Indeed, let us do that. Mr Cameron says the remarks were inappropriate, the apology was appropriate, and life should go on. He has resisted the opportunity to throw yet another good man to the wolves, and I am thankful for that.

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