UK: Reckless Tories Are Alienating Minority Voters – Rachel Sylvester | The Times UK

Reckless Tories Are Alienating Minority Voters

Rachel Sylvester | The Times UK

It is almost seven years since the Conservative members of David Cameron’s cabinet were given a presentation setting out the scale of the Tories’ problem among ethnic minority voters. Andrew Cooper, then the prime minister’s director of strategy, told his party’s most senior politicians that “not being white” had become the single biggest driver of not voting Conservative.

According to the former strategist, since elevated to the House of Lords as Lord Cooper of Windrush: “What bothers me most is that they’ve stopped believing it’s a problem.    

A few years ago, there was a proper sense of shame about how badly the Conservative Party was doing among non-white voters and a determination to do something about it. It is no longer being taken seriously.”

Of course, the political implications for the party matter far less in this affair than the fate of the Windrush children whose lives have been tainted by the government’s failure to see immigrants as individuals. Electoral disaster could, however, be one more of the unintended consequences of the prime minister’s “hostile environment” approach.

For too long the Tories have been on the wrong side of history over race. They are still paying a price for Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech and Norman Tebbit’s “cricket test”. They opposed the 1965 Race Relations Act and repeatedly backed tougher immigration laws. It is no coincidence that there remains a deep mistrust of the party across all ethnic groups.

In 2010 only 6 per cent of African, 9 per cent of Caribbean, 13 per cent of Pakistani communities, and 24 per cent of those from an Indian background voted Conservative.

To overcome such a damaged brand requires a clear and consistent new message, yet the Tories are only reinforcing their “nasty party” image. A campaign leaflet distributed in Havering ahead of next month’s local elections claimed that the east London borough would become like an “inner-city area” if Labour won.

The Tory party also blew the dog whistle during the 2016 London mayoral elections by attempting to portray Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, as a closet extremist. Although Michael Gove said last week that Britain was the most immigration-friendly country in the EU, during the Brexit referendum the environment secretary endorsed what the Tory peer Baroness Warsi described as a “nudge-nudge, wink-wink, xenophobic campaign”. Indeed, Dominic Cummings, the Vote Leave director, has admitted his side would not have won without picking up what he called the “baseball bat” of immigration. This may be one reason why the hard Brexit approach being pursued by the prime minister is so off-putting to ethnic minority voters, 69 per cent of whom voted Remain.

The Ukip-ification of the Tory party has alienated women also. A decade ago the membership was almost evenly split between the sexes. Now 71 per cent of activists are male and among those aged 18 to 24 that rises to 85 per cent. Women, perhaps more aware of the impact of austerity on public services, are also turning against the Conservatives at the ballot box.

At the last election, Labour was ahead among every group of female voters up to the age of 55, securing an 18-point lead among 35 to 44-year-olds – up from 4 per cent in 2015, a swing that senior Tories believe was critical in depriving Mrs May of her majority. Almost two-thirds of younger women voted for Jeremy Corbyn, while the new votes the Conservatives picked up came mainly from male former Ukip supporters drawn by their policies on Europe and immigration.

Political parties need a broad appeal but the Conservatives are in danger of turning into a party of older white men because Mrs May is creating a “hostile environment” for so many other groups of voters.

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/25/2018 at 12:52 am

    The Windrush Scandal is No Accident – It is Policy Working as Intended

    Suzanne Moore | The Guardian UK

    Forget bureaucratic ineptitude. The Tories are convinced they have the consent of the people to enact inhumane policies

    On their deathbed, who would want to look back and say: “I am proud of creating a hostile environment for immigrants so that some people who had lived in Britain all their lives were deported to countries they had never been to”?

    Who wants to take responsibility for the heartbreaking stories we have been hearing?

    The closest I have heard to anyone being honest about this mess is Baroness Warsi, a former Conservative party chair. “I think we were all responsible,” she said. “I would hold myself responsible as part of the government.” She went on to describe a government obsessed with unrealistic targets.

    The ruining of lives, the tearing apart of families, is not the result of bureaucratic ineptitude. This is policy working as intended.

    The collateral damage of the 2014 Immigration Act is the rupturing of lives of those we can deem, retrospectively, NOT “one of us”.

    The idea that a person can be born here or arrive as a child, raise a family and pay taxes, but still somehow be seen as completely “foreign” comes as a jolt.

    It shouldn’t. David Cameron appears to have effortlessly laundered his reputation into a chillaxing shed dweller who accidentally walked us into Brexit, but he boasted of his “deport first, appeal later” policy, of crackdowns on illegal immigration, of making Britain an unattractive place.

    Theresa May spoke of making things more difficult for those who live outside “formal” society. In 2014, Michael Fallon, then defence secretary, spoke of immigrants swamping us, towns “under siege”.

    In 2015, Cameron spoke of those in Calais camps as “a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean”. The broadcaster Katie Hopkins referred to them as insects and asked that they be shot by gun boats. As repulsed as many were, the unsayable was not just said – it was the drumbeat of so-called policy.

    These awful conversations convinced the Tories that somehow they had secured the consent of the people to enact inhumane polices.

    Over the past few years, we have repeatedly been told Britain is a small island and that it is full.

    It’s no good pointing out that much of south-east England is full of pointless golf courses. In survey after survey, people over-estimate the number of migrants here, both recent and settled. In areas of low immigration, the fear is always ramped up.

    Both of the main parties became obsessed with numbers. The vans, the mugs, Ed Miliband’s headstone: each promising controlled immigration in some competition of inhumanity. But, as May, Rudd et al are finding out, numbers are actually people.

    The Windrush folk embody what “GOOD IMMIGRANTS” should be. Settled, hardworking, patriotic. But the act, and the public consent that secured it, was based on “BAD IMMIGRANTS”: ILLEGAL, taking what’s ours.

    Cruelty so often hides in plain sight. The moment at which we decided to stop trying to rescue people attempting to get to Europe passed without much notice, didn’t it?

    In 2015, we withdrew two British boats from the search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean.

    We simply passed the buck when it came to drowning toddlers. Not our people. Not one of us. This is the country we live in.

    Mission? Hostile environment. – Outcome? Fully achieved.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/25/2018 at 12:53 am

    Dat’s why the sun never set on the British Empire …

    – God never trusted an Englishman in the dark.

  • kamtanblog  On 04/25/2018 at 1:41 am

    Interesting statistics …
    Not too late to correct but doubt if
    May can do it ! Change of leadership
    asap before election 2020 may be wisdom and increase Tories chances
    of winning an all out majority…
    no deals after results !

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/25/2018 at 5:57 pm

    Barbados-born Grafton, just reminded me that –

    “…… only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”


    • kamtanblog  On 04/25/2018 at 11:41 pm

      Ha ha
      What sun ?
      England seldom sees it hence the mad dog saying !

      Like Barbados 🇧🇧 “island folks” !

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/26/2018 at 6:28 pm


    I just checked out “barking mad” and found there was an asylum in Barking ….

    • kamtanblog  On 04/26/2018 at 6:54 pm

      Barking is a town in Essex
      Think there is not only an asylum there but also an Alms house. Not sure if HRH QE2 two imbecile cousins are hidden there….to keep the bloods of Europe “Royal” first cousins intermarried…how stupidly
      naive were Victorians….
      Investors behaviour was the norm.

      In some parts of USA this inbreeding continues unabated today !

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