Thursday, 3 May 2018

Angry about Windrush & austerity? Get out and Vote today!

Are you angry about Windrush? Or, the eight years of austerity that has seen the poor atone for the sins of the rich? Or, the decimation of our NHS? Or, the Brexit shambles? Or, the scandalous rise of homelessness? Or, the injustice of Grenfell, Or, [insert your own list] – Get out and vote today!  

As a therapist, I’m not afraid of anger, which is just as well because I’ve been angry every day for the past eight years. The only people I know who are not angry right now are either very rich (thus inoculated against the ravages of austerity) - or Yoga instructors.

I’ve picked up the pieces of lives crushed by the cruelty of this Tory government. Injustice is hardwired into every sinew of the system, with Human rights now only accessible to those who can afford to buy them.

The hostile environment that spawned the Windrush scandal was no accident. It’s indicative of a culture that has enshrined racist rhetoric into practice. Dawn Butler described May’s hostile environment as the new face of Tory institutional racism, “ever present from Stephen Lawrence to Windrush”. She’s right.

In 2011, Theresa May vowed to get rid of Article 8 (the right to family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights because, she claimed, it “perverted” the removal of “illegal immigrants”. Her competence as Home Secretary was called into question when it emerged that the example she cited, that of a pet cat scuppering deportation, was untrue and appeared to have been lifted, “word for word,” from a speech made by (then) UKIP leader, Nigel Farage. In fact, the case had been mishandled by immigration officials.

The morality of her contempt for the right to family life largely escaped scrutiny and went on to underpin the 2014 immigration Act. It should come as no surprise that this resulted in the Windrush scandal that has seen families ripped apart, denied access to jobs, health care, justice, dignity and hope. Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell anticipated the “unintended” consequences for Commonwealth citizens and voted against it.

Racism has rarely been career limiting in the Tory party. In 2011, Tory Dover councillor, Bob Frost, described people involved in the Tottenham riots as “jungle bunnies”. He lost his job as a Maths teacher, but the Conservative Party only suspended him for two months. The emergence of Oliver Letwin’s sinister racist memo in 2015 did not result in him being sacked as David Cameron’s policy adviser.
Under Theresa May’s leadership, racism has become mainstream Tory policy. Directly (and indirectly) discriminating against black and brown skinned people - with impunity. When Theresa May appointed Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, it seems she deleted the traditional job requirement, “Portfolio of diplomacy” and replaced it with, “Portfolio of racist remarks”.
As Commonwealth leaders gathered in London amidst the Windrush scandal, who better to mollify the mood, than Johnson? Regaling delegates with stories about “flag waving piccaninnies” and “Pangas” with “watermelon smiles”.
If a Labour Politician made even one of those remarks, they would be hounded out of office, and rightly so. Having been suspended for using the racist term “N***** in the woodpile” in July, Anne-Marie Morris had the whip re-instated after only five months. 
At least 12 Tory candidates had to withdraw from the today's elections having been suspended amid accusations of anti-antisemitism, Islamophobia and far right links. One of whom, a former UKIP candidate is alleged to have racially abused Diane Abbott on social media.

Theresa May should not be surprised that her "Go home" buses, hostile immigration environment, the appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Minister and her tolerance of racism generally, has acted as a recruitment sergeant for the far right. As David Lammy said, If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Today is channel your anger into action day. All you have to do is get up, get ready and vote the Tories out of your town! 

#Vote Labour 💓

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