Friday, August 02, 2019

Quotes of the day 2nd August 2019

Two extracts from a very interesting article in The Times this week by former Labour politician and head of the Equalities Commission Trevor Phillips,

"Right-on brigade exposes its own prejudices."

It is behind a paywall but you can register to receive a certain number of free articles per week, and if you want to read the article in full on those terms you can do so here.

Trevor Phillips writes:

"It’s forbidden for Labour Party members like me to describe Johnson as anything other than a racist and an Islamophobe, but while he is guilty of many distasteful acts I think I can say with certainty he is neither of those things.

In fact, it’s this kind of brainless tribalism that has got us into our current mess."

"The left-leaning bias against Johnson is most striking in the reaction to his cabinet appointments. A different prime minister would have been basking in the approval of the right-on brigade for having appointed more people of colour to the cabinet in 24 hours than all his predecessors managed in the past 300 years.

But the gracelessness of modern politics is such that the very people who threw parties at the election of Barack Obama now complain about Johnson’s minority ministers.

They sneer that the first non-white chancellor, Sajid Javid, is a “coconut” (brown outside, white inside), that the first ethnic minority woman to lead the Home Office is a dumb “snake”, and that the first black chairman of the Conservative Party is an “Uncle Tom”. This, of course, is a measure of their racism, not the prime minister’s."

"Morrison’s critics" (This is a reference to a comment which Toni Morrison made about Bill Clinton) "were so deafened by the sound of their own outrage that they didn’t hear what she was actually saying: at last, a white man had been given a glimpse of what it can feel like to be a prominent black man. As she put it “he was being treated like a black man on the street, already guilty”.

This thought came back to me as I read reams of so-called “analysis” of our new prime minister.

People, many of whom admitted to never having been in the same room as the man, opined that, though on the surface charismatic and shrewd, he was lazy, egotistical and a third-rate intellect, and underneath it all upper-class, opportunistic and evil.

Morrison’s point was that Clinton was the first white leader to face the treatment that black leaders had come to expect — a relentless focus on their character as a way of never having to argue with them about their beliefs."

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