Too often, campaigners point to the other party's prejudices to detract from their own worrying record. This election, we should remember the fight for equality is a collective oneby Amber Khan / November 1, 2019 / Leave a comment
Traditionally, in the House of Commons, the distance between the government and opposition benches are marked by two red lines exactly two sword length’s apart so that no opposing members become entangled in a duel mid-debate. However, it would seem in contemporary times, when it comes to issues of anti-semitism and Islamophobia, the shield has become the weapon of choice for Parliamentarians.
Both of the major parties in the UK have a significant rising problem with bigotry. In 2018, it became evident that the Labour Party was receiving a large number of complaints of anti-semitism. There was a backlog of disciplinary cases and Labour Party members were reportedly being investigated for posting online comments which apparently included those such as “Heil Hitler,” “F*** the Jews,” and “Jews are the problem.”
More recently, it was reported that 30 whistle-blowers, including current Labour staff, are submitting their own evidence to the investigation launched by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into Labour’s handling of antisemitism.
Islamophobia within the Conservative Party has also become rampant. (To be clear, I am talking about Islamophobia as a form of cultural racism that targets hate at Muslim people or people perceived to be Muslim—not as criticism of Islam as a religion.)
The Muslim Council of Britain has filed their own complaint with the Equality and Human Rights Commission over Islamophobia within the Conservative Party. They submitted 20 pages of evidence detailing what they say are “hundreds of cases” and the “fundamental failure in every single way” of the party’s handling of the issue.
This latest move comes on the back of reports that, this year alone, Conservative HQ has been forced to expel 40 party members, some of whom were said to have posted comments online such as: “I was going through a few magazines the other day down at the local Mosque. I was really enjoying myself. Then the rifle jammed.”
A disappointing response
The response to this across the Commons has been disappointing. For example, when Labour MP Khalid Mahmood called on Theresa May to finally commission an inquiry within the Conservative Party into Islamophobia May, in typical slippery fashion, dodged the question and deflected with the stock line of attacking the Labour Party’s record on anti-semitism instead.
We were treated to another unedifying performance, again at PMQ’s, when May said it…