Thursday, February 28, 2008

Playing the race card

Here's a stupid and nasty article from a Lib Dem activist who is a former adviser to Nick Clegg. It goes something like this:

There is a shortage of social housing. Existing tenants would like their children to be able to live in the same area that they do. The Mayor of London has an adviser who has been criticised for giving grants to organisations run by black people, and who has been trying to make sure black people turn out to vote when there is an election on. This has nothing to do with the issue of social housing, but it will make people who are living in social housing think that the Mayor's housing policy is contrary to their interests. Also people in the suburbs might think that the inner cities are full of feral children, and vote Tory as a result.

Leaving aside the desperately limited understanding of housing policy (Brian Paddick doesn't seem to know much about housing, either, judging by his housing manifesto). there is something very unpleasant about the author projecting his own prejudices onto social housing tenants (while sharing a bit of his own prejudices about them in the process).

The basic message, stripped of all the hedging, leaps of logic and convoluted phrasing, is, 'I'm not a racist, but my neighbours, well, they think all the money and the housing goes to the blacks. This is all the Mayor's fault'. Every bit as repulsive, in other words, as Boris Johnson's repeated racist outbursts.


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