Thursday, 8 June 2017

Moral of Warsi: Tories can't cope with Muslims

Any Muslim politician seeking to rise up the ranks of the Conservative Party has a choice. He or she can emulate Sajid Javid, one of five sons of a Pakistani bus driver who came to Britain in 1961 with one pound in his pocket.
Though brought up a Muslim, Sajid Javid never campaigned on Muslim issues, or even noticed them. He is now a cabinet minister.
Or he or she could emulate Sayeeda Warsi, a taxi driver's daughter who resigned from the David Cameron government over British policy on the Gaza invasion in 2014.
Baroness Warsi has always celebrated her Muslim identity and Pakistani heritage. Her new book, The Enemy Within, shows that she has had to pay a price.
Throughout her political career, which is now finished, she has been subject to abuse on a scale few modern politicians have to cope with.
The Tory Party took her in but refused to fully accept her. The influential ConservativeHome website published an article by Fox News commentator Niles Gardner which argued that her appointment sent "the wrong signal at a time when Britain is fighting a global war against Islamic terrorism".
Senior commentators, like Charles Moore and Tim Montgomerie, sneered at Warsi. She was never trusted. She tells how, when she was appointed Foreign Office minister, the Conservative Central Office tried to hire her special adviser to spy on her, reporting back on who she met and what she said. 
Her character, actions and beliefs were repeatedly miscontructed, as I demonstrated last week when I exposed how reviewers such as Col Richard Kemp and Douglas Murray distorted and misrepresented what she had written in order to attack her.
Warsi eventually resigned at the height of the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014. It was her job to defend British government policy in the House of Lords, and she found she could not support a government that refused to condemn Israeli military action. She has now left politics.
She says she might not have resigned if William Hague was still foreign secretary, and that she found Philip Hammond, foreign secretary at the time of Warsi's resignation (and whom she refers to as a "perfectly competent accountant") unsympathetic. Hers was the most distinguished resignation since Robin Cook over Iraq in 2003.
I think it is a terrible loss because Warsi devoted her 10-year career in frontline politics to arguing that you could be Conservative AND Muslim.
Her powerful Conservative opponents maintained that you could only be Conservative OR Muslim. They won. Hence the infamous 2016 London election campaign when Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith targeted Labour’s Sadiq Khan on the basis that the latter was Muslim, a strategy heavily criticised by Warsi.
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