Dog whistles Over London

Lee Anderson and Lindsay Hoyle
Lee Anderson and Lindsay Hoyle Blowing dog whistles

Tory MP Lee Anderson Suspended Over ‘Dog Whistle’ Comments About Sadiq Khan

Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield, has been stripped of the party whip after refusing to apologise for claiming that London mayor Sadiq Khan had “given away” the capital to Islamists.

In an appearance on GB News on Friday, the former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party stated that Khan had handed control of London to “his mates”, widely interpreted as a dog whistle referring to Muslims.

Speaking on GB News, the Tory MP for Ashfield said that Mr Khan had “given our capital city away to his mates”.

In a rant on Friday evening, he said: “I don’t actually believe that these Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London. Again,  this stems with Khan, he’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.

“If you let Labour in through the back door, expect more of this and expect our cities to be taken over by these lunatics.”

Following pressure on Saturday, Chief Whip Simon Hart made the decision to suspend the Conservative whip from Anderson, forcing him to sit as an independent MP. The suspension followed Anderson’s refusal to apologise for his controversial remarks.

It’s All Smoke and Mirrors

This latest escapade from the so called “honourable” Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield is a symptom of that failure where it finds him suspended from the Tory Party like a particularly pungent sausage hanging off a butcher’s hook. His crime? Suggesting Sadiq Khan has “given away” London to a shadowy cabal of “Islamists” – a thinly veiled dog whistle that would make Enoch Powell blush.

Of course, the pious pronouncements of outrage from the Tory bench are as predictable as a pantomime villain. Former ministers wring their hands, like Sajid Javid who called Anderson’s comments ‘ridiculous’.

Don’t be fooled. Anderson may be the latest poster boy for bigotry, but he’s merely the tip of a very ugly iceberg. Recall, that this is the same party that embraced Boris Johnson, the man who compared Muslim women to letterboxes. This is the party that cheered on Priti Patel’s Rwanda deportation scheme as if refugees were being sent to Butlins for a week or two instead of being a policy reeking of colonial cruelty.

It comes at a time when Tories, including Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick, are speaking out on the importance of not being cowed by pressure from Muslim communities over Palestine.

Ironically, Labour accuses the Tories of tacitly endorsing racism, as if Labour’s own shenanigans on Thursaday’s Gaza ceasefire motion were not the start of this blowing dog whistles to the tune of Israel’s national anthem ‘Hatikvah’, After all, didn’t half the Labour Party follow the speaker, Sir Linsay Hoyle’s example of crying foul to so called Islamic extremists as to why he turned an SNP opposition motion into a saving grace for both the Labour Party and Israel?

And everyone pretends this is an aberration, not a festering symptom of a deeper malaise.

The Tory “Red Wall” Crumbles just as it did under Labour: Is Islamophobia the Mortar Holding It Together?

The problem with Anderson’s “Islamist takeover” fantasy isn’t just its offensiveness, it’s its utter detachment from reality. “Red Wall” voters who supported Brexit did so not out of fear of Muslims, but out of economic concerns and a desire for change.

Exploiting xenophobia to cling to power is not only cynical, it’s insulting to the very people the Tories claim to represent.

This ploy overlooks inconvenient facts. Many ‘Red Wall’ constituencies with significant Muslim populations actually voted Leave in 2016, including Bradford, Dewsbury, Rochdale, Birmingham, Oldham, Blackburn and Derby.

The Brexit vote was not due to paranoia about “Islam taking over.” It reflected a wider dissatisfaction with uncontrolled immigration and an unaccountable EU bureaucracy. People sought more democratic control, not racism.

The inconvenient fact is the “Red Wall” isn’t crumbling because of Muslims, it’s crumbling because of fourteen years of Tory neglect. People didn’t vote for Brexit to be patronised with “levelling up” schemes that sputter and die in London. They wanted genuine improvement, not empty promises.

Now these flailing Tory MPs hope bigotry and xenophobia can somehow hold their electoral coalition together. But their shabby Islamophobia only highlights how intellectually bankrupt the party has become. It no longer offers solutions, if it ever did, just scapegoats.

Voters deserve better. They didn’t back Brexit out of baseless prejudice but from a legitimate desire for greater agency over their lives and communities. If the Tories continue to exploit divisions instead of addressing deprivation, their Red Wall will soon be reduced to rubble the root cause, neglect.

There’s Trouble at’t Mill!!

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak
As Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak Won’t Change the Course for the Tories

While the suspension may placate Anderson’s critics, it risks provoking further civil war within the divided Conservatives. With Anderson already tipped as a potential defector to the Reform Party, his banishment to the independent benches could drive him further from the Tories.

And what of Sunak, the supposed unifying force? His leadership is as effective as a chocolate teapot in a monsoon. His “decisive action” is a slap on the wrist at best, a hollow gesture that placates no one. The Tories are fractured, their base increasingly radicalised, and their grip on power slipping faster than a greased piglet.

The suspension is little more than a fig leaf, a desperate attempt to mask the rot at the heart of the Conservative Party. Anderson may be gone, for now, but the stench of his remarks lingers, a stark reminder of how to play politics on prejudice and fear.

Perhaps, instead of worrying about drawing lines, they should consider demolishing the entire edifice. After all, a house built on hate can offer no true shelter, only ever-widening cracks and the eventual, inevitable collapse.

The awful truth no one wants to face is that people don’t want more hate, we just want parliamentarians to do their jobs and deliver on their promises, by the way, whatever happened to that Levelling Up?

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