Saturday, 16 June 2018

Is there a heavily-armed bloke in an orange jumpsuit holding up Theresa May's script behind the camera?

I couldn't help wondering...

...if political leaders in Muslims countries feel it necessary to indulge in similarly revolting displays of cultural cringeing aimed at their (rapidly diminishing) Christian communities at Christmas or Easter? Thought not.

Of course, Mrs. May is dreadfully unconvincing when it comes to this sort of performance - she invariably looks terrified, and never manages to sound as if she believes a single word of whatever tosh her advisors have come up with. So why do it at all? The opposition has got the Islamic vote sewn up - 85% of them voted Labour last year. Does anybody in her team seriously imagine this emetic, deeply patronising video is going to persuade a single Muslim voter to switch sides? Or that spraying the word "diversity" around is going to trigger a mass exodus of sociology lecturers and local government workers from Corbyn's repellent cess-pit of a party? Recent polling suggests that C2DE voters are deserting Labour at such an alarming rate that more of them now intend voting Conservative than Labour. Presumably this mass desertion is being fuelled by Labour's lack of patriotism and its relentless championing of immigrants at the expense of white, working-class voters. So why doesn't Mrs May take a leaf out of The Donald's playbook, stop sucking up to people who are never going to vote Tory by endlessly banging on about diversity, the number of blacks at Oxbridge, and the gender pay-gap - all that old malarkey - and go all out for the C2DE vote? 

Of course, she can't - and shouldn't - give them everything they want (renationalising the railways, raising taxes for high earners, shoring up the hopelessly inefficient NHS by pouring yet more money into it without major reforms, etc). But some indication that she shares their patriotic instincts and that she's as proud of this country as they are would go a long way. Why, for instance, did St George's Day only merit a prime ministerial tweet, rather than a video about what a great people the English are, what a great country England is, and how incomers (like me) should feel jolly grateful for being allowed to live here (as I'm sure most of us do)? I know this sort of approach doesn't come easily to middle and upper middle-class English folk, and I'm not suggesting Mrs May adopts a tone of Trumpian boastfulness - but acknowledging that the reason so many foreigners want to settle here is  that it's a great country, and that it's a great country because of the English, would, I imagine, go down rather well with those working and lower-middle-class voters who backed Brexit because they're sick of being dismissed, derided, and ignored. 

Despite the Home Office's recent grotesque Windrush generation cock-up, and despite seismic demographic changes wrought by decades of unchecked immigration, this really isn't a racist country. It's about time British politicians - especially Mrs May - stopped behaving as if it was, and started giving the people credit for being so extraordinarily tolerant. 

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