Stewart Lee once said that if ‘political correctness’ had achieved one thing, it had forced the Conservative Party to cloak their inherent racism behind more creative language. This July confirmed that Lee may be onto something. The Tories have evolved from this catchy little 1964 Tory campaign leaflet distributed in Birmingham at the time:
To their new, far more subtle campaign, featuring more creative, yet similarly dirty language and imagery:
The campaign has drawn condemnation from all sections of the political spectrum. From Lib Dem coalition partners like Business Secretary Vince Cable, who called the vans “Stupid and offensive”, to, amazingly, far right, anti-immigration Nigel Farage who quite rightly noted:
“The danger is that the kind of message that is being sent from these billboards will be taken not just by illegal immigrants but also by many people of settled ethnic minorities as being some sort of sign of open warfare.”
Even leader of Redbridge Council, Conservative Keith Prince was unhappy with his horrendous colleagues at the Home Office:
“If we had been consulted, we would have warned strongly that, whatever effect this campaign might be intended to have on people who are in the country unlawfully, that message is far outweighed by the negative message to the great majority of people, from all backgrounds, who live and work together in Redbridge, peacefully, productively and lawfully.”
One cannot help but wonder if Lynton Crosby has recently invested in the van industry.
It was of course, only a matter of time before this wretched little campaign fell victim to both Photoshop, and prank calls. And rightfully so. So here are a few of my favourite racist van trolls:
As with all failing Tory campaigns, this particular nasty campaign complete with a thinly veiled, menacing threat – naturally used to pass through poorer, multi-ethnic areas of London – is already being touted as a success by the Home Office, without actually producing evidence to confirm. Child-like, EDL-style fear tactics, with NF procured phrases like ‘go home’, designed to spark up community mistrust, suspicion and division, rather than measured and humane approaches, to, well, anything, seems to be the basis by which all Tory policies are formulated.