The phrase is Tim Montgomerie’s. He used to deploy it roughly as follows. Yes, politics means making choices. But they doesn’t always have to be either/or. The Conservatives can have immigration control and international development. Green growth and more fracking. Same-sex marriage and transferable tax allowances.
The new majority Tory Government won’t necessarily smile on these examples. But it will want to follow the principle. To this end, ConservativeHome is reviving The Politics Of And. In one series, we will examine Securing the Majority. In another, Growing the Majority. Boris Johnson will want to do both.
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Growing The Majority 1) Muslims.
Communalism is a bad thing in politics. Britain will be poorer in a dispensation in which the latter breaks down on ethnic and religious grounds – with white people voting Conservative; ethnic minorities voting for other parties; Jews voting Tory; Muslims voting Labour, and so on. Whatever One Nation may mean, it isn’t this.
The religious and ethnic breakdown of the 2019 general election has yet to take place fully. But we can be sure that Labour will have won the bulk of the votes of Muslims. Most have usually voted Labour because they are relatively poor. But relatively poor people are clearly voting Tory in larger numbers.
So something else is going on: generally, there is a connection with the broad integration/cohesion/extremism/terrorism debate; more narrowly, there is one with the row over Johnson, the burka and anti-Muslim hatred and prejudice; the legacy of the last London mayoral campaign, and so on.
In his pre-polling day interview with Andrew Gimson and Paul Goodman on this site, Boris Johnson suggested that the Conservative Party will hold its own post-election independent inquiry into anti-Muslim prejudice and hatred within the party.
He will now do so, having won a near landslide last week, from a position of strength. That is to be welcomed. We have long wanted an inquiry into this hatred and prejudice across all parties, doing so first as long ago as 2010, and later recommending that the Extremism Commissioner take it on.
We understand that Sajid Javid, who pushed for a narrower inquiry during the Tory leadership election, has won the day. Our reservation has always been a practical rather than an ideological one: what’s required is an inquiry that can distinguish between prejudice against Islam (and Muslims) and prejudice against Islamism.
Johnson clearly wouldn’t get one were the Muslim Brotherhood or the Jamaat-e-Islami to get anywhere near it. But that is no reason why the inquiry should not have a Muslim chair and a Muslim majority. It should also be able to call on the advice and views of the Party’s own Muslim MPs, councillors and the Conservative Muslim Forum.
The former now include Saqib Bhatti, the new Tory MP for Meriden, and Imran Ahmad-Khan, who won Wakefield from Labour, as well as older stagers such as Javid, Nus Ghani, Nadhim Zahawi and Rehman Chishti. A full outreach programme is needed but the inquiry will clearly be the place to start.