"A group of right-wing Tory MPs today announced the founding of the
White Conservative Society. Their move, which was immediately
criticised by those on the centre and left, has led to speculation that
the Party is stuck in the past and some Labour MPs have already
described the move as ‘racist.’ However a spokesman for the new group
said that it had been established ‘simply to fight for the rights of
white people and to encourage their selection in races for candidacy."
Sinister? Yes. Unpleasant? Yes. Untrue? Fortunately so. But imagine
the uproar if it wasn’t. Imagine the criticism that we as a Party would
face. And it would be rightful criticism, too.
Why, then do we allow the left to get away with carrying out a
virtually identical activity to that fictitious story? In June last
year, to precious little media attention, the Labour Party National
Executive Committee took the decision to re-launch the Black Socialist
Society. It would be an organisation of like-minded people affiliated
to the Labour Party. Except for one caveat, of course; all members had
to be ‘of Black, Asian or other Ethnic minority groups.’ The
establishment of such a group and the decision of the Labour Party at a
national level to support it shows what they really think of equality.
Instead of striving for full involvement from all sectors of society in
all levels of their Party they set up a fringe organisation with only
ethnic minorities invited.
The story could so quickly have come to an end though, if the general membership of the Labour Party, many of whom see themselves as liberal-minded, had simply refused to join the new society. Yet that’s not what happened. And today the Black Socialist Society is thriving, with over four thousand members involved. For many years the organisation had floundered without enough members for a seat on Labour’s N.E.C.; in a matter of months it claimed its seat and Keith Vaz MP became their representative.
Without any real attention or scrutiny – indeed the organisation appears to lack a website – the Black Socialist Society has acquired such influence that Labour’s Deputy Leadership candidate Harriet Harman felt it necessary to make a series of pledges in order to secure their votes. Not only did Harman promise ‘to be a champion for multiculturalism’ and ‘to build the Labour Party to be a vibrant and diverse party which reflects our community,’ but she asserted she would ‘recognise and support remittances – so that hard-earned money sent to families abroad goes further.’ Not only that, but she confirmed that if elected ‘the Black and Socialist Society will be my Deputy Leader advisory committee.’
In barely no time the Black Socialist Society has acquired such influence that it is shaping what could be made Labour Party policy if Harman were to be elected Deputy Leader. And if you’re not from an ethnic minority background, don’t expect an invitation to her advisory committee as the B.S.S. appears to have a monopoly on that too.
The existence of such a society ought to disgust any truly liberal-minded person and its increasing role within the Labour Party could soon put it in a position where it shapes Government policy too. We Conservatives are often criticised for a lack of commitment to those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Yet instead of setting up sinister, closed societies open only to those from certain backgrounds, it is our Party that immerses those from all backgrounds into the grassroots and into the Party at all levels. Last week Harman described us as ‘the nasty party’ whilst Labour were the ones out there fighting for equality. Unsurprisingly ‘Red Harriet’ is completely wrong. Whilst Labour provides a masquerade of equality we are the ones doing the real thing. It may take longer but it will be real and its progress is something we should be proud of. We can and will do more but for now there is no doubt that equality is one issue where we can take the moral high ground.