Saturday, 23 February 2008

Tory dog whistling on the Holocaust

David Cameron, of whom I have said some nice things (1), has blown it all by indulging in a bit of clumsy dog whistling:

Cameron told a Conservative "North West Conference" in Bolton that Gordon Brown's government was obsessed with gimmicks that "grabbed the headlines but
amounted to nothing".

Number four on the list of 26 government gimmicks he cited was "trips to Auschwitz"


Earlier this month, the government announced a £4.65m payment of funds to the Holocaust Educational Trust to extend their programme of sending two sixth-formers from every school and college in the country to Auschwitz to learn about the Holocaust. (2)

Cameron's message wouldn't have been harmed if he'd ommitted that point - he had twenty five more, and some of them might even have had sme merit. It was planned - this wasn't an off-the-cuff remark or a trap set by an interviewer. He said what he intended to say.

Question is, who was he dog whistling to? There's the traditional Tory tight lipped crowd, who disapprove of anything that strikes them as political correctness. It says a lot about them that Cameron thinks they would regard visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau as a gimmick. But the comments might have been intended for a wider audience: Bolton has a large immigrant population, mainly Muslim. There is a lot of tension betweeen the immigrants and the rest of the town. The BNP have some support there. Cameron could well be whistling to them, trying to attract them back to the Conservatives by hinting that he's in tune with them. He might be trying to appeal to radical Muslims, who imbibe a lot of stupid anti-Jewery. These are the sort of people who need to learn more about the Holocaust. Cameron shouldnn't be pandering to their nasty prejudices.

Like I said, I'd previously praised him for putting forward progressive ideas. But he's exposed himself here as just another nasty little Tory runt, whole'll do anything to grab power. I don't know if he really regards sendoing students to Auschwitz as an empty gimmick or not. If he does, he's a creep. If he doesn't, he's a creep. Go a way, little man.

1 - As described previously on lefthandpalm:
2 - 'Cameron branded 'sick and ignorant' in Auschwitz row,' by Helene Mulholland and Deborah Summers, in The Guardian, 22nd of February, 2008.

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