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Baroness Flather – Muslims "all on benefits and all vote Labour"

Baroness Flather – Muslims "all on benefits and all vote Labour"

Categories: Latest News

Monday November 26 2012

The Sun reports on reaction to the comments by Crossbench peer, Baroness Shreela Flather, who weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Conservative Party’s newly appointed campaign chief, Lynton Crosby, saying “I don’t condone swearing, but Lynton is right to say it is pointless for the Conservatives to chase Muslim votes. They are all on benefits and all vote Labour.”

It was recently alleged that Crosby, who headed both of Boris Johnson’s Mayoral election campaigns in 2005 and 2010, used the phraseF****** Muslims”  whilst working for Johnson and advised the incumbent mayor to not bother ‘chasing the Muslim vote’.

The Sun reports that Flather has been lambasted by Labour Party vice-chair, Michael Dugher. Dugher, who last week wrote an open letter to the PM urging him to investigate the claims against Crosby, said Flather’s comments “are unacceptable. There can be no place in politics for such offensive and ignorant attitudes.”

According to the Sun, Flather has “admitted she went too far — but said her point was valid.

What point exactly of Flather’s comments could be regarded as valid? The notion that all Muslims are on benefits? That they all block vote for Labour? Perhaps the Baroness has not read Lord Ashcroft’s report on why it is minorities feel indisposed to vote Conservative. Its image as the ‘nasty party’ prevails in some parts and Flather’s remarks will do little to dispel this.

Flather’s remark that Muslims “are all on benefits” is the kind of attitude which homogenises the community and sets Muslims up as a scapegoat for all of society’s ills, a drain on public resources chief amongst them. Were she to suggest any such similar thing about Blacks or other minority groups she would roundly be condemned as racist.

Moreover, whilst it is true that Muslims – and indeed minority ethnic and religious communities do generally vote for the Labour Party, a study by the Runnymede Trust, the Ethnic Minority British Election Study (EMBES) posits interesting analysis as to why this might be the case. The good Baroness would be well advised to read it.


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