Friday, 11 November 2016

The Guardian: Brexit and Trump mark a whitelash. Politicians must not pander to it

The Guardian: Brexit and Trump mark a whitelash. Politicians must not pander to it

by Polly Toynbee


"The crushed social democratic cadres on Labour’s benches look across at the demolition of Hillary Clinton and the end of Obama’s legacy and see reflected their own demise. Weakly led, with France and Italy likely to lose social democratic leaders too, where do they turn for encouragement?

There is a real danger, in their despair, that they abandon deep values in the name of “realism”. The people have spoken, so knuckle under. Most Labour MPs are in Brexit seats, where white supremacism won the day, and now you can hear some of them humbly promising to “listen” to those voices. But when you have listened, what then? Build walls and more deportation camps?

There is a patronising pity in the idea that the poor left-behinders know no better. But the only way is to challenge this outlook at every turn, because if you give way, the demands of racism are relentless and insatiable. Labour should listen to Margaret Hodge on how she chased the BNP and Nick Griffin out of her Barking constituency – by outright challenge, not by bending towards them.

Both the Brexit and the Trump vote showed it was not just a bellow of pain from the poor and the uneducated, but shockingly high numbers of the comfortable and the educated too who joined the whitelash."


Polly Toynbee's politics are not mine, but she often hits the mark.

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