Wednesday, June 25, 2008

British Tory fired over remarks to blogger

A left wing blogger/journalist asked an aide to London's new Conservative mayor, Boris Johnson, for a response to the suggestion that Johnson's election "may trigger an exodus of older African-Caribbean migrants back to the West Indies."

“Well, let them go if they don’t like it here,” responded James McGrath.

After consulting with James Cameron, the leader of British Tories, mayor Johnson cited London's "ethnic and cultural diversity" and announced that McGrath had been sacked.

The reaction of Tory blogger Iain Dale: "All Boris has done is attempt to appease people who are quite frankly not capable of being appeased."


If one were to substitute McGrath's "go on and leave" suggestion with "go on and bleed", what would you have? Trudeau's infamous "Just Watch Me" remarks in 1970, of course: "Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don't like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go on and bleed, ..."

McGrath's reaction suggests that he, or perhaps his boss Johnson, doesn't care if they stay or go. Like Trudeau, he seems to be saying he that doesn't care what his critics think. Arrogant? Obviously. Racist? If it had been suggested to McGrath that the proposed new tax policies concerning "non-doms" might lead to that group "going back to" its country of origin and McGrath had responded "let them go then", that would have been 100% analogous and no one would have considered that a racist response ("the vast majority [of non-doms] work for City banks, hedge funds and private equity firms").

Although someone might say it is racist to assume that a person of a certain colour living in Britain has a home somewhere else "to go back to", it wasn't McGrath but the blogger/journalist that made that assumption. The blogger says he, in turn, was alluding to an African-Caribbean columnist's suggestion. If, then, there could not have been racism at the bottom of the chain, where did it come in? The blogger ran with the hypothesis instead of challenging it every bit as much as McGrath.

What is even more ironic is that the blogger decided McGrath's country of origin is relevant to how to judge him, introducing it in a later post as explanatory of McGrath's attitudes. In my own view, the fact McGrath is Australian is relevent, because Australians as a group are far more racist (or politically incorrect) than Canadians (or Brits, evidently) in their comments. Of course, I've never been one for being politically correct...

No comments: