Saturday, August 04, 2007

Labour fears Boris Johnson

That much is clear from the concerted media operation unleashed against him.

First there was the Guardian front page and the attack unleashed in the name of Doreen Lawrence. No disrespect to Mrs Lawrence, but I doubt that she is a regular reader of the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator or that she keeps a scrapbook of Boris Johnson's articles if she is.

So the copious quotations in the Guardian story must have come from somewhere else. And my money would be on the Labour Party's press operation. Equally, the Guardian says that Mrs Lawrence

launched a fierce personal attack on Boris Johnson, saying he would destroy multicultural London if elected mayor, and that no informed black person would vote for him.

But at no point does the story say when or where the attack took place, so it appears to have no existence outside the Guardian's report. Has Mrs Lawrence done anything other than allow herself to be quoted in a Labour Party briefing given exclusively to Patrick Wintour at the Guardian?

While it is hard to defend much of what Johnson is quoted as saying, it is worth pointing out that Lord Macpherson's recommendation that racist language or behaviour "other than in a public place" was an affront to civil liberties and one which the government had the sense not to proceed with.

Then this evening two Labour MPs - Dawn Butler and Diane Abbott - have also attacked his views on race. Extraordinarily, the BBC story begins:
Black MPs spurn Boris mayoral bid

Conservative MP Boris Johnson's bid to become London mayor has been condemned by black MPs.

as though their race somehow trumps their party affiliation and makes the latter unworthy of mention in the headline or first paragraph.

Diane Abbot is great fun, but she is not entirely blameless on racial questions. As another BBC page recalls:

she made the headlines after complaining that "blonde, blue-eyed Finnish girls" in her local hospital in east London were unsuitable as nurses because they had "never met a black person before".

If nurses always had to look like their patients then the first Black nurses would never have been recruited in Britain.

So what I conclude from all this is that Boris Johnson is the Tory candidate for London Mayor whom Labour fears most. And, as the Labour Party so often does, it is playing the race card against him.

The sad thing is that Boris's writing rather invites Labour to do so.

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