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Comments

Justin Hinchcliffe

He was also attacked in yesterday's letters page in the Guardian. Interestingly, various people from registered charities, e.g. the 1990 Trust, attacked him. They should be referred to the Charity Commission for making blatant political statements.

Editor

It is interesting the number of public sector adverts that appear in New Nation as well.

Justin Hinchcliffe

Yes, it's very anti-Conservative. The Voice is getting better but it's still crap. They treat black people like idiots and the quality of journalism is appalling.

It is all those TfL adds that keep them going...

Alex Crowley

If this is the best they can do- mud slinging that fires up Livingstone's base and little else- then Boris need only turn up on election day.

Phil Taylor's blog is spot on, these people are in their jobs because Ken Livingstone is Mayor. Their hypocritical attack on Boris can be decoded as a desperate scramble to save their jobs.

Not that Boris needs to bother, but if he did want to rebutt then he can choose from the following; Livingstone's support for Castro/Chavez despite their active persecution of homosexuals and political opponents; Livingstone's support for Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an extremist cleric that called for homosexuals to be stoned to death; Livingstone's refusal to apologise for comparing a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

The Huntsman

This is simply a sign that the Red Lizard is very rattled at the prospect of being opposed by Boris next May, realizing that he might just have a real fight on his hands for a change. He is not, himself or by proxy, attacking any of the other potential Conservative candidates in this way, which begs the question as to why Boris is the only one to be worthy of this degree of his attention.

And the only rational answer must be that he fears him and is trying to knock him out of the race by preemptive strike.

Boris should not worry at this but rather ought to be flattered.

Instead of any riposte now, he should simply maintain a lofty and aloof distance from this mud slinging and keep his powder dry for the real contest which will, it seems, be a genuine bare knuckle fight.

After all, there is plenty that is utterly discreditable in the Red Lizard's locker, from his enthusiasm for Castro and Chavez, his support for the IRA, his anti-Israeli stance with its malodorous whiff of anti-semitism as evidenced by his distasteful remarks to the Jewish journalist, to name but a few, for the compliment to be returned in spades.

“Hard pounding, gentlemen; but we will see who can pound the longest.”

Go Boris!

london conservative

Our party is making a mistake if we allow ourselves to be associated with these (and other) disgraceful remarks. David Cameron would never say such things. Neither would Steve Norris. We need to ensure that every one of our candidates has no desire to use racially-loaded and racially-stereotyped language. It's wrong and it won't work in the London election. This isn't the Henley golf club or the Torygraph's editorial page.

Mr Angry

"London Conservative"; so which bit of Livingstone's empire do you work for then you Labour troll?

Editor

Some of Boris' remarks are a little unfortunate but I do not believe he has any racism in his heart. The really sad thing is the OTT way that black community voices like New Nation have reacted. They seem determined to use race for political ends. There is no desire to build bridges; only a desire to increase a sense of resentment. They are the ones playing the race card.

Edward

Spot on Editor. 100% agree.

David

I'm not quite sure how any of the remarks highlighted in the picture are offensive.


"they will need to find a candidate with Livingstone's credentials, "

Sharing a platform with a man who calls for the death of a particular ethnic group? Blimey........

london conservative

"London Conservative"; so which bit of Livingstone's empire do you work for then you Labour troll?

Sorry but I'm a party member. I'm also disappointed that thus far few people seem to want to actually address Boris Johnson's remarks. It's not an answer to say that Ken Livingstone has, quite disgracefully, praised the homophobic Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (although we should note that Livingstone has not actually said anything homophobic, at least not that I've seen). The question is do we want a candidate with these views, and does London want them?

Just dismissing people who want a candidate who understands how to conduct themselves properly and how to respect London's many and diverse minority communities as "Labour trolls" also avoids answering the question.

Teck

Who are the owners of New Nation, and its editors - worth a dig, don't you think?

Andrew Lilico

What is supposed to be "racist" about any of these remarks, anyway? Some of them might be ill-advised, and some people might even take offence at others. But "ill-advised" and "offensive" are quite different from "racist".

I am offended by the eliding of "racist" and "could easily have come straight out of colonial Britain". Can I accuse the New Nation paper of being racist? I suggest that their entire attack is ill-advised - can I smear the New Nation editors by calling them "racists"?

I hope we don't start defending Boris by going on about his Turkish ancestry or some such nonsense. I don't believe we should in the least kowtow to these self-appointed arbiters of race-crime. Let them hurl their smears elsewhere!

David

"The question is do we want a candidate with these views,"

What views are you referring to? So far, all we have are some stylisticly satirical articles.

Andrew Lilico

london conservative

>I'm also disappointed that thus far few people seem to want to actually address Boris Johnson's remarks<

The Editor has ("unfortunate") and I did ("ill-advised"). And you are mistaken: the question in this thread is not "do we want a candidate with these views, and does London want them". Rather, it is "Are New Nation and others correct to allege that Boris Johnson is a racist or has made racist comments?" To me the answer - on the basis of the very comments quoted - is "Clearly not! And I'm not interested in them lecturing me on what does and does not count as racism - I don't accept their authority to comment. We'll choose our own candidate for ourselves, thankyou very much!"

Londoner for Boris

If the cutting illustrated above is the best they can do to dish Boris, he hasn't much to worry about. If these criticisms - of Nelson Mandela (probably as it turned out mistakenly, but perfectly fairly), African politics compared with colonial rule (a fair argument, even if many might disagree), Papua New Guinean cannibalism and Islam's lack of sense of humour - are racist, then this presumably means that anyone criticising anyone with a different colour skin, for matters entirely unconnected with their race, must be racist. I hereby declare that the New Nation is clearly racist as they are criticising Boris and he has fairer hair than them. He is also part Turkish and has a Russian sounding name, so they are obviously racist on those counts too.

Whereas of course Mr Livingstone "has consistently shown good form (on) race" - yes, if you exclude the odd insult to Jewish journalists! Oh, routine anti-seminitism isn't racist is it, because nowadays it more often comes from the left than the right, I forgot!

The encouraging thing is that Livingstone and his crew are confirming by these pathetic attacks that they are really rattled by the prospect of a Boris candidacy. As they should be.

In the meantime, in the real world, I met someone the other week who is a long-standing activist in the Labour Party who will vote for Boris in preference to Ken. Probably does not count though, come to think of it, as she is Jewish.

ACT

Hoist by your petard time I'm afraid. And of course, a superb dose of double standards. Let's just imagine that *another* would-be Tory mayoral candidate, in the absence of Boris being in this race, had, for example, used, in whatever context to whatever effect for whatever purpose, the term, "piccaninnies" (as Boris, of course, has done) - what then? Or come to that, what if a PPC or even a mere peon on the list had used the term? Well we all know what would have happened - CCHQ, with Dave and the Spelman (or Maude before her) to the fore, would have taken great delight in falling from a great height on the idiot. They'd have splashily done in the fool who said "piccaninnies" precisely because it would have given them a great chance, as they saw it, to parade their anti-racist virtues. But Boris says it? Oh but that's Boris being Boris (and being an MP of course, and a Telegraph columnist too, and we don't want to hack off any more of them, oh yeah, and he's the cove who's saving Dave from what was otherwise going to be the certain humiliation of a 'Modern' Tory candidate crashing and burning in the mayoral election next year). And this is only a fraction of what's wrong with Boris: but what's worst is that he won't win the contest (in the one cycle we stand a chance of doing so), but Dave, selfish to the end, is determined to have him precisely because as and when Boris loses, Cameron knows full well that the media will put the Party losing down to Boris (being Boris), and not to Dave being useless, and utterly unable to attract votes exactly where his 'modern' Conservatism claimed it would (i.e. amongst Londoners, visible ethnic minorities, wobbling Lib Dems, &c).

london conservative

Andrew Lilico:

No. The Editor addressed the remarks while I was posting that comment, up until that point no-one had discussed them. Instead there was just a lot of confused nonsense that somehow they are unimportant because Ken Livingstone had praised a homophobic cleric (but not actually said anything homophobic) and compared a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard (which is not in actual fact an anti-semitic remark, although it was certainly an offensive one).

More important to our party than what goes on in the pages of The Nation is what sort of Mayoral candidate do we want to have, and what sort of party do we want to be?

Calling Johnson's views "stylistically satarical" doesn't cut it either. You either think it's OK to use language like "picanninies" or you don't. Boris Johnson plainly doesn't have a problem with doing so in print or in conversation.

Ash Faulkner

"Some of Boris' remarks are a little unfortunate but I do not believe he has any racism in his heart. The really sad thing is the OTT way that black community voices like New Nation have reacted. They seem determined to use race for political ends. There is no desire to build bridges; only a desire to increase a sense of resentment. They are the ones playing the race card."

Hear hear, and that is the argument we should continually make in the face of these attacks.

David

"Calling Johnson's views "stylistically satarical" doesn't cut it either. "

Of course it does. Context is all if you are going to extrapolate a particular position or wider views from an article.

If you want to give us any actual evidence that Boris is racist, go ahead. Otherwise, it's just rather poor faff from Livingston's team, who are clearly much more scared than I thought if they are playing the race card already.

Chris Heathcote

"James Cleverly described Doreen Livingstone's remarks as "unfair and unjustified"" - think you mean Doreen Lawrence?

Turning to the attacks, for all the harsh words from obviously partisan people, do the public really think Boris is a big racist? There was a perception that Michael Howard was, but I dont sense that the 'mud', is really sticking here, it doesnt seem a credible attack. Besides, I think a lot of people will glance at the quotes above and not see the offence of them...

Editor

Thanks for spotting my silly error, Chris. Now corrected.

Daniel Rand

There was an article in the Evening Standard today called 'Boris loses early "bounce" amid accusations of racism'. I don't think we can reasonably conclude that Associated Newspapers are also Ken Livingstone backers. The issue is the content of Boris Johnson's comments which are driving him and the Conservative party into a collision with African and Caribbean London voters. It's no good saying that such and such a publication is 'playing the race card' or in the pocket of Livingstone - these papers are reporting what they believe is of interest to their readers. You can probably get away with referring to people as 'piccaninnies' if you're a commentator for the Telegraph or if your electorate is in Henley but his accumulated comments on issues of interest to black voters in London are genuinely damaging to him and by extension the Conservative party.

Daniel Rand

Here is that Evening Standard article I was referring to.

Only a few days ago the Guardian was reporting Boris's article where he described a Chinese person's accent in a way that was likely to offend Chinese people.

I think we can conclude from this that this argument - that Boris's views are more "right wing" than London voters will want to vote for - has some purchase.

Anyway, here's the Standard article:

Boris Johnson’s campaign to become Mayor of London suffered its first setback today amid criticism from black groups and a new poll showing the early "Boris bounce" has been wiped out.

A YouGov survey found Mayor Ken Livingstone had re-established his lead over the potential Tory challenger. Mr Livingstone is on 34 per cent to Mr Johnson's 33 per cent. Some 20 per cent said they would vote for neither.

A YouGov poll last month gave Mr Johnson a six-point lead, putting him on 46 per cent to Mr Livingstone's 40 per cent among Londoners.

In a further blow to the Henley MP, the black newspaper New Nation today launched a fierce attack on his remarks about race and Africa.

With an article headlined, "Is This Man Fit to Run London?", the paper said his selection would be an "insult" to ethnic minority voters. It criticised him for remarks in which he called for the return of colonial rule to Africa, joked about tribal leaders sporting "water melon smiles" and described black children as "piccaninnies".

Mr Johnson's friends had claimed his use of the word "piccaninnies" in an article for the Spectator in 2002 was ironic.

But it emerged today that fellow writer Rod Liddle also reported him using the expressions on a trip to Uganda. Liddle claimed Mr Johnson told Swedish Unicef workers and their black driver "right, let's go and look at some more piccaninnies".

The apparent surge of support for Mr Johnson last month was seized on by supporters as proof he had the popularity to defeat the Mayor in next year's election.

But the new poll, which has a bigger London sample size, was today used by allies of Mr Livingstone to claim that the more public learned of Mr Johnson's "Right-wing" views, the more they fell out of love with his jokey image. One supporter said it signalled that "the initial fun of a Boris candidacy turned sour" once voters realised his politics.

Mr Johnson's record on race issues was highlighted last week when Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen, said he was "not an appropriate person" to run London. Mr Johnson had lambasted the Lawrence Inquiry claiming it was a "witchhunt" against the police that sparked "hysteria".

A spokeswoman for Mr Johnson today said that he had been "inundated with support from London's ethnic minorities.

One ally added: "This is the lowest attack you can make on a Tory - just call them racist."

Andrew Lilico

The "piccaninnies" quote comes from the following 2002 Telegraph article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2002/01/10/do1002.xml

"What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies; and one can imagine that Blair, twice victor abroad but enmired at home, is similarly seduced by foreign politeness."

The other tale I've found here: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,1055894,00.html

"perhaps sometimes the desire to make a joke overrides his principles? He cannot resist the sort of public-school joke that falls badly on black ears. Rod Liddle recalls that when he and Johnson went to Uganda together to look at the work of Unicef, Johnson cheerily remarked to the Swedish Unicef workers and their black driver: 'Right, let's go and look at some more piccaninnies.'"

For anyone that doesn't know, check the following on "picaninny": http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/picaninny/

Thus a picanniny is a particular stylised representation or caricature (depending on whether your glass is half empty or half-full). This is surely precisely what Boris was saying in each of the references to "picaninny" - he is saying that the black children waving flags for the Queen or that he was expected to look at are grotesque caricatures of the actual nature of being a child in these countries. They are just children exploited for spectacle, put up for show.

Now perhaps that sort of reference involves rather too subtle and erudite a message for a mainstream politician to offer in public. So perhaps his remarks were, in that sense, ill-advised. But "racist"? How is accusing people of exploiting black children for spectacle supposed to be "racist"?

Simon Newman

I'd like to make some witty point about how the New Nation is a cultural Marxist paper and they are simply applying Critical Theory in a nice example of Marcusian 'Liberating Tolerance', but I can't think of one.

I would say that refusing the let the cultural Marxists set the frame of the debate is the right approach. 'Engaging with the substance of the accusation' is a mug's game when it comes to Critical Theory, it's the old "Have You Stopped Beating Your Wife Yet?" trick.

Michael McGowan

All Livingstone has to offer are smears, egomania and waste. The idea that he has been a good mayor who cares for London is laughable and he has consistently championed real racists and violent bigots. Boris should concentrate on Livingstone's lamentable record and the toxic company which he likes to keep.

Sean Fear

"then this presumably means that anyone criticising anyone with a different colour skin, for matters entirely unconnected with their race, must be racist"

In a nutshell, that would be racism as the New Nation (and the assorted agitators who wrote to Guardian) would define it.

Frankly, the opinions of people who wouldn't vote Conservative if you paid them really shouldn't influence our choice of candidate.

london conservative

"Context is all if you are going to extrapolate a particular position or wider views from an article."

There's no acceptable context for one of our candidates using a term of racial abuse. Ann Winterton or Boris Johnson.

The last Conservative Party politician to use that kind of language was Enoch Powell, almost 40 years ago.

"Otherwise, it's just rather poor faff from Livingston's team"

No. This is something that concerns Conservative voters and members too.

Biodun

The concerted attack on Boris Johnson by key figures within London's African and Caribbean communities continues
That's not true Tim. As far as I'm aware, no person of African origin has said anything critical of Boris.

The only black people who've made negative comments have all been of Carribbean origin.

I apologise in advance for my long rant here, but really...The sooner Conservatives learn that Africans and Carribbeans hate each other's guts, the sooner they will be able to pick up more of their votes.

There is no such thing as "The Black Community". This is fiction peddled by those whose livelihoods depend on the race relations industry. If tensions between races were eliminated, they'd be out of a job and they don't want that.

On Boris's comments, first of all, no self respecting West African at least would ever be insulted by the term piccaninnies? Why? Because we have our own, shortened, version of the word "pikin" which has become a term of endearment.Go ahead and try it.
Say "How Be Your Pikin" to the next parent from Ghana/Nigerian/Sierra Leone that you meet and you're more likely to get a hug than anything else.

We Africans are less likely to suffer from the identity crises that plague British Caribbeans and cause them to see racism wherever they go.
We think Golliwogs are funny and the fact Robertson's jam with the golliwog was manufactured in Nigeria for many years and nobody complained proves that we found them inoffensive at least.
Most of us haven't heard of Enoch Powell as we were too busy trying to run recently independent countries to take any notice and many secretly feel that Africa would have been better off as part of the British Empire although they will NEVER admit this to you, so don't bring it up when you're canvassing.

The average refugee from Zimbabwe or Somalia will compare the UK with their oppressive homelands and think it is a great place, as opposed to the average 2nd generation Black Brit who is still fighting the battles of the 1950s after everyone has moved on. So let's pick our battles wisely and fight the ones we can win.

In any case, neither the New Nation nor The Voice have a wide enough circulation to influence votes even in the blackest of wards in London. If they did, then their preferred Black Nationalist Candidates would have won some kind of election by now and they never do.
Also, and i say this with some sadness, voter registration amongst many Black people is quite low they do not have the voting power to swing marginal elections on racial lines that their numbers would otherwise indicate.

Personally, I will be voting Conservative as I like Boris, think he is intelligent and creative and will be a fresh breath of air for London, not because of the nice things he's done for black people everywhere.

Why nobody has brought up Livingstone's own record with blacks, is beyond me. The Bob Geldof school of "Throw a pop concert to please the blackies" enrolls a new idiot every day. Livingstone's festivals have not improved the lot of any black person and we Conservatives should be exposing him as a fraud.

What about his inability to work with his no.2, Trevor Phillips and the comments he made comparing Phillips to the BNP because he wasn't a fan of multi-culturalism?

Do not let people like "London Conservative" fool you. His or her views are no more right than anyone else's here and I doubt he or she really has a clue what any black person wants, be they African, American or Caribbean beyond what's been said on Big Brother.

Can we show some liver please? We might as well give up now, if we are too scared to say anything in public on race, lest people are reminded of the "Hang Mandela" T-shirts.

The Conservative Party will get votes from a large section of the African Community as they are very, very Conservative. We do not like Big Government and want to be left in peace to go about our daily business. More importantly, we do not like being lumped together with Caribbeans and treated like an amorphous mass of black people who all like Reggae music and eat jerk chicken and that is the problem the Conservative party has yet to address
Unfortunately we (ie. the party) don't bother. I know this for a fact as my local association does not even leaflet the parts of the borough that Africans live in. We only do the leafy, affluent areas and ignore the aspirational poor. If that's not nuts, I don't know what is!

When the party starts talking to us about the issues that we care about, e.g. why are the state schools in Hackney, Lambeth and Southwark so crap? Why haven't the local MPs for the areas with recent gun crimes: Tessa Jowell, Harriet Harman, David Lammy, (all Labour MPs) made any comments? Why does so much money come out of our pay packets with few visible benefits?

Show them that Labour doe not care about them and you will win their votes. All this hand-wringing, trying to show how not-racist you are is a waste of time.

Ban Boris

Boris is a clot who divides London - that's why he will not win. It may also cost us Assembly Seats. He's a circus clown not a politician.

Andrew Lilico

I think that ACT has a good point that if any lower-profile PPC had used the term "piccanninies", regardless of context, he would have been deselected and kicked off the candidates' list pdq. I recall a particularly ridiculous incident of this sort in the run-up to the last election, when a candidate was deselected for alleged anti-Catholic views on the basis of a spiky Spectator article he had written years before.

The answer, of course, is that we shouldn't permit Boris to be smeared for his use of particular words, and we shouldn't submit to a lynch-mob execution of the careers of our lower-profile PPCs either.

Andrew Lilico

london [email protected]:38

A term is only a "term of racial abuse" if it is used as such. Otherwise it is just a string of letters or sounds. And we should not accept the principle that our language should be limited by what others consider is or is not offensive.

I, for example, find the terms "white" and "black" offensive, and try to avoid employing them if possible. They suggest a division of the world into the wicked oppressors and the downtrodden oppressed. They collectivize race - one hears of Rio Ferdinand, for example, described as "black", as if we still believed in some "one drop of black blood and you're black" principle; similarly anyone pink-skinned is "white", as if I somehow had more in common with a 6'2" bleach-blond Icelander whom I can't speak to and can barely tell apart from his 6'2" bleach-blond wife than I do with my own 5'6" black-as-ebony wife born in London. I never fill in "white" on racial statistics forms - I am always "Mixed race - Celtic and Anglian", like most lowland Scots. I am *me*, not a member of some "race". "Tall", "short", "fat", "snub-nosed", "high-browed", "bald", "spotty", "pale", "dark" and related terms make sense. Indeed, there are perhaps even contexts in which it might be useful to group similar such features - so someone is "caucasoid", "mongoloid", "negroid" or "australoid". But "white" and "black" - I don't believe there is ever any truly useful context in which these terms are useful.

So, does the fact that I find these terms "black" and "white" offensive give me some "right" to demand that other people never use them? Of course not! Why, then, can't Boris use the term "piccaninny" if he finds a context in which that is the appropriate term, and he has no intention of belittling anyone except PC Islington luvvies?

anon13

Boris is not racist. Ken is, or at least supports people who call for death to other races. He needs to be attacked for this.
This will play well for Boris. People are fed up of being called racist just because they disagree with someone who is of different race, or because they didn't get a job.
My HR friend tells me you have to be much more careful with ethnic minority job applicants, as they can say your a racist. That is not fair, and people are fed up with being accused of being racist when they are not. most people will be disgusted by this
anyway, - I seem to remember that Boris is one quarter turkish

tapestry

The racism industry has found a bandwagon. Once it's rolling, none of them have any idea where the brakes are. Let the ranting persist until everyone's heard it a million times. There might be a few voters who enjoy that kind of stuff.

Now Boris, carry on just as you are. As you said, there is a chance that ethnic minorities have a sense of humnour. At least you won't be as boring as your critics, and London traditionally likes a good laugh.

Henry Mayhew - Delusional / Fruitcake / Closet Racist

Oh dear, are you Tories upset about being called racists by your political opponents?

Cllr Brook Whelan

The attacks on Boris are clearly coming from supporters of Ken Livingstone.

I'm sure many people will find it sad that these Labour stooges are playing the race card in such a cynical way.

People should be voting for a particular candidate on their policies. The colour of their skin and what they may have said in the past should be irrelevant.

Phil Taylor

Daniel Rand is quoting an article in the Evening Standard by "Deputy Political Editor" Paul Waugh. I assume he is the deputy because he can't spot that the New Nation piece is simply the latest in a string of proxy attacks by the London Mayor which all use the same quotes.

The reason that the New Nation is coming out for the Mayor is that they are bought and paid for, just like the other Livingstone proxies.

Follow this link to find out how when the Mayor spent £793K to give away 100,000 free Oyster cards he spent £77K with ineffective ethnic press - a bung.

http://www.london.gov.uk/mqt/question.do?id=18423

Follow this link to find out how in 2003 the GLA spent £261K on recruitment advertising. The bulk went to the Guardian and the rest to the "ethnic" press. No advertising in mainstream media outside the Guardian - corrupt in itself. The total ethnic press led to one appointment at a total cost of £79K. The Guardian ads led to 59 appointments at a cost of £182K. So ethnic press costs £79K per ad. Guardian costs £3K per ad.

http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/bmac/2004/bmacdec1/bmacdec1agenda14.pdf

The New Nation is part of the Ethnic Media Group organisation which was given £38K but generated only 1 shortlisted candidate and no appointments.

Like I say the New Nation is bought and paid for.

Mr Angry

Glad to see that Livingstone is so rattled by the idea of a Boris Johnson candidacy that he has retreated to the last refuge of someone who has already lost the argument - unfounded accusations of racism. This is particularly rich coming as it indirectly does from a supposed antiracist who is clearly anti semitic.

I think that if Livingstone is that scared of Johnson then it is clear who I should vote for in the primary.

Off Message

I've been pleasantly surprised by this thread. Livingstone is rattled and the left is smearing Boris because they always react that way. What is heartening is that nobody here ("Party Member" London Conservative aside) has been fooled. Boris is a fantastic candidate and it will be fun seeing him have a good go at the unpleasant, extremist loving Mayor. Let's just get behind him if he's chosen and make the Mayor's record, not Boris', the main focus. It shows yet again, however, how good Labour are at media manipulation. Let's hope our new man Coulson can lift our performance too.

london conservative

Oh dear, here comes the gin and tonic and golf club tendency, just when you thought it was safe to try and win an election.

"A term is only a "term of racial abuse" if it is used as such. Otherwise it is just a string of letters or sounds. And we should not accept the principle that our language should be limited by what others consider is or is not offensive."

Education: It's offensive if people whom it purports to describe find it offensive. Why are there still people in the party who are not interested in that simple fact? The world has moved on from boring little golf club debates about what the word gay is supposed to mean, and what black Londoners should and should not find offensive etc.

Then there is the oh so sophisticated "Boris" hasn't done anything wrong "Ken" has argument ie whatever Boris Johnson says, no matter that none of the other candidates would say it, no matter that David Cameron or Steve Norris would never say it, no matter how utterly offensive it is, it doesn't matter because Livingstone has supported someone who has said bigoted things. Save it for a leader in the Daily Telegraph. Voters in London have higher standards than that, I'm afraid.

"the left is smearing Boris": Sorry but they don't have a monopoly of concern about this clown. In any event, the New Nation didn't "smear" him. They quoted him.

Peter Hatchet

Three words of advice for Boris:

WEATHER THE STORM.

(Don't pull out, don't rise to the bait, don't let it get to you, keep going - your appeal is based on the fact you speak your mind and people will vote for that)

Andrew Lilico

"london conservative", suppose that a Socialist said that he found the term "Socialist" offensive, and said that in future he wanted to be known as a "hero". Would you suggest that we should always refer to Socialists as "heroes" in the future? Or what about my finding the term "white" offensive? Do you plan from now on never to use the term "white"? (I mean my objection to the term "white" quite seriously, you know. But all I expect out of that is that people listen to my argument for why another term should be used. I don't expect others to try to avoid giving me offence by not using it when they find it convenient and appropriate to do so.)

Sean Fear

It would be more honest for "London Conservative" to rename himself "London Socialist".

Fortunately, he only speaks for himself; not the voters, and least of all for London's Conservatives.

EML

Boris should just ignore these stupid stunts, get the Conservative nomination and produce a decent manifesto for London - he shouldn't get involved in all the mud-slinging at all.

london conservative

"It would be more honest for "London Conservative" to rename himself "London Socialist"."

This is surprisingly abusive from the author of so much well considered psephology elsewhere.

I am currently supporting Andrew Boff. Is that still allowed? Presumably party members may still make criticisms of Mr. Johnson in public. I would have been happy to vote for Steve Norris or Digby Jones or John Stevens--all serious people with serious experience (unlike Boris Johnson, on both counts) who don't use words like "picanninies" or make racially-stereotyped remarks about London voters.

As for Mr. Lilico's "argument," that's just deliberately ignorant nonsense, the kind of thing that has got us into so much trouble with the various minority groups that we still struggle to win votes from in London.

Willfully insisting upon calling gays and lesbians "homosexuals" or women "ladies" or black children "picanninies" and then, affecting shock and surprise when people are offended that you don't respect them, is best left to the sad and dated pages of the Daily Mail, where readers can enjoy pointlessly offensive discussions about what the word gay "used to mean." For Lilico to claim that words like the n-word, for example, are just a series of letters which don't in any way deliberately communicate hostility and prejudice is just offensive nonsense. It's simply not acceptable for any Conservative Party candidate anywhere to use the word.

And then we have a councillor (!) saying of a potential candidate for the main opposition political party to run a city of 8 million people that "what they may have said in the past should be irrelevant."

I am just amazed at how little some of our members have moved on from the unpleasant, disrespectful attitudes toward London's minority communities that have cost us so much potential support among all of them.

london conservative

And just the thought that one of our members (please tell me it's not true) would want to use the word "negroid" is so utterly depressing. Some posts reveal an almost pathological desire to be offensive.

Londoner

"Willfully insisting upon calling gays and lesbians "homosexuals" ... and then, affecting shock and surprise when people are offended that you don't respect them,"

Well, stone the crows. I agree it is out of date and pathetic to object to the use of the term "gay" but it's a new one on me that "homosexual" is now offensive. On what possible grounds, pray? Such bollocks rather undermines the rest of his argument I think. Or perhaps just confirms that he is a wind-up. [Sorry, bollocks may be offensive to eunocks (which may be offensive to castrati), I can't keep track - apologies].

Dan Rand

Having read all these comments it's quite clear that people commenting here aren't taking this seriously.

David Cameron will not be able to avoid answering journalists when they ask him whether he thinks it's ok to refer to people as 'piccaninnies' or having 'water melon smiles' - even ironically (and I think the irony defence is unbelievably misplaced). What is he going to say? If he dismisses it, he will anger black voters. If he condemns it Boris Johnson's campaign will go into meltdown.

Virtually every single argument here defending Boris Johnson merely damns the conservative party further in the eyes of those who will feel a legitimate sense of anger at such casual use of these phrases. Similarly referring to 'tyranny of black majority rule' in South Africa - if Cameron is ever asked about it - will in the real word be harmful, whatever the blase responses here.

Resorting to calling people stooges won't be very effective either - at least one of these 'stooges' is Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote who has advised the Conservative Party. If my understanding is right he or his organisation have actually been paid by the party to advise on engagement with black voters.
http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?def=news.story.page&obj_id=135888

If someone who has tried to work with the Conservatives in this way is dismissed as a stooge then a dead end is being constructed.

Andrew Lilico

Readers will note that, as this discussion has progressed, "london conservative" has flailed around desperately, dragging in all kinds of terms I did not refer to and terms I did not mention, whilst failing to engage with any of the arguments I offered. He appears to suggest that I believe it is fine to use any word, any time. I make no such suggestion - quite the contrary; I argued explicitly against the use of the word "white", and, as another example, I consider the word "racist" typically intended to be unpleasant and offensive and, as such, a term that (if it is to be used at all) should only be used with great care and circumspection.

Similarly, if "london conservative" wants to offer us reasons why "homosexual" should not be used he is welcome. And there are well-known reasons to suppose that "the n-word" is normally best avoided.

I, however, disputed (and continue to dispute vigorously) the principle that "london conservative" offered that whether a term is appropriate for use or not is to be determined solely by those covered by the term. That is a fundamentally intolerant and oppressive point of view that I cannot allow to pass unchallenged. It is, in my view, just as wrong to take offence where none is intended as to offer offence where none is merited. Indeed, being slow to take offence is one of the properties of "love" offered in I Corinthians 13. I have been in conversations where someone was literally shouted down and prevented from continuing because he wanted to use the word "lady" instead of "woman" - who was oppressed then, do you reckon? (FWIW, his view was that the word "woman" was offensive because it suggested that the female in question was the property of a man, and hence he avoided it. This may have been a silly point of view, but it was his position, and I believe that others should have respected it and tolerated his well-intentioned usage.) We should not allow a principle that makes someone perfectly innocently intentioned into a sinner because someone else arbitrarily determines it to be so.

This does not mean that we should not all strive to be polite, normally, and to avoid giving offence. But we should not allow oppressive Marxist principles of inter-personal dealing to rule us. There is not some category of persons that is the proper arbiter of whether the terms applying to them are appropriate. We are *all* entitled to debate whether the best term is "gay" or "white" or "piccaninny", and whether all or none of these is offensive. None of us should be excluded from such a debate, and I am disappointed (though, sadly, not surprised) that a Conservative such as "london conservative" should adopt such an intolerant and exclusionist position.

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