Like the good old Duke of York, the Tories are sometimes marching up the hill, and sometimes down again thus (i) sending out confused signals within the ranks, and (ii) obfuscating the facts
The Guardian, 23 February 2008:
“David Cameron found himself at odds with Jewish leaders yesterday when he appeared to dismiss a government initiative to take schoolchildren on educational trips to Auschwitz as a ‘gimmick’. The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Holocaust Educational Trust expressed disappointment …Henry Grunwald, the board’s president, said: ‘The board of deputies does not get involved in party politics but we are surprised and disappointed that David Cameron should in any way have used the word gimmick in connection with visits to Auschwitz.”
Their remarks came after Cameron criticised Brown during a speech in Bolton for being ‘obsessed with short term gimmicks’. In a briefing note to explain the speech the Conservative press office listed 26 “gimmicks”. Fourth on the list was trips to Auschwitz.
Conservative Party website, 27th February 2008,quoting Saida Warsi, Shadow Community Cohesion Minister:
“It [data from the Community Safety Trust on religiously based hate crimes] remains a real stain on our society that Anti-Semitism is still an issue today. These figures highlight why it is so important that the history of the Holocaust remains on the national curriculum”.
Obfuscating the facts
Conservative Party website, 27 February 2008,quoting David Cameron’s speech at the ECHR:
“…By concentrating on defining the various cultures that have come to call Britain home, we have forgotten to define the most important one: our own. So we now have a situation where the children of first-generation immigrants – children, let us remember, who have been born and raised here – feel more divorced from life in Britain than their parents. In America, 47 percent of Muslims think of themselves of Muslim first, American second. In Britain, it’s nearly twice that – with 81 percent of Muslims thinking of themselves as Muslim first and British second.”
HOWEVER CAMERON COULD HAVE REFERRED TO THE IPSOS/MORI POLL OF OCTOBER 2007 THAT INDICATED THAT EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE MAY, AND DO, DESCRIBE THEIR PRIMARY IDENTITY IN TERMS OF THEIR FAITH, THIS DOES NOT MEAN THEY THEN FEEL ANY LESS BRITISH: WHEN MUSLIMS WERE ASKED ‘HOW STRONGLY DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH BRITAIN’, 43% SAID ‘VERY STRONGLY’ AND 41% SAID ‘FAIRLY STRONGLY’. IN COMPARISION, THE RESPONSES OF NON-MUSLIMS TOTHESE QUESTIONS WERE 43% AND 37% RESPECTIVELY!
The Tories’ muddled political visions were apparent in the Ali Miraj fiasco – when the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Watford in two previous General Elections revealed all in August 2007:”I am deeply disillusioned because I believe substance and credibility have been replaced by PR and box-ticking”. (81)