I’ve never voted Conservative and I never will. Having been raised in a working-class home, I can’t get past the fact that had the Labour party not come into being, the Tories would have kept my people serfs for as long as inhumanly possible. But I’m also an extreme Brexiteer; far from the past three years being boring (anyone who says this reveals themselves as such a monumental dullard that we should remove their right to vote), I consider that this nation spent the four decades up to 23 June 2016 sleepwalking into the shadowlands of EU dreariness — and disaster. Only a halfwit could fail to comprehend that the whole repulsive gravy-train is set to run into the buffers very soon and that it makes sense for us to pull the communication cord and hop off ASAP.
Thus I have viewed the rise of Boris Johnson with a degree of cold-blooded delight. I don’t particularly like or trust him, but I don’t need to as I’m not a teenager pining over a poster on a wall. I don’t idealise or even humanise politicians — I see them as things, put there solely to enact the will of the people. Once Brexit’s done and dusted and the anti-Semitic scum has been routed, I can return to my party. Ever since victory morn we have been caught between the fudge and mudge of the Tories and the moan and drone of Labour. But now the fun starts — and it began with the appointment of the new cabinet.
At Guardian HQ last week, they actually seemed upset that the Johnson cabinet contains more BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) people than any other in history — how dare he! Bloody Tories, coming over here, taking our ethnic minorities — because Labour, as surely as any pukka sahib swanking around a colonial tea plantation, believes that the non-white vote is theirs by right.
Nowhere was this more hilariously proved that in that shockingly condescending message from the Glorious Leader two years ago which read:
‘Only Labour can be trusted to unlock the talent of black, Asian and ethnic minority people who have been held back by the Conservatives.’
So I fair hugged myself with glee as the bountiful BAMEs rocked up and racked up the day after Boris bounced into No. 10.
Most of my favourites were there — Priti Patel (pro-hanging, Brexit fanatic, friend of Israel), Sajid Javid (bus-driver dad, friend of Israel) and — be still my beating heart! — James Cleverly. What a turn-up for the books that this is the youngest and most non-white cabinet ever, with around a quarter made up of women — under racist, sexist Boris! And how vile the response from the left has been. The very same people who decry ‘white saviour syndrome’ are now maintaining that BAME politicians who become successful without the benediction of Magic Grandpa are traitors. The Somalian-born Muslim feminist Nimco Ali said it best at the weekend:
‘The Labour party wants us to wait so it can “emancipate us” — we are not to seek our own success.’
What a rotten shower of BAMEs Labour has in comparison to the glory of, say, Munira Mirza, now head of the No. 10 Policy Unit. Fiona Onasanya, Naz Shah, Diane Abbott, anyone? It’s weird how they’re overwhelmingly women too. A comrade was quoted in Rosa Prince’s Corbyn biography as saying:
‘For some reason he called four or five of us and said: “Oh, we’ve got to go back to my flat and pick up some leaflets.” It seemed a bit odd — “Why the hell didn’t you bring them with you, Jeremy?” So we all bowl along to his bedsit, follow Jeremy into the room; there on the mattress on the floor is Diane with the duvet up to her neck, saying: ‘What the ****’s going on?’… it was the late Seventies, it was still a point of interest, a white man with a black woman, so he was slightly showing off: “I’ve got a new girlfriend, and she’s black.”’
A stick-in-the-mud masquerading as a firebrand, it makes sense that Corbyn has now given in on Brexit. Lovers of the EU believe themselves to be progressives, eager for the new. In fact they are the reactionaries, with an almost parasexual need to cling to the suffocating teat of the status quo. And this is why a young, non-white Brexit cabinet makes sense; even blond Boris, of Turkish Muslim descent, defied his liberal Remainer family. We are the outsiders, the rough-and-ready big beasts, our hour come around at last.
I’ve read that David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, has complained that ‘the white men who run my party’ need to explain why he’s not on the front bench. Dave, do yourself a favour and jump ship. Cast off your stale, pale, male virtue--signalling masters and come on over to the dark side. Join the Tories — you’ll be sitting upfront in no time.
Julie Burchill's article appears in this week's issue of The Spectator, out tomorrow