James Forsyth James Forsyth

The New Statesman tries to play the race card

This week’s issue of the New Statesman contains some great stuff, a fantastic piece on Mervyn King by Alex Brummer and a revealing interview with Douglas Alexander. However, there is one piece of cheap journalism it that is not worthy of a magazine of the New Statesman’s quality and standing. James Macintyre writes in his column:

If a man is judged by his friends, a political party can surely be judged by its supporters. The New Statesman’s senior editor Mehdi Hasan had a troubling encounter on the Tube last week. “Are you Indian?” demanded a leering, apparently well-oiled skinhead. When Hasan confirmed he was of Indian origin, there followed a sinister tirade: “Your time has come. You’ll be out when my boys get into power.” Whom did he mean, Hasan wondered, the BNP? Then came the answer: “The Tories.”

This kind of crass attempt to play the race card debases public debate in this country. I am sure I could go out and find Labour voters with equally objectionable views. As one of my colleagues said to me, one hopes that Mehdi Hasan pointed out that this man’s statement was plain wrong and that the Tory party was actually committed to a multi-ethnic Britain.

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