Naked Politics Co-Editor
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, sparked a race row yesterday by accusing journalist, Stacey Dooley, of casting herself in the “white saviour” role while looking to raise money for African children in a Comic Relief campaign video.
According to Lammy, Dooley is guilty of aiding the propagation of “tired and unhelpful stereotypes” and Comic Relief have fallen short of their “public duty to educate and promote racial equality”. This, despite twice declining the opportunity to redress the balance by accepting invitations to get involved himself.
His objection that they “portray African people as helpless victims to be pitied” may be valid if we were talking about an educational documentary rather than a charity. But we’re not.
It is true that absolute poverty on the continent has reduced more significantly in our lifetimes than ever before and that the emergence of a comfortable middle class should be celebrated. But, even if we set aside the irony that much of this progress resulted from the Thatcher-esque economic liberation that he also objects to, it’s difficult to see how fundraising efforts would be helped by emphasising that many other Africans are just fine, thank you very much.
For all the protestations, the fact remains that malnutrition and abject poverty does still exist in many parts of Africa. The aim of Comic Relief is to provide aid to those areas. So, rather than telling prospective givers that “don’t understand the issues” to keep their stinking charity, they opt for the tried and tested method of tugging on our heart-strings.
Nobody should be surprised by Lammy’s basal instinct to present everything through the prism of racism though. Much like his Labour party colleague and constituency neighbour, Diane Abbott, every subject comes back to one common denominator; skin-colour.
Stacey Dooley is a particularly strange target. Talk of her social media presence smacks of a deliberate attempt to present her as a shameless virtue-signalling self-promoter. But that’s a ludicrous
And this isn’t the first time that people with the wrong skin colour have been criticised for engaging in ‘poverty tourism’ since the much-loved Sir Lenny Henry stepped down from his role as ‘Red Nose Day’ front-man. The most notable of which being Ed Sheeran after he had the temerity to visit Liberia in the hope that his celebrity status might help to draw attention to the plight of undernourished children.
This unsavoury episode raises an obvious question; what would the response be if the races were reversed? If a white MP had criticised a black journalist for supporting the alleviation of poverty in a predominantly white country/continent, we can be pretty sure that there would be calls for their resignation. So, why is this double standard tolerated?
The simple but unappetising truth is that anti-white racism just doesn’t fit the pernicious left-wing narrative that the relative poverty of “the many” is deliberately inflicted by the undeservingly wealthy “few”.
Ironically, considering Lammy’s objection to the portrayal of helpless Africans, the success of this approach relies on convincing a majority that they belong to a subjugated group. To achieve that feat, they employ identity politics to pit races, genders, classes, and religions against each other.
Conveniently, the politicians that are happy to whip up this ill-feeling also happen to have all the answers. If we would only vote them into power, they could provide us with the moral guidance that we are otherwise lacking. They will introduce laws to keep us on the straight and narrow by banning behaviour that doesn’t meet with their approval.
They can also end all the injustice that they bring to our attention by making the privileged few pay their “fair share” of taxes. The obvious implication being that the greedy few will otherwise mercilessly deny the rest of us what is rightfully ours. All of society’s ills are projected onto this group. They must be stopped!
The politics of grievance is nothing new among proponents of big-government; whether they are labelled as “left”, “right” or “centrist”. As a prime example, the same anti-capitalist justification was used to enviously attack Jews in Hitler’s National Socialist German Worker’s Party, while the same pattern is evident in the UK’s very own Socialist Worker’s Party today.
In the last month alone, Jeremy Corbyn aped Donald Trump by decrying the “hostile media” to a baying crowd; respected Jewish MP, Luciana Berger, was hounded out of the party; more Labour MPs resigned due to the “culture of anti-Jewish racism”; Chris Williamson MP claimed that Labour
on BBC Question Time by claiming that it was “all just about entertainment”; and the Corbyn Youth chipped in with vitriolic Tweets.
If the Labour Party is to stand any chance of winning the next general election, they don’t just need to purge their party of the anti-Semites and anti-white bigots that happen to cause them a PR problem. They need to shift the whole ethos of the party. They need to shed the politics of envy and accept that individual property rights are not the work of the devil.
Until that day, even a Conservative Party that looks set to betray 17.4M Brexit voters will continue to lead in the polls.