Monday, February 09, 2009

Conservatives and Race: Stephen Newton Finds a Fault Line

FOREWORD: This was largely written many hours ago. Please ignore if Draper and Del have kissed and made up in the meantime. They haven't? Now read on.

When Derek Draper stated at the Labour List blog that "Iain Dale Should be Ashamed of himself" I must say I thought "Let Me Count the Ways". Iain Dale - above as the Phat Comptroller - using the great and obvious success of the de-nationalisation of the tracks to rail against something or other. Likely nationalising banks, a subject like trains of which he knows little or nothing.

Iain Dale is often wrong about things. He is after all a Tory! Though even within that class he's wronger more oftener than most. And of course anyone who has tangled with him knows he rarely if ever apologises, quite often even stops short of correcting factual errors, and is naturally prone to selective editing and/or disproportionate hostility to those who have taken a different view to himself. Because that, to Iain's eyes, makes it the wrong view to the extent of sin itself. Like supping with Satan to dispute Iain's grail.

He's that sure of himself. Which makes him exceedingly like one Derek Draper. At the Fabian blogger meeting at Labour Party Conference in Manchester last autumn Delboy actually said, according to my contemporaneous notes, the following:

"I am frankly amazed that anyone disagrees with me. I am right."

Like peas in a pod they are. In this case Draper is calling Dale out over his defence of Carol Thatcher. That being of course for her ill-considered witterings about a particular Black French Tennis star. These were remarks about M. Tsonga. They were not remarks about Golliwogs or indeed Frogs. And not, as Twitterer in chief Iain seemed to have believed, based on jocular speculation, about the Sulky Scot/Plucky Brit Andrew Murray.

It has emerged from witness accounts, albeit potentially painfully partial witness accounts, that the uses were multiple and clearly offensive to listeners on the spot. However "relaxed" (sic) Ms Carol Thatcher happened to be, it just wasn't on. It failed the cricket test big time. It was "not cricket". Clearly she should have been sent homeward to sleep off her "relaxation" and think again. But sacked? That's harsh.

In the same Blog-organ Mark Day questioned Iain's double standards in complaining about others using unwelcome epithets about one of the sections of society which he identified with i.e. Gays, though as commenters pointed out Dale didn't seem to expect or require the language to change or anyone to be sacked, just for it to be noted that he didn't much like it.

Despite his friends suggesting he cools it Derek Draper has been back at it, now demanding an apology. This being not for giving poor Carol the benefit of the doubt. But rather for Dale's allegedly being an apologist for racism or the like, by not now slam dunking her into the unconscious and unconscionable casual racist disposal unit.

For me the most useful contribution on the face of the Dollyblog on this matter has been from fellow Chorlton/Chorlton Park Labour Blogger Stephen Newton. His piece "Iain Dale is Not a Racist But ..." finds something to shout about in the formed of an Anglophone organisation which features at least a caste system, if not actually apartheid. As well as fomenting disdain for non English-Speaking nations.

That's more likely a useful contribution to the fight against Tories and their casual racism and colonial constructs than Derek's continued spat with Iain. Stephen has caught Dale associated with the kind of wonky thinking that informs poor Carol.

[Imagine not only being part of the "Thatcher's Children" thing ... but actually being Thatcher's child when she was at her height. From around age 20 to age 35 for dear Carol. And Denis as her dad. She's born to be bananas I'd say.]

Strangely enough Stephen's post has somehow received the least attention from the Tory and trollish "I've been a lifelong Labour supporter but ..." commentati. Bit close to home, what?

Stephen also blogs at PR-Consultant, at the eponymous Stephen Newton, and deliciously at his brand spanking new organ Buff the Banana with Paul Dacre. A gazeteer of the titilating stories in the Mail, without having to wade through the questionable and increasingly Liberal Democrat content.* Miserable news and curmudgeonly opinion.

Meanwhile, although Derek may be used to being kept waiting by the girls, Iain is not susceptible to demands. And requests fall on ears of cloth. Leave it Derek. He's not worth it. And besides, he's not as wrong as you say he is on this one.

* I'll explain some time.


Anonymous said...

Come on Chris, let's be honest, just who does the proven fiddling and sleazy scumbag that is Draper think he is asking Mrs Dale for an apology? Dale, and no-one else for that matter, answers to sleazy Draper, and that is sleazy Drapers problem, that he thinks they do. The man is an irrelevance and embarrassment to the Labour movement as a whole and should shut up completely before he causes more of our supporters to defect to minor parties or even the Tories or Limp Dums.

Draper should be dropped from anything Labour if we are to gain any honest sympathy.

Chris Paul said...

I really don't agree oh brave anonymous one. Not with your last argument/demand.

But I do think that picking this fight with Dale is (a) giving the latter more importance than he really has and (b) not appropriate for a serious group blog and (c) as you say Draper's as bad as Dale in throwing out these demands.

In a way they are made for each other. But Derek should realise IMO that Dale is an asset for Labour. And he should make sure he doesn't become one for the Tories.

I've been saying this and things like this for a good while now.

This idea of "the Labour Iain Dale" is a bit odd really. And LabourList would do well to be more like the daily soap opera that is Conservative Home. And if Derek or others want to get personal and wade in with handbags they should sort out a solo blog. IMO. Many of the other contributors already do blog elsewhere.

Stephen Newton said...

Thanks for the kind words, Chris.

It's true that my posts do attract fewer comments than others. I put that down to being right.

Chris Paul said...

Yes, obviously, I didn't like to say it in case it went to your head. But too late for that I see.