On the one hand they have joined in the general chorus of denunciation of Archbishop Booby’s suggestion on Al-Beeb that Sharia Law be afforded status and recognition, and thereby approbation, within the law of England and Wales. On this the Labour Party have got it right, given that to do so would be to formalise social division, work against the integration of immigrants and allow a religious and social value set that is utterly repugnant and alien to the law and mores of our country to establish itself as a parasite might lodge in the gut.
At almost the same moment, however, Harriett Harman, Chief Labour Harpy, is found to be supportive of the notion that the law be changed to enable ‘all-black’ shortlists to be drawn up for the selection of candidates for election to Parliament by individual constituencies. As the report says:
White candidates should be barred from standing for Parliament in up to eight constituencies in order to get more black and Asian MPs elected, says a controversial report commissioned by Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman.
Just savour those words: ‘white candidates should be barred’. It has taken us a thousand years or so to arrive at a state of constitutional affairs whereby any man or woman might seek to stand for Parliament regardless of sex, race, colour, religious creed, political philosophy or sexual orientation and for the party of one’s personal taste. Now, if Labour’s obnoxious plan were to succeed, our people would be legally excluded from standing for Parliament in the constituency of their choice for the party of their choice simply because of the white colour of their skin.
Such is Labour extremism that it is prepared to contemplate the introduction of a measure that is flagrantly in breach of the right not to be discriminated against “on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status”, which phraseology I have lifted intact from Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
If a measure such as this were to be incorporated into our law it would mark a dangerous and deeply divisive moment in our history. It will provide grist to the mill of such as the British National Party who will rightly be able to point at the preferential status that black people are accorded and how white people are to be legally excluded from some areas of participation in our political life simply for being white. How divisive is that?
And will it actually be to the benefit of immigrant communities? People will justly be able to say that this or that Black MP elected with the benefit of such a shortlist only got there because of his or her colour rather than on the basis of merit, ability and equal competition. Do we really want to open up such an avenue of attack? Do we really want to give such ammunition to such enemies of democracy?
Where does all this stop? All-muslim shortlists? All-lesbian shortlists? All black-lesbian-monopede shortlists?
This piece of hypocrisy is, of course, advanced by the likes of Harman, who, in her devotion to the cause of equality exhibits a positively Stalinist mentality towards those who oppose her dangerous views, to curry favour with black immigrant communities where Labour is desperate to maintain its appeal. That it is divisive and ghettoist troubles them not when they perceive any sort of short-term political and electoral advantage. Nor does it trouble them that it plainly at variance with their denunciation of the bewildered Rowan Williams.
But then, if you are Labour, hypocrisy comes to you with mother’s milk.