News that long-term unemployment amongst young ethnic minorities has soared is far from the first time that Iain Duncan Smith has been plunged into a race row.
The comment above was made by Lord John Taylor, the Conservative Party’s first black peer, as Iain Duncan Smith’s Tory leadership bid descended into chaos. IDS was forced to sack the Vice-Chair of his campaign Edgar Griffin after it was revealed that he was the father of Nick Griffin, the then leader of the BNP. His wife Jean Griffin had previously stood as a BNP candidate against Iain Duncan Smith. He was even known to have manned the BNP phonelines. Griffin was unrepentant about being sacked, claiming that he was just an ‘ordinary Tory’ who shared the grassroots view in the party that ethnic minorities should be assisted with voluntary repatriation. Iain Duncan Smith claimed the whole row was a smear campaign.
Edgar Griffin was not the only far right supporter of Iain Duncan Smith’s leadership bid. The apartheid supporting Springbok Club had ‘no hesitation’ in backing his leadership campaign due to his “views and policies towards southern Africa”. He was also supported by the notorious Monday Club, a right wing group of Tory MPs who campaigned to halt immigration and scrap race relations laws.
On winning the Tory leadership Iain Duncan Smith stuffed his shadow cabinet with extreme right-wingers. The Monday Club’s support was repaid with the offer of a role for John Bercow – now the comedy speaker in the House of Commons – then a virulent racist and president of the club. Previously Bercow had called for programme of “assisted repatriation” of immigrants. IDS also gave a job to Eurosceptic Bill Cash, despite accusations he had cosied up to Italian fascists in an attempt to build an anti-EU alliance.
In 2003 IDS was forced to sack his Shadow Minister Ann Winterton when she was heard making a joke about about throwing a Pakistani out of a window because ‘they are ten a penny in my country’. His leadership was rocked again by the resignation of Tory peer Lord Skidelsky who claimed the party had become xenophobic, with ‘hysterical’ views on Europe. It was not until 2007 that another of his appointments, Patrick Mercer, resigned from his Tory post following comments about “idle and useless” ethnic minority soldiers.
Throughout his time as leader IDS attempted to play down claims of Tory racism, even visiting Bradford to talk to some poor Asian people. He shut down his former cheerleaders the Monday Club, although this seems to have been based of pragmatism rather than principle. Public opinion was fast turning against the Nasty Party as they Tories became known under Iain Duncan Smith.
IDS is too ambitious to let bigotry get in the way of his messianic lust for power. His sudden and surprising conversion to supporting gay marriage came shortly after a cabinet reshuffle in which David Cameron had atempted to sack him as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He had never voted for LGBT rights in his life before.
There is still a hint of his former self in his policies however. In a commons debate on immigration in 1992 Iain Duncan Smith blamed ethnic minorities for a housing crisis in his constituency saying: “The ethnic population of Waltham Forest, which is the fifth highest in London, has put pressure on housing demand.”
In 2013 Iain Duncan Smith introduced a Benefit Cap which is currently socially cleansing large families, many of them from ethnic minorities, from London boroughs like Waltham Forest.
Above pic from Sabcat, where you can even buy it on a t-shirt.
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