Mandelson’s, Campbell’s Labour argued it could discriminate against Pakistanis as voters might not like them

Campbell told media he doesn’t want to be in the party any more. Mandelson told them he feels ‘dirty’ in it. Both appeared comfortable when Blair’s Labour was rebuked by highest court for racist justification for discrimination against Pakistani candidates
Alastair Campbell, left, and Peter Mandelson

Former Blair right-hand men Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson have – just for a change – been attacking the Labour Party and its leadership this week.

Campbell has told any media that would listen that he no longer wants to get back into the party, although Labour insiders say that this ‘decision’ came around two weeks after he was told that his expulsion for supporting the LibDems was being upheld after legal advice.

Mandelson, for his part, told the Jewish Chronicle that he would remain in the party but feels ‘dirty’ doing it, because of its supposed antisemitism and failure to take ‘effective action’.

“It is nothing more than the old plea that you have nothing against employing a black person but the customers would not like it.”

It’s curious, then, that neither man appears to have felt any qualms about being in the Labour Party in 2007 – when judges in the highest court in the land criticised Labour’s justification for a decision to block Asian candidates as being equivalent to the old racist argument “that you have nothing against employing a black person but the customers wouldn’t like it”.

Alastair Campbell, especially, can hardly have been unaware of the widely-reported case – as his brother-in-law was the one making the argument to the Law Lords on behalf of the party.

The infamous discrimination case

The case against Labour was brought by the CRE (Commission for Racial Equality) – the forerunner of the EHRC (Quality and Human Rights Commission) – and concerned a decision by the Labour Party to block the candidacy of Raghib Ahsan, a Birmingham councillor.

Mr Ahsan as one of a number of Labour figures of Pakistani origin accused of padding the local party with Asian members. They were subsequently exonerated as no evidence was found of any untoward memberships – but Labour blocked his candidacy.

Ahsan was ultimately awarded over £120,000 in compensation for Labour’s actions – but not before Labour had appealed the case until it ended up before the UK’s highest court.

In 2007, Labour’s case was put by Gavin Millar QC – the brother of Alastair Campbell’s partner since the 1980s. Part of Labour’s argument, as assessed by the judges, was that the party could “discriminate against a Pakistani candidate if they held no racist views about Pakistanis but thought it was better not to have a Pakistani candidate” because of voters’ views.

The judgment of the Lords was scathing of the argument:

The only meaning which I can ascribe to the distinction is that it would be acceptable for the Labour Party to discriminate against a Pakistani candidate if they held no racist views about Pakistanis but thought that it was better not to have a Pakistani candidate because the electorate would identify “the problem” with the Pakistani community.

If that is what the distinction means, it seems to me unacceptable. It is nothing more than the old plea that you have nothing against employing a black person but the customers would not like it. In essence it is a defence of justification based on political expediency.

Neither Alastair Campbell nor Peter Mandelson felt a need to resign their membership in protest at the Labour Party’s discrimination and racist argument, in spite of the withering verdict. Neither appears to have felt compelled to tell the press that they ‘felt dirty’.

In fact, the following year Mandelson not only retained his membership but returned to Cabinet as Business Secretary and peer, while Campbell served as a Labour adviser as late as the 2015 general election. Neither, of course, quit over Campbell’s 2005 poster campaign against the Jewish then-leader of the Tories, Michael Howard, which was widely condemned as antisemitic.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted both men to ask why the 2007 incident did not trigger similar reactions to their comments this week. Neither responded by the time of publication.

Odd that.

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  1. Nothing unusual here: the objections that Campbell and Mandelson have are to do with Labour’s support for Palestine. The racism involved is Israeli racism towards the local population, Christian and Muslim Arabs. Israel regards these people as inferiors, untermenschen, who need to be ruled with a firm hand by their ‘superiors’ the zionist colonists and their descendants. Like all imperialists they don’t see this as wrong but as natural behaviour. The colonists in America, Australia and South Africa did it: stole the land, treated the people-those left from systematic genocidal massacres and introduced epidemics- as peons, incapable of governing themselves, subjects rather than citizens.
    To Mandelson and Campbell Israel’s behaviour towards Palestinians is justifiable and necessary. That is why they see any criticism of it, and Israel as motivated by anti-semitism, hatred not of injustice and inequality but of Jews. It wasn’t long ago that the likes of this Blairite duo saw Irish Nationalists as men who hated Englishmen, and black Africans as enemies of civilisation, stirred up by Communists to hate the paternal white government that did so much for them. At heart they are both imperialists themselves, who regard themselves as superior to, for example, the working class members of Labour and the Unions. And superior too, of course, to muslims from the old Empire whose demise they both lament.

    1. Incredible that the neoliberal new labour elite simply have the nerve to periodically attempt to take the moral high ground on racism. As this academic critic rightly points out.
      “In the postwar era, Western decolonisation was the norm. Popular culture included the anti-war lyrics of John Lennon and the Star Trek sci-fi imaginings of a universe where a Prime Directive prohibited interference in the natural evolution of other cultures. We now have white Western cultural elites claiming the right to violently determine what governments people of colour should be permitted to have. Promoters of this agenda like Andrew Marr, Robinson, the BBC editorial team and even Blair are not so careless as to admit to a ‘wog lives don’t count’ ideology. But their structural sensibilities are housed in implicit racist binaries.”
      Is it remotely worth engaging with Campbell and the Corporate media’s cr*p? Despite deaths from racism, they’d have us pretending criticizing Israel Apartheid is the real crime. Scandalous!

    2. Bernie, is it remotely worth engaging with academics who seek to exclude non-academics with expressions like “structural sensibilities housed in implicit racist binaries?”

      1. My God! A million deaths in Iraq alone. A history of Western Imperialism that is drenched in blood and torture and some smug white people want to play word games minimizing the horrors and of course the colonial holocausts. Imagine playing this game when the victims are Jewish?
        If you’re Black take a note for future posts of David McNiven.

    3. Wonderful summary Bevin. Do yo have s blog? I would subscribe, even my wife, who believes that socialism begins in families and doesn’t bother much about internal battles, was really impressed. Thanks.
      PS I would have thought that it would take something extraordinary to make Mandy feel dirty. There again, I have not walked in his shoes (shudder). ☮️

  2. What really gets me is the nerve of these two and others like them.
    Neither had any problem with disgusting antisemetism when it was directed at Michael Howard , a senior Tory who is Jewish and whose face was attached to a pigs body in one cartoon issued by New Labour and in another when he was portrayed at Fagin, a despicable Jewish character created by Dickens.
    Mandleson didn’t feel “dirty ” then despite the fact that the campaign against Howard was antisemetic and very dirty indeed.
    In relation to Pakistani candidates and the discrimination Mr Ahsan suffered, the position adopted by the Party at the time was openly racist and clearly Islamophobic given that Islam is the main religion of Pakistan .
    In my opinion there is still a degree of Islamophobia among certain elements within the party particularly those who are anti Palestinian.
    We have to ask ourselves -when does support for Israeli actions against Palestinians spill over into Islamophobia e.g. Labour Friends of Israel tweet in support of the mass killings of Palestinians (almost all of whom were Muslims)in April and May 2018 and which was met with such outrage that they had to deleted?
    LFI appeared to be oblivious to he hurt fear and distress the tweet and other like it cause our Muslim citizens including our Muslim members.
    We as a party must always remember that there is no hierarchy of racism or discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation,religion, age or disability. Islamophobia hurts Muslims just as much as Antisemetism hurts Jews or homophobia hurts Gay people or insults and mockery hurts disabled people etc.
    In view of what has gone before Campbell ,Mandleson and some other New Labour dinosaurs are quite simply shameless hypocrites who are prepared to condone antisemetism and other forms of racism as and when it suits them. Thankfully most people remember them in their spin leak and smear heydays and treat them( and their pronouncements) with the contempt they deserve.

  3. Forgive me if I post Michael Rosen’s take on these people as published by him yesterday:

    “In Ye Olde Pointlesse, a luxury gastro pub in Mayfair, Campbell, Mandelson and Blair meet up once a month for a chat. As Blair mulches his Quail Gizzard à la sacré bleu, Mandy points out that Corbyn hasn’t resigned yet.
    ‘DONT’ F*****G REMIND ME, SLIMEBALL!!!’ Campbell yells.

    “Well, you Scots c**t,’ said Mandy as he gulped his oyster parfait, ‘if you hadn’t cooked up the 45 minute f*****g fandango, our Tony would still be in and us with him.’
    Tony sighed. ‘Boys, boys. We’ve got a job to do. We said we’d finish off Saddam and we did. Now, it’s Corbyn.’

    Mandy sipped his 1886 Chateau Sinistre. ‘O let’s hear how Ali’s wonder-w**k plans are going? Corbyn the feeble geography teacher – f****d! Corbyn the Cenotaph Tramp – f****d! Corbyn the Czech spy – f****d! Corbyn the sex-maniac – f••••d!’
    ‘But who found Hodge?’ Ali pleaded.

    ‘Ah, La Santa Margareta,’ Tony winked, ‘no one does the pained damsel more convincingly or with less justification. But y’know, I’m not sure the Wailing Wall line is working. I mean, y’know, in Northampton, in Basildon, in Chester, does anyone really care about the y’know…?’

    Ali ordered his eighth pint of Newcastle Brown. ‘Well, they didn’t give a tuppenny f**k’s a***ole, when I did that brillo campaign ad with f*****g Howard and Letwin looking like two rabbis in a pig farm.’
    Mandy winced and took another sip of his 1886 Chateau Sinistre.

    ‘We shouldn’t congratulate ourselves on our past failures,’ Tony smiled in his winning way. ‘We need to find another tune. Think Springsteen. Think Sir Tom. People never forget their first affections.’ Tony caught sight of himself in the gilt-edged mirror. He winked at the sight.

    Ali’s head hit the table.
    Mandy turned away in disgust. He always detested Campbell’s vulgarity even if he admired his ability to bite what others preferred to throw in the bin. ‘Tony, just because two old hacks in Current Affairs keep asking you back, forget it. People hate you.’

    Tony didn’t waste a second. He loaded his right fist and it shot towards Mandy’s nose at just below the speed of sound. Mandy took the blow and stared back into Tony’s face. ‘Without me, you’re like cack in the wind. See you in a month’s time, Mr Blair,’ and he swept out.”

  4. In the picture, the one with them doing the white-politician-grappling-with-imaginary-ball thing, are the two reasons for the cancer metastasizing through the Labour party body politic for the last 25 years.

    Humanity would’ve benefited greatly from their drowning at birth!

    1. Yes Christine .. But their groupys are still.lurking around in thePLP… And don’t mention the decision making NCC?Maybe

    ‘The enemies of socialism.
    As poverty makes socialists cry.
    There’s nothing worse than Right Wing political barbarians.
    Who fail to recognise that history has passed them by!’
    GET OUT!

    1. Bazza …..bumped into Campbell at conference some years ago(literally) he barged me out of the way in a hurry to get to the bar at the metropol in Brighton.The smell from him was appalling and he definitely has a problem in that department as well as bad manners for not apologising So certainly I can understand him feeling dirty but throwing him out has been an unexpected breath of fresh air!

    2. They were never really in. Wonder if their dues are in good order. Exes have no boundaries to people such as these. Take care.

  6. Mandelson ‘feels dirty’ remaining in the party, does he?

    The absolute state of the effing quilt. Thinking his shit don’t stink. That slimy bastard’d contaminate a cesspit, the horridable prick.

    So go’ed, ‘mandy’; ‘take your ablutions’ by friggin’ off from Labour forever and ever. Like campbell and bliar – you’re nowt more than yesterday’s sleaze.

  7. July 2007: Gordon Brown is leader.

    Perhaps he will get an article in the Guardian telling people that ‘Labour must apologise to the Pakistani community’.

    I must admit that I do not remember this. Skwawkbox has struck platinum here.

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