Former Murdoch journalist’s article said Tory bigotry on ‘the Muslim question’ was less important than supposed ‘Labour antisemitism’
The Labour Muslim Network (LMN) has publicly condemned Keir Starmer’s decision to use former Blair speechwriter and Murdoch hack Philip Collins to help write Starmer’s conference speech as ‘beyond divisive’ and a symptom of a party in which Islamophobia is ‘rife’.
Collins wrote a 2019 article in which he dismissed the significance of Tory racism compared to claims of ‘Labour antisemitism’ – claims ultimately discredited even by the findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report that the media has treated as a ‘shameful episode’ in the party’s history – under the title ‘Labour’s racism is worse than the Tory kind’:
In that article, Collins wrote of ‘the Muslim question’ – and dismissed Tory racism toward Muslims as merely ‘a small deal’:
the Muslim question will not greatly occupy the thoughts of the average Tory member. Very few of them will have a developed theory about how the madrassas are cultivating a religious cavalry to man the global caliphate. It’s just not a big deal to them. It is a small deal on which some of them hold stereotypically bigoted views.
LMN, which last year published a report on the widespread and entrenched Islamophobia among the Labour right, has resoundingly and publicly condemned Starmer’s decision to draft in such help, describing it as ‘beyond a divisive move’ and a negative message to Muslim members when ‘Islamophobia has been proven as rife’ in the party:
When the LMN published its report last year, both Keir Starmer and his acting general secretary David Evans promised to immediately implement its recommendations in full. The first of those recommendations is headed:
A commitment to equality for Muslims in the fight for anti-racism
Despite this, we now see Keir Starmer leaning on the help of Philip Collins, despite the fact that bigotry against Muslims is far more common – a situation that prevails among the Labour right just as among Tories.
That situation also exists among the general public, according to an ICM Unlimited poll undertaken for Avaaz just as the UK public prepared to go to the polls in the 2019 general election. The poll found that:
Overall, just under half of British adults say that they have a positive view of Jews (47%), while 7% say that they have a negative view. When it comes to Muslims, the British public’s attitudes are more unfavourable. A quarter say that they have a negative view of Muslims (26%), while a third say that they have a positive view (32%).
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