I’M not shocked. Really though, are you? I mean the Tory party has form, racist form. How far back could I go? Well, I’d fail the cricket test every time (Tebbit). Or there was Powell and his “rivers of blood”. The most ardent of politicians wishing to keep the British empire was Churchill, when he said: “I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” Or The Alien Act 1905, which was ostensibly designed to prevent paupers or criminals from entering the country whilst setting up a mechanism to deport those who slipped through (you missed that one, Suella!), but really one of its main objectives was to control Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe.

Even earlier and The Alien Act 1705 that was drawn up to ensure that under law Scottish nationals in England would be treated as aliens, ie foreign nationals, and lands held by Scots would then become “alien property”. The Act also contained an embargo on the imports of Scottish products into England as well as their English colonies. Insult to injury specified that Scots would lose the “privileges” of Englishmen under English law (English votes, English laws? ). That embargo would have helped further weaken any rights relating to any property that Scots held in England (warehouses, factories etc). I know, I know: property, trade, finance, and very male-orientated language featuring as priorities. Who’s surprised we ended up with “sic a parcel o rogues” a few years later? Enough history, please. But if we don’t learn from history, we know what happens: the repeat button is hit, and step forward Lee Anderson.

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I’m not surprised to see the re-emergence of a specific form of racism in the Tory party. It’s not a passing phase, a short-term dog whistle that is attempting to either divert from their current major problems or is aimed at attracting voters, old and new. With Reform UK snapping at their heels and various wannabe future party leaders waiting in the Tory wings, we are witnessing the party seeking out voters whilst the wannabes polish up their CVs. Is it the rise of the far right here?

I can’t explain why there’s a Black Conservative Federation in the USA that supports Republicans. Last week that Federation held a gala event in Trump’s honour, with him as guest speaker. Not just that – Trump received “The Champion of Black America” award. Equally Muslims fund, support and vote for the Tories here. Don’t ask me why. But when a party or a government is blind to its deficiencies and failures, whilst running out of policies, it’s not uncommon to hear about the about the “others” at home or situations abroad being the root of the various crises.

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The voices of the moderates within their own ranks, like Baroness Warsi and the MP Rehman Chisti, are ignored. But it’s not just here. Look across mainland Europe and the rise of the far right there: Italy, Hungry, Sweden and the scapegoating that is spreading. There has to be a counter movement, standing up against those trying to polarise and divide our society. It’s not just words but actions are required too. I’m not worried, then, that I can support and stand with the likes of Warsi and Chisti as they call out racism. Sometimes there is a common cause, and this is one of those times.

Selma Rahman

AT Prime Minister’s Questions, in response to the call from Stephen Flynn for the Westminster government to work with the UN toward an immediate ceasefire in Gaza rather than continuing to abstain on crucial votes, Prime Minister Sunak has said that an immediate ceasefire “is not in anyone’s interests”. Does Mr Sunak really not know that Palestinian children and babies are among those who are dying daily?

Ni Holmes
St Andrews