Reading Labour’s desperate racist campaign

I was staggered yesterday to see the leaflet that Reading Labour are putting out in one ward. It is pure and simple dog whistle racism. That’s something that is said so that it doesn’t seem to be racist but in context and to those who have ears to listen it plays up to people with racist views. To my knowledge the use of the term dog whistle came from Australia but was used about the 2005 Conservative election campaign which was run by the same company who ran the elections in Australia accused of this tactic.

How can I say this leaflet is racist? The first line says “Eileen McElligott… was born and bred in Reading” and then finishes with “She will fight for us here in Church Ward because she is one of us.” It’s unusual to have bred as well as born but what’s harmful about this?

Her opponent is a man of Pakistani origin. The contrast that is being made is clear and deliberate. I am ashamed ever to have been involved with Reading Labour Party. To have sunk so low as running a racist election campaign is the despicable act of some desperate men. I know nothing about this candidate but I hope she loses as she deserves to. This is sick.

10 Responses to “Reading Labour’s desperate racist campaign”

  1. Curious Blue Says:

    Does Ms Mc Elligott live in Church Ward and is she of Working Class stock? if so that would make her “one of us” as far as many of the voters in that are area concerned. “She will fight for us here in Church Ward because she is one of us.” I would hope that any Candiidate would be prepared to do this if elected as Councillor. Last year the incumbent Tory Counciilor for Church stood down and was, as I understand, replaced as a candidate for that party by “A Banker from Beenham” who most certainly was NOT “one of us” to the majority of Church ward voters and was defeated by Labour in this marginal ward.

    I feel you are looking for something that is not there. I do NOT live in Church but this year will be voting Labour in Minster ward were I do reside although my vote will be as a protest against some of the policies of the Cameron-Clegg Coalition Government and to give them a kick in the ballots.

    The Conservative Councillor defending Church was of course originally elected as the LABOUR Councillor for that ward and I can understand if Labour is now fighting very hard to unseat him.

    Jane, can I suggest that rather than Church you might look at another ward in Reading where the Incumbent Councillor was deselected and is fighting the seat as an Independent. He too is from an Ethnic Minority and this should prove an interesting contest in what is usually a Cons V Lib seat.

    • the Flashing Blade Says:

      Curious Blue

      Thank you for commenting on my post.

      I think you not hearing the ‘dog whistle’ says more about you than cash ever can. In more than 35 years in politics I have seen the fact people were born somewhere included on election literature when it is a matter of fact. I have never seen the term born and bred outside tracts from the far right, especially when accompanied by “one of us”.

      You are similarly mistaken in that there is no-one called Jane that writes this blog. I am a 49 year-old man and I have never been called anything other than Andrew, well to my face anyway.

  2. Barry McComish Says:

    I think this says more about where your mind is rather than any intended or unintended message on or about the leaflet.

    I’ve seen this same message countless times all over the UK, as I’m sure you have, to speak about candidates from outwith the local area regardless of race etc.

    This leaflet does nothing more than promote the local credentials of the candidate – which alot of people consider essential in a candidate.

    While you point your finger calling someone racist there are three pointing back at you. Who is the person being racist?

    • the Flashing Blade Says:

      Barry.

      Thank you for commenting on my post.

      I think you not hearing the ‘dog whistle’ says more about you than cash ever can. In more than 35 years in politics I have seen the fact people were born somewhere included on election literature when it is a matter of fact. I have never seen the term born and bred outside tracts from the far right, especially when accompanied by “one of us”.

      You have not read the leaflet very well as it clearly states that she was raised in Tilehurst so they are not even trying to say she is ‘local’ just that she is not foreign.

  3. Gerard McLean Says:

    This is not racist. It’s simply pointing out a fact – that the Labour candidate was born in, and raised her family in the area she is looking to represent. With local government elections, voters do often want this in their councillors.

    All candidates however, can and will use their background to their advantage. The candidate of Pakistani origin for example can point out that, unlike other candidates who were born and stagnated in Reading, he CHOSE the community as a place to live. This would be a good spin to put on it.

    All in all though, the Labour candidate definitely is not racist.

    • the Flashing Blade Says:

      Gerard

      Thank you for commenting on my post.

      I think you not hearing the ‘dog whistle’ says more about you than cash ever can. In more than 35 years in politics I have seen the fact people were born somewhere included on election literature when it is a matter of fact. I have never seen the term born and bred outside tracts from the far right, especially when accompanied by “one of us”.

      You have used the Aunt Sally technique by saying I have said things I didn’t and then knock them down as not being the case, I suggest you read the piece again and you will find:

      1. She is not saying she was born in and raised her family in the area she is seeking to represent. The leaflet says she was raised on the other side of town.

      2. I have not said the candidate is racist. I have said I do not know the candidate. I have said the leaflet is deliberately using dog-whistle racist language.

  4. Gareth Epps Says:

    I agree that this is dog-whistle politics of the lowest kind. I have now blogged about it as has Isobel Ballsdon. I note that Tony Page doesn’t make the same claims in the similar Abbey Ward leaflet.

  5. Reading Labour’s Desperate racist campaign – the men behind it. « The Flashing Blade Says:

    […] The Flashing Blade The swashbuckling adventures of the daring chevalier « Reading Labour’s desperate racist campaign […]

  6. Curious Blue Says:

    Apologies Andrew for mistaking you for a lady called Jane but this link was on her posting to FB and she runs a political blog. Funnilly enough her “significant other” is a fomer politician named Andrew, a coincidence no doubt.

    Like some other posters I feel you may be finding Racism where none exists. If I lived in Church ward I’d probably vote for Miss Mc Elligott to be honest, whatever colour she might be.

  7. Reading Labour’s desperate racist campaign – What they say « The Flashing Blade Says:

    […] I believed the comments on my original post, about the despicable, desperate ‘dog whistle’ racist leaflet produced by John […]

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