I can restrain myself no longer. I have listened to the farrago of nonsense spewing forth from the lips of various political commentators and enough is enough.
When I was a student, in dim and distant years ago, at a university of appallingly “right-on” liberal qualifications, I was a member of one of the social clubs. “One of those clubs which has a largely self-selecting membership” is about the kindest way to describe it. But it was great fun and there was a real enthusiasm among the members. One of the people in the this posse of largely white, middle class people was Sanjay. Sanjay wasn’t white. In fact, he was one of the darkest people on the entire campus. With his cut glass accent, he was also hugely fun and a really nice fellow. He was also a very active and influential member of the club.
But it was inevitable to a bunch of students that we would call him “our token darkie”. It was all good fun for about two weeks and then we reverted to calling him Sanjay.
Although I did raise some eyebrows on the street about five years later when I bumped into him, yelled “token darkie” and gave him a bear hug.
Sanjay was never token. He was an integral and valuable member of the club. When he stood for a committee position, he won his position fair and square.
Yet I fondly remembered Sanjay when I heard that Diane Abbott had scraped the 33 nominations needed to stand for Labour leader. For a more token darkie, I do not think I have ever seen. Surrounded by pale, Oxbridge-educated professional politicians, Diane Abbott stands out like a sore thumb.
Her hypocrisy in sending her own children to private education marks her out as a good socialist, but its clear to me that her political colleagues do not regard her as someone they would voluntarily follow. A great of political capital was expended just getting her onto the ballot. Despite all Labour’s ludicrous posturing about their “diversity and inclusion”, the fact that the person who actually wins the leadership will be a near clone of all the other serious contenders tells me that like so many other things, Labour is hugely hypocritical in its support for diversity and inclusion – it’s something for the lower orders.
Up in the rarified atmosphere of leadership, tokenism wins the day.