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July 01, 2008


Tim J

You haven't read what McGrath actually said. He was responding to the point put to him (a view expressed by Darcus Howe) that older Caribbeans *would* leave if Boris Johnson was elected Mayor. He replied that if they wanted to leave then let them.

That is entirely different to telling them to go home if they don't like Boris.

If Melanie Phillips said that she disliked this country so much that she wanted to emigrate to Israel, it would be perfectly acceptable to tell her to follow up with her plan. When all those hundreds of Hollwood liberals said they would go to Canada if Bush won, it wasn't racist to suggest that, if they wanted to leave so much then they should.

McGrath's words have been consistently misrepresented throughout.

Igor Belanov

Why are politicians supposed to connect with ALL of their constituents? Surely the whole essence of politics is that there is a conflict of interest between different groups and that politicians articulate and represent these different interests and outlooks. That this has become blurred is only to the detriment of politics and evidence of the 'managerialism' you usually deplore.

Waiting For Robot

Yeah, this one is your typical leftist cultural hegemonification, I fear.

Neil Harding

I think the Shirley Porter criminality highlighted in the link above shows why elected officials have to have a duty to connect with all constituents. Our electoral system encourages resources to be targeted into marginal wards/constituencies to the detriment of everyone else - whether safe Tory/Labour or other. Not only is this grossly unfair on places that for generations remain neglected because of who they vote for, it is a grossly inefficient way of running a country.


Tim J - the question is: why, when provoked by Howe's remark, did McGrath say "let them leave"? After all, it's trivial that folk are free to go.
He could have said: "Give Boris a chance; his policies (eg on crime?) might be good for you." He could have said "I'll be sorry to see them go." Why did he not choose these answers, passing up a chance to speak up for Boris's policies?

Tim J

Chris - it was tactless and snappy, but I don't think it bears the weight of interpretation that has been placed on it. It would also be interesting to see a transcript of the interview - as it may have been the first part of a longer response.

Certainly later in the interview McGrath does ask 'what can Boris do for you' and does say that Boris's policies on crime will benefit the black community, it's just this one snippy response that has been given any attention.

The journalist who conducted the interview was doing so with a distinct agenda - the interpretation of 'Blacks should go home' is miles away from what was actually said.

David Snell

re Neil Harding - If the people who oppose Boris Johnson leave, his chances of re-election improve. That's preferable, for Boris, than having them stay and grizzle.
In any case, why is everyone assuming that McGrath meant that people should leave the country? Darcus Howe's question and McGrath's reported reply could equally mean that (older Caribbean) London residents who really can't abide Boris are free to move to another local government area within the UK.


I did enjoy Marc Wadsworth's "James McGrath – he pronounces the surname 'McGraa'"; well, that's how it is pronounced, Marse. Tit.

Larry Teabag

[When Melanie Phillips bemoans Britain’s moral decay, no-one replies: “well go to Israel then”.]

Out of pity for Israelis as much as anything else.

Mark Wadsworth

Re Melanie Phillips, she might well be a miserable old cow who knows nowt, but AFAIAA she does not spend her whole time moaning that she (as a Jewish person, presumably) gets treated unfairly; saying that the UK should be more like Israel; saying we should allow more Israelis to move here; and that Jewish people should be given preference at job interviews etc etc.

If she did all these things, then it would be perfectly reasonable to invite her to piss off IMHO. Only she doesn't, so it is a stupid example.


We all have prejudices, but I agree politicians must be allowed to say what they really think without having to resign. I'm reminded of the American politician who referred to something as " niggardly" and had to resign. The rally sad thing is clearly noone really understood the meaning of the word.


"When white racists moan about immigration, they are rarely told to join their fellow racists on the Costa del Sol".

I've said this many a time. I'd swap Poles or asylum seekers for Mail-reading twats any day.

McGrath was misrepresented, the journalist interviewing him was a wind-up merchant. It isn't really a story.


Further, it's a fundamentally anti-democratic, liberticide thing to say; one of the defining features of a civilised state is that it includes people of all opinions and none, rather than demanding loyalty and conformity and the elimination of alien elements from the body politic.

Sure, it's a wind-up; but the interesting bit is the instant, ferocious, pavlovian reaction from McGrath. Yer man showed him an inch or two of red rag and he charged right onto the blade.

It fits perfectly with the metanarrative of Mayor Boris, which appears to be the politics of spite.

Philip Hunt

I very much wish Mad Mel would go to Israel, or at least somewhere other than Britain.


«defining features of a civilised state is that it includes people of all opinions and none, rather than demanding loyalty and conformity and the elimination of alien elements from the body politic.»

But that was how english politics were for several hundred years until the 20th century.

They haven't changed that much though even in the 20th centuries, as "dissenters" of any persuasion have been more tolerated than respected.

Note also how the british political profession is still very much an insider business, never mind a family business, as it has been for centuries.

Urban Bear

Your foot appears to be lodged quite firmly bin your mouth, why?
Egalitarianism makes the demonstrably bogus assertion that everyone is equal. Different races, religions, cultures, sexes, and people with different DNA, levels of intelligences, credit and debt are not equal, to suggest otherwise is to insult reason.
The failure of egalitarianism, as a concept, is one of the reasons why the French Revolution, collectivism and democracy have failed to support reason, life, liberty, property, and thus justice and a sound economy.

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