The Politically Correct Rabid Right

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

On the 30th of January 1978, the day my son was born, Margaret Thatcher charmingly told white TV viewers that their country was in danger of being ‘swamped’ by other cultures. Enoch Powell’s gory warnings about black and Asian immigration  were rebranded and detoxified by the wily, well groomed, Lady Toryand embedded in the nation’s psyche. Her words were calculated and won her populist support and admirers within her party. Sixteen months later she became PM.

In all the miles of newsprint and ceaseless cacophony following her death, no attention has been paid to her supremacist views of Empire ( Bruge Speech, 1992) or the race riots, or the many deaths in custody of black men, or government sanctioned unfair policing, or  her deep hostility to immigrants of colour or concomitant warmth towards white Zimbabweans and South Africans. As blogger Jacqueline Scott, writes: ‘Racism fattened under Margaret Thatcher’, but hush, don’t mention that.  Forgotten too is Thatcher’s vendetta against the GLC and ILEA, institutions which did not fall in line with her little Englandism. The politically correct, radical right has silenced all such talk and much more besides.

Make no mistake, the most intolerant, Stalinist and insistently PC forces today are on the right, not on the so called ‘loony left’. Last week this wing hysterically attacked the Diana Fund for supporting a campaigning pro-immigration organisation. Diana was a friend to the outsider and the despised and yet those she was close to are kicking up about this funding. The same reactionary battalions stopped the BBC from playing a song that legitimately got into the top of the charts, because it ‘insults’ the hallowed Tory matriarch. Most of our newspapers are on the right and they push, sometimes bully broadcasters into that same ideological space. Fearful of bad headlines, the BBC meekly accommodates their propaganda and so the right gets bolder and more demanding.

I was on Channel 5’s Wright Stuff as a panellist all week and expressed unfashionably critical assessments of the Thatcher era, well, because, I am told, we live in a free society. Some of the reactions I subsequently received made me wonder if I should better conceal or disguise my deeply held socialist, anti-racist  views. Walking through Whiteleys, where the programmes are recorded, a group crowded and abused me. Some of their comments were racist, others insulting or filthy. It was horrible. Back home, onto my screen came more from the rabid right PC brigade. They are offended by anything or anyone who disagrees with their views. Dissent, to them, is treason, and an embodiment of the enemy within (Thatcher’s term used for striking miners).

Every day we, the people, are instructed on what we should say, think and feel. To belong, we must not only praise Thatcher for her greatness and femaleness, but also be foolish, doting Royalists, hate the poor, approve of welfare cuts, hate the unions, reject the principle of equality and proclaim immigration as a deadly threat. Thatcher, the Boudicca of the fanatical right reclaimed the kingdom and they remain powerful, unbeatable and unbearable.

The Independent, 14th April 2013