Monday, 15 October 2018

How did the Tories end up picking such a manifestly unfit candidate for Mayor of London?

Before he was selected by the Tories as their candidate to challenge Sadiq Khan in the 2020 London Mayoral Election, few had heard of Shaun Bailey, in the weeks after his selection most of the people who have heard about him and his obnoxious views surely wish they hadn't.

Here are just a few of Bailey's views that have come to light since he was selected as the Tory candidate for one of the biggest political jobs in Britain:

  • He said that young inner city girls get passed around gangs of boys "like prostitutes" then deliberately become pregnant to get "a flat" and benefits.
  • He claimed that people celebrating Muslim and Hindu festivals like Diwali and Eid in Britain are robbing Britain of its community and turning it into "a crime-riddled cesspool".
  • He shared a bigoted Tweet attacking the current London Mayor Sadiq Khan as "Mad Mullah Kahn of Londonistan" as recently as 2017.
  • In 2010 he attempted to appeal to the reactionary Tory base by saying that black people should "stop complaining" about racism and discrimination.
  • He said that the provision of free condoms "normalises sex" and "leads to criminality".
  • He made the extraordinary claim that smoking cannabis does much "more damage to society" than people taking highly addictive and dangerous drugs like crack and heroin!
  • He claimed that good looking girls "tend to have been around" sexually, and men are so thick they imagine that women won't have sexually transmitted infections as long as they look pretty and clean.
  • He's openly admitted his pro-Brexit views, which puts him at odds with the majority of Londoners who voted in the 2016 EU referendum.
  • He claims to represent ordinary working class people having come for an ordinary background, but he consistently promotes the ruinous ideologically driven Tory austerity dogma that has trashed ordinary peoples' wages, and gutted their local services over the last 8 years, solely in order to further enrich the already spectacularly wealthy.
  • He said working class people need rules or they "get into crime".
  • He said that society needs to stop thinking that it's "acceptable for mothers to have babies on their own".
  • At his Manifesto for London event Bailey and his supporters proposed slashing free bus travel for London pensioners and extending the tube to "shithole" parts of London like Thamesmead.
Aside from his track record of saying and sharing misogynistic, bigoted, and anti-working class views, his bizarre views on drugs, his ideological opposition to contraception and sex advice services, spreading extreme-right tropes like "Londonistan" and his support for Tory austerity dogma that's done so much damage to the communities he pretends to represent, there's also the fact that he's a raving hypocrite.

Bailey has adopted the extreme-right propaganda tactic of pinning the blame for rising violent crime in London on Sadiq Khan, but back in 2012 he was part of David Cameron's team as a "crime aide" as they set about gutting the police budget, and slashing the number of police on London's streets.

He was also part of David Cameron's team as the Tories made savage austerity-driven cuts to funding for youth services.

He's now got the absolute chutzpah to blame Khan for the horrendous consequences of his own party's policies, and even make promises of more "bobbies on the beat" and better youth services central elements of his election campaign!

So how did the Tories end up picking a virtual nobody and blatant chancer with a string of distasteful comments about London, women, Muslims, Hindus, and working-class people as their candidate for such a high profile job?

The answer is simple, they're suffering a desperate recruitment crisis, with very few competent and talented individuals wanting to stand as Tory politicians.

The editor of Conservative Home Mark Wallace has admitted that the number of applicants to stand as Tory MPs is down "across the board", with many local Tory associations receiving only a handful of applications when in the past they would have had scores of potential candidates to choose from. He went on to blame this collapse in applications on pessimism, demoralisation, and dissatisfaction with Theresa May's leadership.

This dearth in applications from talented (or even remotely competent) people is hardly surprising given that last year the Tory party raised more in bequests from dead people than they did in membership fees from the living, and that any rises in membership over the last few months have been down to ex-ukippers and other extreme-right fringe entryists seeking to infiltrate the party to usurp it from within.

The problem for the rest of us of course is that there are millions of habitual Tory voters out there who have proven time and again that they'll vote Tory no matter how despicable and incompetent the Tory representatives they're voting for (how else is it possible to explain the political success of the economic illiterate George Osborne, the wannabe tyrant Theresa May, the callous butcher Iain Duncan Smith, the serial incompetent Chris Grayling, and the reckless gambler David Cameron?).

Some of the habitual Tory voters are just the dull-witted dupes who mindlessly believe the nonsense and lies they read in the right-wing propaganda rags, but others put even less thought into it. To them it's like football. They support the blue team, and it doesn't matter how dire their performances are, or how despicable their cheating, they'll always support them over the reds, yellows, and greens (even if they stop actually paying for their season ticket/Tory membership fees).

So despite the absolute dearth of talent in the Tory ranks leading to the selection of a manifestly unfit figure like Shaun Bailey as a candidate for one of the most high profile political jobs in Britain, the Tories will remain confident that they'll always have enough tribalistic support to avoid the collapse into political obscurity this outrageous political anachronism of a party truly deserves.

They know that putting up a candidate like Shaun Bailey in London is an admission of defeat before the campaign even starts, because his bigotry, misogyny, hard-right austerity fanaticism, puritanical views, and anti-working class condescension, and pandering to the extreme-right are never going to sell in a progressive, modern, multicultural city like London, but presumably they're not actually meant to.

Blaming Muslims and Hindus for crime, disparaging young women, attacking the working class, pushing hard-right pseudo-economic nonsense, spewing archaic puritainical nonsense about contraception and sex advice services, and blaming the Labour mayor for the consequences of his own party's policies isn't intended to win the London mayoral election, it's intended to shore up the hard-right reactionary vote in the home counties and rural England.

The people of London will no doubt reject him, but the bigoted Colonel Blimps and "I'm alright Jack" bastards in the shires will see his defeat as further evidence that "Londonistan" is lost, and as cause for further retrenchment into even more right-wing and reactionary views as the carcass of the Tory party is cannibalised by the Brextremists and blue-kip infiltrators.

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