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Get out of the ghetto blues

Tory candidate Loanna Morrison graces the pages of ConservativeHome today, under the headline “Ghetto Tory.”

This arresting phrase is plucked from Morrison’s article, in which she attacks the Left for painting all Conservatives as “toffs”, and delights in reminding Labour that she does not fit their stereotype. She says:

I am not a toff so perhaps voters would prefer a “ghetto Tory” running the country? If so, give me space – I’m coming. I am black, a single mother who lived in a council house and with no Oxford University degree to my name. I am also a Tory.”

While she has a perfectly valid point, and is living proof that it is possible to come from a non-privileged background and still be a Conservative, I question the wisdom of using the words “ghetto Tory.”

Being a black single mother from a council estate does not necessarily mean you come from the “ghetto”, even if you accept that American-style ghettos exist here in the first place, which itself is open to debate.

Being “ghetto” is quite something else, of course. It implies slack behaviour and a lack of moral standards that I am quite sure Morrison is not guilty of.

Aspiring politicians need to be careful before attaching such catchy labels to themselves, not least because those labels may be hard to shake off in the future.

But there’s another line of Morrison’s article that caused a shudder of alarm with me:

Remember John Prescott lashing out at a protester? If a Tory did that he would have been lynched like a Southern slave.”

Is this really necessary? Prescott’s actions did in fact provoke a great deal of controversy, so can we really say that a Conservative would have got worse treatment from the press?

But more importantly, the imagery of Southern lynchings is extremely emotive and quite out of place with MPs socking voters in the chops.

For many, the very mention of lynchings carries a great deal of sorrow and pain over the terrible fates that was visited upon thousands of African-Americans, right up until the 1950s.

Perhaps the only thing ghetto about Morrison is her casual disregard for such an horrific subject as lynchings.

By Lester Holloway

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One Response

  1. A ‘ghetto-mentality’ is defined by the inspirational educator Paul Obinna (author of the TIMELINE)as “restricted thoughts, restricted beliefs, lead to restricted behaviours and actions”.

    So perhaps Ms Morrison is right on some sense, that is:

    – by deriding the pigeon-holing of her opponents by creating a pigeon-hole to describe herself, and by implication, those who have similar experiences.

    – by believing that the lynching analogy is not off the mark nor incredibly crass.

    If you’re trying to change the image of Tories, I’m not this is the best way to go about it.

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