Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Joke Too Far

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Joke Too Far

Article excerpt

FOR SACKING Ann Winterton from the Conservative front bench, Mr Iain Duncan Smith deserves to be praised. He acted promptly and correctly once he had seen a full report of her racist joke to a Rugby Club dinner last week.

His action provided a telling and refreshing contrast from the prevarications of Mr William Hague, his predecessor, in the face of a similar challenge to the party's antiracist credentials. At a time when the British National Party is enjoying unprecedented ? albeit still strictly limited ? electoral success, there is a special onus on the main political parties to prove by deeds as well as words that they are fully committed to building a society which positively values its diversity.

However, to realise that dream, the rejection of overt racism, though vital, is not enough. True diversity requires positive action. Were the Conservative benches in the House of Commons to contain their fair share of ethnic minority MPs, a dozen would be black or Asian. …

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