Urban Life: Hodge Is Being Vague, and in Politics Vagueness Always Conceals Mischief
Howe, Darcus, New Statesman (1996)
Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, employment minister and former leader of Islington Council, has ventured into racial politics again, concerned about a handful of working-class votes drifting from Labour to the British National Party in the East End of London.
When Hodge says that eight out of ten voters in her constituency are contemplating voting BNP, it's not clear whether she blames this on black and Asian immigrants, the white working classes, or the Labour Party itself. In politics, such vagueness always conceals mischief.
She ignores matters much more fundamental, notably the exodus of members from her own party and the even larger defection from the electoral process by the working classes of the inner cities. Blacks and whites are united in their alienation from Labour and from local democratic politics. It has nothing to do with racism.
A visitor from another planet might think this tiny drift to racist politics in east London was new. I was barely out of my teens when dockers marched with Enoch Powell as he called for the "repatriation" of Asians and West Indians. …