No to Tory divide & rule – Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism, #TUC2022


“This dog whistle rhetoric & new legislation is being imposed in the context of a deeply unpopular government hell bent on making the 99% suffer immense financial hardship so the 1% can continue to rake in unprecedented levels of profit to the tune of billions.”

Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism

By Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism Co-Convenor

The majority of people are faced with an autumn and winter where stagflation – slow growth and rising inflation – mean the cost of living crisis will bite hard, with a government that is as incompetent as it is vicious. 

Liz Truss’s first few weeks as Prime Minister have been dominated by her government’s spectacularly inept handling of the economic crisis. Jeremy Hunt’s latest mini-budget reversals will hit the 99 per cent the hardest, especially with the U-turn on energy bills, which means average annual energy bills will rise to more than £4,000 from April 2023.

As Frances O’Grady told the TUC conference earlier this week, we’re seeing the longest squeeze on real wages since Napoleonic times, the worst in modern history. Real wages are not set to recover to their 2008 level until 2028 and on average people will lose £4,000 over the next three years due to inflation outstripping wage growth. The TUC also calculates that the average worker will have lost a total of £24,000 in real earnings since the 2008 financial crash because of pay not rising with inflation. 

The cost of living crisis and the government’s political crisis have dominated the headlines in recent weeks, but make no mistake racism is on the rise. 

Recent figures show the number of hate crimes reported to police in England and Wales has risen by more than a quarter in a year, with 155,842 recorded in the year to March. That is the biggest annual rise since 2017. The majority were racially motivated and increased by 19 percent. For the first time race hate crimes have topped 100,000.

The Casey report into the Metropolitan Police found that very little has changed in the way of racism and policing. Baroness Casey found many claims of racism, sexual misconduct, misogyny and homophobia were badly mishandled. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley admitted that there were “patterns of unacceptable discrimination that clearly amount to systemic bias” against African, Caribbean and Asian officers. 

This report comes after the police shooting of Chris Kaba and the strip searching that was tantamount to sexual abuse of Child Q earlier this year. 

The fact that such police racism continues despite the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement which shone a light on institutional racism in policing following the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, should be of no surprise. 

There has been zero pressure from the government on the police to address institutional racism, in fact the government has doubled down on racism by denying the existence of institutional racism and repeatedly attacking the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s speech to the Conservative Party conference was a sharp reminder that intensifying racism in Britain is at the heart of this government’s agenda. 

The most significant aspects of Braverman’s speech were plans to introduce new legislation on immigration & asylum and a new public order bill. At the heart of the proposals on seeking asylum are plans to enshrine in law the deportation of refugees crossing the Channel back to their home country or Rwanda. Braverman made a pointed attack signalling that she would bring forward legislation to weaken anti slavery laws and human rights legislation.

The recent deportation of 11 Albanian nationals who were flown out of Britain soon after arriving in small boats, despite the government promising not to deport Albanians, is an illustration of what is to come on a mass scale with new legislation. 

Braverman launched into a lengthy unapologetic rant demonising the left and  denouncing the right to protest that took aim at the Black Lives Matter movement as well as declaring that the tradition of civil disobedience such as the stand made by Extinction Rebellion and others would be met with prison sentences.

Her contribution on immigration was a shocking celebration of empire and dogwhistle jingoistic politics, emphasising in no no uncertain terms that the “British public” should be blaming so called unskilled migrant Labour for “pressure on housing, services and community relations”. She continued in an unbridled attack on multiculturalism, making sweeping condemnation and generalisations about migrants and refugees as liars, criminals and as taking jobs from “our own”, even when discussing areas of labour shortages.

This dog whistle rhetoric and new legislation is being imposed in the context of a deeply unpopular government hell bent on making the 99 per cent suffer immense financial hardship so the 1 per cent can continue to rake in unprecedented levels of profit to the tune of billions of pounds, and its desire to crack down on dissent and divide opposition to its agenda. 

  • These issues will be discussed at today’s (October 19) Stand up to Racism fringe meeting at the TUC that will be addressed by TUC Race Equality Officer Wilf Sullivan, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, BFAWU General Secretary Sarah Woolley, Unite Assistant General Secretary Diana Holland, RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary Eddie Dempsey, CWU Vice President & General Council member Jane Loftus & Amerit Rait Unison Vice President. You can find more details here.
  • You can follow Stand up to Racism on Twitter here.
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Featured image: Stand up to racism at the cost of living crisis demo on June 19th. Photo credit: Stand up to Racism

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