The Conservative and Unionist Party
of Great Britain – aka The Tories,
from the Irish for ‘robbers’, ‘marauders’ –
is the longest surviving political
organisation in the known world.
It not only parks its tanks on its
opponents’ lawns, but commandeers
the greensward and the house it belongs to.
It reinvents itself by reversing
policies without embarrassment – viz.
welcoming East African Asian
refugees, hoping to send (mostly Muslim)
refugees to Rwanda; selling off
council houses under Margaret Thatcher,
homes that were built under Winston Churchill.
And Churchill is perhaps their greatest hero,
and an icon for all seasons – a romantic,
soldier, writer, painter, orator,
brick-layer, alcoholic, racist –
whose views and traits have been edited.
It was he who described Hindus as ‘foul’,
and Muslims as ‘warriors’, and predicted
that if the British ever left India
the Muslims would take over the Raj, and run it
as if the British had never gone home.
So what would he have made of a Hindu,
and a teetotaller, at the dispatch box,
albeit a babu, a Wykehamist,
an Oxford man, a multi-millionaire?
What would he, as the Home Secretary
overseeing the so-called Battle
for Stepney, the Siege of Sydney Street –
that shoot-out with Russian émigrés –
have made of the occupation of so much
of Belgravia by Russian oligarchs?
As one of the Council of Europe’s
begetters, and its human rights convention,
what would he have made of the Tories’
long suicide note called Brexit, and their
obsession with rigid inflatables
steering for Dover, with fascist scapegoats?
Perhaps nativism would triumph –
that, whatever your colour, as long as
you are born here, and speak the lingo
with more or less the right accent, and have
a hierarchy of people to despise,
then you are one of them?