Contest that proves Tories are the REAL party of diversity – while race-obsessed Labour supporters just stoke division, writes broadcaster ESTHER KRAKUE
When you give people opportunities in a meritocratic system which encourages the best of everyone, the cream always rises to the top.
So, as a Ghanaian Brit, I am delighted when I look at the sheer diversity of the candidates who have been vying to be leader of the Conservative Party, and our next Prime Minister.
As this diverse range of candidates proves, hard work reaps dividends and that is what it means to be British, writes Esther Krakue
Of the 11 who initially entered the contest, six were from ethnic minority backgrounds — from Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch to Rishi Sunak, Nadhim Zahawi, Sajid Javid and lesser-known backbencher Rehman Chishti.
That’s more than half, all with first-hand experience of what Britain is really like for people from immigrant families.
And of the eight candidates who made it on to the ballot yesterday, four aren’t white.
Equally striking, four of them — Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch, Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt — are women.
It is a line-up that affirms what I have always believed about Britain: this is a country that offers everyone a chance to succeed, and that has the right approach to diversity.
Not that those on the Labour benches would let you believe it. I can’t wait to see their embarrassment if the Tories elect a third woman to lead the country, when there has never been a female Labour leader, let alone Prime Minister.
And what will the self-righteous, minority-obsessed Opposition think if the Tories, after giving Britain its first ethnic-minority Home Secretaries and Chancellors, now elect their first non-white Prime Minister?
Of the eight candidates who have made it into the Conservative leadership race, four aren’t white and half are women (Pictured left to right: Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Nadhim Zahawi, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Jeremy Hunt, Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch)
Labour’s front bench is notably pale —and completely stale.
For, according to the increasingly narrow categories imposed by the Left, I, as a ‘woman of colour’ (not a term I use myself), must surely be an oppressed victim — and, more importantly, a victim of Tory racists.
But — and here’s the great irony — if I were to voice an opinion that didn’t echo this Leftist orthodoxy, I would be immediately ‘cancelled’ and subjected to vile abuse that is often in itself deeply racist.
If they didn’t know it already, this is something many of the leadership candidates will have discovered in recent days.
For example, as The Mail on Sunday reported, prominent Remainer barrister and staunch Left-winger Jolyon Maugham tweeted Mr Sunak on Friday, asking: ‘Do you think the members of your Party are ready to select a brown man, Rishi?’
He has also retweeted a post that, in an attempt to bash the Tories’ pro-Brexit mandate, shockingly calls Suella Braverman a ‘Brexit jihadist’.
Maugham’s lack of self-awareness would be comical if it weren’t so sickening. For in his desperation to paint the Tory Party as a bunch of racist bigots, he has revealed his own hateful prejudices.
Political activist and Left-wing lawyer Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu has also shown her true colours.
In one particularly vile tweet, she wrote: ‘Kemi Badenoch is a GIFT for racists & White supremacy — [she] uses her Black identity to delegitimise the systemic oppression she claims [the] UK is falsely accused of & now uses Black minority identity to run for Prime Minister. A Black Racial-Gatekeeping Executioner of Tory racist policies.’
Dr Mos-Shogbamimu also accused Badenoch of ‘power-grabbing’ and told her to ‘crawl back into her mother’ for ‘whitewashing [the] British Empire’.
She has similarly taken aim at Nadhim Zahawi, also describing him as a ‘shameless racial gatekeeper’.
Meanwhile, Marxist campaigner Ash Sarkar has mocked the candidates’ humble beginnings, tweeting on Monday: ‘Every BAME Tory’s leadership pitch starts with, “My parents came to this country with NOTHING but a copy of Atlas Shrugged in their pockets . . .”’
I learned of this hatred in the Left about three years ago, when I wrote my first piece for the Mail, in which I questioned the motives of the controversial Black Lives Matter organisation in the UK.
The online reaction was horrific. I was called every name imaginable and bombarded with threats. One person, a total stranger, hoped that I would be ‘barren’ — apparently in the twisted belief that this sentiment would advance the cause of black British people.
Worse, my mother’s phone number was published online and people were encouraged to stalk my family.
One of the most common insults I hear used against Right-wing ethnic minorities is the word ‘coconut’, implying that someone is ‘brown on the outside, white on the inside’.
I’d hope that any ten-year-old would be disgusted to hear such a slur in the playground, but apparently it’s commonplace in socialist circles.
Indeed, much of this abuse is in plain view. Consider, for instance, a cartoon in The Guardian from two years ago, drawn by Steve Bell, depicting Home Secretary Priti Patel as a fat bull with horns and a ring through her nose.
It strikes me that, far from being progressive, the Left are actually the ones stuck in the past and fixated on the colour of people’s skin.
In contrast, the Right are far happier simply to accept individuals for who they are, whatever colour they may be.
How else do you explain the impressively diverse array of Tory candidates who lined up to compete to be our next Prime Minister?
It is no coincidence that Labour wants to drag us decades into the past by refusing to condemn the strike and work-to-rule plans of unions threatening us with a Summer of Discontent.
For despite all its claims of being reformist and modernising, it refuses to let go of old shibboleths.
After the Tory infighting of recent months, Labour ought to be far further ahead in the polls. Instead, it is tying itself in knots over irrelevant ‘Westminster bubble’ stories or woke minority issues, leaving most ordinary Britons baffled and despairing in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.
Meanwhile, when it comes to policy areas voters actually care about — such as immigration and Brexit — Labour MPs accuse the Tories of being the ones who are reactionary and out of touch with the public mood.
An argument made all the more ridiculous when you consider that Labour’s own front bench is notably pale —and completely stale.
Let me be clear: I would never advocate for quotas or positive discrimination. On the contrary, those guilt-ridden policies are guaranteed to suppress real meritocracy.
Frankly, I couldn’t care less if the entire Cabinet consisted of middle-aged white men — or Millennial Asian women, for that matter — as long as they were demonstrably the best people for the job.
In reality, of course, the best never come from just one background. We can see this clearly in the Tory Party, which has enjoyed 12 years in power.
And we can see it equally clearly in the line-up for the leadership contest, with candidates such as Kemi Badenoch, who worked at McDonald’s to fund her university studies, and Rishi Sunak, whose campaign video tells the inspirational story of his grandmother coming to Britain from India in the hope of a better life.
Conservatism offers a natural home to aspiration and equal opportunity. And the Party nurtures those who want to put their talents to work. Because, as this diverse range of candidates proves, hard work reaps dividends.
And that is what it means to be British.
Esther Krakue is a writer and broadcaster.