15 July 2021, The Tablet

Perhaps the Conservative Party needs to stop sending mixed messages

Perhaps the Conservative Party needs to stop  sending mixed messages

What a pity England’s great achievement at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final was marred by racist abuse. The match was decided by the poker game of a penalty shoot-out. Three England players, who happened to be Black, failed to score. Only two Italians failed similarly, so that was it.

But that outcome and the response to it has a silver lining. Opinion-formers from Right to Left were unanimous in their condemnation of the racism directed at those three young men. The Prime Minister called it “appalling” and the Home Secretary said she was “disgusted”. What is notable, however, is that the game had begun with England and Italy players all “taking the knee”, which has become a universal symbol of anti-racism. And the Conservative Party has been trying desperately to politicise such gestures by labelling them “woke”. There are votes to be had, it had decided, in being “anti-woke”. Perhaps it needs to stop sending mixed messages.

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