Saturday, 10 March 2007


Conservative frontbencher, Patrick Mercer was sacked yesterday over remarks that racial abuse was a normal part of army life; he claimed it is normal for a member of an ethnic minoritiy in the army to be dubbed a “black bastard” and that he "came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours". Although Mercer still has a position in Parliament as a backbencher he now has less power but will still serve his constituents.

Mercer’s statements infuriated ethnic minorities who accused him of racism. Whether his comments are racist is being debated in various blogs and forums however it is certain that his comments do not help the bridging of the gap between the ethnic minority community and the Conservative party.

Although Mercer has apologised and claims to have been misinterpreted and states: “I am very sorry if I have caused offence to the fantastic people who I commanded, many of whom were black and ethnic minorities”, the wider issue of the relationship between ethnic minorities and the Conservative party (which is not viewed as very open to ethnic minorities and also women) still persists. An article on the Guardian website discusses this further (click here to read).

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