I was interested to read the comments of Howard Beckett, Len McCluskey’s preferred hard left successor as Unite general secretary, when the entire population of Glasgow* turned up at an address in Pollokshields where Immigration Enforcement officials had turned up to nick some illegals.

He tweeted:

“Priti Patel should be deported, not refugees.

“She can go along with anyone else who supports institutional racism. She is disgusting.”

I agree with the final words because Patel is indeed disgusting. But the rest of it is – how shall I put this? – slightly awkward. Patel was born in London to Indian-Ugandan parents who emigrated to the UK in the 1960s, just before Idi Amin’s decision to deport all Asians. What does Beckett mean?

Clearly, he doesn’t mean that London-born Patel should be deported to London, does he? That would be silly because she probably lives there already. Let’s be honest about this: Beckett’s words come straight from the BNP, Britain First, Ukip playbook. She should go back to where she comes from. And he means somewhere abroad, like Uganda.

The point is that no one ever called for white home secretary Theresa May, who constructed the hostile environment for migrants, to be deported. People don’t call for white British politicians to be deported. Beckett meant something very different in his tweet because Patel looks very different to May.

Beckett sits on Labour’s ruling NEC and has been suspended from the party. The usual far left suspects are claiming the decision to suspend Beckett was motivated by ‘factionalism’, just like cracking down on antisemitism is, apparently, a ruse to attack the hard left and not stopping racism. But the decision to suspend Beckett is because of what he has said. And just saying ‘sorry’ is not good enough.

You would have thought a professional solicitor would be more careful about what he says and how he says it. It is up to you to decide whether he was saying what he meant or that he “didn’t mean it to be taken literally.”

We know that the hard left has a problem with Jews. Is the mask slipping as regards other minorities, too?

Either way, suspending Beckett from Labour is not enough. He needs to be expelled, along with everyone else who employs dogwhistle racism. Priti Patel is an awful human being because of her politics, not her ancestry. She has to be defeated at the ballot box, not by deportation.

 

* Actually, a couple of hundred Glaswegians turned up. The hard left gave the impression that it was the whole city. It wasn’t.