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How Divisive to Ipswich Community Relations is MP Tom Hunt?

February 20, 2020 10:57 AM
By Oliver Holmes

Newly elected Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has once again caused controversy in remarks he made in a BrexitBros podcast on 12 February 2020 concerning the social injustice caused to white working class boys. BrexitBros is a right wing (or politically incorrect in their opinion) podcast run by two former Brexit Party MEPs, Michael Heaver and Martin Daubney. Heaver has close associations with the notorious conspiracy and fake news website, InfoWars. Daubney is a former editor of lads mag Loaded, who some years ago organised a straight pride march, as he felt heterosexuality was being undermined. He also supports the men's rights movement. They both consider that identity politics and deference to diversity now threaten free speech and ordinary white people. To them, supporting Brexit was logical.

Low educational achievement for white boys from disadvantaged communities is a well-known, long-term issue. Prime Minister Boris Johnson considers this is due to their low IQ. As he said to the Centre for Policy Studies in 2013: "…it is surely relevant to a conversation about inequality that as many as 16 per cent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 per cent have an IQ above 130…". Famously, he also wrote in a Daily Telegraph article in 2005 that "the poorest 20% of British society is made-up of chavs, losers, burglars, drug addicts, and criminals."

Entirely more reasonably, the Chair of the Education Select Committee, Tory MP Robert Halfon, recently wrote an article in ConservativeHome, listing a number of measures he considered would help raise attainment. However, Halfon is careful not to suggest that a reverse form of discrimination against white boys is involved, and it is on this point that he and Hunt diverge.

White victimhood is a message that many on the far right of politics like to promote. It is used both to trigger "liberals" into making a response, which can then be mocked or attacked, and also to attract recruits to far right causes. Posters such as "It's OK to be white", which appeared throughout Ipswich town centre recently, are used by the KKK and other white supremacist groups and websites, such as 4Chan. Hunt's references to "…social justice for white working class boys…"would seem to play directly into this narrative.
Tom Hunt already has form for statements that cause offence. His Ipswich Star article on 10th Jan 2020, attributing crime in Ipswich to "certain communities" was widely condemned, not least by the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, who said his comments were "…very unhelpful…". Typically, in the manner of Donald Trump, Hunt has doubled down on the statements he made and has refused to retract them.

For Liberal Democrats, these views are reprehensible, as they would be to all those supporters who attended the ISCRE solidarity event last Saturday to denounce the white supremacist posters that appeared in Ipswich. We must now call upon Tom Hunt to represent all the communities in Ipswich without fear or favour.

Oliver Holmes