Angela Rayner accused of racist dog-whistles over remarks about 'colonialism and the empire'

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Tuesday 21 January 2020 10:45
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This is sort of becoming a pattern with Angela Rayner, who has made several comments throughout the campaign that have been perceived as racially insensitive.

It's not a good look for the deputy Labour leader hopeful, after her party has been riddled with accusations of antisemitism for years.

In an excerpt from a speech which has now gone viral, Rayner says:

I also think political education is crucially overdue in this country.

So far, so good. Oh Angela, couldn't you have just left it there? But no. On she goes:

Our current curriculum teaches kids about colonialism and the empire and teaches them nothing about our democracy here today, and that's what we need to be doing.

It was impossible to know what she meant by this comparison, and what exactly she was referring to by "colonialism and the empire", but suffice to say, it did not go down well.

One Twitter user called it out as a "dog whistle" and reminded us that white working class boys were being "left behind" by schools talking more about issues affecting women and ethnic minorities.

She also recently came under fire for a now-deleted tweet in which she compared the way she – as a white woman – was treated for having a northern accent, to the institutional racism affecting women of colour in politics. She eventually apologised for the comparison.

Some suggested that Rayner's remarks on colonialism are an attempt to beat the Tories at their own (racist) game:

And others pointed out that actually the impact of colonialism really isn't being properly taught in schools so her premise is flawed in itself.

But there were people who defended Rayner, saying that it was meant in a different way to how it has been perceived.

It's very possible that this could just be clumsy phrasing that's been taken out of context.

Rayner herself tweeted the following clarification this morning:

MORE: Brexit Party MEP fails to notice the irony after asking 'who will now hold the EU to account?'

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