“Is it possible to be ‘unintentionally’ racist?” – Anne, Malta

I ASSUME you’re referring to the unpardonable utterance by Conservative MP Anne Marie Morris this week. For those unaware, the Newton Abbot MP managed to casually drop the n-word into a discussion about leaving the European Union. She used the offensive word within a similarly awful figure of speech that’s so archaic most of us haven’t even heard of it, and I certainly won’t help to re-popularise the expression by printing it here.

Indeed, I foolishly believed that this language had died a shameful death many decades ago, but, sadly, it seems that several Tories are still using it. Certainly, this isn’t the first time that the obscene saying has been deployed by a Conservative politician in recent memory. Lord Dixon-Smith blurted it out a few years ago, subsequently claiming that it was “common parlance” in his younger days.

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I suspect that Anne Marie Morris initially justified her use of the abhorrent phrase with similar logic. However, once a recording of what she said leaked to the press, she apologised “unreservedly” for her “unintentional” remark. I’m still not sure what “unintentional” means in this context, and Ms Morris has yet to elaborate.

It troubles me that racism – or any other form of abusive language for that matter – can be passed off as “accidental”. You trip on the stairs accidentally. You leave the iron on accidentally. You drop a glass accidentally. You DO NOT use the n-word accidentally. From my experience, people who apologise for uttering racist statements are never truly sorry – they’re just sorry that they’ve been fingered and chastised in public.

This would appear to be the case with Anne Marie Morris. While some people seem keen to give her the benefit of the doubt, it strikes me as appalling that anyone elected to public office could use this intolerant terminology and expect to pass it off as “unintentional”.

A woman as well-educated as Ms Morris should know the significance of racial epithets and the consequences of using such language. However, her supposedly inadvertent use of the phrase in question suggests that it’s one that’s deeply embedded in her vocabulary, which is quite alarming.

Worse yet, Morris was on a panel with numerous other Conservatives who heard her spout the n-word and didn’t speak out. Not even a rumbling of discontentment can be heard on the tape.

It appears that this is language that Conservatives might not use in public, but seemingly have no issue with in private. If this is their attitude towards words connected with prejudice and slavery, it makes one wonder what other nauseating notions they speak about surreptitiously.

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May understands zero about reality for working people

Theresa May has refused to ban zero-hours contracts. What do you make of this?” – Dave, Inverness

AS many of us know, zero-hours contracts totally suck. The employee is left at the mercy of the employer, not knowing how many hours they will receive from week to week, while sick leave is virtually non-existent. In addition, zero-hour workers who earn less than £5772 a year receive no state pension credits.

As if all this wasn’t bad enough, there is also the issue of how these zero-hours employers treat their staff. Knowing that their reluctant recruits have been starved of work, companies such as Cineworld and Sports Direct are able to take full advantage of them, removing various workers’ rights in order to cut costs. This is the unfortunate reality for thousands of people across the United Kingdom right now.

Just as bad are the companies who force staff to declare themselves self-employed in order to avoid assuming responsibilities to the employee. How are these workers supposed to buy a car or take out a mortgage on a zero-hours contract? They can’t. So the Tory myth about appealing to the aspirational classes is utter nonsense.

The National:

You see, my problem with the Prime Minister’s attitude towards zero-hours contracts relates not to her refusal to ban them, but in how she has attempted to defend them. Theresa May is a woman with no palpable connection to working people; a leader of a party that treats the top tier of corporations better than the most penurious citizens. By arguing that individuals often choose to work on zero-hours contracts, May has proven how little she knows of the reality of such agreements. Her blissful, and perhaps deliberate, ignorance of the situation has resulted in thousands upon thousands of lives being made miserable.

Ultimately, it suits the Tory agenda to see people trapped in these notoriously unpleasant zero-hours covenants.

As the those suffering them are technically employed, these crappy contracts boost employment figures.

Of course, this is at the expense of the employee, who is effectively marooned in vocational purgatory.

The Tories might think that this is a smart statistical strategy, but the more they abuse the younger voters of this country, the more they guarantee their own electoral demise in the long term.