Coffee House

Baroness Warsi begs

1 September 2012

1:10 PM

1 September 2012

1:10 PM

You know the story: Baroness Warsi is to be relieved of her duties as co-Chairman of the Conservatives. That at least is the expectation as the reshuffle nears. Warsi clearly expects such an outcome; otherwise she would not have told the Telegraph that she must remain in post if the Tories are to win the next election. She said:

‘If you look at the demographics, at where we need to be at the next election, we need more people in the North voting for us, more of what…I call the white working class. We need more people from urban areas voting for us, more people who are not white and more women…’I play that back and think: ‘I’m a woman, I’m not white, I’m from an urban area, I’m from the North, I’m working class – I kind of fit the bill. All the groups that we’re aiming for are groups that I’m familiar with.’

Now, as Paul Goodman has noted, Warsi’s logic is tortured. If only an Asian woman can appeal to Asian women, it follows that only working class politicians can appeal to working class voters etc. etc. Warsi’s simplistic argument is self-defeating, but one can see and agree with what she is driving at: the Tories benefit from having varied voices in prominent places.


I suspect that Warsi will be of interest to political and social historians. She embodies a revolutionary social change that the Conservative modernisers have been trying to effect for some time: to appeal to the voters Warsi describes above, while also moulding contemporary Britain’s ethnic and religious diversity into a recognisably British monoculture. This is delicate, often counter-productive work and the leadership has made a meal of it so far. This was epitomised by David Cameron’s careful speech on multiculturalism in Munich last year, which contradicted many of Warsi’s pronouncements on the subject. That Baroness Warsi is David Cameron’s political creation makes this all the more ironic, and awkward as the ailing party begins to worry about 2015.

A general rule of English history is that we do not do revolutions. The seminal Tudor historian Geoffrey Elton wrote of Thomas Cromwell, the man who dissolved the monasteries, ‘In eight years he engineered one of the few successful [social] revolutions in English history, and he achieved this without upsetting the body politic.’ Baroness Warsi has only had 2 years as chairman; but she has upset enough of the party to fear demotion. In that event the Tories will look elsewhere for their Cromwell, although it would not preclude Warsi from continuing to serve in Cabinet and lend her hand to the unfinished revolution.

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Show comments
  • Madame Merle

    The only reason she is chairman is her ability to motor-mouth her way through public debates like Question Time and TV news interviews. She has a certain tank-like quality, the ability to mow her way past any opposition.

  • J A Jones

    The Party needs a leader with backbone rather than a washed up PR waller.

  • EC

    Baroness? My Arse!

  • Radford_NG

    I dont accuse Baroness Warsi of wrong doing,but I do recall the case of Lord Charles Taylor.He was a ‘black’ candidate imposed on Cheltenham by Central Office.They all (at the top) got very upset when he lost this safe Tory seat;including the winning Lib Dems.[Along the way a leading local member ,dying of cancer,was arrested on racism charges for remarks he had made in the bar:on information to the police from the local party chairwoman.] John Major then made Taylor into a Lord ;prior to his more recent imprisonment on various financial matters;thus vindicating the voters of Cheltenham.

    • Nostradamus_1

      What kind of fuzzy logic are you using to reach that conclusion? A large number of those in the House of Lords and Commons were caught up in the expenses scandal. What credit do Cheltenham voters take for that?

      The Cheltenham Conservative party made it clear that they did not want John David Beckett Taylor, as he is black, and they felt he was not one of them (!). They didn’t vote for him, hence the Liberal Democrats won the seat. Fact!

      Political parties need to move away from this race, colour and religion nonsense and look to attract “like minded people”. Let the leader of that party set out his/her vision and fill their boots for the duration of their tenure. Members who don’t like it leave the party. Voters who lose confidence in the party’s policies should think long and hard when the next opportunity to vote comes around.

      Whatever you think of Warsi the issue here is that she is a victim of her own over-exposure and the fact that no one knows what her actual job description is. When last did you see Lord Feldman of Elstree (the other co-chairman of the conservative party?

  • farah damji

    Warsi can’t be in the cabinet, can she? She is entirely unelected. And let me tell you, as an Asian woman, she appeals to very few of us. Like others who scale, suck muck and scrape the pinnacles of power, Warsi has long forgotten her community roots and engenders neither credibility or constructive debate. Shrill, defensive, without the right nous or knowledge, the day Cameron gives up the luxury of a social integration experiment (reverse eugenics) can’t come soon enough.

  • Remittance Man

    There’s nothing wrong with promoting people of different cultures and backgrounds – provided they are competent.

    Thinking of Ms Mensch and Baroness Warsi, I can’t help thinking that Cameron’s efforts have been proved to be rather less successful of late.

  • rosie

    All this Warsi bashing reminds me of the way Edwina was treated. And Mrs Thatcher – though she is in a different clas to the other two. People say they don’t like Etonians, but they do actually prefer them to lower middle class provincial women, especially from the North.

  • Jez

    “…… also moulding contemporary Britain’s ethnic and religious diversity into a recognisably British monoculture”
    You are so behind the curve on these matters it seems quite incredible- yet i believe you and your colleagues in the bubble you frequent are in fact sincere. The Muslims in this country will do as they want because they can- this in the areas they dominate demographically. They need Baroness Warsi as much as you’d need the editor of the Daily Sport to speak for you if he was suddenly made into a Lord. It’s happening now and there is nothing you can do- the numbers have tipped (or are at melting point) and the South East is one of the most overcrowded areas in Europe. There are a huge amount of decent assimilated persons and their children that have made this place into their home successfuly. Unfortunately there seems to be no end in sight of the utter contempt career politicians have for the working class of this country- whilst cynically driving forward their own personal agendas- ultimately undermining the stability and coherance on the country’s social fabric. But that’s just my opinion.
    Anyway, great work.

  • In2minds

    Warsi, another big mistake by the PM.

  • Tarka the Rotter

    90% of the population are still white British – do you not think it would be wise to have a chairman who appealed to that constituency?

    • Jez

      Not for long mate. And not in England. And no where near only 10% in the English urban centres.

  • TomTom

    Warsi is loathed in Dewsbury, Shahid Malik beat her hollow and he was corrupt. Cameron should keep her and make her his mistress to complete the destruction of his party

  • Austin Barry

    “..while also moulding contemporary Britain’s ethnic and religious diversity into a recognisably British monoculture.”

    It seems hardly likely that honour killings, female genital mutilation, tossing gays off cliffs, stoning adulterers, killing christians, beheading partygoers, flying planes into buildings, suicide bombing, murdering infidels and apostates, banning drinking and, unforgivably, kicking dogs and the great British bacon sandwich into touch, will ever be a recognisably British monoculture – or, if it does, a lot of people are going to have to die first.

    • Redneck


      Provocative but searingly accurate.

    • Redneck


      Provocative but searingly accurate.

  • AY

    working class baroness, muslim feminist and unelected representative.
    that’s diversity in action, folks.

    • anne wotana kaye 1

      Yes, and you forgot another role she plays. She appears in “Eastenders” as the nagging wife of an amiable Pakistani postie. In all the many facets of Warsi, this is the only one where she seems at home.

  • John_Page

    If she was any good at her job, she could point to achievements. She isn’t and she can’t.

  • tomdaylight

    The problem with Warsi as chairman is that when the going gets tough for the Conservative Party, she’s gone. Clint Eastwood’s empty chair has shown more engagement with the electorate than Warsi has. The party organisation is in a terrible mess – thanks in large part to the interference of George Osborne – and it needs someone to grasp it by the horns.

  • James102

    We don’t know where this multiracial/cultural experiment will lead.
    The Happy Clappies and the Right Ons think they do. The Baby Boomers who wanted the World to Sing and to “Take a bit of White Man mix him up…” etc think they know but it is a journey into the unknown with a number of failed examples and no obvious successes.

  • Archimedes

    Her argument is everything to do with her condition, and nothing to do with her merit. If she was trying to piss conservatives off: she did good.

  • Daniel Maris

    She should try the Lord Ahmed tactic – promise 10,000 protestors in Parliament Square. Works a treat.

    Warsi is very capable and a great communicator – but what is she trying to communicate? Does she think that the situaiton in Bradford is healthy where you have fifth generation migrants still speaking Pakistani languages in the home? One suspects she sees nothing wrong with that.

    • TomTom

      If you go on YouTube you can hear her in Burnley I think at a by-election answering a Pakistani who asked a question in English….she answered in Urdu so the others could not understand

      • TomTom

        Conservative Party Oldham Style 2010. YouTube

  • MajorFrustration

    She is a total waste of pace – tokenism PC together with possibly some of the financial oversights which at times are associated with asian MPs and members of the HoL

    • Mike Barnes

      Hundreds of white MPs made similar financial oversights.

      • Bruce, UK

        “Hundreds of white MPs made similar financial oversights”

        No some were and are thieves.

  • Justathought

    Warsi has taken ‘community outreach’ to a whole new level when she last visited Pakistan. If she moves from Chairman this will be a great loss to her close friends family and business colleagues. Next she will be saying the ‘invaluable’ experience gained would be put to good use if she was put in charge of immigration!

  • Austin Barry

    I suspect she also barks.