1st Edition

Racism and the Tory Party From Disraeli to Johnson

By Mike Cole Copyright 2023
    490 Pages
    by Routledge

    490 Pages
    by Routledge

    Racism is an endemic feature of the Tory Party. Tracing the history of that racism, Racism and the Tory Party investigates the changing forms of racism in the party from the days of Empire, including the championing of imperialism at the turn of the 20th century and the ramping up of antisemitism, the imperial and ‘racial’ politics of Winston Churchill, the rise of Enoch Powell and Powellism, to the Margaret Thatcher years, the birth of ‘racecraft’ and her polices in Northern Ireland, and the hostile environment and its consolidation and expansion under Theresa May and Boris Johnson’s premierships. Throughout the book, all forms of racism are addressed including the various forms of colour-coded and as well as non-colour-coded racism as they are put in their historical and economic contexts.

    This book should be of relevance to all interested in British politics and British history, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students studying the sociology and politics of racism, as well as for students of the history of the development of British racism and of imperialism and its aftermath.


    PART 1: ‘Race’, nation and Empire

    1 One ‘race’, one nation, one Empire: 19th century racism in the life and times of Benjamin Disraeli (1804・1881)

    2 Championing imperialism and ramping up antisemitism: the Tories at the turn of the century (1880・1914)

    PART 2: From Empire and colonies to Powellism

    3 The imperial and ‘racial’ politics of Winston Churchill (1898・1955)

    4 ‘Last fling of the imperial dice’ to ‘rivers of blood’: Tory politics from Anthony Eden to Enoch Powell (1955・1969)

    PART 3: Oppression in Northern Ireland; Immigration Control and the birth and consolidation of Thatcher’s ‘Racecraft’

    5 Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher (1970・1990)

    6 Thatcher, immigration control, uprisings; imperialism resurrected; apartheid; and promoting British culture (1981・1990)

    7 John Major, multiculturalism and monoculturalism; grassroots Tory backlash to ethnic diversity in the Party (1990・2010)

    PART 4: The hostile environment: genesis, incorporation and the end of free movement

    8 Theresa May and the ‘really hostile environment’: origins, official launch, and enactment (2010・2016)

    9 The May premiership: hostile environment ・ consolidation and impact (2016・2019)

    10 Boris Johnson and racism and the ongoing march of the hostile environment (1999・2022)


    Postscript: the rise and fall of Boris Johnson




    Mike Cole is a writer and Emeritus Professor of Racism Studies at the University of East London, UK and in Education and Equality at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, UK. Recent books include Trump, the Alt-Right and Public Pedagogies of Hate and for Fascism (Routledge, 2020), Theresa May, the Hostile Environment and Public Pedagogies of Hate and Threat (Routledge, 2021), Climate Change, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Public Pedagogies (Routledge, 2021), Education, Equality and Human Rights, 5th edition (Routledge, 2022) and Equality, Education and Human Rights in the United States (Routledge, 2022).

    ‘An accessible and penetrating analysis of the troubling evolution of the contemporary politics of "race" in Britain. Cole illuminates how, across decades and centuries, primary definers within the Conservative Party have strategically used "race" to construct a "hostile environment". For readers located within and beyond British shores, the book provides intellectual insights into how we might investigate the toxic entanglement of "race" and nation.'

    Paul Michael Garrett, University of Galway, Republic of Ireland, author of Social Work with Irish Children and Families in Britain (2004) and several other books. These include Welfare Words (2017), Dissenting Social Work: Critical Theory, Resistance and Pandemic (Routledge, 2021) and (with Washington Marovatsanga) Social Work with the Black African Diaspora (2022)

    'Mike Cole’s Racism and the Tory Party is essential for anyone interested in understanding the historical context for Conservative party racism. Far from being incidental or contingent on populist pragmatism, this book traces how racism has saturated the party for over two centuries. Entrenched within the party, white superiority has combined with national protectionism; stoking fears of miscegenation with attempts to improve white stock in one-nation Toryism; the attempted maintenance of Empire with colonial experimentation in Ireland; liberal multiculturalism with rampant anti-migrant policy. At a time marked by vehement nativism and increased racialisation, this book is a must read for anybody interested in understanding the current state of British political crisis.'

    James Trafford, author of The Empire at Home: Internal Colonies and the End of Britain (2020)

    ‘An encyclopaedic and eye-opening expose of the darker corners of the world’s oldest political party’

    Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford, co- author of Rule Britannia: Brexit and the end of Empire

    “An incredibly useful, learned historical survey of the Tory party’s shameful and often downright dishonourable take on all kinds of racism. It deserves a place on all relevant university reading lists"

    Melissa Benn, journalist, writer and campaigner