Vote 2005

“I’m always losing out on one side or the other”

The Times has an interesting interview with MP Oona King, who is being challenged for her seat by George Galloway. I don’t agree with all her positions, but if I lived in her constituency, I would have no problem deciding whom to support.

In some quarters, with shocking predictability, the fact that King is Jewish has also proved “hugely problematic”. She’s fairly thick-skinned about this, however, and takes great pride in her fascinatingly mixed roots: dad a political activist African-American (who fled a racist conviction for draft-dodging in Georgia and whose brother was lawyer to Martin Luther King); Jewish mum with Hungarian lineage on one side and poor Scots-Irish on the other (a teacher, whose sister is Miriam Stoppard). “There’s a bit of Native American Indian in there somewhere, too,” she says, “and probably some white slave-master.

“I have lots and lots of people saying they won’t vote for me because I’m Jewish. And it is very shocking, but it’s also hilarious in some sense. Growing up (in North London), it was the black side of me that always attracted racist comment because that was the visible bit. Though at school, because the kids knew my mother was Jewish, I did get called ‘yid nigger’ sometimes. But now, well, being black is really cool in Britain. Being Jewish? Oh no! I’m always losing out on one side or the other.”

(Via Clive Davis.)