There’s a little vignette in the News of the World this morning about Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne. It concerns Osborne’s relationship with a prostitute, and his response to the racist slurs that were thrown at her:
Osborne was offended when some members of the Oxford group would hurl racial slurs at Natalie. But she says that he was still so desperate to fit in that he didn’t have the courage to stop them. “There was one occasion they were taking the mickey out of me at a party,” she told us.
“They were making monkey noises and saying abusive things. They even used the word n*gger. George was there and I was hurt that he didn’t say anything.
“But he’d put his arms round me and comfort me and I did feel a connection. He didn’t stand up to the others, though. He didn’t want to upset them.” Despite that, Natalie insists she was still very fond of Osborne who she considered the nicest of the group of friends.
I hope that I would always have the courage to confront racism wherever I encounter it.
However, I’m conscious that on some occasions, particularly where racist attitudes have been expressed by somebody like an employer, or by a person who I fear might be aggressive, I’ve restricted myself to making half hearted noises of dissent, or trying to think of something reasoned and coherent in response, when I should really have responded with anger and condemnation.
I do therefore feel a little sympathy for Osborne, if his response to the vilest sort of racism was somewhat subdued. If he could not have reprimanded his Bullingdon confreres, there and then, he should at the very least done it privately, and have resigned from the Club.
UPDATE: But what about the missing toffs?