‘…at the turn of the nineties… “my fellow Conservatives” were singing “hang Nelson Mandela”’
– Tim Montgomerie, Editor, ConservativeHome
Last year I received a call from a Salford University student who was tapping alumni for donations to a development fund. To butter me up a bit, she asked a couple of questions about my university days and her notes revealed I’d chaired the anti-apartheid group.
I don’t shock easily, but I’ll admit a little surprise that she’d never heard of apartheid. I had to explain that in my day South Africa was racially segregated and, because we had a Tory government, Britain did everything it could to protect a violent regime determined that black people should never get their hands on the levers of power.
Ditching all that baggage is key to Project Cameron, so I thought it would be interesting to see how his rejection of Thatcher’s South Africa policy is going down with the grassroots who still like the odd racist joke. Here’s the first comment: ‘he [Cameron] is condoning urban terrorism!’. Tories are so predictable.
And it’s not just nutty blog readers. Plenty of high ranking Conservatives defend defending apartheid: ‘I wonder whether David Cameron is a Conservative,’ booms Sir Bernard Ingham. It’s a shocker. Next Cameron will shun Pinochet for making people disappear rather than reward him with a nice cup of tea.
And Mandela will know all this. It was Mandela who invited Cameron to South Africa (an invite the Tory leader could hardly refuse) and having been given an audience with the world’s greatest living statesman, the boy could hardly not say something to upset the blue rinses who still admire Thatch.