Back in the 70s and 80s, there were Tory MPs whose views on everything from state funding for the arts through to support for LGBT rights were beyond reactionary. They represented a wing of the party that was socially illiberal and at the forefront of attacks on anything that smacked of LGBT, women’s and/or ethnic minority rights.
Not every Tory agreed with them. But they tended to have the loudest (often, Essex) voices and had powerful allies in the tabloid media. They could be relied on to generate endless copy on wicked Labour councils giving flats and houses to immigrants (had to be Asian or black for maximum impact with target audiences).
Enter Terry Dicks. On one occasion, he moved to stop a Kenyan Asian family getting a council house. These were people who had been forced to leave the former British colony of Kenya after independence when anti-Asian policies were pursued. Same thing happened in Uganda. Their business acumen and wealth was resented in those countries so they brought it here to the UK – but not with a warm welcome from certain people.
This Kenyan Asian family hadn’t actually broken any law and the British embassy in Nairobi had told them to come to the UK where they would be housed. Fair enough if Dicks wanted to take issue with the council that offered a house – Wigan in this case – but his ire was directed at the Asian family with language that was provocative.
Not that Dicks gave a damn. This was a man who described HIV/AIDS as a “luvvies disease” when the epidemic was at its height.