I hesitate to repeat the phrase, but “n****r in the woodpile” is not a phrase that you can just come out with inadvertently, as if you have just picked up from popular culture and unintentionally repeated.
If you are using it, then surely it is the kind of phrase that you must be aware of, and be familiar with, perhaps even using it within your vocabulary, or at least associating with those who are (her partner has form).
I had never heard of the phrase before, but after a quick look into the historical meaning of the phrase one can see just how abominable a phrase it is. Surely, “needle in a haystack” would have sufficed?
Let’s assume her innocence, in that she is not in the slightest bit racist. Even so, that is simply a totally reprehensible and unacceptable phrase and she cannot be allowed to represent the Conservative Party. I welcome her suspension, but would go one further and sack her – or at least ask her to resign her seat.
Fuck the by-election in a hung parliament. This is too important.
Sadly there is no precedent.
In the Labour Party, we have Diane Abbott is shadow home secretary despite her previous racist outbursts. Jeremy Corbyn’s other good friend, Ken Livingstone, is repeatedly suspended then allowed back later, after varying anti-semitic comments. Emily Thornberry kept her job after her appalling snobbish comments during the referendum campaign. Not to mention John McDonnell inciting hatred, and Momentum seemingly encouraging threatening acts towards moderate Labour MPs and Conservatives.
But we shouldn’t be judging ourselves on the standards of others. The higher moral ground must be taken.
I will understand if Theresa May doesn’t sack her due to the lack of precedent, but it would be a bold statement to take such strong action against racism, set a marker for the standards expected of society at large, and set the precedent expected of other political parties too.
Politically (these things must be considered), a by-election would likely be won, could strengthen Theresa’s place as leader, and help to assuage the concerns of the most liberal-minded voters that were haemorrhaged in the general election.
Time to be bold, Theresa. Time to be strong.