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26 thoughts on Anne Marie Morris's racist outburst


Some thoughts on the news that a Conservative MP, Anne Marie Morris, described a “no deal” Brexit as “the n****r in the woodpile”.

  1. Seriously?
  2. What even is “the n****r in the woodpile”?
  3. According to Wikipedia, “the n****r in the woodpile” refers to “a fact of considerable importance that is not disclosed”. It may originate with the practice of hiding escaped slaves in, well, piles of wood. This doesn’t make any sense, as Morris was referring to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal. This is actually the clearest scenario we have for the future of financial services – the topic that Morris was discussing.  If anything “the n****r in the woodpile” is what our eventual deal with the EU will look like.
  4. God there’s something incredibly naff about British politicians using the N-word, isn’t there? Are you a Republican Congressman in a Confederate state? No, of course not, you’re a lawyer turned Conservative backbencher from Dorset representing Newton Abbot.
  5. Where even is Newton Abbot?
  6. There’s probably some freelance money to be made here.
  7. That’s good because I’ve done something funny to the back of my shoes.
  8. Probably better money in supporting her.
  9. I wonder what the per-word rate at Spiked is.
  10. How on earth do you become an MP while being so stupid as to use the N-word at a public event?
  11. I mean, surely, even if you are an honest-to-God, white sheet-wearing KKK racist, your basic self-preservation instinct kicks in and goes “Hmm. Wait a second. I wonder if this might possibly backfire?”
  12. I mean, come on, aren’t these the same people who go on about political correctness gone mad?
  13. Anne Marie Morris presumably had to defeat at least one other person to be selected as the Conservative candidate.
  14. Imagine how rubbish you must be to lose to someone who uses the word “n****r” at a meeting in 2017.
  15. Anne Marie Morris is 60.
  16. How do you get to be a) a professional politician and b) 60 without clocking that you shouldn’t use the word “n****r” in a public setting?
  17. I’m more offended by the ineptitude than anything else.
  18. Who even uses the phrase “n****r in a woodpile”?
  19. Who uses the phrase incorrectly?
  20. She’s apologised. I hope that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the piece all that much.
  21. She’s said that the remark was unintentional. What was she trying to say?
  22. Is she claiming she, like, tripped?
  23. I get that the remark wasn’t actually unintentional, I’m just perplexed that the non-apology is so bad.
  24. Is she claiming she read from an auto-cue with a really bad auto-correct?
  25. Please someone ask her what she intended to say.
  26. See 1.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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Theresa May condemns Big Ben’s silence – but stays silent on Donald Trump’s Nazi defence


You know what it’s like when you get back from your summer holiday. You have the inbox from hell, your laundry schedule is a nightmare, you’ve put on a few pounds, and you receive the harrowing news that a loud bell will chime slightly less often.

Well, Theresa May is currently experiencing this bummer of a homecoming. Imagine it: Philip’s taking out the bins, she’s putting the third load on (carefully separating shirt dresses from leathers), she switches on Radio 4 and is suddenly struck by the cruel realisation that Big Ben’s bongs will fall silent for a few years.

It takes a while for the full extent of the atrocity to sink in. A big old clock will have to be fixed. For a bit. Its bell will not chime. But sometimes it will.

God, is there no end to this pain.

“It can’t be right,” she thinks.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States Donald Trump is busy excusing a literal Nazi rally which is so violent someone was killed. Instead of condemning the fascists, Trump insisted there was violence on both sides – causing resignations and disgust in his own administration and outrage across the world.

At first, May’s spokesperson commented that “what the President says is a matter for him” and condemned the far right, and then the PM continued in the same vein – denouncing the fascists but not directing any criticism at the President himself:

“I see no equivalence between those who profound fascists views and those who oppose them.

“I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.”

Unlike May, other politicians here – including senior Tories – immediately explicitly criticised Trump. The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said Trump had “turned his face to the world to defend Nazis, fascists and racists. For shame”, while justice minister Sam Gyimah said the President has lost “moral authority”.

So our Right Honourable leader, the head of Her Majesty’s Government, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, made another statement:

“Of course we want to ensure people’s safety at work but it can’t be right for Big Ben to be silent for four years.

“And I hope that the speaker, as the chairman of the House of Commons commission, will look into this urgently so that we can ensure that we can continue to hear Big Ben through those four years.”

Nailed it. The years ahead hang in the balance, and it was her duty to speak up.

I'm a mole, innit.