Racism should not be tolerated in any form, hence the removal of a Conservative Councillor Ellenor Bland from selection lists and the dismissal of Home Affairs spokesman Patrick Mercer were absolutely correct. In particular Mercer should have been thinking of ways to ensure discrimination is removed as a normal part of life in the armed services and not condoning or excusing it - surely that is what we expect from MPs.
The problem is that the behaviour of these MPs is representative of views and actions that are widespread. Racist emails are circulated, many blacks have become accustomed to being referred to as 'the nigger' etc and worse in the factory; yet they do and say nothing as they do not wish to blow things out of proportion, be a trouble-maker.
But there are those that do use racism as a tool by which to undermine an opponent, and I wonder if this is something Lord Levy is employing. In the footsteps of Shilpa Shetty, he may be in the process of moving from crooked villain subverting British democracy to victim of anti-semitism. While some accusations may be grounded within hostility to British Jewry, once racism is introduced debate is stifled as to criticise the victim is to agree with the racists.
We need to separate out the small-minded xenophobic tendencies within our island mentality while ensuring that racism cannot be used as a cover by those who want to escape criticism, Mercer et al do society a gross disservice as they place evidence of racism in high places on the agenda, allowing others to see the potential in their differences rather than the problems.