First, to quote Ed Balls, so what? It's not as if he said that all blacks should be rounded up at gunpoint and forced to leave. He simply said that, if some people find the thought of living in a Johnson-controlled London so terrible that they want to leave, then they should not be prevented from doing so, and the rest of us should not beat ourselves up about it. And what, exactly, is so appalling about that? Is the Mayor of London supposed to base his entire policy around the wishes of a handful of paranoiacs? Was Mr McGrath supposed to fall on his knees before Wadsworth, imploring him to prevent the postulated "mass exodus"?
Second, what McGrath said is pretty mild compared to certain remarks made by Ken Livingstone while he was in office:
As readers may have noticed, Livingstone did not resign after saying this.
Today at one of his regular press conferences, Ken Livingstone was discussing plans to regenerate Stratford in east London. He said the following about Simon and David Reuben, well-known property developers who are involved in the project:
Perhaps if they're not happy they can always go back [to their own country] and see if they can do better under the ayatollahs.
Asked to clarify his remarks he added:
If they're not happy here, they can go back to Iran and try their luck with the ayatollahs, if they don't like the planning regime or my approach.
The Reuben brothers are from India and are of Iraqi Jewish descent.
Third, I agree with Steve at Pub Philosopher that Boris Johnson's response to this incident demonstrates the spinelessness of the Cameron Tories. Johnson's decision to sack McGrath, which has been endorsed by Cameron himself, was a display of supreme moral and political cowardice. The screams of "racism" emanating from a race-baiting Labour activist, and echoed by sympathetic elements of the media (for example, the BBC initially said that McGrath had made "an apparently racist remark", and in other ways misrepresented the incident to show him in a negative light), achieved their desired effect: the sacking of a man who had done nothing wrong. To put it more succinctly, the left said "jump", and the Tories paused only to ask "how high?".
The justification given for McGrath's sacking, by Johnson and others, is that, while McGrath's comments were not racist, they might have given rise to a public perception that the man who made them was. However, this is a public perception (or perhaps only an illusion of one) that is formed and driven by the left, and which will only be given credence by the Tories caving in as easily as they have done. In order to ensure that "anti-racist" witch hunts like this one do not achieve a 100% success rate, no matter how lacking in substance the accusations of "racism" might be, and to ensure that we can actually speak openly about important issues like race and immigration, it is necessary to stand up to the witchfinders. The Tories have utterly failed to do this, and, as such, one has to question whether, even if they have the desire to change anything in this country (which I rather doubt), they also have the guts. As Steve puts it:
If this episode is anything to go by, all any noisy, self-righteous pressure group will need to do is say "BOO!" and the Tory government will roll over and die.