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08 November 2003

Tory Leader "Michael Hecht"?

A comment column by Nick Cohen from last Sunday's Observer, What's in a name? imparts a bit of the all-but-hidden family history of new Conservative leader Michael Howard nee Hecht, the son of an asylum-seeker. The obfuscatory stance of the Tories on this is contrasted sharply with Arnold Schwarznegger's capitalisation on his self-made immigrant status. A quote:
"If British Tories wanted to emulate the success of the American Right, then Michael Howard would have said last week: 'My father found sanctuary in Britain 60 years ago. He was saved from the gas chambers and welcomed with opened arms. The Kurd who is granted leave to remain must be as precious to us as the Queen . . . The Tory party will soon boast that it is living the British dream. In Michael Howard it will have its first Prime Minister who is the son of an asylum-seeker.'
"If you are holding your breath until Howard acknowledges that his very existence depends on the right to asylum, I must warn you of the dangers of suffocation. It's a fantasy to imagine that a politician might praise refugees and point out that he is a walking advertisement for successful assimilation."
Blogauthor's clarification: British politician, that is. I wonder why?

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