Um. I have occasionally thought about pursuing a political career. If that is an ambition, I'd better remember to watch my mouth. Discussing the allegations
by Commonwealth soldiers of inherent racism in the army I made a comment to the effect that it was important to distinguish between racist treatment - such as the Ku Klux Klan allegation - and what might be termed rudeness. I may even have said that Sergeant Majors on training runs telling two stragglers to hurry up, calling one a fat bastard and one a black bastard probably wasn't evidence of racism.
Well, good job I wasn't Shadow Minister for Homeland Security
eh? To be fair, it was probably more his comment that a lot of ethnic minority soldiers use the racism slur to cover up laziness that did for him. But the reaction to these comments has been really very excessive. To force Mercer's resignation was bad enough - though I'm open to the argument that Cameron had no real choice on the matter - but to argue that what he said was itself racist is absurd.
It's also instructive to note that Colonel Mercer (retd) possibly has a touch more authority to speak on such matters than any Labour or Liberal Democrat MP, given that of the whole pack of them only one has served in the Armed Forces - and that's the egregious Eric Joyce. So, for my money it's manufactured outrage and a non-story. But that's probably more a sign of my lack of politico-racial antennae than anything else.