This morning, the Today programme on Radio 4 told its listeners that Tom Harris, who they described as a “former minister in the Blair government” had announced that he was voting for the Tories in the General Election and urged others to do so. There’s a reason why Today chose to do this: to take the sting out of former Tory minister, David Gauke’s, harsh words and his intention to stand as an independent.
So who is Tom Harris? Harris was Labour MP for Glasgow Cathcart and then Glasgow South from 2001 to 2015. He served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to a few government ministers but was never elevated to cabinet rank. He served as Shadow Environment Minister under Ed Miliband from 2010 to 2013 when he abruptly resigned, claiming that he “wanted to spend more time with his family” – a likely story. Around the same time, he began writing regular columns in the Daily Telegraph, replacing the extremely bitter hack, Dan Hodges, who had moved to the Daily Mail.
Harris also founded a public affairs firm called Third Avenue. In March 2016, he became the executive director of the Scottish branch of Vote Leave. He left the Labour Party last year.
So, is Harris important? No. If you look at his Twitter feed, you’ll see that he retweets CapX, the website belonging to the Thatcherite think-tank, Centre for Policy Studies, as well as prominent Tories.
Here’s his tweet in which he claims to have “lived, ate and breathed Labour”.
For someone who was an MP, he doesn’t appear to have grasped the fact that we don’t directly elect Prime Ministers. Personally, I think Harris has always been Tory. In fact, he’s just as racist as the rest of the party to which he now pledges his support. Take this Telegraph article from 2013 in which he rails against immigration and spews forth hatred for Roma people.
It’s not bigoted to worry about filthy and vastly overcrowded living arrangements, organised aggressive begging and the ghetto-isation of local streets
On, but it is bigoted, Tom but you’re clearly in the right company now.