The prime minister cares about damage limitation – not tackling Islamophobia

Editorial: On two occasions – at the time and on Sunday evening, when the Ghani allegations first publicly emerged – Mr Johnson made the same mistake of referring the matter to the wrong type of inquiry

Monday 24 January 2022 21:30

It is becoming a wearily predictable pattern of behaviour. Some scandal blows up in the government, and the prime minister’s immediate reaction is to deny its existence. If that fails, as it tends to, then the instinct is to (try to) close down any questioning by establishing some sort of investigation and inquiry, to which all queries are referred.

The prayer is that the inquirer or investigator is sufficiently sympathetic, and takes so long about their work, that when their report is eventually published, in redacted and sanitised form, the public will have forgotten what it was so angry about, and the media caravan will have moved on to some other distraction, real or synthesised by the official machine.

So it has been, thus far, with Baroness Hallett’s inquiry into the response to the Covid-19 pandemic (disgracefully yet to begin), and the Sue Gray investigation into Partygate, and so it may well prove with the as yet leaderless official investigation into Nusrat Ghani’s allegations of Islamophobia, a form of racism. The omens are not encouraging.

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