The rise and fall of Lord John Taylor

in

Ever since 1992 when he took the political platform Lord John Taylor was destined to make history.  

A sharp suited barrister, Taylor represented everything that the then Prime Minister John Major wanted to show case in his ‘One Nation’, philosophy. Taylor talked like the establishment, dressed like it, and as a barrister worked within it.

For blue rinse Conservatives what wasn’t there to like about him? Well, for too many in the Cheltenham constituency his colour for a start.  The local Conservative party strongly felt Taylor had been foisted on them. One senior local member who was later told to leave the party informed the media that, we don’t want this, ‘bloody n...r’.

Until the arrival of John Taylor, Cheltenham had been a safe Conservative seat. He should have been the first Conservative MP of African descent, but the people and the racism of Cheltenham had other ideas.

In one the most dramatic episodes of the1992 election John Taylor lost the seat to the Liberal Democrats. Asked whether or not race had anything to do with his shock defeat Taylor infamously and emphatically stated no.

Black Britain was shocked and dismayed by Taylor’s denial. Racism in Britain during the 90's was  ever present but it was always denied by the establishment. This was the black community’s moment to remind the nation of what black groups had been suffering on a daily basis. Taylor denied himself and his community of that moment.

His reward would be an appointment to the House of Lords. Taylor’s place in history was confirmed, not as he had first imagined, as the first Conservative MP of African descent, but rather as a Peer.

Many years later Lord John Taylor did eventually talk about race inequality within the Conservative party, but it seemed too many that he was only really  lamenting about the  lack of his own progress within the Party.

Sadly, yesterday Lord Taylor made history again, as the only politician - the MPs in the same boat pleaded guilty - to be tried and convicted of fraudulent expenses claims. Taylor now awaits his fate and could easily be sent to prison, which would be a very sad end to what was back in the 90s a very promising career.

Right now Lord John Taylor is not in a good place, either emotionally or physically, and giving consideration to his well being, we hope that he comes through this a better person.

Some will question in his case and in others why the authorities have tended to focus much of their attention on minority ethnic peers?  But whilst that question is legitimate we have to accept that what Taylor did was wrong, and he too must accept the consequences.

In the end, sadly, Taylor’s political career, probably from start to finish, will not be remembered for being a blue print for other Black people to follow. A man with great potential perhaps squandered his talent, and never realised what a beacon he could have been for the Black community.

Simon Woolley

Archived Comments

We've changed to a new commenting system - comments below are preserved for archive purposes

Shaken confidence in the Lords.

"A man with great potential perhaps squandered his talent, and never realised what a beacon he could have been for the Black community."

This is also a man who had it all (Peerage e.t.c and then disgraced politics, parliament and the country by trying to squander the tax-payer's money. Do not be so easy on him just because OBV identifies with him as a Black man. His takings of £11,277 for fraudulent travel costs "in lieu of a salary" and claiming on a house he didn't own simply shows that this Lord has decided to take the concept of parliamentary privilage and administer it under his own definition in lieu of parliamentary practice.

The tax payer cannot be expected to pay eleven-thousand pounds for this man to visit his nephew in Oxford. The fact that he has had a few lucrative careers in the past and obviously has, or should have, the means to support himself (otherwise he would not be a Lord) makes this case unjustifiable in any reasonable manner.

"why the authorities have tended to focus much of their attention on minority ethnic peers?"

It doesn't appear as if the authorities have focused on minority ethnic peers. Human beings attempt to find a pattern in every outcome and using the same logic exhibited above we could suggest that the authorities have been exessively targeting white MPs as only white MPs have been instigated or convicted for fraudulent expenses. This is simply not the case and people are simply appealing to logical fallacies.

lord john taylor

i don't know that "this is a man who had it all". obviously that's what taylor thought and that's what anon thought. he might have got a peerage but he had no integrity or self respect. it is quite likely that he thought his white colleagues in the tory party, the few he was able to cultivate, would have protected him. that was not the case.

simon thought he had a well deserved cumuppance (sp) but i don't agree. even theiving peers who thought he was not a black man can make amends.

i think if so called miority ethnic peers are theives they too should pay the price for their theivery. on the other hand it is also my view that the black community should not give up on taylor but we should reach out to him and let him know that he has a home to come to and although we do condone his dishonesty he still belongs to the group. i'm sure he can be of benefit to the community.
he has skills (LEGAL) THAT CAN BE PUT TO USE by our youngsters. remember perfumo?

lord john taylor

mmm

mmm

mmm

John Taylor - the silent minority!

John Taylor had the chance to bring racial issues regarding the black comunitiy to the table, but instead he chose to deny that very important thing that defines him - his blackness. Surely, he couldn't have expected the black community to support him if he is in denial; after all, he knew that he would be faced with bigotry and hatred the minute he took the 'spot' that was only supposed to be for the next white MP. Let's face facts here - I would have believed that only a few begots exhisted in the conservative party if it was openly clear that some members were present in John Taylor's defence, but no-one in the 'local' conservative party rallied around him; silence speaks volume!

The question about authorities tending to focus on minorities shouldn't be the main focus here, but who is guilty regardless of ethnic group? In saying that, if it were true, then the same logic would never be applied to white MPs since the majority of seats are held be white MPs (in response to Aron's mail). Here's something to investigate - whether the penalties levied at the 'minority' ethnic groups are harsher than for the White groups.

Re: Society deeprooted in Corruption

We must not feel sorry for John Taylor. There's an African saying " every day is for the thief but one day for the owner". This is probably the tip of the iceberg- he was only been punish because he was caught- this a day for him to pay for what he'd probably done in the past- what goes round come round. I used to hold politician with a high esteem but no more. How can the people we trust to rule to make decisions that affect all our lives come so low? They are not there anymore to serve the people but to serve themselves and their families but ordinaty poor people like myself can go to hell!

Black conservatives

"a blue print for other Black people to follow" - I don't think joining the conservative party is a very good blueprint for Black people to follow. Rev Al Sharpton (for all his shortcomings) hit the nail on the head when he visited London last year and said "I don't understand Black conservatives... ya'll ain't got nothin' to conserve!". Well, it seems Lord Taylor did have something to conserve - his own personal wealth, which had little to do with the rest of our community.

Michael you raise an

Michael you raise an interesting comment.

I have noticed that there is a great resurgence of 'class-politics' and I simply don't believe that the concept of a social 'class' is appropriate for any society - not least a modern one.

The definitions are arbitrary, the boundaries are loose, 'class' ultimately makes little sense and its idea and the resulting social mannerisms are simply some of the most offensive to be found.

I had/ still have a small business, however, I could not carry on with it knowing that through my purchases and sales I would be funding the super-wealthy, who are infact a burden on our economy, due to the nature of reserving money being incompatible with growth, jobs and such a practice limits the throughput of a market-driven society - contributing to monetary inflation.

What is a 20 year old such as myself to do, with a sense of social morality that is incompatible with the current zeitgeist of our country?

(The question is purely rhetorical and it does not make me a communist or any form of extremist, on the contrary, I believe it is our system itself that is at times extreme)

Also, the low wages paid and often appalling working conditions offered to to the workers, mainly in places such as India and China, for the Electronic Goods that I retailed, is a problem that I could not excuse or reconcile with. The thoughts of young people, some most likely younger than myself, with very little in the way of a future, while I could profit, is not something I could live with and it might have otherwise forever hanuted my mind.

Simply phrased: I refuse to participate in the Global Economy.

John Taylor

This is not a question of being white or black or green or whatever. It is a question of right or wrong. The man has done some thing which is wrong and it is right that he should be punished for it. The same fate would have fallen to a white Member of the House of Lords had he/she been caught defrauding the tax payer. In my view it is a just outcome irrespective of colour, creed or nationality.

Lords aren't paid

Lord John Taylor came from a very humble background and it tooks guts, dignity and hard work to not only become a top class barrister but also to move into the Conservative party that was full of white middle aged/classed racists and bigots...Having percevered here ....he then took on the opportunity of entering the house of lords ...It must be made clear that to offer his service and do the job properly i.e attending parliament he had to give up his job as a barrister ....only to discover that Lords arent paid !! and that the majority come from very wealthy and priviledged backgrounds ....It should also be noted that after being encouraged to claim a few thousand travel expenses ....and being told it was what others did who were waiting for salaries .....of which he paid back every penny ....i believe it was nothing more than 'a set up' from within by folk who resent the Peerage system opening up to the public and changing its archaic structure..!!...
Now there are more black lords and people who have won their position through sheer excellence of character like John Taylor and soon there will hopefully be a salary ..it is just a shame that lovely people like Lord John Taylor got caught up in the change process ....and were wrongly scandalised ....if you compare all the that this man has done ..ie just look at his website the Warwick Foundation ... and much more .....this petty claims scandal can hardly be compared to the huge amounts by other rather notorious characters who really did milk the system....Lord John will no doubt not waste his time in prison and im sure will already be writing to improve conditions inside and encourage prison reform .....and help others with letters and legal advise who have been victims of the system .There have been those who jumped on the band wagon while he was rising to fame and wanted to be seen with...but im sure now he can count his real friends on his hands and this experience will just sharpen his wisdom and judgement of character ..something he'll need when he goes back into Parliament to hopefully continue standing for change , reform and progress as a sheep among the wolves.
.in summary
The House of Lords should provide salaries to members in accordance to their means so that extremely rich Lords can use their own money and others without such inheritances should be paid fairly and accordingly.
Despite all the damning comments re his race and not being absolutley squeaky clean ..i do believe Lord John Taylor who rose and fell will rise again and will be seen as a human aware and sympathetic to the human frailities of others and will work on a scale that brings together different races and ethnicities connecting people by the simple fact that we are all humans ....there is a wonderful photo of him on "Being Human" edited by Neil Astley .the companion anthology to Staying Alive and Being Alive a world poetry anthology offering poetry lovers an even broader, international selection of 'real poems for unreal times'.

4000
3000