Thornberry resignation – engineered by the right-wing press?

Emily Thornberry and the image she tweeted [Image: BBC].

Emily Thornberry and the image she tweeted [Image: BBC].

Here’s an alternative view on the resignation of Labour’s now-former shadow attorney general, Emily Thornberry. You’ll recall that she unfortunately tweeted a shot of a house festooned with St George flags, with a white van parked outside, accompanied by an off-colour comment (or at least, one that could be interpreted in such a way). The right-wing media jumped on it and Ed Miliband asked her to resign.

Vox Political took the view that her resignation was in the best interests of the Labour Party, especially as her background did not suggest a person who was particularly well-disposed towards the working classes.

Then Peter Bowman posted the following on the Vox Political Facebook page, and in the interests of fairness it is getting an airing here as well. See what you think of his interpretation:

“I really don’t know where to begin. I am so exasperated with this nation’s press, radio and TV media. Emily Thornberry’s tweet was an error, and as leader of our party, Ed had no choice to do what he did.

“Or should I put it like this: ‘Damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t’?

The Sun started this Tory-biased media ball rolling. The Sun could say in a similar vein, as it did some years ago, ‘It’s The Sun Wot did It’. As for these Tory-leaning media being representatives of the conscious beliefs of Britain’s working classes, well, that is too funny to even contemplate.

“I just by chance caught a part of an LBC (London Broadcasting Company) radio interview with Conservative MP Michael Fabricant, who also had a twitter incident in his past. He reminded the host, Julia Hartley-Brewer, that Ms Thornberry came from a council house background – therefore how can she be classed as part of the Islington Set by the Tory Press? Thank you Mr Fabricant.

“Even with this, the host asked callers to ring in if they thought that Labour has become the ‘wine and couscous set’.

“On Sky News there is a strand called ‘Stand up and be counted’, in which two opposing young party activists give their opinions against each other. The UKIP rep, though young, was aggressive, rude and did not allow the young Labour rep time to counter his arguments, which were, to say the least, absurd. He suggested that it was Labour who were the racist party and did not understand working class Britain.

“The Labour rep had to remind him that it was Farage who had an Oxford education and was a stock broker – and his new MPs could not be called working class.

“And the Mail on Sunday (November 23, 2014) maps out where Labour’s leadership resides in North London, on top of which, a top Tory is now saying, ‘Shut the doors, Britain is full of immigrants’.

“If anybody despises working class Britain, it’s the Tory leaning press and media.

“This nation, by the way, is made up of immigrants – going back to The Angles, Saxons and Celts; then the Romans, the French and Vikings.

“Ed and Labour have a fight on their hands with all this propaganda weighed against us. We must not fall for these right-wing Tory and UKIP traps. Ed and Labour have to win in 2015.

“If they don’t it will be a Zero Future for all of Britain’s citizens for the next five years – except the Top five per cent, that is – and that is a very frightening prospect, to be sure.”

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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15 thoughts on “Thornberry resignation – engineered by the right-wing press?

  1. keltyk

    Working Clarss are doomed. Turkeys voting for Xmas; they haven’t a clue. UKIP Tory Alliance is very likely- which is like the Nazis teaming up with the Fascists almost. They will hammer the working classes and they do hate them; especially UKIP. A lot of us are going to die. Labour are little better. Scotland is going all out SNP and will hold a lot of power in Westminster. Something you don’t expect or understand in England yet. They will actually be a force for socialism in England but your media are going to all out attack them, when not ignoring them, as is currently the case. Labour will absolutely try to thwart them in their Socialist intentions, which will make interesting irony. Salmond will stand up for places like Liverpool when they get the thin end of the wedge as usual. As for Saxons etc who came to UK- yes indeed, and there was much bloodshed. They largely managed to kill off or outbreed the indigenous populations, and I am sure those people said- ‘Hooray- here come the Vikings- Hope they butcher us– we deserve it, they’re far better workers and cheaper than us”

  2. martyn500

    We are still waiting to find out. Nothing appears to have actually changed, here in Clacton. The street lights are still going of at midnight. We don’t have any immigrants here, never did.

    The person in charge hasn’t changed and hasn’t changed what he does.

    1. ireallymeanthis

      I was looking at local population changes( i live nr Colchester,who’s population has increased quite a bit) and was surprised to see that Tendring’s population had actually gone down 0.4% between 2001 & 2012- very unusual for the region as a whole .
      Though that is largely migration from elsewhere in the country, the population drop makes a mockery of any ” they’re coming over here and taking our jobs/ benefits/ wives etc ” argument in Clacton.
      If anything, Clacton and the area could make use of some migration.

  3. Guy Ropes

    So by definition, it seems, no one born in a council house can ever be called anything other than ‘working class’. Your blog Mike, is increasingly becoming the ‘go-to’ site for humour. Keep ’em coming. They’re b*****ds those red tops – they’re even TELLING the Labour leader what to say in respect of his own shadow cabinet. Can he not form his own opinions? So that means that Labour go along with what Murdoch and his chums decree. No change there then. Old habits die hard.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The ‘go-to’ site for humour? I don’t know about that, but it’s true that I get a lot of laughs from your comments.

  4. aturtle05

    I am still wondering where the slur was with the tweet?

    To my mind, the photograph showed someone who was either patriotic, or supporting the National Association Football team who had just beaten “the old enemy” Scotland. The wording “This is Rochester” could have meant, in my opinion, that Ms Thornbury thought that the whole of Rochester was as patriotic.

    I agree that if I took a photograph of a building at the junction of Birdcage Walk and Constitution Hill in London and tweeted it with “This is England” that would not get people thinking that we all lived in palaces!

    1. ireallymeanthis

      I am with you in this. Where was the offence in this tweet? It was posted up as an image from the town. So what?
      It didn’t come with any comments, so those were handily provided by various journalists who informed the reader what the MP was really getting at( but didn’t say) and how wrong it supposedly was.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        There was a comment, but all it said was “Image from Rochester”. People took it as being an adverse comment on the flags and the white van – why take the shot and show it to people otherwise? – but it really is a debatable point.

  5. AJ

    Blair carried on the Thatcher con trick of everybody can be middle class. A car, holiday, two job household, you’re middle class. Well you are not. I am an engineer with 2 degrees and I still consider myself working class. Under a Tory Gov eventually over half the pop will suffer greatly as they increase the wealth of the 2 to 5% on the backs of our children. Mike I enjoy reading your blog; however I feel like-minded thinkers are in the minority. You need to ask yourself the question. Do the people of the UK deserve a Tory Gov?

  6. Florence

    Let’s not forget the artistos and upper classes are just our Norman invader masters if we want to push it back that far, where the “us & them” is a cultural class belief. So is the “plebs & underclass disposable minions” attitude that starves people to death without blinking. The class hatred pouring forth from the current cabal of old Etonians running the UK is as abhorrent as that of Ukip, even if it is (slightly) more subtle, and less blatantly couched in racism. But of course, they are actually in power, and have actually enacted the policies to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich, creating poverty and hunger not seen since 1945 or earlier.

    We will see a lot more of 1984 speak and manufactured “news” from the Red Tops in the next few months, unfortunately. But one thing to remember about the “Sun wot dun it” is that at the time of that headline as I recall more of their readers voted Labour than Tory. Perhaps they really do believe their own propaganda?

  7. Simon Turner

    She made what started as an innocent mistake if by mistake you mean deliberate misinterpretation but the showed her toffyness by saying that she has never seen a house adorned like this…………

  8. Guy Ropes

    Repeat after me: “Patriotism is anathema to the Middle classes”. It’s something that they just don’t “do”. The last time a patriot poked their head above the parapet i.e. saying what a majority of Britons think, she was branded a bigot. But surely, if a political party can’t deal with something so meaningless as this tiny, insignificant spat without looking stupid, what chance do they have of running the Country successfully? Do Labour have ‘overseas’ advisors copping big fees? Then sack ’em.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Why would anybody want to repeat anything after you?
      What was this “last time” of which you write?
      Ah, you’re trying to make political mileage out of this – I thought you didn’t approve when people do that?

  9. Joan Edington

    I can’t believe how this has been blown up so far. If this slightly tactless tweet can lead to a sacking, surely most of the ToryLibDem government would be long-gone. It’s OK to be responsible for multiple deaths, people starving or evicted, food banks, vans running round London telling immigrants to go home etc, etc ad infinitum, but a tweet about English flags & white van men is a sackable offense. What’s the country coming to?

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