Terror attack in Manchester lays political debate open to extremists

At least 22 people, including children, have died after an explosion hit Manchester Arena at the end of a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande. A further 59 people were injured in the explosion which Greater Manchester Police believe was carried out by a single male attacker. Supporters of right-wing political parties including the Conservatives have used this as an opportunity to attack their political opponents.

With regret, I’m with Tom Clark of Another Angry Voice – political debate should not be silenced for a day after the Manchester Arena explosion, because right-wing extremists are rushing to fill the void.

In his latest article, Mr Clark writes:

We know from experience that horrific incidents like this generate massive surges of hatred from the extreme-right, and that no amount of begging for restraint, consideration or sensitivity is ever going to stop these people from piggybacking on other people’s misery to spread their divisiveness, bigotry and lies.

So any moratorium on political discourse in the wake of such events just leaves the floor open for the most depraved, extreme and opportunist people to shout their mouths off and revel in all the extra attention they’re getting.”

He goes on to demonstrate, with this example:

Mr Clark responds: “Just look at the pictured tweet from a Tory supporter called Tim Dawson. If all the progressives, the left, the greens, the liberals, the centrists, and the moderate centre-right types bind ourselves to a period of political silence over the Manchester Arena attack, or any other brutal act of savagery, we’re just giving utterly depraved people like Tim Dawson a silence to shout their hateful and divisive abuse into aren’t we?”

Moving on, Mr Clark shows us this:

His response: “Look at this next Tweet from another anti-Corbyn ranter called Robin Marchesi. Look how he accuses Jeremy Corbyn of what he himself is guilty of. 

“Jeremy Corbyn clearly didn’t try to politicise the attack at all, he simply expressed his condolences and praised the emergency services (as pretty much all other leading politicians did too).

“This Robin Marchesi however clearly does politicise the attack by pretending that Corbyn’s Tweet is somehow offensive, and that it’s cost Labour a vote.

“A quick look through Marchesi’s Twitter contribution history reveals that he’s been spreading anti-Corbyn bile for months, and was clearly never intending to vote for Labour.

“This track record of anti-Corbyn abuse indicates that Marchesi is a sickeningly dishonest concern troll who was intent on politicising the tragedy by pretending to have lost faith with Corbyn when he had actually hated him all along.

“As is so often the case with extreme right-wingers, they’re accusing someone else of what they themselves are guilty of.”

There is more in the AAV article but you can probably see it for yourself on your own Twitter feed. I can.

For example – and it’s a big one – the leader article in today’s edition of The Sun. Look at what’s been going on there:

How about this, in response to Andy Burnham’s message of support:

The thread that follows is well worth reading, if you have the stomach for it; another person suggests creating concentration camps in response.

This Site – This Writer – is horrified by the incident in Manchester and my thoughts and sympathies are with the families and friends of those who have died or who have been injured.

But the way to answer it is to share important messages that provide support, like this one:

Nobody should answer hate with hate. That is what terrorists want.

And we should not shut down our political discourse either – they want that too.

Defy them. Drown their hate-filled messages. Offer hope instead.

(Note: Comments on this article will be moderated very carefully. If you respond with messages of hate, in any way, your comment won’t be published. So do me a favour and don’t send it, okay?)

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28 thoughts on “Terror attack in Manchester lays political debate open to extremists

  1. NMac

    None of us know yet what is behind this appalling atrocity, but we do know that for some years now the right-wing fanatics and mainstream politicians, as well as hangers-on like Farage, have been continuously preaching non-stop hatred and division within society.

  2. autismandate

    Lucky for us all that labour negotiated a peaceful settlement that saved lives and produced peace and stopped the continuation of tit for tat killing

  3. Martin Odoni

    Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson have been scoring their usual anti-Muslim points on Twitter too.

    As for continuing political debate today, I understand what you and the Angry Yorkshireman are saying, but there’s a practical difficulty with that. Hard-right extremists are fundamentally indecent people who love taking advantage of horrors like this. Therefore they will always be at their loudest at these times. By contrast, people on the left, by and large, tend to have a lot more empathy, and so won’t have the stomach for political debate so soon after the attack. I certainly don’t feel up to it right now, it just feels completely wrong.

  4. joanna

    Katie Hopkins should be Fired! I usually like the idea of free speech but, her’s is dangerous especially for those who agree with her! She should also know that tweets don’t just disappear, she should also be criminally charged and made an example of, letting the public know, no matter who you are, comments like her’s are unacceptable!

    How did this become Corbyn’s fault? He doesn’t the security services!

    1. Zippi

      Who is she, anyway? How did she go from being a losing competitor in a television competition to having this platform from which to spout her bile?

    2. Zippi

      By the way, everything is Jeremy Corbyn’s fault; just look at the E.U. referendum result and many other things. It is beyond ridiculous.

  5. Fibro confused

    I hope this doesn’t mean a reoccurrence of delivery drivers bringing me what I order, though most know me now, after the damn referen’dum’ any of any ethnic origin pressed the door bell and stood about 6+ft from the door, they were frightened because of the abuse they had been getting, your right the void must be filled and hate opposed!!

  6. Mervyn Hartwig

    A few hours before the Manchester attack I tweeted “BBC Politics Today leads charge re security in Corbyn’s hands. Beware, security is CROSBY’s WEDGE. #VoteLabour” It is well known that Lynton Crosby has identified security as Labour’s Achilles’ heel in GE2017. Expect them to try and exploit it and the dead cat theory to the hilt whenever the going gets tough for May.

    1. Paul Smyth

      Very true. I keep seeing security related ads on Youtube. Luckily they’re mostly skippable but you know it’s going to ramp up now. Sadly this incident could turn the tide

  7. joanna

    I would also like to offer my condolences, Hopes and Prayers to those who have been touched by this terrible
    tragic attack!!

  8. creatorsnotconsumers

    I have chosen not to campaign today, out of respect, but that is not the same thing as countering and exposing the vicious bile that is pouring out. Thanks for this Mike, shared.

  9. Florence

    Well said. The leaders may want to alter their schedules if for no other reason than concern trolling from the MSM. The same MSM who are not falling silent but whipping up the most frightening divisive partisan political far right rhetoric so far seen in this campaign. The rest of us have the right of free speech. That is worth fighting for, because if the Tories win they will own the internet and censor political debate for a lot longer than one day.

  10. Neilth

    Knocking on doors and canvassing is inappropriate today but countering right wing bile and opportunist misinformation is crucial. We cannot leave gaps for the pondlife of the press (Katie Hopkins and her ilk) or other extremists to crawl through to poison the debate with their hate filled fundamentalism from all parts of the extremist spectrum.

  11. Jon Ford

    A comment by Sarah Hussey that I felt I had to share.
    “The right often bring up JCs contact with the IRA, I hope this clarifies things –
    One of the most commonly occurring personal attack points that right-wingers use against Jeremy Corbyn is that he openly talked to the IRA in the 1980s and ’90s.
    The problem with this right-wing narrative (like with so many other right-wing narratives) is that it’s totally undermined by facts and reality.
    These people know that Corbyn talked to the IRA because he did it openly, but at the very same time Corbyn was openly talking to the IRA the political establishment were conducting secret backdoor deals with them.
    – In 1972 the Tory government of Edward Heath conducted secret negotiations with the IRA. The truth was only revealed in 2003.
    – Margaret Thatcher always used to insist that she did not negotiate with terrorists, but in 2011 declassified documents revealed that that’s exactly what she did. She negotiated with the IRA in 1981 during the hunger strikes, and the documents detailing the negotiating position of the UK government even featured annotations in her handwriting!
    – Thatcher also gave her personal approval to secret talks with the IRA in 1990 too. So much for her not negotiating with terrorists rhetoric eh?
    – In 1993 the revelation that John Major’s government had been conducting secret talks with the IRA created a huge political scandal, with several Tory MPs (who were clearly unaware of Thatcher’s secret talks with the IRA) reacting with horror at the revelation that the not negotiating with terrorists line was a total lie.
    – In 2008 it was revealed that the UK government maintained a secret back channel to talk with the IRA for two decades all the way from 1973 and 1993.
    – From 1997 onward Tony Blair’s government conducted negotiations with the IRA that eventually led to the Good Friday Agreement, the power-sharing deal and the successful deescalation of the troubles. During this process Tony Blair had secret talks with the IRA in 1999.
    – In 2010 an Tory peer called David James openly admitted that he had a history of secretly laundering money for the IRA. He still sits in the unelected House of Lords as a Tory peer!”

    1. Sven Wraight

      Actually, Baron James of Blackheath said he’d “written off” IRA money, being appointed by the Bank of England to stop IRA money laundering.

  12. Rusty

    Disgraceful how the sun blames JC for what is really their fault! Rupert murdoch on the board of genie oil, currently drilling in the middle east countries at war!!!

    1. wildswimmerpete

      It would appear that Lynton Crosby’s filthy fingermarks are all over it. It’s known that should JC be showing signs of winning Crosby will be specifically targetting JC and such human ordure as shown in that S*n piece is Crosby’s favourite ammunition. There’s really no depth that Crosby won’t stoop to. Should Labour win on June 8th amongst the very first jobs to do would be to declare Crosby an undesirable alien and deport him.

      1. Rusty

        Here here! I would love to march him to the nearest port and stick a “do not return” note on his forehead!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I do not recommend that people visit that page. What was disheartening for me (having ignored my own advice and visited it – sorry) was that more than 7,500 people have ‘liked’ that comment.

  13. Aelfy

    This is what I do on a daily basis, counter lies with truth and facts, report the far right threats and many graphic photographs of maimed/injured/dead people that proliferate on many sites. Today I cannot do that as the amount of hate has more than quadrupled on social media and I’m overwhelmed with it all. I’m having a much needed break. Social media does have it’s good side, the bad side however has seen a huge leap in followers and to be honest the operators of social media platforms are not very helpful .

  14. foggy

    Its disgusting how people will incite hatred when such an horrific loss of lives, especially young children, has happened.

    Can anyone tell me why it hasn’t been made law that venues, including football stadiums, that hold large capacities, have to have at least 1 trained sniffer dog on the entrance to the venue ? Bag checking is time consuming and wasn’t done last night at the Manc arena. 1 trained sniffer dog last night just may have saved all those lives !!

  15. blackghost55

    I’ve just read your post & agree with you and the other comments here, my condolences to the families affected its very sad and yes I am very annoyed at this.. it wasn’t labour who got rid of 20,000 police officers & starved the nhs of funds was it?

  16. Zippi

    The hypocrisy is risible. I do think that we need to stop calling these people terrorists; they are not; they are murderers, pure and simple; call them what they are. Was the Washington Sniper, for example, a terrorist? Calling these people terrorists gives them some kind of legitimacy. Historically, terrorists instill fear in order to make change, usually when all else fails. These people have no interest in spreading fear for any cause, only death. You cannot terrorise people whom you have killed and killing is their aim; they are not terrorists but murderers. Blowing people up, stabbing people, driving vehicles into people, decapitating people… these are not acts of terrorism but of murder, of wilful destruction of human life, in which they delight. These are sick and twisted individuals who are cruel and callous. Sadly, one cannot negotiate with such people, for they care not about us, or, evidently, even themselves. It seems that these people’s goal is to eradicate us. That is not terrorism.

  17. Barry Davies

    The best way to deal with terrorism is to carry on regardless, as we did time after time in the 70’s, stopping political discourse is what they want to achieve so why give it them.?

Comments are closed.