Picture the scene if you can: A newsroom in any mainstream media organisation. Reporters are clustered around a screen.
Reporter 1: Wow. Dominic Grieve just lost a vote of “no confidence” at his Conservative Association.
Reporter 2: Conservative Association. That’s a shame.
Reporter 1: Yeah. If it had been Labour, we could have had a front-page lead.
Wouldn’t you’d say that’s an accurate description of the way the most popular political parties are treated by the mainstreamers?
Rachael Swindon puts it clearly:
Dominic Grieve lost a confidence vote at his local Conservative association tonight.
Oddly, I’ve not seen any headlines claiming he was forced out by extremist elements who have hijacked the Tory Party.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) March 30, 2019
She was referring to this tweet:
BREAKING: Dominic Grieve loses confidence vote at Beaconsfield Conservative Association by 182 to 131 votes; paves way for deselection
— Gabriel Pogrund (@Gabriel_Pogrund) March 29, 2019
Now, those of us who are familiar with Gabriel Pogrund had to wait until other news sources confirmed the story – Mr Pogrund is the hack who falsely accused me of Holocaust denial in a Sunday Times article last year; the paper was forced to issue a correction in January after a ruling by press regulator IPSO. I wouldn’t believe a word he wrote without corroboration.
In this instance, it seems he is accurate, according to this BBC report.
Rachael Swindon’s opinion was quickly corroborated by other left-wing commentators.
Owen Jones wrote: “If this was a Labour MP, this would be front page news with talk of bullying, abuse and creeping totalitarianism.”
And Aaron Bastani tweeted: “There will be numerous deselections of Tories. The media doesn’t think it’s an issue though, because socialists aren’t involved.”
The opinions are borne out by the evidence.
Consider the way Angela Smith attacked a “cabal of hard-left members” after she lost a “no confidence” motion in her Penistone & Stocksbridge constituency – before jumping ship to help found TINGe – sorry – Chinge UK.
Chris Leslie lost a “no confidence” vote in Nottingham North CLP before also doing a bunk to TINGe/Chinge UK. He had been quoted as having described his critics as the “intolerant hard left”.
Joan Ryan described her critics in Enfield North CLP as “Trots Stalinists Communists and assorted hard left” before tripping out of Labour to join – you guessed it – TINGe/ChingeUK.
Much was made of these events by the mainstream news media but it seems Mr Grieve’s treatment by his local Conservatives deserves hardly a blink.
In fairness, some have suggested that a situation similar to the alleged hard-left takeovers of constituency Labour parties may be unfolding.
Here‘s Ben Bradshaw, Labour (!) MP for Exeter: “Full takeover of the Tory Party by the hard right ERG sect underway tonight. Dominic Grieve is a national hero, who has done more than anyone to try to save Britain from this
#BrexitShambles disaster. #FinalSay #PeopleVote”
Sadly, I don’t think it is any more likely that the European Research Group (ERG) is taking over the Conservatives than it is that Communists are usurping Labour.
I say “sadly” because a hard-right Tory Party with the extremist policies of the Rees-Moggs of this world would be easier to sweep out of Westminster.
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