Attack: Mark Field said he acted in the belief that a peaceful, female Greenpeace protester might be about to do violence. But – in this image – who is attacking who?
If you had not heard of Mark Field before today, nobody could blame you.
The only reference to him on This Site is from 2014, when he was named as one of many Conservative MPs with a stake in private health companies who was therefore likely to profit by allowing those firms to provide NHS services.
It’s a reasonable bet that you’ll have heard of him now, though – he has become infamous overnight after he grabbed a female Greenpeace activist by the throat and forcibly ejected her from the Mansion House, where she was taking part in a climate change protest at the annual dinner for bankers and politicians where Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond was making a speech.
As I type this, it is emerging that (caretaker) prime minister Theresa May has suspended Mr Field from his job as a Foreign Office minister, due to his apparent behaviour in this incident.
Let’s look at the video footage, courtesy of ITV reporter Paul Brand:
Mr Brand’s subsequent thread is worth reading:
Take note of that – he says she did not appear to present any immediate threat. That is important when considering the subsequent protestations of people like Peter Bottomley.
No complaint has (yet) been made to the police. But fellow activist Hannah Martin has tweeted this statement:
Some Tories rushed to defend Mr Field’s behaviour, quoting bizarre reasons. Peter Bottomley was quoted by The Mirror as saying it was justified because “a person could be carrying a collapsible truncheon”. Mr Bottomley added: “He intervened. I congratulate him for that. I would have done the same.”
Have a look at the footage again and ask yourself where she could have been hiding a truncheon. In her (tiny) handbag?
Here’s Mike Hurst, who labels himself as a security professional, standing up for Mr Field – and being thrown a truth bomb by another Twitter user:
How about this comment – and the response from a formerly battered wife:
Mr Field himself has released the following statement: “In the confusion many guests understandably felt threatened and when one protester rushed past me towards the top table I instinctively reacted.
“There was no security present and I was for a split second genuinely worried she might have been armed.
“As a result I grasped the intruder firmly in order to remove her from the room as swiftly as possible.”
“Grasped the intruder firmly”? He slammed her against a pillar.
He added: “I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologise to the lady concerned for grabbing her but in the current climate I felt the need to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present.”
The “Tory Racism” Twitter account has slowed the footage and added a commentary – making the important point that not one person out of the 350 at the dinner lifted a single finger to help the peaceful protester who was being manhandled out of the room by a man who had gone for her throat:
This lack of intervention has been roundly condemned:
Tim O’Seery tweeted: “I actually find this quite harrowing. He brutalised this young woman while the rest of the Chinless Wonders just sat there and watched. This was assault and people have a Public Duty to prevent this sort of thing happening, if they can.”
Mr Field’s action is even more questionable when one examines his own – expressed – attitude to climate change. In a tweet just two weeks ago, he stated: “Climate security must be at the heart of foreign policy work at a global level. I am grateful for Germany’s action in shining a spotlight on this issue at the Climate and Security Conference yesterday and look forward to continuing our work together.”
To this, ‘Geri the Gerbil’ appended: “As long as they don’t interrupt my dinner.”
Of course there is a political aspect to this:
A petition has been launched to get Mr Field sacked:
Last word on this (for now) should go to Tom Clark of Another Angry Voice:
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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