Tag Archives: Owen Jones

Starmer stumbles on anti-Semitism: will he kick out Corbyn & make Labour a haven for racists?

Bringing racism back to the Labour Party? Actress Frances Barber (here as the villainous Madame Kovarian in Doctor Who) has applied to rejoin the Labour Party. She has been accused of murderous prejudice against Muslims.

Keir Starmer’s hard line on anti-Semitism could make him the most unpopular leader in Labour Party history, haemorrhaging members from his first full day.

He has written a letter to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, following up on his pledge to “tear out this poison by its roots”, offering a meeting with groups representing the select group of British Jews who claim there is a problem:

He offers a video conference with the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Community Security Trust and the Jewish Labour Movement. Note that Jewish Voice for Labour, Jewdas and the Jewish Socialists’ Group are excluded. Why?

The letter was seized by other organisations, such as the hysterical Campaign Against Antisemitism, which has put Mr Starmer in a very difficult position:

Starmer is now caught between a rock and a hard place – knowing that he put himself there.

Jeremy Corbyn – and the socialist vision of the Labour Party that he represented – attracted more than 300,000 people to join (or rejoin) that organisation.

If Starmer decides to launch disciplinary procedures against Corbyn – especially on the basis of the scanty evidence put forward by the CAA or any of the other witch-hunt groups – the party will haemorrhage members.

It will be reduced to the status of a minority interest fringe group with outlandish ideas about the way Jews are (and should be) treated.

But if he doesn’t, the BoD, the JLC, the CST, the JLM and the CAA will accuse him of anti-Semitism – just as they accused Corbyn – and the right-wing mass media will seize upon the claim.

And there’s a further question about the quality of Starmer’s leadership.

He fell into this obvious trap like a complete and utter muppet. How can anybody expect him to be any use as Leader of the Opposition?

We should not also that this development has been accompanied by a sudden inrush, back into Labour, of all the “anti-Semitism!” screamers who so publicly flounced out over the last five years of Corbyn’s leadership.

It is probably safe to suggest that they have done this in order to flounce out again if Starmer fails to do what he’s told.

So let’s put a little perspective on that.

One of these candidates for Labour membership is an actress called Frances Barber (pictured above). She spent much of yesterday (April 4) in a row with left-wing journalist Owen Jones over claims that she is frothing with racism against Muslims:

“Please stop killing us” as a response to Muslims denouncing the actions of killers and saying true members of their faith have nothing to do with such actions? Clearly prejudicial against Islam, and it could be argued that there’s a racial motive.

In fairness to Ms Barber (which is more than she ever gave me – she sided with Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman when they falsely accused me of libelling them) she has claimed that she did not send the offending tweet… by sending another offensive tweet, as you can see, above.

So Mr Jones provided some more evidence. I present this with no comment:

If you want to see some of Ms Barber’s comments on former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, here’s an article.

The response was, I suppose, predictable – considering the behaviour towards This Writer of her friends Riley and Oberman:

Mr Jones’s comments have been roundly condemned by supporters of Ms Barber – who seem to have made ad hominem attacks (against him personally) rather than addressing the issue he raised. Others have offered evidence in support, or simply expressed their horror at the thought that this person might be allowed back into the party:

https://twitter.com/JackGamble/status/1246547909002362886

As I say, I’m not going to offer an opinion on Ms Barber and her behaviour. I merely present the information and it is for you, dear reader, to decide whether the claims about her are true or false.

But if you decide they are true – and you’re a member of the Labour Party – you need to decide whether you want to share your party with somebody like that. Labour may be a “broad church” but I’m sure it has never offered open support for racism and the kind of people who offer violence to party leaders past or present.

And you need to decide whether you want to stay in an organisation whose leader allows that kind of person to join while perversely claiming it is a blow against racism.

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Man assaulted Owen Jones out of hatred for his political views and homophobia, court rules

Abuse: Owen Jones has experience of dealing with abuse from the far right. This shot shows him being pursued by James Goddard in January last year.

This Site reported the assault shortly after it happened. It’s good to see justice done and know that the far-right crazies can’t get away with anything they like, just because another far-right crazy is in Downing Street.

I don’t agree with Mr Jones about everything he says but he certainly should not be threatened with violence over the opinions he expresses.

A man has been found guilty of aggravated assault against the Guardian columnist Owen Jones because of hostility to his leftwing political views and homophobia, following a two-day trial at Snaresbrook crown court.

Anne Studd QC, the presiding judge, concluded at the end of the hearing that Jones was the victim of a “wholly unprovoked assault” outside a central London pub last August because of “his LGBT and his leftwing beliefs”.

The defendant, James Healy, 40, had “far-right” views, Studd added, as evidenced by a collection of memorabilia found at his Portsmouth home, including items with logos or mottos from far right group Combat 18, white supremacist groups and hooligan groups associated with Chelsea football club.

Healy had already pleaded guilty to assaulting Jones last August outside the Lexington pub in King’s Cross, north London, at about 2am. But he was on trial to determine whether his actions were motivated by homophobia and hostility to Jones’s leftwing views.

Healy is one of three men who have admitted being involved in the incident. He and Liam Tracey, 34, from Camden, north London, and Charlie Ambrose, 29, from Brighton, all pleaded guilty to affray last month. Healy also admitted a further charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Sentencing for all three men is due to take place next month at the earliest. Healy will receive a greater than normal sentence because of the aggravating factors.

Source: Man found guilty of aggravated assault against Owen Jones | UK news | The Guardian

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Was Twitter campaign against Owen Jones organised by supporters of Rachel Riley – or of something more sinister?

Abuse: Here’s far-right Brexiteer James Goddard doing his best to rile Owen Jones in the incident last January that formed the basis for the Twitter attack.

Left-wing columnist Owen Jones has been the target of a Twitter ‘dogpile’ campaign – apparently organised by supporters of Countdown co-host Rachel Riley, who has attacked him in the past.

The aim was to target Mr Jones for abuse on the social media platform, using a hashtag with an offensive title that I shall not repeat here – although you can find it in Mr Jones’s own tweet below, in which he attributes the origin of the abuse campaign to a person going by the handle @SirBasilBrush:

The identity of the culprit is apparently confirmed in this tweet, using information from Laura Murray:

I did a bit of research into this individual and it seems he is a long-term supporter of Ms Riley. His timeline is littered with messages of support for her – including this one, in which he endorses a thread she wrote attacking a certain teenage girl. My own article on that particular saga has led to a libel suit (see the appeal to support my CrowdJustice campaign, below):

The Riley connection is important because other supporters of that person expressed their disgust when the offending hashtag was taken down – by linking it with one attacking their idol:

This Twitter user has also shown long-term support for Ms Riley:

But it also links those people with those on the extreme right wing of politics.

The clip used to trigger the hashtag attack was of far-right pro-Brexit protesters shouting abuse at him during and after a TV interview on College Green back in January.

Ms Riley’s antipathy towards Mr Jones is a matter of public record. To quote just one example, she attacked him in January this year – inaccurately, and shockingly – over his coverage of Holocaust Memorial Day.

She protested at the time that she is not a supporter of the far right. Maybe that’s true; I don’t propose to comment on it, one way or the other.

But questions need to be asked about why supporters of the far right seem so keen to link themselves with her.

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Lefty journo Owen Jones beaten in ‘blatant premeditated’ assault

Abuse: Here’s James Goddard doing his best to rile Owen Jones.

Left-wing journalist Owen Jones has suffered injuries to his head and back after a “blatant premeditated assault” as he was celebrating his birthday with friends.

Mr Jones, who has reported the incident to the police, tweeted that he was “in no doubt as to what this is”, pointing out that members of the political far right had tried to intimidate him in the past.

Here’s his account:

How cowardly of the attackers – to approach from behind and hit their victim in the back.

He later added: “What happened – to be clear – is they spotted me in the pub, waited for us to leave, and then launched their attack when we were away from the pub – it was planned, not a random attack.”

This attack is symptomatic of a terrifying trend in the UK – possibly provoked by successive Conservative governments that have weakened our police while stoking hatred with divisive rhetoric.

We’ve seen Mr Jones and Anna Soubry (and possibly others) threatened by right-wing demonstrators on College Green, outside Parliament.

We have also seen a rise in intimidating behaviour from groups claiming to represent British Jews; consider the treatment of venues in Brighton that considered hosting Chris Williamson’s recent speech there and remember that Mr Williamson has not been found to have committed any anti-Semitic acts.

Jewish Voice for Labour has called on the Board of Deputies of British Jews to condemn this behaviour but that organisation – which sent representatives to Brighton to protest while Mr Williamson was making his speech (were they responsible for the filming of attendees?) – had not responded at the time of writing.

Who else will be emboldened to threaten the rest of us?

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Gobby Brextremist Goddard arrested again – for threatening photographer

Gobby James Goddard: His tendency to let his mouth run away with him keeps getting him arrested.

Remember James Goddard, the pro-Brexit fanatic who got arrested after intimidating incidents involving Anna Soubry, Owen Jones and others on College Green, Westminster, last month?

No?

Well, it’s hardly surprising.

It’s even less surprising that he has been arrested again – this time for threatening a press photographer.

It seems a recording exists of him telling Joel Goodman, “I swear to god when there’s no police around here, I’m going to take your head off your shoulders, and all the football lads will as well, your card is marked … Trust me, next time you’re in London mate, you’re finished.”

The full details are available on Zelo Street.

As intimidation attempts go, it’s not very convincing. As a propagandist, this guy doesn’t hold a candle to Lord Haw Haw. Or even Lord Snooty.

Perhaps we might call him Lord Snotty?

Or perhaps we should refuse to give him and his ilk the time of day.


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Rileywatch: Now offensive Countdown co-host has tried to smear Owen Jones

Inappropriate: But it sums up Ms Riley’s attitude to anyone who disagrees with her.

Look at the state of this tweet from Countdown co-host Rachel Riley:

She seems to think re-tweeting an image denigrating Owen Jones as “The queen of bellends” is an appropriate way to behave after accusing him of anti-Semitism during Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr Jones had been attacked by a Twitter account calling itself Peterrogers. He (Mr Jones) had been attacking the pathetic Brexit-related Liberal Democrat attempt to troll Jeremy Corbyn by claiming his backbone had been found in odd places and this person jumped in to attack him for failing to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day:

(Note that Peterrogers had tagged in Ms Riley, in search of help from her and her supporters.) Trouble is, Owen Jones had put up several posts and links commemorating HMD. Here are a few:

(We should remember that Mr Jones has fallen foul of genuine fascists recently. One wonders how those people would have greeted Ms Riley – and fears that it would be with open arms.)

So it is understandable that Mr Jones responded to Peterrogers with proof that he had, indeed, posted about HMD. But the troll (let’s call him what he is) simply complained that the post he saw wasn’t strong enough (it was about fighting fascism, for crying out loud), as you can see:

So Mr Jones did the obvious and pointed him to other posts. This is very generous as all he had to do was direct that person to his timeline and suggest he see them for himself. By now, other people were commenting on the thread – such as Keith Simmonds, who made the following suggestion:

https://twitter.com/KeithSimmonds7/status/1089530155771576320

Peterrogers seems to think Mr Simmonds is a sockpuppet for Mr Jones, to judge from his follow-up:

https://twitter.com/Peterrogers2011/status/1089535085144100866

This is shockingly poor behaviour. Mr Jones had posted several tweets condemning anti-Semitism; Peterrogers had simply ignored them. And of course Mr Jones is known to have campaigned strongly against anti-Semitism.

Bad faith is what it is: an “intent to deceive”, a “refusal to confront facts”.

By now, Ms Riley had stepped in. Having been tagged in from the start by Peterrogers, she posted:

What a despicable pack of lies and nonsense. Where does Owen Jones suggest he is a victim of the Holocaust? Nowhere. Nor does he pretend that anti-Semitism (referred to as “this” by Ms Riley) does not exist in the Labour Party; we will see that he posted links to some of his previous writings about it. Labour does not foster “Jew-hating rhetoric” either. Ms Riley provided absolutely no evidence to support her claims because they are not true.

As for British Jews seeing Labour as a “direct danger” – that is because people like Ms Riley, who have a political agenda, tell them to see it that way. If they were confronted with the facts, they might feel very differently about it.

She followed it with a smear:

Mr Bastani himself responded to that one:

And so did my old buddy in the battle to save people with long-term illnesses and disabilities from the DWP’s chequebook euthanasia, Sue Marsh:

Mr Jones himself came back with a list of links to his writings about anti-Semitism, and added a further point:

His point was that he has been attacked over anti-Semitism – by individuals claiming to speak for Jews – no matter what he has done. He just can’t do right for doing wrong (any course of action leads to a negative outcome).

Not good enought for Ms Riley, who dug into Mr Jones’s background for her next attack:

The links seem to refer to claims that Mr Jones edited Wikipedia entries about Israel while he was at college, and that he defended Jeremy Corbyn against “guilt by association” claims of anti-Semitism.

By now, Ms Riley’s followers had cottoned on that another dogpile was in the offing, and had started bombarding Mr Jones with their usual torrent of abuse. I had a taste of it over the weekend and you can sample it here.

So it is unsurprising that Mr Jones gave her a taste of it, and put the record straight over her claims:

That was when Ms Riley posted that tweet at the top of this article – the one that resorts to low and vulgar abuse.

You can read another perspective on this story on Zelo Street.

I’d like to address her claim, “This is a dog-whistle . The brigade will hear “political smear by Jew.””

This is exactly the kind of gross generalisation and double-standard that witch-hunters like Ms Riley like to make. They complain that they are victimised for being Jews, but think nothing of claiming that all supporters of Jeremy Corbyn must be anti-Semites.

And the claim is wrong. I certainly don’t see Ms Riley’s actions as being “political smear by Jew”. Ms Riley needs to take responsibility for her own actions.

That’s one of the positive elements that came from my contact with her supporters over the weekend – that I was able to establish that the claim that Ms Riley was being challenged because she was Jewish was a lie. I’ve made a little image to sum up the issue:

Feel free to use it against witch-hunters like Ms Riley for whom the label is appropriate. I do fear it will be abused but that’s the problem when people start witch-hunting – accusing others of anti-Semitism under false pretences; it makes it easier for genuine anti-Semitism to become established. But these frauds need to be singled out somehow.

Extra: Another witch-hunter tactic is a form of psychological projection, in which they claim ownership of some form of discrimination that others say they are receiving. Yesterday the despicable @GnasherJew troll account claimed that @LabLeftVoice had demanded that Ms Riley undergo racial profiling to see if she “is really a Jew”:

In fact, @LabLeftVoice – an account run by a Jew – had finally had enough of Ms Riley’s friends like @GnasherJew denying her own Jewishness and had offered to undergo racial profiling herself in order to provide absolute proof of her own ethnicity.

She told This Site: “I said we’ll bring ours you bring yours.. Gnasher showcased it and put my post tiny and just said look LLV asking Riley and Oberman to be racially profiled.. bcos yet again.. they omitted I’m Jewish to their ‘fans’.

“They are the ones who constantly deny left Jews are Jewish and it’s sick. I’ve had enough of it.. I’m not sure what to call it apart from delegitimising.. dehumanising.. but it is also an antisemitic act to delegitimise Jews with different beliefs.”

https://twitter.com/LabLeftVoice/status/1089665506695630848

Those are the facts. Now visit my Twitter feed (@MidWalesMike) for the dogpile from Ms Riley’s friends.

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Tory double standards: Abuse them and the police are called – but they can abuse anyone freely

Pointing the finger: A Conservative MP shouts at Commons Speaker John Bercow during discussion of the Grieve Amendment.

Conservative MPs have been at their abusive worst in Parliament – heckling Speaker John Bercow over his decision to allow a vote on the so-called Grieve Amendment, and hurling insults at Jeremy Corbyn, ironically as he called for a “safe space” from such behaviour during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The hypocrisy comes into sharp focus when one recalls that only two days before, Conservative MPs wrote to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, demanding stronger policing of the area outside the Palace of Westminster to prevent abuse of the kind directed at Conservative MP Anna Soubry by (right-wing pro-Brexit) protesters on Monday.

Note that I put “right wing pro-Brexit” in parentheses because there seems to be a concerted effort to airbrush this fact out of the record, along with the abuse of left-wing journalist Owen Jones by the same people. We’ll come to that shortly.

First, let’s consider yesterday’s Parliamentary antics, starting with the Grieve Amendment. Tory backbencher and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve had proposed an amendment to legislation that gives the government 21 days to say what happens next if its Brexit deal is voted down, and a further seven sitting days (days in which Parliament is in session) in which to hold a vote.

The amendment reduces the time allowed before a statement is made to just three days. It isn’t binding, but it would be extremely damaging to Theresa May if she failed to do so.

MPs objected because they claimed the original legislation was unamendable. Mr Bercow held a different view:

Let’s see if I can dig out some examples of the behaviour he had to endure. Here’s Arj Singh:

That’s mild. Try this:

Mr Clarke’s reference was to the right-wingers who abused Ms Soubry and Mr Jones, and hints as to the attitudes he saw being expressed around him.

Then we had the hypocrisy of the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom:

Here’s the icing on this particularly rotten cake – the moment when Tory MP Adam Holloway accused Mr Bercow of trying to sabotage Brexit, claiming as evidence that the Speaker has a pro-Remain sticker on his car. The slapdown was brilliant:

https://twitter.com/SidUnite/status/1083002551493189637

It seems clear that the behaviour of these Conservatives lowered the tone of debate in the Commons and arguably harmed the reputation of Parliament itself – although some would say that this cannot happen as they have already damaged it irreparably:

The arguments over the Amendment were – sadly – only a sequel to a similar unseemly display during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Both Mrs May and Mr Corbyn mentioned the intimidation of Ms Soubry and Mr Jones on Monday. The prime minister said politicians and the media should be able to go about their work without harassment and intimidation.

Sadly, her backbenchers did not pay any attention to her (perhaps cementing our opinion that she is no leader) and poured abuse at Mr Corbyn while he agreed with her. He said: “We also have to be clear that intimidation is wrong outside this building as it is wrong in any other aspect of life in this country, and we have to create a safe space for political debate.”

By this point, the level of heckling had reached a point beyond which he could not continue, so he pointed it out: “You see what I mean, Mr Speaker; I am calling for a safe space for political debate.”

The Tory perpetrators may have enjoyed themselves but the public drew the appropriate conclusions, as the following comments bear out:

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/1082976660322955264

And of course, that is what they have been trying to do.

Possibly worse than the habitually abusive behaviour of Tory MPs is the apparent attempt to pretend that the only person suffering abuse on College Green on Monday was Ms Soubry.

I myself was so surprised to see her mentioned on the BBC’s lunchtime Politics Live show – and not Owen Jones, who is a frequent panellist there – that I actually raised the matter with editor Rob Burley. Here’s the dialogue:

What do you think of that?

More concerning still were the efforts to mitigate the effect of Mr Burley’s choice – which was to play up the effect on Ms Soubry and play down that on Mr Jones – by members of the public. Here’s one such comment:

Owen Jones himself put that comment in its place, in a response to information from Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick that – as with the BBC – attempted to excise the abuse of Mr Jones from the record:

Left-wing members of the public have made it clear that they are not going to accept this kind of misreporting from the mainstream media:

If you are confused as to the reason television news reporters have tried to play down the targeting of people who represent the Left by people who are for all intents and purposes fascists, I refer you to this perceptive comment by Mr Jones, that makes it clear that the mainstream media have legitimised it:

The attitudes we have seen are sickening: Right-wing MPs have shown they are happy to abuse others before TV cameras in the Palace of Westminster, while decrying the same behaviour against their own by members of the public who were filmed on mobile phones, as their cronies in the mass media do their best to make it seem that they are the victims – when in fact they have stoked the extreme attitudes that lead to such abuse, threatening behaviour and, ultimately, violence.

These are our elected representatives but if this is how they conduct themselves, they do not represent me. We must demand better.

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Lefty journo and Tory MP confronted by wall of gammon. Guess who gets Establishment support

For the record: Owen Jones, pursued by James Goddard – both recording the encounter on their mobile phones, while a policeman watches. The behaviour of these right-wingers is like that of cartoon villains, so I’ve cartoonised this scene.

Some of what follows is very ugly indeed.

The left-wing journalist Owen Jones, together with Conservative MP Anna Soubry and who knows how many others were targeted by right-wing pro-Brexit protesters outside Parliament yesterday (Monday, January 7).

They were wearing yellow vests because they have styled themselves after France’s gilets jaunes, protesters against rising fuel prices and taxes who blocked roads wearing yellow high-vis jackets on November 18 last year, sparking a pan-European movement.

Think about that for a moment. These anti-EU protesters were aping people who are citizens of the very bloc they hate. That should give you an inkling as to their twisted thinking. But it gets worse.

Here’s Mr Jones’s tweeted video clip of his treatment at their hands:

I’ll be honest – sometimes I disagree with Mr Jones’s opinions, but always in the most cordial way and always with reason. Calling him a “tampon”, a “traitor”, and a writer of “fake news” is neither cordial nor reasonable. And take note of the way the chief bully in the crowd called Mr Jones a bully; it’s a classic tactic, accusing a victim of one’s own behaviour.

The principle antagonist in the clip appears to be one James Goddard. You can witness more of his behaviour here:

It seems astonishing that this man retained his liberty after the behaviour in the clip tweeted by Another Angry Voice. If you’ve seen any of the many reality documentaries showing the police on duty, you’ll know that they usually issue a stern warning to members of the public who start exhibiting loud and threatening behaviour to desist, and arrest them if they don’t comply. The racist claim that the officer in the clip isn’t even British would be a chargeable offence, I believe.

There may be a reason he hasn’t been arrested, but it isn’t a very good one. We’ll come to it shortly.

(If I may interject a note of personal pride here, I seem to recall coining the term “Brextremist” on This Site. I am delighted to see that it has fallen into general usage.)

In a further tweet, Mr Jones added: “By the way, the things they’re yelling at me – traitor, terrorism supporter – are all legitimised by the right wing press and politicians. If anything happens to one of us on the left at the hands of these fascists, they will share the blame. Hope that’s clear.”

There’s just one issue with that comment, as Hazel Nolan makes clear:

Have we become so normalised to right-wing rhetoric that this loathsome language, and the behaviour it encourages, is now deemed normal?

The experience of Anna Soubry would suggest otherwise.

The Remain-supporting Tory ventured outside the Palace of Westminster to give an interview on College Green, only to be interrupted by chants of “Soubry is a Nazi”:

Afterwards, Twitter commentator Femi found her surrounded by the same people who had accosted Mr Jones:

Note the way they mistook him for Labour MP David Lammy. Was it because they are both of Afro-Caribbean descent?

Mr Goddard, it seems, followed up these incidents by crowing about them on the social media:

The displays against Ms Soubry and Mr Jones, attracted widespread denunciation from both members of the public and the political classes.

Aislinn M-D, a doctor, tweeted: “Now im no fan of Soubry but the accusation of being a ‘Nazi’ seems to be one of the most flippantly overused and totally disconnected insult from reality. It disgracefully undermines what the Nazis actually did and makes those using it demonstrate total ignorance of history.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon stated, “This is appalling – as is footage today of Owen Jones facing a similar experience. We all have a duty to stand against this kind of behaviour. Robust debate is the hallmark of any democracy – but so too is decency, civility and respect for those holding different opinions.”

So why weren’t the perpetrators arrested?

“Citizen of Everywhere”, responding to a similar question from the Mail opinion hack Dan Hodges (with whom, for once, I found myself in agreement), suggested: “They’re trying to provoke an overreaction from the police so they can paint themselves as victims fighting the good fight against an oppressive regime. It’s usually better to mock them than arrest them, but I agree that changes when they cross the line into individual harassment.”

Nick Church also suggested: “The MPs who have legitimized this level of racism and xenophobia and allowed it to become mainstream should be utterly ashamed.”

Sadly, it seems Parliamentarians were only interested in protecting their own when the issue was raised as a point of order in the House of Commons.

Tory Nick Boles asked Speaker John Bercow, “Will you consult the Serjeant at Arms to see whether the Metropolitan police are doing everything they can to protect the public’s right to protest but also to ensure that Members are able to go about their business in total safety?”

Here’s the answer: “The House authorities are not technically responsible for the safety of Members off the estate—that is and remains a matter for the Metropolitan police—but naturally, I take this issue very seriously and so, I am sure, do the police, who have been made well aware of our concerns.

“Reflecting and reinforcing what the hon. Gentleman said about peaceful protest, let me say this. Peaceful protest is a vital democratic freedom, but so is the right of elected Members to go about their business without being threatened or abused, and that includes access to and from the media stands in Abingdon Green. I say no more than that I am concerned at this stage about what seems to be a pattern of protests targeted in particular—I do not say exclusively—at women. Female Members and, I am advised, in a number of cases, female journalists, have been subjected to aggressive protest and what many would regard as harassment.”

It took a further intervention from Labour MP Pat McFadden, asking Mr Bercow “to do everything possible to ensure that journalists and broadcasters can do their job and that Members of this House are free to speak their minds” before the Speaker included all members of the press, including Mr Jones, in his considerations.

Following on from this exchange, more than 50 MPs wrote to Metropolitan police commissioner Cressida Dick, demanding stronger action to protect people who work in Westminster from aggressive far-right protesters.

The letter stated: “After months of peaceful and calm protests by groups representing a range of political views on Brexit, an ugly element of individuals with strong far right and extreme right connections – which your officers are well aware of – have increasingly engaged in intimidatory and potentially criminal acts targeting Members of Parliament, journalists, activists and members of the public.

“We understand there are ongoing investigations but there appears to be an ongoing lack of coordination in the response from the police and appropriate authorities including with Westminster borough policing – and despite clear assurances this would be dealt with following incidents before Christmas – there have been a number of further serious and well publicised incidents today.

“It is… utterly unacceptable for members of parliament, journalists, activists and members of the public to be subject to abuse, intimidation and threatening behaviour and indeed potentially serious offences while they go about their work.”

Would they have taken this step if only Mr Jones had been targeted? I have doubts about that.

He is a divisive figure, and often cannot count on other members of the media for support in matters such as this. Consider his clash with BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Tony Livesay. Mr Jones tweeted: “I went on earlier and the presenter said that by describing these fascists as “knuckle-dragging Tommy Robinson supporters” I was comparable to them. This is what we are dealing with in the British media.”

Mr Livesay responded: “Did I equate it @OwenJones84 ? Or did I say some people might say you’re not elevating the debate.”

In return, Mr Jones stated: “There is no debate to be elevated with fascists screaming abuse. This is beyond a joke.”

It is. I had intended to present an example of the abuse tweeted to Mr Jones by someone using the handle “MidNightLion1”, threatening extreme violence. It has been deleted, but it read: “You will get smashed one day Owen. Someone will beat the life out of you and it will be brilliant to see.”

Mr Jones responded: “Whatever happens to me, we crushed fascism before and we’ll crush fascism all over again.”

“Whatever happens to me”? Nobody should have to contemplate the possibility of serious harm coming to them, simply for expressing opinions – which, in contrast with those of the so-called yellow vest protesters, do not threaten harm to anybody.

As Grace Petrie tweeted: “It is gravely strange that not three years ago an MP was murdered in an act of far-right terrorism and it had no meaningful effect on this country’s discourse.”

That MP was Jo Cox. Her widower Brendan added: “The problem isn’t (just) extremists like this but mainstream commentators who spur them on with talk of traitors, enemies & betrayal. We should be able to debate difficult issues without making out the other side is evil.”

I hope I am not overstepping the mark if I include politicians among the “mainstream commentators who spur them on”, because, as “Red ’til I’m Dead” points out…

Yet when they start threatening people, the Establishment ranks rally around the Tory MP, while the lefty journalist is left to contemplate the possibility of serious physical harm.

Does that seem acceptable to you?

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Dorries and Jones are wrong – a breakaway party of Labour ‘moderates’ won’t change anything

Nadine Dorries: Wrong.

This is fun – Nadine Dorries and Owen Jones being completely mistaken on Jeremy Vine’s new TV show:

They are wrong because the so-called Labour ‘moderates’ (in reality far right-wing MPs who joined the Labour Party out of opportunism during the Blair-Brown years) have besmirched their names far too much to do any damage to the party as a whole if they split away.

The ‘no confidence’ votes against Joan Ryan and Gavin Shuker are evidence of this. Those MPs will not be allowed to stand for Labour in the future and if they stand as independents – or even as part of a breakaway attempt at forming a party, like the SDP in the 1980s – they will sink without a trace.

The voting public can’t stand them.

But they are running out of choices. Labour members will not accept vipers in their midst and will remove them as soon as possible.

They could pin their hopes on the Conservatives calling another ‘snap’ general election that takes away the opportunity for Labour members to choose their own candidates – but it is unlikely the membership will put up with that fudge a second time in less than two years.

So they find themselves with their backs to the metaphorical wall.

It won’t be any surprise to me if they sink without a trace.

But it will be fun to see Ms Dorries (and to a certain extent, Mr Jones) react when that happens.

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The danger of idle words: Willsman receives death threat after opponents’ anti-Semitism lie

This should be a matter of serious concern to everybody with an interest in free speech and democracy.

The faked-up claims of anti-Semitism against Peter Willsman have led to him receiving death threats.

Don’t forget that This Writer has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism. I have to raise money to take my accusers to court. Please help by visiting my JustGiving page and pledging a contribution.

I would like to hear how Mr Willsman’s accusers justify what they have done, in the light of this threat.

What does Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, have to say for herself?

How about Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, who published the vile allegations without paying a scrap of attention to proper journalistic procedures like fact-checking?

Come to that, the recording was said to have been made by a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee who ‘phoned in’ their participation. How does this person feel about having possibly endangered Mr Willsman’s life for a lie?

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust? How does a person whose career is about educating people against behaviour that leads to mass murder feel about her own involvement in the potential endangerment of a single life?

And what about Labour MPs Tom Watson and Luciana Berger, who also passed censorious opinions? They are both right-wingers while Mr Willsman is a lefty – is retaking control of the party so important to them that they are willing to run a risk to life and limb?

Even fellow lefty Owen Jones has questions to answer, having accepted the allegation without question and then passing a prejudicial opinion about it on Twitter.

Careless talk still costs lives. The murder of Labour MP Jo Cox is still a recent memory, yet these ambitious political operators are perfectly happy to risk repeating that tragedy. They must be made to answer for their words.

Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) member Peter Willsman was at the centre of controversy after a recording of his comments during an NEC meeting was leaked to the media.

The comments were presented as antisemitic, but a proper examination of what was actually said, rather than the framing by media and ‘centrist’ MPs, showed that while crass they were not racist.

Such facts appear not to have troubled some, however – as Willsman has today received a death threat as a recorded message on his voicemail, saying:

You racist c**t. We know where you are. We’re coming to get you and spread your blood all over the pavement.

It’s to be hoped that this is a sick attempt to frighten, but the incident lays out very clearly the risks involved when one faction targets an opponent for political gain.

Source: Willsman receiving death threats after misrepresented NEC comments | The SKWAWKBOX

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