David Campbell Bannerman is a descendant of the last Liberal Party leader to achieve a landslide victory in a British General Election (1906, in case you were wondering). But he is not at all liberal in his thinking, and to prove it, he went from the Tory Party to UKIP, before returning to The Blue Team in 2011. He is also singularly intolerant of anyone who does not share his vision of Britain leaving the EU.
David Campbell Bannerman
After the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph brought its readers the headline “Jihadis should be prosecuted for treason”, the MEP who was stupid enough to claim that Airbus’ factories in the UK should be nationalised if the company left the UK after Brexit declared “It is about time we brought the Treason Act up to date and made it apply to those seeking to destroy or undermine the British state. That means extreme jihadis. It also means those in future actively working undemocratically against U.K. through extreme EU loyalty”. Half the electorate has committed treason!
Steve Peers observed “Just a Tory MEP wanting to prosecute people with different views on the EU for exercising their freedom of speech”, and former BBC man Gavin Esler not unreasonably asked “Conservative MEP equates those who support EU membership with jihadis. As one of the 48 per cent of the population heading to jail for treason, before I go may I also ask how someone like this manages to get elected to public office?”
The same way as Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, Paul “bad Bootle meff” Nuttall, Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn and all the rest, it seems. Campbell Bannerman pretended to engage with Esler. “How’d you get to be a journalist by so shamefully exaggerating Gavin?! Oh actually... - So what about debating what the new law would cover in a rational way?”
Rational? After labelling half the electorate as treasonous? Esler was in no mood to play nice. “Unfortunately your comment equating support for the EU with jihadis and treason requires no exaggeration- merely an apology to half the population who are sick of such Brexcrement. Since you are sucking on the euro-teat as an MEP have you no shame?”
And then Campbell Bannerman lost it. “I expect higher standards of professionalism from a @UniKent Chancellor, Gavin. I fully support democratic opposition as well you’ll know. Are you working for Soros now?” We know what “Soros” means. It’s code for “Jewish money”. It’s what got the Telegraph into such trouble back in February.
So a Tory MEP has done a little anti-Semitic dog-whistling. Where is the party’s chairman Brandon “barrow boy” Lewis, to issue forthright condemnation of those actions? But you know the answer to that: the party whose MPs have spent much of the past week shouting “anti-Semitism” at Jeremy Corbyn is now keeping head down and saying nothing.
It will take rather more than the Telegraph calling an all hands meeting, and telling them that dog-whistling “Soros” had been officially declared not to be anti-Semitic, to make this one go away. If Campbell Bannerman is a Tory Party member - and as an MEP it has to be assumed that is the case - then they have to act against him.
So, Brandon Lewis, when will you be censuring him? No pressure, now.