One of the new intake of Labour MPs from June’s General Election is Laura Pidcock, who represents North-West Durham, an area high up in the Pennines with many former coal and steel communities, notably the town of Consett, whose steelworks closed in 1980 and precipitated a rise in the local unemployment rate to a peak of 36%. Industrial decline has characterised much of the area for decades, despite occasional regeneration efforts.
So it should have been no surprise that the area’s new MP said of the Tories “I have absolutely no intention of being friends with any of them … I feel disgusted at the way they’re running this country … The idea that they’re not the enemy is simply delusional when you see the effect they have on people - a nation where lots of people live in a constant state of fear whether they even have enough to eat”.
New, maybe idealistic and certainly determined MP has opinions No Shock Horror. But instead of acknowledging that there were good reasons for Ms Pidcock to hold those views, our free and fearless press, aided and abetted by its new media cheerleaders, went in with both feet. There were no prizes for guessing who kicked off first.
Yes, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog were quick to denounce her: “New Labour MP Laura Pidcock is one to watch. Labour sources say she is one of the most hard-left people in Westminster”. As if The Great Guido has any credible Labour sources. But on they drone: “Her hatred of the Tories is, in her own words, ‘visceral’. She sounds nice”. Most people are when compared to the Fawkes massive,
As so often, the sneering of the Fawkes rabble is picked up by the more desperate part of the Fourth Estate, and there is no more desperate part of it than the increasingly downmarket Telegraph, which has told “The MP was criticised for her comments by Nadine Dorries MP, who tweeted: ‘She will make a great MP. How can she fail with her politics of hate and such a hands over the ears juvenile attitude’”.
Yes, I know, Nadine Dorries calling on others for hate and having hands over ears. And the Evening Standard, once more risking becoming even more out of touch with Londoners who voted heavily for Labour in June, has also lapped up the fragrant Nadine’s snark. But isn’t this just a teensy bit OTT? Is the press so desperate for copy?
Ah well. There are two very good reasons the press establishment and its hangers-on are reacting as they are. First, Laura Pidcock gave an interview to left-leaning site Skwawkbox, which automatically makes her a legitimate target for hit jobs.
But the main reason can be seen in a letter she sent to Culture Secretary Karen Bradley earlier this month. Here, Ms Pidcock passed severely adverse comment on the idea of the Murdoch mafiosi being allowed to bid for, and then take over, the 61% of Sky that they do not already own. The new MP was particularly keen to question the suitability of the Murdochs, given the phone hacking scandal, to pass the “fit and proper” test.
So word has clearly gone out to have a hit job performed. And like so many of the other hit jobs, it will have zero impact. Still, keeps them off the streets. Small mercies and all that.