Our Prime Minister has hit upon a sure-fire way of making herself and her beleaguered party marginally more popular: rustle up a new policy initiative on a false pretext, in order to favour and indeed shield some of the worst behaviour engaged in by her own side, and her pals in the press. Yes, that will go down like, er, a cup of cold sick with the voters.
The genius behind the “Go Home” vans has decided that politicians should be protected from abuse and intimidation. Using the strapline “British democracy has always been robust and oppositional. But a line is crossed when disagreement mutates into intimidation”, she has Tweeted “Debate is a key British tradition but threats and abuse have no place in society. We all have a role to play to make sure the intimidation we have witnessed over the weekend is not commonplace. Tomorrow I'll outline my vision for a more tolerant and respectful United Kingdom”.
“Intimidation witnessed over the weekend”? What might that have been? Ah, but Tory HQ propagandist Carrie Symonds was on the case to explain this to the masses: “How can we be surprised by masked thugs attempting to silence @Jacob_Rees_Mogg when the Shadow Chancellor has called for ‘direct action’ against Conservative MPs, joked about ‘lynching’ his opponents & describes violent protesters as the "best" of the Labour movement”. So it’s based on falsehood and misinformation, then.
This Tory propagandist knows all about bad behaviour ...
John McDonnell hasn’t joked about lynching anyone, the protest against Rees Mogg was not Labour activists, the only thug there was on the Tory side, and McDonnell has condemned any use of violence. Plus Ms Symonds was, when I last looked, the partner of the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, who knows all about smears, bullying, threats and other less than principled behaviour - because he regularly indulges in them.
... because she LITERALLY EMBRACED IT
So we have a routine combination of brass neck and hypocrisy here. But it gets worse: this is also a “look over there” attempt to distract from the Tories’ youth leader Stephen Canning getting himself suspended following a violent altercation at a London nightclub. Yet worse is the not yet forgotten Tory bullying saga, which culminated in the death of activist Elliott Johnson - along with the party covering up the report into it.
Remember him, Prime Minister?
And it gets worse still: Theresa May hosts one-on-one Downing Street dinners for the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, which routinely intimidates politicians, campaigners and the judiciary. She even attended the party to celebrate his 25th anniversary as occupier of the editor’s chair.
Yet worse than that was Ms May awarding James Slack with a job - the former Mail hack penned the “Enemies of the People” article attacking the judiciary. So yes, there is plenty of bullying, intimidation, threatening behaviour including violence, and other less then totally desirable conduct in modern British politics to which Theresa May can profitably turn her attention. The only problem for her is that it all involves her own side.
Anyone might think the pointing at Labour has been falsely whipped up to cover for this slight problem. File that under “You might wish to say that, I couldn’t possibly comment”.