The far right loves to claim that it is the Rotten Lefties™ who are the real perpetrators of violence. Also, they waste no opportunity to tell the world whenever anyone on the left appears to be less than totally committed to peaceable disagreement. But when campaigner and pundit Owen Jones was assaulted in the early hours of Saturday morning after doing nothing more offensive than celebrating his birthday, that all changed.
Jones was jumped by four men outside the Lexington pub in Islington; the friends with whom he had been celebrating came to his aid and were in turn assaulted. He was kicked in the back, then in the head. They also threw him to the floor, but this was definitely not played for laughs. He concluded that the assault was premeditated, and that it was carried out by what he called “far right” activists. The reaction has been telling.
Squeaky head down and keep schtum finger up the bum time
Some right-leaning figures have condemned the assault, and kudos goes here to Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, LBC host Iain Dale, Darren Grimes, and even the loathsome Toby Young. Many others were silent, not least Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, Richard Tice, Isabel Oakeshott, Lance Forman, Ben Habib, Claire Fox, and Julia Hartley Dooda. Some Brexit minded people, however, were less coy, and rushed to excuse the assault.
And they all had one thing in common. Take this fine specimen: “[Owen Jones] assault in any form is disgraceful but knowing this obnoxious tw@t he probably went looking for it” (“Anti EU” and Brexit Party supporter). Or how about “Are there any real witnesses to this story by a self promoting little ego trip?” (“Brexiteer … for Britain … Patriot”).
Then we have Peter Barnes claiming “No one should be attacked ever but the speed to which [Owen Jones] has turned this into a political points scoring thing is sad”. He’s a Conservative and yes, pro-Brexit. And along comes someone calling himself “SAS”, who thinks it’s terribly funny. “No one laugh please it's not funny...... stop it... stop it, you at the back...... stop it” (“Ex British forces, Brexit and hate EU”).
On it goes, with “Nobody deserves to be assaulted, but how do you know it was a ‘blatant premeditated assault by the far-right’? He might have just spoken out of turn to a member of the public who took offence?” (“Greatly dislike the EU and its anti-democratic stance”). And “If Owen was a nicer person not a little shit maybe people would like you … Try taking your head out your back side” (“Out of the EU asap deal or no deal”).
There is more: “Silly little boy Owen Jones tastes own medicine as is attacked outside pub” (“Evidence led atheist and Patriot. ‘For Britain’ member”). Finally we have the “but milkshakes” brigade: “When some other controversial figures were pelted with milkshakes a lot of people who like Owen Jones laughed. I didn't. Neither did others who hate Owen Jones” (yes, another “Brexiteer”). So many Brexiteers. So much in common.
And the Brexiteer who talked about winning the referendum “without a shot being fired”, and having to “pick up a rifle” if he didn’t get his way has been quiet as a mouse thus far. So have several of his pals. As Private Eye magazine might have put it, I wonder if the two are in any way related? I think we should be told.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at