There are few more strident critics of the Labour leadership than minor thesp Frances Barber, and especially late at night. This being well known to the Twittersphere, and given also her joining the chorus of those claiming that Jeremy Corbyn is somehow soft on anti-Semitism, it might have been thought that she would exercise care when Tweeting. But that thought appears to have been sadly misplaced.
Ms Barber appears to be one of those still prepared to sit through the theatrical tedium that is BBC Question Time, and the appearance on last week’s show of Ash Sarkar from Novara Media displeased her mightily. “I am going to bang on & on & on that my once beloved [Labour Party] is now the Communist Party. Watch next week” she frothed.
From there, she moved swiftly to go for Ms Sarkar. “Communism is vile hateful despicable destructive & a murderous regime. Good our [Labour Party] representative [Ash Sarkar] loves it”. That, of course, depends on defining Communism in terms of one or more régimes that claimed the title, which is not the same thing, as in the “Democratic Peoples’ Republic of [North] Korea”, which, whisper it quietly, is not a democracy.
Ms Sarkar humoured her. “I’m not a Labour Party member. Night Frances, hope you’re having a normal one!” How would the thesp cope with that nugget of information? “In your own words. So why are you representing them?” She isn’t. Have a think about it. Ms Sarkar attempted to couch her reply in straightforward language. “Unless I’ve been elected an MP without noticing, I’m not representing them. Good night, sleep well”. Quite.
And then Ms Barber lost it. In a most revealing way. “Neither you or Shami Chakrabati [sic] have been elected, but you speak on behalf of Seumus [sic] each time you are on Political programs . We the people hate it. You do not speak for us”. What has Ms Chakrabarti got to do with Ms Sarkar? It’s not a brown people thing, is it?
Louise Raw wanted to ask that very question. “Why throw Shami Chakrabarti in when having a go at Ash Sarkar? What’s the justification? One is a media commentator, the other the Shadow Attorney General of the UK. Or does one Asian woman just automatically remind you of another?” But there was even worse to come.
After reading that someone had proposed standing a Labour candidate against Harriet Harman if she were to become Commons Speaker - another suggestion duly inflated by those in the media who should know better - Ms Barber was livid. “They are the BROWN SHIRTS”. We’re getting perilously close to Godwin’s Law here.
Then it got even closer, as she reacted to news that Jon Lansman had tabled a motion to abolish the post of Labour deputy leader by sniping “As if we didn’t tell you . Ernst Röhm in action”. OH DEAR! Frances Barber just compared a Jew to a Nazi. And in doing so, she veered across the anti-Semitism line in no style at all.
Not much use calling anti-Semitism on others if she’s going to indulge in it herself. And that’s on top of the brown people inference. Ms Barber needs to learn one lesson.
Stay away from Twitter late at night. Or don’t bother, and give us all a good laugh.
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