There was more. “The Guardian understands Rayner has cancelled her constituency surgeries in recent weeks amid concerns for her safety - linked to a wider increase of abuse and threats, including death threats, against her. Friends said she had been deeply affected by the abuse, which had been taken particularly hard by her children. One described the deputy leader as ‘not in a good place’ and said she had been unable to make many public appearances because of fears for her safety”.
Which is not good for the Labour Party, as Ms Rayner is one of its most empathetic and effective campaigners and persuaders. But over at the Northcliffe House bunker, the Mail was more interested in kicking Ms Rayner while she was down. “Ms Rayner's name was trending on Twitter on the day after she used the term 'Tory scum' during a rant at the Labour Party Conference in September. She has repeatedly refused to apologise for the slur, with the Mail On Sunday reporting she may be sidelined by Sir Keir Starmer”.
So if using the word “scum” is indeed a “slur” for which the person using it should apologise, one has to wonder when our free and fearless press is going to apply that criterion to others who dispense the term. Like, Oh I dunno, Mid-Bedfordshire’s Tory MP (yes, it’s her again), the fragrant Nadine Dorries, now elevated to cabinet rank.
You think I jest? Sadly not. Ms Dorries has been consistent in her wheeling out the S-Word over the recent past, without the press indulging in the kind of righteous pearl-clutching directed at Ms Rayner. Take, for instance, her defence of her threat to “nail [a Mirror journalist’s] testicles to the floor using [his] own front teeth” back in 2013.
Gemma Aldridge, now Sunday Mirror and People editor, pushed back against the Dorries denunciation. What say Nads to her? "As a respectable journo text me today, people who work for your paper are bottom feeding scum. I would add lying to that”. Silence from the right-wing media. Much looking the other way. And back she came in 2015.
“Just been kept up by [Stephen Nolan] on [BBC Radio 5 Live] re [Nigel] Farage and the 'scum' who scared his kids. That'll teach me to tweet late”. How considerate of her to use quote marks, as well as her support for Mr Thirsty. And once more, no righteous pushback. Nor was there any in 2018 when she took the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog on trust - and not for the first time.
After Jacob Rees Mogg, the member for times long past, was doorstepped by a sundry attention seeker from the Class War camp, the Fawkes massive attempted to link this to then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “This is how the Corbyn cultists behave. What scum bags. Leave his kids alone” mused the fragrant Nadine. Except there was no Corbyn connection: The Great Guido had his pants well and truly alight.
So one well-known politician calls “scum” on a variety of others, and that’s OK. But when it’s Angela Rayner, it isn’t. And that leads to death threats. But it’s not the press’ fault.