Britain’s Labour Party has now banned TalkRadio host Julia Hartley-Brewer from its conference next year after finding her guilty of making a joke on Twitter about safe spaces.
This is madness.
When I first reported the story for Breitbart a few days ago, I assumed it was a bit of a flier. That is, though it was certainly true that one or two attention-seeking professional victim types had claimed to be offended by Hartley-Brewer’s harmless joke, I never imagined that their pathetic whining would be sanctioned and endorsed by the party that could form Britain’s next government.
But it has.
We’re all pretty used by now to the Safe Space nonsense that takes place on university campus: archaeology students being given trigger warnings that they might have to dig up human bones; English students being warned that Shakespeare may include scenes of sex and violence; sombreros being banned at Mexican parties because of ‘cultural appropriation’; and so on.
One of Britain’s best-loved MPs — Frank Field — has quit the Labour Party in protest at the anti-Semitic and increasingly vicious direction it has taken under its hard-left leader Jeremy Corbyn.
This is a depressing symptom of a rapidly escalating problem across Western culture.
The anti-Semitism is, of course, horrifying. For those of us who grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust, it seems almost incomprehensible that the Britain which did so much to beat Hitler has become a Britain where Her Majesty’s Opposition party is so flagrantly, shamelessly anti-Semitic that British Jews are making plans to flee the country if Corbyn ever gets voted into power.
But equally shocking and significant, I think, is the second reason Field gives for leaving.
Here he is writing in the Liverpool Echo about the problems within his own constituency:
Birkenhead is a case in point of how the Labour Party has been overrun by individuals who demonstrate intolerance of, and nastiness towards, those who hold different views to their own.
I have attempted, over the past eighteen months, to get the national Party to take seriously the sheer thuggery and blatant bullying that now characterise Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party. Not one of my submissions has ever been investigated fully or produced a report.
This intolerance is often racist, ageist and sexist in nature. Again most recently, a woman member campaigning for the Party was reduced to tears by the rage that engulfed her from a male councillor.
There have been many other such incidents, now too numerous to list.
The brilliant thing if Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour party leadership race, I argued, is that by testing to destruction in Britain the same ideology that has already been tested to destruction in Castro’s Cuba, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Kim Jong Il’s North Korea, Enver Hoxha’s Albania, and so on, he will make the Labour party unelectable for at least a decade.
I joked that in honour of the earnest beardie I was even thinking of wearing a Jeremy Corbyn vest, just like the ones he favours – bought, apparently, for just £1.50 from his local market.
But now – like quite a few others, ranging from former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown to former Tory MP Louise Mensch and columnist Janet Daley – I’m beginning to realise that frivolity may not necessarily be the most sensible response to a man who was cosying up to the IRA weeks after the Brighton bomb that nearly killed Margaret Thatcher and who describes Hamas as his “friend.”
My worry is not so much that, as received wisdom has it, that all governments need a credible Opposition leader to hold them to account. (By that token, Margaret Thatcher’s run as prime minister – with Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock leading the Opposition benches – would have been a complete disaster, which I’m not sure it was). Rather it’s that as Janet Daley argues here, it’s that Corbyn represents the kind of hard-left revolutionaries who’ve given up on parliamentary democracy altogether.
The claim that ‘I was quoted out of context’ is the feeblest excuse of the lot.
We can all sympathise, I am sure, with the predicament of Diane Abbott MP last week. “White people love playing ‘divide & rule’. We should not play their game,” she tweeted. Put under pressure to clarify this, she hastily explained: “Tweet taken out of context. Refers to nature of 19th- century European colonialism. Bit much to get into 140 characters.”
Yep, we’ve all been there. There you are wanting to tweet a nuanced disquisition on ethnic communities under the white 19th-century imperial hegemony and, damn it, Twitter’s wretched character limit has gone and cut you off before you’ve barely begun.
That’s the charitable explanation. The uncharitable one is that with more than 2,200 tweets to her name, @HackneyAbbott really ought to have twigged by now that Twitter isn’t the best medium for long essays. Nor even short ones. “Your tweet was over 140 characters. You’ll have to be more clever,” you’re told whenever you try to exceed the limit. Everyone on Twitter knows this. It is, in fact, the whole point of Twitter. Is Diane Abbott really asking us to believe she is so clotted-cream thick that this most basic of points has eluded her?