Earlier this week, the BBC published the results of a survey of MPs, which asked if they had experienced abuse in the recent General Election. The results were stark: 87 per cent of those who responded reported experiencing abuse of some sort, including online and real world threats. Conservative MPs were most likely to have been targeted, but the report featured a high proportion of Labour victims, too (including ten who reported abuse from members of their own party).
You’d hope these findings, and other discussions of the topic such as a recent debate in Parliament, might make people across the political divide reconsider the approach they take to those they disagree with.
Not so the members of ‘We Support Jeremy Corbyn’, a 68,000-strong Facebook group for ardent Corbynites, however. When the BBC report was posted there, the overwhelming theme of the replies was all too predictable: political abuse was justified and even cheered on.
Here’s a small selection from the discussion:
This is not evidence of a healthy culture among the movement that Jeremy Corbyn is so proud to have inspired. His early call for a “kinder, gentler politics” has become a lasting joke, and yet he seems to take no responsibility for correcting the attitudes that are so widespread among his followers.
Rather than confront these views, spread by people who believe themselves to be acting in Corbyn’s cause, the Labour Party prefers to pursue a policy of denial – if anyone’s saying such things then it’s nothing to do with them. The fact that this group, for example, is founded (and still administrated) by one James Craigie, who stood for Labour in the local elections, rather demonstrates how hollow these excuses are. Will the Opposition ever act on this bile?