STEPHEN GLOVER: Why can't the slow-witted Tories get across the message that the REAL sexists and bigots belong to Corbyn's Labour?
Who is smarter when it comes to depicting their opponents as misogynistic knuckle-draggers — Labour or Tories? I’d say that the Corbynistas are, by a country mile.
And yet on any objective analysis, the Parliamentary Labour Party is more riddled with sexism and bigotry and general nastiness than the Conservatives. The truth is that Corbynistas are guilty of double standards on an epic scale.
This past week we have witnessed the hounding of the hitherto relatively obscure columnist Toby Young over a minor job on an education quango which most people had not heard of.
Various Left-ish journalists and Corbynista MPs depicted him as an odious, reach-me-down Tory toff —though, in fact, his father was a distinguished Labour intellectual and Young attended a comprehensive.
Toby Young, pictured here with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, has been forced to stand down from the universities regulator over past comments
It is perfectly true that over the years he has tweeted puerile things about women’s breasts and suchlike, for which he apologised unreservedly before being required by the Government to fall on his sword.
But however silly and ill-judged these tweets may have been, they were not, I would suggest, particularly extreme or notably sick-making. Nor did they threaten any living person. The same cannot be said of the worst Corbynista offenders.
They have said or tweeted things which make Young’s effusions look positively innocuous. And yet the same Labour frontbenchers who struck attitudes of horror and outrage over his alleged excesses can’t bring themselves to say a word of reproach against far more egregious sinners on their own side.
Step forward Angela Rayner, shadow education secretary, and Emily Thornberry, shadow foreign secretary. Both women worked themselves up into a terrific lather over Toby Young.
Miss Thornberry fired off multiple angry tweets while Mrs Rayner despatched an excoriating letter to the Prime Minister in which the miscreant columnist was accused of a ‘history of homophobia and misogyny and indifference to the rights of people with disabilities’. Let’s just say the evidence for these contentions is slight.
Yet the same Angela Rayner took a strikingly indulgent view of the far more offensive remarks made by Corbynista MP Jared O’Mara, some of which are too disgusting to repeat in a family newspaper.
Among the less revolting ones were references to ‘sexy little slags’ and ‘poofters’. He is alleged to have called a woman a ‘bitch’ in a nightclub, though he denies it. O’Mara (who has seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth) also fantasised about orgies with the pop group Girls Aloud, and was rude about fat women.
All pretty unpleasant. Yet Mrs Rayner declared a few months ago that she was ‘happy to sit alongside’ O’Mara in the Commons after he had said he was sorry. It is a pity that she could not be so generous-hearted towards Young when he apologised for far milder comments.
Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party has faced its own accusations of anti-Semitism and sexism
Yesterday, Emily Thornberry demonstrated a similar inconsistency when asked on BBC Radio 5 Live about the infamous suggestion by shadow chancellor John McDonnell in 2014 that Esther McVey, then disabilities minister, be ‘lynched’. Around the same time he also called her ‘a stain on humanity’.
Surely what McDonnell said in both instances was far more inflammatory than anything Toby Young wrote. But Miss Thornberry would only respond: ‘I ain’t gonna answer.’ Fellow Corbynista Diane Abbott was similarly uncommunicative over the issue on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show last October.
I realise, of course, that it’s human nature to be less critical of the moral lapses of members of one’s own political tribe than those in other tribes.
But to ventilate over Young’s comparatively harmless tweets while disregarding McDonnell’s sinister ad hominem threats — well, that is a piece of shameless hypocrisy, as well as proof of political chicanery.
The point is that what John McDonnell said when he was still a backbench MP betrays real malevolence, as did his ‘joke’ in 2010 that he would like to go back in time and ‘assassinate’ Margaret Thatcher.
He repeated this so-called witticism at a meeting in 2014 without any apparent sign of contrition. Sitting alongside him on the platform was a woman who laughed out loud as he recollected his assassination fantasy. Who was this person? Angela Rayner.
Momentum, the pro-Corbyn campaign group headed by Jon Lansman (pictured) has shut down its youth wing over offensive messages on social media
There were, to be fair, some decent moderate Labour MPs who had the courage and independence of mind to condemn McDonnell over his comments about lynching Esther McVey.
One was Yvette Cooper. Another was Jess Phillips. But the Corbynistas habitually turn a blind eye to the incendiary language of their own kind while attempting to seize the moral high ground when a well-meaning chump such as Toby Young strays off-piste.
Why do we let them get away with it? Perhaps more to the point, why do the Tories let them get away with it? Watching Toby Young being pilloried by Labour over the past week, the general public will almost certainly have got the false impression that the Conservative Party is more at fault.
Even quite sensible commentators have used the case to argue that it shows how out-of-touch the Tories have become that they can try to impose an antediluvian toff on a reluctant public. That really is rubbish.
Perhaps he had to be sacrificed, but couldn’t the Tories have been a bit more muscular? When Theresa May was asked about Young by Andrew Marr on Sunday, she was within her rights to say that she was ‘not impressed’ by what he had tweeted.
But couldn’t she have taken the fight back to Labour’s hypocrites by pointing out that his hysterical accusers have covered up or ignored comments and behaviour on their own side which are infinitely worse than anything he has said or done?
Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell has been criticised in the past for offensive comments. He once said a female Tory minister should be 'lynched'
It’s true, of course, that in their demolition of Young, the Corbynistas were enormously helped by their mastery of the Twittersphere, which allowed them to blast him with insults and accusations, and to spirit up an online petition with more than 200,000 signatories calling for his sacking.
The sheer scope of Corbynista supremacy of social media is illustrated by the party’s decision, reported in today’s Mail, to shut down its hard-Left Momentum youth wing. Its more over-the-top activities included celebrating the Russian Revolution, extolling Marxism and defending anti-Semitism.
Such extreme positions are potentially embarrassing even to the Corbynistas. But we should not imagine for a moment that Labour’s toxic trollers and abusive tweeters are being put out to grass.
Somehow the Tories will have to learn how to cope with the destructive forces the Corbynistas have unleashed on social media.
How preposterous that they should have succeeded in portraying Toby Young as an unpleasant fanatic while being allowed to keep their squalid washing well out of sight.
Following the ministerial re-shuffle, and with a supposedly fresh leadership in charge of the party, it really shouldn’t be beyond the ability of the Tories to expose the Corbynistas’ mind-boggling hypocrisy.
Truth to tell, aren’t many of these people appallingly low-grade? The idea that the likes of Angela Rayner and Emily Thornberry should be able to run rings around a child of two is pretty risible. And yet that is exactly what they are doing with the slow-witted Tories.
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