Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Silence in the face of bigotry is complicity

February 18th 2019 was a truly extraordinary day in British politics. Not only did a bunch of self-serving Labour right-wingers split away from the Labour Party in a lest desperate effort to keep Tory austerity dogma alive, the British mainstream media twice demonstrated their screaming hypocrisy when it comes to bigotry.

Just hours after citing racism as one of her reasons for quitting the Labour Party, the right-wing pro-privatisation MP Angela Smith uttered an extraordinary racial slur on live TV, accusing British Asians of having a "funny tinge".

Even more extraordinary than this display of casual racism on live TV was the reaction of the mainstream media and Westminster establishment stooges on the panel. They just sat there in silence leaving the left-wing British Asian Ash Sarkar as the only one to immediately express disbelief at what had been said.

Interestingly the pseudo-political party that Angela Smith has joined (actually registered as a private company to evade declaring who is bankrolling them) has absolutely no disciplinary procedures in place to deal with racist comments from their MPs, so she was just allowed to get away with claiming that she wasn't serious and it only happened because she was "very tired".

Imagine if a left-winger or Corbyn-supporter had uttered a racial slur then tried to defend it on the grounds that they were just "very tired", do you honestly think the mainstream media would be fastidiously trying to bury the story?

Then on a different political panel show the right-wing anti-Corbyn polemicist Tom Bower (him of the extraordinary Corbyn is a 'dangerous hero' because he likes baked beans nonsense in the Daily Mail) used a vile anti-Semitic trope to bully and abuse a left-wing Jewish journalist called Michael Segalov.

Unbelievably the rest of the panel just sat there in silence as if racially bullying people is perfectly fine as long as the target is left-wing, leaving Segalov to defend himself against the abuse. No condemnation of the abuse, no solidarity with the victim, nothing!

The fact that this silent reaction to bigoted abuse happened twice on the same day illustrates the fact that this wilful blindness to bigotry from within the establishment ranks is an endemic problem.

It's quite extraordinary that people who would have howled themselves hoarse about the scandal if some leftist had used anti-Semetic bigotry to bully a Jewish person right in front of them on live TV, will just sit there in absolute silence when it's members of their in-group spouting the most absurdly bigoted things, actually leaving the targets of this bigoted abuse to defend themselves.

Let's make no mistake about it here. Bigotry is wrong whether it manifests on the left, the centre, or the right. Anyone proven to be a bigot needs to be lobbed out of whichever political party they belong to, no exceptions for the fact that you prefer one party or another.

Anyone who only opposes bigotry when it involves their political opponents, yet sits there and says absolutely nothing when it's coming from their political allies is an outrageous hypocrite, who is clearly only using the subject of bigotry to score cheap political points.

Whether you think Jeremy Corbyn has done enough to oppose anti-Semitism in Labour is one thing, but you'd be outright lying if you said he'd done nothing. At least he's trying, unlike those who just sit there and say nothing at all while their fellow establishment insiders spew casual racism and the most hateful anti-Semitic abuse.

Sitting there in silence as if nothing of importance has happened while your ideological brethren spew outright bigotry is bad enough in its own right because silence in the face of bigotry is complicity, but from people who are so keen to weaponise accusations of bigotry against their political foes, well it's just absolutely vile isn't it?

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David Parry said...

Would that be execrable Brendan O'Neill sat between Jo Coburn and Ash Sarkar?

Anonymous said...

Poor Tingela was probably tired from lobbying for privatised water. Hard work supporting foreign pension funds and the Chinese government after all.