When Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, he famously promised to bring about ‘a kinder, gentler politics’.
Many — of all political stripes — hoped he might deliver on this pledge. But under his leadership, the Left, which typically seeks to claim the moral high ground on matters of compassion and decency, has increasingly festered in its own cesspit of vicious heartlessness.
During Wednesday’s heated exchanges in the Commons, that didn’t stop Labour MP Paula Sherriff from describing Boris Johnson’s language as ‘offensive, dangerous and inflammatory’ — all because he had described Parliament’s demand that he seek another extension from the EU as the ‘Surrender Act’.
But if the Left really cares about offensive and inflammatory remarks, it need only look at its own — as the shocking callousness of Mr Corbyn’s supposedly ‘gentle’ supporters shown here demonstrates.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: ‘I would like to go back to the 1980s and assassinate Margaret Thatcher’
- ‘I should have come down here with a bat and smashed your face in.’
Former Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor talking last year to a reporter from The Times who had asked her for a comment on a story about her employing her son in her parliamentary office. She threw a bucket of water over the reporter, told him to ‘f*** off’ and rang the police to accuse him of stalking her.
- ‘The day that… you are hurting us more than you are helping us, I won’t knife you in the back, I’ll knife you in the front.’
Labour MP Jess Phillips on Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 — using violent language in spite of condemning John McDonnell for using it. Yesterday, she criticised the Prime Minister for using language that inflamed ‘hatred and division’.
- ‘Just watched The Riot Club and it’s genuinely left me wanting to burn every single Oxford college to the ground… preferably with every single Tory MP inside one at the time. The Conservative Party is a cancer on this country.’
Labour councillor Owen Collins, writing earlier this month. He later apologised.
Labour MP Clive Lewis speaking to an actor at a Labour conference said: ‘Get on your knees, bitch’
- ‘You can f*** all the way off. Then, just when you think you’ve f***** off as much as it’s possible to f*** off, I’m gonna need you to dig deep and f*** off a little bit more.’
Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor of the Corbyn-supporting Canary website, responding to a suggestion by Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell that he might return to Labour following his expulsion earlier this year.
- ‘There was a whole group in the audience that completely kicked off … they were arguing, ‘Why are we sacking her? Why aren’t we lynching the bitch?’ ‘
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, discussing a ‘sack Esther McVey day’ organised in 2014 by Labour activists opposed to the then Cabinet minister. Fellow Labour MP Jess Phillips said the comments were ‘utterly despicable’.
- ‘It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA.’
John McDonnell again, using his blog to ‘honour’ IRA terrorists in 2015.
Comedian Jo Brand said: ‘Why bother with a milkshake [to throw at Farage] when you could use battery acid?’
- ‘My answer is hate… make the Left hate again. I’m full of hate these days.’
Dr Paolo Gerbaudo, a lecturer at King’s College, London, at a conference of Corbyn-supporting Momentum in 2017.
- ‘Mr Cameron has known pain and failure in his life but it has always been limited failure and privileged pain… had he been trying to get the system to look after a dying parent rather than a dying child, he might have understood a little of the damage that his policies have done.’
Guardian editorial published online this month. After an outcry, the words were removed and the paper apologised. But it was not the first time a Guardian writer had used the death of David Cameron’s son Ivan to score political points.
Andrew Stafford, a longstanding Labour councillor in Enfield, North London, speaking to a young Conservative during a 2015 debate. He apologised but rejected calls to step down.
RMT Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley poses in a Soviet-style soldier’s hat with an assault rifle
Deputy Leader Tom Watson at the Labour conference this week, responding to Jon Lansman’s attempt to abolish his position.
- ‘They don’t understand English irony.’
Jeremy Corbyn, discussing ‘British Zionists’ in 2013. The Chief Rabbi described the Labour leader’s comments as the most disgraceful made by a senior politician since Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech in 1968.
- ‘[David Cameron] uses stories about his dead son as misty-eyed rhetoric to legitimise selling our NHS to his friends.’
Guardian commentator and food writer Jack Monroe in a 2014 tweet. She was disowned by Sainsbury’s as the face of an advertising campaign but insisted: ‘I stand by comment the PM uses his experience.’
- ‘We will have a hell of a time. We will have comedians on and bands and we are going to enjoy ourselves. There will be a lot of men wanting to have a drink and celebrate.’
David Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association, speaking after the death of Lady Thatcher in 2013.
Labour MP David Lammy said: ‘Brexiteers like Nazis? I would say that wasn’t strong enough.’
- ‘He surrendered to the Brexit Party and he’s ready to surrender our NHS to Donald Trump.’
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), talking about Boris Johnson in her speech to the TUC earlier this month. Not very offensive in itself, yet it uses the same word — ‘surrendered’ — which Labour MPs yesterday claimed was ‘inflammatory’ when the Prime Minister himself used it.
- ‘People often ask us what it is that makes us tick — it’s Boris Johnson’s head upon a stick, stick, stick.’
A mob of Left-wing supporters holding signs demanding ‘Tories out’ in a video published online last month.
So where’s the outrage when Brexiteers are demonised?
SIR ROBERT GIBB, THERESA MAY’S FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Even by the fractious standards of this debate, the ill-tempered scenes on Wednesday in the Commons probably marked a new low in the Brexit-weary minds of the public.
Not, however, as Labour MPs or many broadcast bulletins would have you believe, because Prime Minister Boris Johnson crossed some line when he dismissed as ‘humbug’ allegations that his language — words such as ‘traitor’ and ‘betrayal’ — were dangerous in a heightened political climate.
But because it demonstrated just how low the Labour Party will sink to stop Brexit and deny the democratic will of the people.
For Labour MPs to reach for the smelling salts over the phrase ‘Surrender Act’ is not so much an outpouring of concern as a cynical attempt to exploit the situation.
Even by the fractious standards of this debate, the ill-tempered scenes on Wednesday in the Commons probably marked a new low
For three years, Leave supporters have been characterised in the most offensive terms by the Left — branded ‘racists’ and ‘thickos’ for having the temerity to want to break free from the Brussels’ orbit. Where was Labour’s condemnation of this provocative and patronising language?
Who on the Opposition benches urged moderation as Labour MPs branded the PM a ‘dictator’ for trying everything possible to deliver on the referendum result?
When did supposedly impartial broadcasters ever present Labour’s attacks on the Government as inflammatory — even when they used words such as ‘wicked’ and ‘coup’?
You could have been forgiven for thinking Remain activists had taken over the Today studio if you listened to the BBC’s flagship Radio 4 programme yesterday. Guest after guest lined up to take swipes at Mr Johnson and the Government with barely a critical question to break their flow.
The reality is that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn states he wants to deliver on the referendum result while simultaneously doing everything possible to derail it.
The public wish to leave the EU has been thwarted and frustrated at every turn by a ‘we know better’ Remain-dominated Parliament, and an opportunistic Opposition that refuses to deliver for the people it professes to serve.
Now stand by as Labour seeks to capitalise on the hypocritical expressions of horror from the Left over Mr Johnson’s ‘inflammatory’ language.
No doubt Corbyn, whose weekly ranting at Prime Minister’s Questions is deliberately designed to be clipped for social media and fuel the division and hatred that drives his devotees, will feign outrage.
Some on the Left are already wailing that they could not possibly sign up to any Brexit deal brought back from the European Council by this Prime Minister because they do not like his morals. The reality is Labour could be presented with a Brexit deal delivered by Gandhi and they still wouldn’t sign up to it.
In my time as an editor at the BBC and then as Director of Communications at No 10, I met all sorts of politicians, from the lazy to the overrated and to the deeply impressive and talented.
But never have I seen politicians more brazen and cynical in their attempts to mislead the public than shadow ministers and members of the current Labour Party.
Every time I hear Labour politicians claim to respect the result of the referendum, I am reminded of a meeting in Whitehall this year.
In a final roll of the dice to deliver Brexit, Theresa May had opened talks with Labour in a bid to break the Parliamentary impasse.
Senior Cabinet colleagues and advisers sat across the table from a Labour delegation, led by their Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer.
Progress was painfully slow as Labour, so fond of accusing the Government of running down the clock on Brexit, repeatedly tried to thwart attempts to find common ground and move forward. This reached an almost farcical level one April afternoon when Starmer opened his remarks by dismissing proposals, outlined in a discussion document, as ‘totally inadequate’.
Gavin Barwell, then the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, sighed. ‘These are Labour’s own proposals,’ he said. ‘They have been literally cut and pasted from a document you submitted to us.’ There was a knowing and embarrassed laugh from the Labour side.
While voters remain divided on Brexit, I’ve never met a single person who does not believe politicians should keep their word.
In the 2017 General Election, both the Conservatives and Labour promised to respect the 2016 referendum result.
That means 80 per cent of MPs who currently serve in Parliament promised voters they would respect the will of the people and deliver Brexit. Labour MPs also voted to trigger Article 50, the mechanism that set the clock running on leaving the EU.
Since then, Labour has done all in its power to brazenly blame the Government while seeking to thwart the public’s will.
The party will now fight any General Election promising a second referendum, having failed to deliver on the first.
What utter disregard for the people they profess to serve. Strip away the rhetoric that now swirls around this ill-fated Commons debate and what do we have?
A Prime Minister who is abiding by a Supreme Court judgment even though he profoundly disagrees with it.
A Prime Minister prepared to call out the Benn Act (which rules out a No Deal Brexit) for what it is — Parliament’s latest attempt to block Brexit and torpedo the talks.
A Prime Minister giving voice to the 17.4 million who backed Leave, even as Labour turns a deaf ear to their frustrations.
Labour, which claims to want to deliver Brexit, has voted 34 times to block Britain leaving the EU.
That is the real outrage here.