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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Pandering to the thugs

The uproar regarding Brexit Secretary, Stephen Barclay's* suggestion that intimidating protests outside parliament should rule out a fresh referendum was both predictable and justified. This is appeasement, worse it actually encourages the thugs that their intimidation is getting results. No wonder his fellow MPs are not amused.

As the Independent reports, Labour MPs Chuka Umunna and Ben Bradshaw have branded the comment “disgraceful” and a willingness to “give in to fascist thugs” respectively. And senior Tories Justine Greening and Sarah Wollaston have accused Mr Barclay of being ready to bow down to “mob rule” and to “appease right-wing thuggery”. All of which appears to be perfectly reasonable points of view:

Ms Greening told the PoliticsHome website: “What fuels the thugs who abused Anna Soubry is when ministers won’t outright condemn these thugs and their intimidation.

“That sends a dangerous message that ministers will take it into account in decisions. That’s called mob rule.”

Dr Wollaston said: “This is orchestrated intimidation against MPs, journalists and members of the public that should not be tolerated.

“No one should suggest that we should alter our democratic process simply to appease right-wing thuggery.” Mr Umunna tweeted: “Disgraceful for the Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay on @BBCr4today to suggest the abuse and intimidation @Anna_Soubry was subject to yesterday is a reason not to hold a democratic #PeopleVote.”

And Mr Bradshaw added: “Disgraceful comments from rookie #brexit secretary Stephen Barclay claiming the attacks on @Anna_Soubry are reason not to have a #peoplesvote on May’s botched deal. Since when has Britain give in to fascist thugs?”

The good news is that the police appear to have woken up following the intervention of over 50 MPs and the Speaker. Some clearer guidelines for officers patrolling in the vicinity of Parliament would not go amiss.

*Yes, I had to check to get his name right as well.
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