During the recent General Election Emily Owen, Labour parliamentary candidate for Aberconwy standing against Tory incumbent Guto Bebb, received a ‘torrent’ of ‘vile sexist abuse’ online, including requests for sex acts in return for votes and suggestive comments about her body:
As far as the SKWAWKBOX can ascertain, her Conservative opponent made no comment condemning this appalling treatment. Though to be fair, he seems to have a definition of ‘abuse’ that could most generously be described as ‘interesting’.
As this blog showed yesterday, Mr Bebb published a Facebook video in which he spoke of his frustration at the abuse suffered by his colleague Simon Hart, whose introduction to the debate described ‘abuse’ consisting of defacement of his election boards and posters.
Yet he completely omitted to mention the horrendous racism and misogyny described movingly by Labour MP Diane Abbott – and in fact dismissively referred to ‘some people trying to claim‘ that abuse happens to MPs of all parties.
As noted, Mr Bebb appears also to have ignored the abuse directed at Ms Owen – but he wasn’t ‘backward at coming forward’ about his own ‘abuse’ and it may be considered by some to be revealing.
Last week, a number of Tory MPs went bleating to the Daily Mail about the ‘horrors’ they suffer – a defaced poster being seriously traumatic and all – and that was in turn covered by the Daily Mirror, which quoted Mr Bebb describing his own ‘ordeal’:
Forget inappropriate questions about your breast size and sex life. Forget hideous racist insults up to and beyond the n-word. But someone singing ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ outside your house at 2am – that’s worth mentioning as ‘abuse’.
One has to salute Mr Bebb’s resilience in coming through such a trial intact.
Seriously, though, this whole nonsense is a perfect illustration of the way in which the Establishment is trying – and has been ever since Corbyn’s election to the Labour leadership – to weaponise the notion of abuse against the Left.
It’s a tactic that looks desperate as soon as you see it for what it is. The worst abuse has to be ignored or skipped over, while allegations of abuse originating from the left tend to be either curiously unevidenced or based on facts that contradict the conclusion; see for example the use by the press and Labour right of abuse against Angela Eagle as an example with which to attack the supposed ‘hard left’ – even though the culprit was not a Labour member and lived hundreds of miles away in Scotland. And was convicted and sentenced for it.
The facts are not being allowed to stand in the way of the desired smear-narrative against huge numbers of decent-but-sometimes-angry left-leaning Labour members and supporters.
And that, in its way, is a form of abuse far more grim than any a Tory has so far been able to evidence.
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