Labour activist and journalist Aaron Bastani has been the subject of widespread attacks by politicians and the media because of comments he made last week about the poppy appeal and the scandal of 13,000 homeless ex-services personnel. The issue even featured on Sky News this morning:
Predictably, Tory MPs were quick to jump into the attack:
But disgracefully, Labour MPs and one faux-Labour bile-rag behaved similarly:
Interestingly, none of them chose to engage with Bastani’s point about thirteen thousand homeless veterans – even after multiple prompts and challenges from respondents on Twitter.
A contribution by a winner of the Military Cross that underscored Bastani’s point was similarly ignored:
Bastani’s points are his own, but who could disagree that if thirteen thousand people are homeless, including many sleeping rough – around one in nine of those sleeping on the streets – then something is badly broken in our society and in the outcomes of efforts, or in the government’s case lack of effort, to help them.
But the politicians and media looking to score cheap points have behaved with utter recklessness – not only toward a Labour activist but to people who have nothing to do with the discussion.
Last week, as politicians and others stoked outrage, supporters of the far right were sharing what they thought was Aaron Bastani’s home address on social media. At least one turned up at the London address in question.
That is horrifying enough – but the right-wingers got the wrong address, putting at risk a person or family with no connection to the comments.
Clearly the politicians above would not be able to predict exactly this course of events, but it’s hardly rocket science to work out that stoking outrage about Bastani’s comments might lead to a backlash, including possible physical threat. They have been contacted for comment about the risk and Bastani’s point about homeless veterans.
Bastani told the SKWAWKBOX:
I’m saddened that they have greater concern for my comments taken out of context than than they do for thousands of homeless veterans let down by this government. That veterans depend so much on charitable donations after leaving the army is nothing short of a national disgrace.
The Metropolitan Police Service is aware.
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