A couple of things happened yesterday which re-affirmed my belief that if we elected the Labour Party (in the UK) we might well be getting more than we bargained for.
To explain the first, I need to explain the current news. Over in the USA, a guy has been proposed by Trump as a Supreme Court judge. Once selected and approved, they hold this position for life, so pretty important. The guy is going through the senate hearings at the moment, and a woman has come up and testified against him, saying that he sexually assaulted her. I mean, powerful stuff, but so far it is just an allegation – nothing has yet been proven and this guy has never been charged with any of this. It is, after all, a criminal offence.
Anyway, on the strength of this allegation, one of my friends (who is an affirmed Labour Party supporter) shared some posts on Facebook, to the effect that this guy is an abuser, and shouldn’t get the job. This would be totally fair enough, if the guy had been convicted of something. But, at this stage, nothing is proven. Indeed, by posting this stuff on Facebook, folks might well be harming the case against this guy, just because his lawyers might say that it shows the guy won’t get a fair trial.
But the point I picked up on was the willingness to let due process go out of the window, to forget that somebody is innocent until proven guilty, in favour of lynch mob justice, and that scares me. I’m left feeling that in their ideal world, they wouldn’t bother with things like courts, and that worries me.
The second event happened last night. A guy I don’t know, but who said he worked for the Labour Party. He posted a clip of some young kid going into the Tory Conference, and being pelted with eggs. And it was posted as if this is an acceptable way for people to behave. In fairness, this kid seemed totally obnoxious, but despite that, it showed that for people who didn’t agree with him, it was ok to assault him.
So, I see that event and worry that free speech itself is at risk. I see this, and envisage the Brownshirts.
I can feel for Jeremy Corbyn. It doesn’t worry me one bit about his links with the IRA or Hamas – these are groups with a clear political agenda, if Corbyn happens to share the same politics, I’m not bothered. Whether I agree with him or not is a different matter, but I don’t really attach any significance to him having those views. But these Facebook posters follow him and are extremely vocal in their support. I mean, I’m sure he’d like their vote just as much as he’d like anybody’s, but would he want to dispense with the courts, and ban free speech? I very much doubt it – when I see him in interviews, his views are mostly well thought out, surprisingly well for a politician. But the trouble is, he can’t do it all on his own. Sooner or later, he has to delegate to people like exactly like these Facebook posters, and he’s then at the mercy of their prejudices, which aren’t immediately apparent from the Labour Party manifesto.
So Corbyn, unfortunately, is not the issue, it is his supporters, and, unfortunately, the guy can’t do anything about them.