Labour

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.

End of an era

Well, not quite, but I’ve decided to place some other commitments over my Wednesday afternoon peer support group, Salisbury Stroke Support Group. In truth, the attendances have not been brilliant for a while, and yesterday I turned up and was on my own (again). I actually took my wife with me yesterday, so strictly speaking, I wasn’t on my own, I just mean that no-one else turned up. And, at least I got a lift home afterwards, so I didn’t have to hang around for the bus. But the two of us spent half an hour just chatting to each other, something we could easily have done at home any day of the week.

It’s good, I suppose, that people feel they have recovered to the point where they don’t think it is useful to come along to the group any more, but at the same time a little sad. Moreso really because I think of it all as a bunch of mates getting together rather than just peer support. And, of course, there is the perennial question, “what if someone new needs support.?” There are precious few avenues as it is, and we’ve just closed off one of them.

Certainly, whilst I’m not working, I had a very straightforward view that I had nothing better to do than to go into Salisbury every couple of weeks, so I was happy to go along. By that I mean that there was always other stuff to do, but generally these days I don’t have to be in a certain place at a certain time, so I was happy to go to the group. But, really, if I’m going to go along – leaving the house at midday and not getting back until 5pm – and sit there on my own, there are far better things that I can be getting on with. I may even end up going into Salisbury anyway, but at least I won’t be constrained by meeting times.