Hounded by far-right pro­test­ers

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - THE BRIT SCENE BY TOM DRAPER -

The footage is re­ally quite shock­ing. A group of an­gry shouty peo­ple, with not much go­ing on be­tween the ears, crowd around a woman on her way to work while the po­lice stand idly by. That was the scene on Mon­day as Tory MP Anna Soubry walked to Par­lia­ment. She was bar­racked by pro-Brexit pro­test­ers some of whom have links to far-right groups in­clud­ing James God­dard, a sup­porter of Tommy Robin­son. Sound­ing about as elo­quent as Don­ald Trump and lack­ing the brain cells to form a co­her­ent ar­gu­ment the men re­sorted to ha­rass­ment. How brave they are to men­ace a woman on her own.

Other pub­lic fig­ures have also been tar­geted by God­dard and his ilk in­clud­ing Guardian colum­nist Owen Jones. Watch­ing the video of him be­ing ver­bally abused was har­row­ing. At one point it ap­peared he was sec­onds away from a beat­ing.

In­tim­i­da­tion is a tool of the thug­gish far-right which is on the rise in the UK. In part this is due to the me­dia and the lan­guage some sec­tions of the press have used around Brexit. For ex­am­ple, the Daily Mail reg­u­larly por­trays re­main­ers as un­pa­tri­otic, sabo­teurs and traitors. TV sta­tions give far-right ac­tivists such as Tommy Robin­son a plat­form, which al­lows them to ap­pear le­git­i­mate. But their ir­ra­tional ha­tred and ag­gres­sion are not le­git­i­mate po­lit­i­cal per­spec­tives.

God­dard, in par­tic­u­lar, ap­pears to be a par­tic­u­larly vile in­di­vid­ual. He wants the UK to leave Europe and thinks any talk of a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum is a be­trayal. But rather than de­bate his point of view and try to win peo­ple over with rea­son­ing he just screams and rants. He was even caught on cam­era telling po­lice they are 'fair game' and threat­ened 'war'. I sus­pect this was a stunt so he could get ar­rested and claim to be a mar­tyr for free speech. But as the po­lice ap­pear to be sit­ting on their hands at the mo­ment there was no dan­ger of that hap­pen­ing.

Re­gard­less of our po­lit­i­cal opin­ions, we should all be wor­ried about po­lice in­ac­tiv­ity and pro­tes­tors like God­dard. They spout the same sort of lan­guage as the rightwing ex­trem­ist who mur­dered Jo Cox in 2016 and there­fore have to be dealt with by the full force of the law.

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