Is the viciousness of American Politics pervading us here in GB?
The recent appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the USA has further divided that country along political lines. The scenes within the Capitol building and outside and inside the senate judiciary committee rooms were at best disturbing and at worst the beginnings of anarchy.
The Democrats on the extreme left have also taken to another very sinister form of action. It began with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Whitehouse press secretary. She was having dinner with her family in a red hen restaurant in Virginia when she had was told to leave by the owner simply because she worked for the POTUS, Trump.
What followed was several high profile politicians being ejected from different restaurants even with their children present when leftie so called Democrats invaded the eateries shouting and chanting at them. The latest was former presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruise who had to leave sharply, such was the vehement vitriol.
There have also been in the past several attempted murders of prominent politicians who did not say or do something to the liking of the assassins. Republican Senator Steve Scalise was shot whilst throwing the opening pitch at a baseball game. I am not suggesting in this missive that here in Britain we are going to have prominent politicians murdered, although it has happened of course in the tragic case of Jo Cox.
The language used in the USA is particularly worrying. Hilary Clinton herself has said that “you cannot deal with Republicans by being civil”. Democrat Senator Cory Booker last year called for activists to “get up in the face of some congress people”.
The worse example of this dangerous pathway was when Californian Democrat Maxine Walter openly called for mob violence, she said at a fourth July parade. “If you see anyone from the cabinet in a restaurant, department store or gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome any more anywhere.” Strong stuff which in the USA could very easily lead to someone who is not quite stable taking it too far.
Here in Blighty we have not seen this level of rhetoric, although in a more sinister way we are there already. Many prominent people have been ‘no platformed’. From Germaine Greer the well-known women’s rights activist who was no platformed at the Oxford students union, to Bill Etheridge the former Ukip MEP who ended up holding a rally in a local park having been no platformed at Sussex University.
This ability by groups who do not agree with the speakers’ message to effectively close down free speech is very worrying. There is also recent history of groups threatening venues with trouble in order that the venue managers and owners have no alternative but to cancel the planned gathering. Ukip’s Youth arm Young Independence were victims of this last year when the much-advertised conference in Sheffield was cancelled as the owners of the venue had received so many threats via telephone and e mail they had no choice but to pull the plug on the event.
Bearing in mind this is young people, the future of politics in this country. This behaviour warrants much more scrutiny than that afforded by the local police. Having to text attendees the meeting address for an event, an hour before the time to start is also what Ann Marie Waters had to do last year when arranging to talk to those wishing to listen to her. This was to avoid large scale trouble from anti-racist groups who had clearly threatened disruption.
This shutting down of free speech is growing and though not called for directly by left wing politicians it is largely left wing groups which are guilty. Antifa, Momentum and of course Hope not Hate are the main protagonists. The police seem very reluctant to deal with this, there have been to my knowledge no prosecutions of anyone within these groups who have telephoned or e mailed venues to get them to shut down. The student unions who have no platformed people have carte blanche to do so with no comeback at all. This cannot be right.
Speakers Corner in Hyde Park is a sacred bastion of free speech. Marx, Orwell and even Lenin spoke there. In 1872 an Act of Parliament was passed setting aside this area of the park for public speaking. Recently, though, and contrary to the Royal Parks bye laws, Muslims have been gathering there in numbers to worship. Whatever their reasoning for this they are breaking the law and as such should be stopped from doing what they do.
This act of defiance has of course caused unrest and the potential for trouble here is enormous. Muslims are also now readily becoming violent when someone at the corner espouses anything contrary to the scriptures of the Quran.
We are not yet at the same level of the USA in ramping up division by politicians and I hope we do not get there. I won’t, though, hold my breath.