Saturday, 22 November 2014

My thoughts on Emily Thornberry

So it would appear that Labour MP, Emily Thornberry has resigned from the cabinet for the terrible sin of tweeting a picture of a house with three England flags flying outside, with the implication that the owner of said house was a UKIP supporter. In the run up to a bi-election in the same town, I'm afraid I would have made the same assumption. Many of us would have done. But apparently Ms Thornberry is a terrible snob who is completely out of touch with society; part of a breed of elitist politicians who live in posh houses in Islington and have liberal middle-class values which are out of touch with the rest of us. Personally I believe she's apologised for any offence caused, and that should be the end of the matter.

...But no. We are forced into another trial by media. Ched Evans. Dave Lee Travis. Roy Harper. Who will be the next victim of red-topped vigilantism? When will we stop trying to place ourselves above the law makers in this country?

What worries me is that if we continue to cave in to the pressure of the small-minded moral majority, we'll be but one hop, skip and a jump away from bringing back the death penalty, allowing people to smoke in pubs, banning free thought and turning into a dictatorship led by the housewives of Midlands towns.

Sadly, I think Ms Thornberry's resignation says a great deal more about Ed Miliband than it does about her. This is a man whose weight is so far on the back foot that he's in danger of falling backwards into obscurity; a man who is so desperate to stay in power under any circumstance, that he believes the avoidance of a few negative press inches are more important than defending a close friend and loyal member of his team who has stuck by him through thick and thin and whose only crime was implying what most of us were thinking.

Yes, of course people should be able to fly the English flag with pride, wherever they want. I'm the first to argue that England gets a raw deal within the union, but three flags and the white van sitting in the driveway of the same house are indicative of a certain type of person, and I think Miss Thornberry was merely trying to indicate what an uphill climb her party was facing in the area where scenes like that were witnessed.

It turns out that Thornberry, far from being born with a spoon in her mouth, grew up on a council estate and has defended herself by saying she'd "never seen a house where people can't see out of the window because of England flags." Quite right. This is when English pride becomes an aggressive statement and one worthy of comment.

The owner of the house has responded; "I will continue to fly the flags. I don't case who it pisses off. They have been up since the World Cup." I take one slight issue with his statement. The flags aren't flying. They're actually hanging. Drooping.

I believe British society has now reached a cross roads and we have to think very carefully which road we want to take. UKIP are aggressively appealing to the lowest common denominator; the people who think the easy fix to this country's problems is blaming someone else. If we are scared to criticise these views, and rip to shreds the brave few who are putting their heads above the parapet, however misguidedly, then we are lost.

Ask yourself a simple question. Who would you rather run this county? A genteel, middle-class female politician with gentle left wing leanings who supports gay marriage and rights for women, or a white male who would jump ship to an extreme right wing party at the drop of a hat? However I look at this story, I see it as a battle lost for the good guys, and whoever played a role in Ms Thornberry's resignation has specks of blood all over their hands. And yes, that includes you Ed Miliband. You're no leader in my eyes.

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