Back in the late 70s, the bully was easy to pinpoint. As I edged around the playground, thumb in mouth, I would see him strutting about, flanked by weedy wannabes, trying to catch the furtive eye of some duffel coated Cry-Baby.
“Oi! Fat arse! Deafo!” Once they’d caught up with me, the insults came fast and furious. My favourite was “Your mum’s a road sweeper!” on account of her having very long hair.
I’d go home and splutter snot and tears into that hair only to be told, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can never hurt you.” I toughened up, and one day I bit back. The bullies didn’t like it, but they left me alone and set off for some other duffel-coated nerd.
Today, the bullies have grown out of their shorts and long socks and have invested in sharp suits. Bigger and uglier, they’ve raised their game. There’s no glory in taking a rap on the knuckles and shrugging it off with a snivelling “Don’t care” or muffled apology.
The bullies have come to realise that, so long as they can convincingly break down in indignant anguish, and loudly complain about the shadowy figure with the duffel coat and bowl-cut, forgiveness will be theirs. If on occasion that tactic fails, the stakes are upped. Puffing up, they complain to authority: “You’re not protecting me! Why aren’t you doing anything about this?!”
Cry-Bullies are no longer in it for the dinner money. They want ultimate supremacy… And apologies are for weaklings.
From playground to parliament
This tactic became all too apparent in September when Jeremy Corbyn had the temerity to be elected Labour leader by 59.5% of the party’s members. The stream of abuse towards him flowed so hard and fast that media researchers took it upon themselves to measure it.
They confirmed what we already knew – Corbyn is subject to “systematic” attacks by the press, with some help from members of his own party. Despite the vitriol, Corbyn still does not “do personal” and has remained committed to taking the histrionics out of politics. That, in the face of the abuse he has personally received, is already worthy of Sainthood.
Unable to get a rise out of him, the Westminster and media Cry-Bullies turn on the next best thing – his (alleged) supporters. This began in cyber space as soon as Corbyn’s name went on to the ballot paper, but it stepped up a gear at the end of September during the Tory conference in Manchester.
Tory delegates first complained that thousands of protestors (aka the electorate) were outside their conference centre yelling “Scum!”. (Never mind that some of their own number burned £50 notes in front of homeless people in order to be admitted to the exclusive Bullingdon Club… But I digress.)
Hours later the Cry-Bullyometer swung from Mildly Insulting to Existential Threat when one Tory delegate wandered towards a small crowd of protestors (with a photo of Thatcher under one arm and a group of press photographers on the other) and got himself egged.
The media lapped it up, naturally, and the assailant – the identity of whom has never been published – was arrested. Soon after, the Conservatives accused the police of not adequately protecting party members. A ten-foot ring of steel, armed police and snipers are not enough these days.
MP Nigel Evans said the abuse amounted to “hate crime”. Greater Manchester Police pointed out that the 60,000 strong protest was peaceful, with only 19 arrests and five convictions.
The background to the annual protest? Five years of a government and press that has systematically degraded the dignity and life chances of the disabled and unemployed; eroded the incomes of middle to low income earners; undermined the effectiveness of our public services and even shaken the very foundations of democracy. Those affected are not victims of course, but pedlars of hate. According to the Cry-Bullies.
In October, the complaints of bad behaviour from members of the “far Left” smacked of double-standards when it was revealed that 21-year-old Conservative Elliott Johnson committed suicide because he was being bullied by the leader the Party’s youth wing to which he belonged.
His complaints against rising Tory star Mark Clarke, who organised election road trips for young members, had not only been pushed aside but were used to further intimidate him. Since Clarke has been expelled from the party, further complaints of bullying, harassment and blackmail have been made.
The scandal led right to the top of the party, and to the resignation of minister Grant Shapps from his role as Minister of State for International Development. Johnson’s father called for the resignation of Party Chairman Lord Feldman who, along with election chief Lynton Crosby and deputy chairman Stephen Gilbert, signed off on Clarke’s appointment, knowing that has was a “difficult” character. This much is detailed in Shapps’ resignation letter to the Prime Minister who has since stated he stands by Lord Feldman.
Death threats, doublespeak and dissent
This week several Labour ministers who supported airstrikes have been sent “foul mouthed” messages via email and social media. The contents ranged from swear words, to photos of dead Syrian children, to threats of deselection. It’s not clear which they found more upsetting.
This came to a head when one Twitter user – @77_icee – sent MP Neil Coyle a “death threat” tweet containing three knife emojis. The user deleted the tweet and apparently apologised via email. The Met are still looking into the emojis.
It’s worth pointing out that there is no evidence that @77_icee and, for that matter, several of the other “foul mouthed” keyboard warriors, are ‘Corbynistas’ or members of the Labour Party. The same goes for the mystery ‘egger’ and even the Cenotaph vandal. But that doesn’t stop the link being made.
It also hasn’t stopped Andy Burnham leading the charge to decry the Party’s “bullies” and demand that Corbyn take a “hard line”, even after he jointly signed a statement with Tom Watson saying “abuse and intimidation have no place in politics” and “the party as a whole will not accept such behaviour.”
But where is Burnham and his band of merry Blairites when lies, insults and untruths are published in the mass media about Corbyn and his supporters? Or when David Cameron referred to those voting with Corbyn as “terrorist sympathisers”? The Blairite wing of the party is actively choosing to flank the Tory Cry-Bullies.
Incidentally, it turns out that the protestors who were said to be outside Stella Creasy’s house earlier this week were, in fact, on their way past her office and nowhere near her home. The single source of this non-story was another shadowy figure – Paul S Jakubovic – who has since deleted his Facebook profile and disappeared into the ether.
It was this particular story that kick-started the whole media furore over the behaviour of anti-war protestors and ‘Corbynistas’.
Another correction came today too… The Prime Minister’s office now admits that the 70,000 fighters ready to take on Assad and Daesh/ISIL/ISIS is a nonsense, just as suspected and just as Corbyn and many others pointed out.
But that’s okay, because the Cry-Bullies got their way. Hey, it’s easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission! And even when misinformation is corrected or retracted, the damage is already done.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that we have just walked onto the pages of Orwell’s 1984. Cretinous Cry-Bullies are not only eluding blame and responsibility for their own actions, they are ushering in the era of double standards and doublespeak:
- Acts of mass murder are now terrorist events, even when they lack a political point or network;
- Outraged members of the public are bullies and anti-war protestors are “terrorist sympathisers”;
- Those who voice anger are “militant”, and usually of the “Hard Left” persuasion;
- The outraged voice of the electorate has morphed into “mob rule”
- Those who sanction war and support other dubious policies are victims of hate speak;
- The ‘moderates’ are the good guys, but no one knows who the moderates are, at home or abroad;
- Dissent will not be tolerated.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Actually, don’t be. It’s time to stand up and be counted!
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice, and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
But before you do that, watch comedian Steve Hughes on being offended. Consider it training!