Whether Leave or Remain, we must all take a stand against harassment and intimidationby Gina Miller / January 11, 2019 / Leave a comment
Not since Oswald Mosley and the Blackshirts has politics in this country looked quite so ugly and out of control. In the wake of the tragic murder of Jo Cox in 2016, there was a hope that people would begin to take the consequences of violent, abusive political discourse seriously. Sadly, that seems to have not been the case.
My heart went out to the Tory MP Anna Soubry when she found herself called a Nazi this week by a group of burly, middle-aged men who subsequently physically intimidated her on the street after doing an interview on College Green, opposite Parliament. But this is not the first time that this sort of harassment has happened—and she has not been the only victim.
I am not, of course, an elected representative myself, but, as a citizen of a free country, I have a right—as everyone has—to speak out about matters that concern me. There is a small, well-organised and obsessive minority in our midst, however, who do not accept this.
When I was invited on to College Green to talk to Huw Edwards on the BBC just before Christmas, this same mob was shouting “gas Gina Miller” as we tried to speak. Those words would be horrific to anyone with any knowledge of modern history, let alone one married, as I am, to a man of Jewish heritage. Edwards, an experienced journalist who has reported from war zones, looked as shocked as I was.
Irrespective of whether we voted remain or leave or we are on the left or the right, it is essential that we now all agree on one thing: this sort of behaviour can never be tolerated in a healthy, functional democracy. When it is almost always women who are the victims of the most extreme verbal violence and abuse, it is especially repulsive and un-British.
I have had some doubts about the wisdom of the media village on College Green in the run up to this crunch time on Brexit. It seems to be asking for trouble, creating unnecessary risk when there is no practical need for it, certainly as far as our domestic broadcasters are concerned.
The BBC, Sky News, ITV—and most other media outlets—have access…