The day a Twitter mob came to life to hunt an MP

A screengrab from BBC video of Tory MP Anna Soubry being verbally abused by protesters on Monday, as she tried to re-enter the Palace of Westminster. – BBC

The political temperature is rising in the UK and Europe and don’t think Canada is immune.

Opinion 05:38 AM by Heather Mallick Toronto Star

Monday looked pleasant enough outside the British Parliament with a BBC interviewer chatting with MP Anna Soubry about the Brexit crisis dragging on. She paused. “I do object to being called a Nazi actually,” she said brightly and cocked her head to one side as the roar became comprehensible. “Soubry is a Nazi! Soubry is a Nazi! Soubry is …”

“If you’ve ever wanted to see what Twitter transported to real life looks like, here it is,” said British journalist Stig Abell of what followed.
Soubry, a Conservative MP who has called for a second referendum on Britain leaving the EU, is a Remainer, not a Brexiteer. The male interviewer apologized to those who had been exposed to vile language. “Sorry, I just think this is astonishing,” Soubry told him. “This is what has happened to our country.”

She’s right. Moments after the interview, the BBC said, she was surrounded in the street by the same mob. Standing out in her pale puffy winter coat, she was jostled and followed by young white bros in skinny pants, the standard jackets and a beard-scarf-and-cap tendency, some wearing those lime green hi-vis vests as in the French riots.

It was like a pack of barking hounds about to shred the fox they had run to ground. They repeatedly called her “Anna,” their faces shiny with glee, and their forest of stick legs filling the lower half of the video like an L.S. Lowry painting.

Soubry had complained about the mobbing of MPs on their way to Parliament. “Why are you so special that you shouldn’t be confronted by the public, huh?” one of them shouted in her ear. This, by the way, is the political equivalent of, “She was asking for it.” Being an MP and all.

The police did nothing. Eventually one of these many thousands of men will have a gun or a knife, or both, as did the neo-Nazi Brexiteer killer of MP Jo Cox in 2016. She was shot three times and stabbed 15 times.

Commons Speaker John Bercow called the protests “a type of fascism” that targets female MPs and journalists. “It’s one thing demonstrating from a distance with placards, or calling out slogans, and another, where the protester invades the personal space of a member, subjects him or her to a tirade of menacing, racist, sexist and misogynistic abuse, and follows them back to their place of work.”
Brexit has enraged people. If Americans are either Democratic or Republican, Britons are either pro-Brexit or Remain. Embarrassingly, hard-left Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour party is firmly pro-Brexit and still dreaming of a socialist island paradise despite most of his party having come to disagree with him. Remain voters, with no leader, have no central force and are thus targeted by the violent hard-left and the violent hard-right.

Corbyn, like May, fears his grassroots. The only way to save Labour, says Observer journalist Andrew Rawnsley, is to dump Corbyn for someone morereasonable. Good luck with that.


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