BY FRANK HAVILAND
Successful TV shows rarely survive the ratings wars once the lead has quit. Having put in 20 years, and achieving viewing figures of 17.4 million in the process, you can hardly blame Nigel Farage for hanging up his mustard corduroys and deciding to live a little.
The demise of Brexit without him has been shocking nonetheless. Trying to market it to a wider audience has rendered Brexit the Doctor Who of political entertainment: its stars are now poor value for money, and fluff their lines frequently. Were it not for the show’s initial success, Brexit would have been cancelled long ago – precisely what Westminster wants.
Farage’s replacement, Theresa May, has the charisma of an extremely damp rag, and has navigated the EU-negotiations with all the élan of a headless chicken (robotic dance moves included naturally). Nevertheless, May is sticking to her choreography, and has just issued a stark warning to MPs that to vote down her ‘deal’ would be ‘a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy’. What she means, I fancy, is ‘Vote to remain in the EU, otherwise you risk giving the plebs what they actually voted for.’
Right on cue, and rather coincidentally the weekend before the vote, Yellow Vest leader, James Goddard, was arrested on charges so trumped up they took five days to invent. Declining to name Goddard, the Metropolitan Police statement read: ‘We can confirm that a man in his 30s was arrested at 11:42hrs on Saturday, 12 January outside St James Park tube station on suspicion of a public order offence’. ‘Suspicion’ being the operative word.
It’s hard to view this delayed-reaction arrest as anything other than politically-motivated. From the manufactured outrage at what was essentially low-grade heckling, to the timing in relation to Brexit, the draconian bail conditions which have been set, and the rank hypocrisy from both Soubry and Jones.
Goddard’s crime appears to be calling Anna Soubry a ‘Nazi’ and a ‘traitor’. Assuming he doesn’t think Soubry is attempting to turn Broxtowe into the Third Reich, I’d take it Goddard means a person who seeks to impose their views on others in a very autocratic or inflexible way. In terms of treachery, is Soubry a person who is guilty of treason or treachery, in betraying friends, country, a cause or trust?
She has reneged on her promise to respect the Leave vote:, continues to call Leave voters fascists and racists, and seeks to sabotage democracy by continuously campaigning for a People’s Vote on the taxpayer’s dime – perhaps Goddard didn’t go far enough?
Fortunately it appears, much like the utterly ridiculous notion of hate crime, public order offences can mean whatever the State likes, or more accurately does not like. (Personally, I’m all for people being arrested, provided they’ve actually done something. I’ve yet to be convinced that Goddard committed anything other than heckling the wrong side.)
The real issue here is the outrageous double standard the political left wields with impunity. The real divide in this country is not the ‘many and the few’ as Jeremy Corbyn insists, but between those with – and those without – an accredited victim card. Owen Jones is a paid up member of the LGBTQWERTY Gestapo, who will block you on Twitter before your Hitler Youth badge arrives in the post. Anna Soubry meanwhile is a female MP, the embodiment of diversity. That’s why they cannot believe they have been targeted – they’re supposed to be the good guys.
Lady Justice it seems is blind in only one eye, which is why you will never hear the clamour for John ‘direct action’ McDonnell to be arrested, why there were no arrests for the ‘Hang the Tories’ banner in 2017, and why there won’t be any charges brought against activist Weyman Bennett’s who called for Theresa May to ‘shoot herself’.
Andrew Neil called it perfectly last week: ‘When the far-right behaves appallingly that’s thuggery, but when the far left do it, that’s activism’.
The left is so convinced of its superior morality that it refuses to relinquish the progressive narrative, even when such a position is clearly at odds with reality. It’s the reason Sarah Champion was forced to resign for her defence of rape victims, while Naz Shah was subject to no discipline for insisting they ‘shut up for the good of diversity.’ It’s why Labour turns a blind eye to its own antisemitism, focusing instead on claiming the Conservatives are islamophobic. It’s why the left loves democracy, as long as it’s the diversity-loving, immigrant-welcoming, open-doors kind.
Any up-and-coming political darling wishing to be taken seriously by the left must instinctively embrace this prioritisation of righteousness over truth. Femi Oluwole for instance, thinks pretending the NHS is free means we care about each other:
While Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks facts come a distant second to being morally right:
James Goddard may be many things: a little uncouth perhaps, a man who occasionally leaves his decorum at home, I daresay he’s not even Oxbridge-educated. In other words, he’s the man in the street – the man politicians like Soubry claim to represent, and he has a right to be angry.
As our skins become ever thinner, we are heading for a scenario where nothing can be said, except that which the Nanny State deems acceptable – the very reason we voted to leave the EU nannies in the first place.
You cannot just incarcerate people because you don’t like the cut of their jib. Whatever discomfort he may have suffered in custody, Goddard has probably been given exactly what he wanted – an enormous platform upon which he will no doubt receive more sympathy than hate.