BY SOPHIE CORCORAN
What do Angela Rayner’s words really mean for young right-wing activists?
The Labour Party Deputy Leader has refused to apologise for the comments she made at this year’s Labour Party conference where she stated Conservatives were ‘worse than a bunch of homophobic, racist, misogynistic, piece of scum.’ Adding for good measure that this crazed diatribe demonstrated she was ‘holding back’.
This wasn’t the first time Mrs Rayner was called out for using such language. Her comments justifiably ignited anger from Conservative MPs and have been brought into the limelight once again following the brutal slaying of Sir David Amess MP. But what do Angela’s words really mean for young right-wing activists like myself?
Politics has become a vile cesspit (further sullied by social media) where abuse towards Conservatives has skyrocketed with lefties often hiding behind the façade of ‘we are the good guys and they are the evil guys’.
As a teenage female political activist, I have had people say they want to throw acid in my face, hit me in the head with a bottle, slit my wrists, kick me, slap me, punch me, and hunt me down. As well as being called a slag and a whore, socialists say I look like a burns victim and that I should kill myself . My crime? Having right wing political views.
I was even targeted at my own sixth form where students tried to frighten me because of my political views leading to me feeling intimidated in my own educational institution and despite three of the main perpetrators being removed from the sixth form, I was still outnumbered. To say the constant abuse doesn’t affect me would be a complete lie; I have spent many nights in tears questioning if I can do this anymore. There’s no doubt that you need a thick skin to enter politics, but it shouldn’t have to be that way – people don’t get involved in politics to be abused, harassed or intimidated.
When those at the top of the Labour ranks such as Angela Rayner and John McDonnell with his ‘lynch the bitch’ comments start to attack Conservatives, they normalise this behaviour. It is because of them that young Conservative activists are intimidated and attacked. Many young people have felt pushed out of politics and have become fearful of expressing their political views as a result of the abuse they will inevitably have to face – I’ve been subjected to this kind of abuse more times than I care to tell. This is damaging to democracy; people should be free to express their political views while being free from left-wing intimidation.
MPs need to understand that they need to set a good example, and in this case, Labour MPs aren’t setting a good one.
Angela Rayner must apologise for her words and reflect upon the harm that it causes to not only her conservative colleagues, but us grassroots activists as well. We do not deserve to be harassed for our political views, no matter how controversial they may be. Free speech is essential to democracy. Hating Tories because they’re Tories is immature and wrong.
Sophie Corcoran is a freelance journalist and student.