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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

By-election will expose Coalition

THE Eastleigh by-election, prompted by the resignation of the disgraced former energy secretary Chris Huhne, will be a fascinating barometer of the current political mood.

Louise Allonby
Louise Allonby

For instance, it throws light on the state of the Coalition government, which is proving yet again how disunited it is, despite the two leaders’ public affirmations of harmony and respect.

If the coalition were truly working together, they would have put their political differences aside and united behind one candidate (presumably a Lib-Dem) in order to maintain a united front against the opposition.

And there we have another interesting, and deeply unedifying, snapshot of contemporary politics.

The Labour party are fielding the satirical author John O’Farrell who, in a best-selling book of 1998 entitled Things Can Only Get Better (a book I bought and read at the time), expressed his regret that the IRA had failed to murder Margaret Thatcher in the 1984 Brighton Bombing.

Now, whatever anyone’s views on Margaret Thatcher, it does not reflect at all well on the Labour party to field a candidate who has expressed so publicly such extreme views – however “satirical” he may claim them to be.

As a committed Labour activist for many years, there can be little doubt that Mr O’Farrell’s comments were rooted in his true beliefs. This is, after all, the same person who has also publicly stated that he wished Britain had lost the Falklands War.

What sort of outcry would there be if the Conservative party installed a candidate who had clearly stated support for terrorism and their regret that more people hadn’t been killed in a terrorist bombing outrage on home soil? Because that is what O’Farrell, who has the full support of Ed Miliband, has unequivocally done.

Lord (Norman) Tebbit, whose wife was grievously injured and left paralysed for life in the outrage, has asked this week if Mr O’Farrell’s disappointment that Mrs Thatcher survived the bomb was “eased by the deaths of five other people and the injuries incurred by John Wakeham and my wife”.

There is an increasingly prevalent mindset among the so-called “liberal left” (who are often, in fact, anything but liberal, as Mr O’Farrell so nastily illustrates) which believes that vicious attacks on those to the right of centre politically are acceptable and morally justified.

Gratuitously nasty and hastily retracted comments placed on social media sites are one thing. People say offensive and ill-judged things in the heat of the moment which they later live to regret (think Sally Bercow, currently being sued for allegedly libellous comments on Twitter).

Publishing pro-terrorist sentiments in a book – and stating regret over the survival of a democratically-elected leader – is quite another. There’s nothing spur-of-the-moment about it.

The most surprising aspect of all this is that so very little public opprobrium has come the way of Mr O’Farrell. Indeed, the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, Ed Miliband, was too busy this week campaigning for Mr O’Farrell in Eastleigh to have anything whatsoever to say on the matter.

Have your say

i look forward to your piece on the senior tory MP`s that helped cover up & demonise 96 people who died at the Hillsborough disaster.

Posted by GJ on 21 February 2013 at 12:20

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