The far right is pushing for riots over Brexit. And media outrage is nowhere to be seen.

Brendan O'Neill
Ed Sykes

Right-wing agitator Brendan O’Neill has said on national TV that there “should be” riots over Brexit. But at a time when Britain’s hard right is growing in confidence and getting increasingly incendiary in its rhetoric, there seems to be little media outrage over his comments.

As journalist Owen Jones – whom far-right agitators have targeted violently in recent months – said:

 

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He and others, meanwhile, pointed out that less prominent voices have faced punishment for essentially saying the same thing:

Extreme rhetoric – extreme dangers

Media pundits and politicians have said a lot about the tone of political debate in recent years. Because we live in a country where papers like the Daily Mail have referred to at least one MP as a “traitor” and called judges “enemies of the people”. It and other right-wing rags have used this kind of language consistently. Indeed, just days after the 2016 murder of Labour MP Jo Cox (whose killer said “death to traitors” in court), the Mail called for Labour to “kill” its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Current PM Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has suggested that attempts to stop a no-deal Brexit mean “surrender”, and his allies in the hard-right media have echoed this warlike terminology. His rhetoric is right out of the playbook of figures like Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. But just this week, he called claims that his language was dangerous “humbug”, and he argued that the only way for MPs to be ‘safe’ was to ‘get Brexit done’. His chief adviser Dominic Cummings also said the same thing to an MP who’s received death threats. And this comes as a man aggressively tried to break into MP Jess Phillips’s constituency office.

Corbyn and members of his cabinet have spoken out very clearly against this aggressive rhetoric:

Bring in the firefighters

There should be media uproar about the tone of hard-right debate. Because an MP has died at the hands of a far-right extremist, other MPs are receiving death threats, and according to recent reports:

The number of right-wing extremists in custody under terror laws last year increased to the highest level on record, official figures show.

Both the media and parliament, meanwhile, have become safe spaces for anti-Corbyn abuse. Former PM David Cameron, for example, openly claimed the Labour leader was “Britain-hating” and called him and his anti-war colleagues “terrorist sympathisers”. The far right, meanwhile, has targeted Corbyn numerous times and expressed a desire to kill him.

But whether the media establishment steps up or not, one thing is clear. With the fire of fascism growing, we need to bring in the firefighters. And that means Jeremy Corbyn – the man who has consistently stressed “I don’t do abuse” and has famously won numerous peace prizes. Because while others push the tone of public debate to dangerously low levels, Corbyn continues to stand tall as the adult in the room. That’s why he’s exactly the kind of leader Britain needs right now.

Featured image via screenshot

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    1. Many people who voted for Brexit are working class lefties–real lefties, not bourgeois lefties who want to save the whale but not pay fairer tax–so to steal the vote of the majority and do it through parliament to try and call that democracy, that’s an invitation to many to call for unrest.

      You can’t steal a winning vote from more than half the people and expect no trouble. That’s the very thing that starts civil wars. People from the left and right voted for Brexit, just as people from the left and right are trying to rob us of it. Blair is further to the right than most of us here! To say Brexit is a far right thing is dishonest, and an unworthy attempt to hide the uncomfortable truth Remainers know they are anti-democratic.

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