How right-wingers jumped the shark over Diane Abbott’s tweet

Friday, 06 January 2012 18:14
By Sunny Hundal

Most commentators and activists on the left think/write about race through the prism of power, privilege and historical context (slavery etc). In the last few years I’ve started using an additional prism – civil liberties.

So the controversy around Diane Abbott’s tweetgate gives me a delicious opportunity to explain how right-wingers badly jumped the shark on the issue and will regret it.

To clarify, I’m not interested in the merits of what she said – despite her intentions it looked like a generalisation about white people and those aren’t PC – but more in the reaction itself.

For right-wingers, alarm bells should have first started going off when the easily excitable Harry Cole blogged: Sections 17 to 29 of the Public Order Act 1986 are pretty clear on statements like this. They cover deliberately provoking hatred of a racial group, distributing racist material to the public, and perhaps most notably in this case, inciting inflammatory rumours about an ethnic group, for the purpose of spreading racial discontent.

The idea that Abbott was ‘provoking hatred’ is as silly as the idea she could be liable for prosecution.

But consider this – a self identified ‘libertarian‘ is calling for state prosecution over a private tweet that he found offensive. Is it any wonder right-wing libertarians are ridiculed so widely, if they campaign to bring back hanging or conviction over private words?

ConservativeHome similarly followed quickly by calling for her to be sacked. Bizarrely, they were quieter when Aidan Burley was exposed as having bought a nazi costume (an illegal act) for a stag do.

What strikes me is that right-wingers have walked straight into a left-wing trap. Twitter feeds on controversies and outrage – and sometimes minor flaps get blown into major controversies that dominate the news agenda.

A sensible right-winger would have looked at this, recognised the repercussions, and said: “I think Diane Abbott said something nasty and should apologise. But to show lefties that we don’t care for political correctness, I won’t make a song and dance about this or call for her to be sacked. We’re just here to have some fun.”

But they didn’t. They wanted retribution for left-wing outrages and invoked the memory of poor Aidan Burley. It was time for payback, bitches.

But next time there’s a left-wing controversy (and there will be many) and right-wingers dismiss it as PC GAWN MAD – we just point to this controversy. We just point to the fact you wanted her prosecuted for a private conversation.

Right-wingers, you couldn’t help but jump the shark, could you?

It was too tempting, even for Toby Young! But you’ll regret this because you’ve adopted the very attitude you used to rail against. And lefties won’t hesitate to keep reminding you.

Originally published by Liberal Conspiracy

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