This op-ed was written by Seimer1234, Deputy Leader of the LPUK.
We have seen all too clearly in recent weeks where the politics of hate leads.
Recent events in Washington, where a mob of violent insurrectionists decided to storm the Capitol, show us what happens when politicians engage in the politics of extremism and divisiveness, what happens when politicians smear and dehumanise opponents.
As the world watched aghast at these events, there was a feeling of both pity and superiority among some here. American politics was to be looked down upon, a nation where politics was broken, not comparable to the UK or too more advanced and sophisticated democracies.
This is the wrong way to view these things.
Britain is not immune to the politics of hate and vitriol. It is a politics all of us engage in at some point or another. Identifying the other side as evil or dangerous is often too alluring and easy, offering politicians, including myself, a perfect way to dismiss the views of those we oppose.
However, while all of us engage with it, this poisonous rhetoric is not shared equally.
Solidarity, the new surging force on the British left, has clearly tapped into something. Its self-righteousness, its distance from the political establishment offers the voters a new choice, a vision of something radically different to the status quo.
There is much to admire about Solidarity as a political force. It’s a group of determined politicians, lead by a clearly competent leader. It’s organised itself very well, differing from the more traditional parties of the left whose internal organisation are often either labyrinthian or totally non-existent.
However, we have seen a dark, dark side to this party.
I contended with myself about whether I should write this article or not, about whether it was fair to write an article about the comments of a relatively new member. However, seeing the comment, and indeed lack of comment, emanating from the Solidarity higher ups I felt I had no choice.
In the recent barrage of press emerging from Solidarity HQ, a poster came from BobbyCrow. It said “Don’t Let the wolf in By the back door”, referring to the recent budget agreement. The poster itself was fine, a well designed piece that offered an interesting, if in my view dishonest, take on the agreement.
The problem emerged in the discussion relating to the poster.
In what had been intended as a debate about MMT, a number of comments were made by the poster author that were simply beyond the pale.
They began by accusing the LPUK of having the RP accent as a requirement. This bizarre personal attack was strange enough, however the response to Cody when he asked what the RP accent had to do with anything was even stranger. Bobby decided to insinuate Cody was an illegal immigrant, saying he’d consider going to the Home Office to have Codys papers checked. From a party that claims to be about social justice and equality, using “illegal immigrant” as a political insult against opponents, who are members of the only party lead by a BAME immigrant, was quite disturbing.
By far the most heinous comment was one making an insinuation regarding paedophilia. The comment said that it was not like Libertarians to lose interest in something once it stopped being a minor. Insinuating opponents are paedophiles, days after we seen a group of conspiracists ,who believe the US Democrats are a party of paedophiles, bring a noose outside the Capitol is an incredibly dangerous act.
The response from Solidarity higher ups was much less than ideal. Solidarity Health Spokesman wiredcookie1 reacted to the paedophile comment with laughter, while the only comment made by motelblinds, the party leader, was to tell the LPUK leader to “stop crying” in a separate discussion.
It is important we grapple with this now. As politics arounds the world enters dangerous places, it is imperative politicians take responsibility for the language they use. I do not expect Solidarity will apologise. I am sure they’ll revert to type, move into a bunker mentality while telling me to “stop crying” or something along those lines.
However, with an election on the way, perhaps it is wise for politicians, of other parties to make clear that in a system which requires coalitions, there will be no political reward in the form of a space in government for parties that can not regulate their behaviour.
Perhaps then we’ll see a change in tune from Solidarity.