Do Tories even understand the meaning of the word ‘respect’?
by Matt Coot
It was announced today that the Conservative MP, Ben Bradley, would be apologising for the tweet that he posted in which he lied about Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, being a communist spy. But is this enough?
This ludicrous libellous tweet gained traction in the media this week with the Right Wing media also spreading the same lies. Bradley, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party for Youth, will be making a donation to a food bank and a homeless charity, in his constituency, as well as paying for Jeremy Corbyn’s legal fees. He will be saying that the tweet he posted “was wholly untrue and false”.
However, this is not the first time that Ben Bradley has come under criticism for his social media posts, nor is it the first time he has been in trouble whilst being a politician. So it seems strange that Bradley isn’t being asked to step down.
Before Bradley was an MP, he was a ward councillor on Ashfield District Council, between 2015 and 2016, and office manager for Mark Spencer, MP for Sherwood. He was also a senior parliamentary assistant to Nick Boles, MP for Grantham and Stamford. Anyway, I mention this only because of what happened in 2017. Ben Bradley and Mark Spencer were criticised by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for misusing taxpayers’ resources. As we know, when MP’s do something wrong, they just have to say sorry and all is forgiven. So that’s what Mark Spencer did, whilst Ben Bradley went on a training course about appropriate use of parliamentary resources. He resigned from his council seat, only to return as an independent. He then won during the snap election, in June 2017, to become the MP for the Mansfield seat. In January 2018, Bradley was announced as the Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party for Youth.
In January 2018, just last month, Bradley attracted a lot of criticism about a blog post that he had written in 2012. Within the article, he described the unemployed as “a vast sea of unemployed wasters” and suggested that they should have vasectomies to stop them from having children. Of course, as with what happens when something unpleasant is revealed, an apology was issued by Bradley, who said “time in politics has allowed me to mature and I now realise that this language is not appropriate”. Yes, he apologised for the language and not for the sentiment. Here was a Conservative MP apologising for the language in a blog he had made six years ago in which he was suggesting the sterilisation of the unemployed. Was he sorry for saying that the unemployed should be sterilised? I guess we will never know, but we do know that he regrets the language used.
Within the same month, on 18th January 2018, The Times uncovered a comment that Ben Bradley had apparently written on 9th August 2011:In the post that Bradley wrote, about the riots that were happening in London and other cities, he said that “for once I think police brutality should be encouraged!”. As you may remember, the event that sparked the riots was the death of Mark Duggan, who was killed by the police. This happened just three days before Ben Bradley decided to incite violence and police brutality. He apologised. Although, first of all, when he was asked for a comment, Bradley told BuzzFeed: “You’ll have to go through [Conservative headquarters], mate, I’m afraid. I’m just getting a bit sick of the whole thing, to be honest”.
We’re done with Ben Bradley having controversial blog posts, right? You’d think so, especially as we are only in February 2018, and so far there has been a ridiculous amount being revealed. But no, there was more! Another blog post, titled “Public sector workers: they don’t know they’re born!” written in 2011:Bradley suggested that public sector workers go find other employment if they’re unhappy with conditions and pay. “There are millions and millions of other people who will quite happily take your burden off your hands” was among some of the criticised comments. Considering that 29,019 nurses left the profession, between October 2016 and September 2017, due to the public pay cap, his comments weren’t exactly welcomed.
All of the criticisms and reveals of Ben Bradley’s political views on society, from 2011 and 2012, resulted in a statement being released by the Conservative Party Headquarters, shortly after Bradley’s own refusal to comment because he was “sick of the whole thing”, with the following apology: “I wrote a number of blog posts in my early 20s. I accept some of the language was inappropriate and I apologise. They were written at a different time of my life – getting married, becoming a father and now being an MP have changed my outlook”.
Strange to think that time, marriage, fatherhood, and becoming an MP could change his outlook on what is appropriate, especially when the following month saw Bradley accuse Jeremy Corbyn of being a spy. Scandal has followed Ben Bradley since he was appointed to his role in Conservative Party leadership. However, he still retains his job. Why?
Brandon Lewis, the chairman of the Conservative Party, has recently called for a ‘respect pledge’ to be made by all Conservative candidates. This ‘respect pledge’ would mean that candidates representing the Conservative Party would be suspended if they are abusive or insult their rivals. “Personal abuse and calling for physical abuse is completely unacceptable,” Lewis has said, warning that continuing such abuse would lead to, “People from all political angles and views will start being put off from being involved.”
The comments from the chairman of the Conservative Party pre-date Ben Bradley’s tweet about Jeremy Corbyn. Now, I do understand that there is a difference between ‘candidates’ and ‘members of parliament’, however I also know that both of them represent the party and the people. What would be right is for Ben Bradley to resign as the Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party for Youth and for him to be suspended from the party. He has a history of making inappropriate, insulting, and abusive comments and if this ‘respect pledge’ means anything, then Ben Bradley needs to be dealt with in the way that the chairman of the party had pledged.
Do the Conservative Party actually respect the people?
I’ve had enough of talking about Ben Bradley. I have had enough of the lies about Jeremy Corbyn being a spy. I’ve had enough of Tories treating the people of this country like fools. A ‘respect pledge’ is the most ironic thing to come out of the Conservative Party for a long time. Respect… the Tories don’t know the meaning of the word.
Whilst we’ve all been distracted by the comedy of Jeremy Corbyn being called a spy, and the mocking we’ve all heard in the media alongside the outright lies and serious slurs that have been made against an innocent man, we have been missing other serious issues that have been happening.
The Conservative Party have always had an unofficial public relations policy that is reminiscent of the illusionist technique ‘slight of hand’. When there is something going on that the Tories don’t want the public to be focusing on, they distract us with nonsense and bluster. So what else has been going on? Let’s make a list:
- The continuation of the struggling underfunded NHS being sold off bit by bit;
- That the select committee rejected the government’s nomination for leader of the Charities Commission during the most turbulent time for this nation’s charities. Their nomination has no experience of regulation or of charities. The government may be ignoring this rejection, which may explain their distraction technique;
- The paralysis in Northern Ireland and the pointless attempt at an intervention by Theresa May;
- The absolute struggle that the government are facing with the Brexit process and their complete and utter lack of a plan;
- Tory desperation in the lead up to local elections, which is most plainly seen with their current discussion about student tuition fees;
- Homelessness in the news, with several deaths in high profile locations. Now, this is a pretty serious one because we are about to face even colder weather in the upcoming week. Instead of criticising the Tory government for leading a nation into a homelessness crisis, the press are instead focused on calling Corbyn a spy.
Not only does Ben Bradley’s comments in his blog, his tweet about Corbyn, and his previous behaviour his taxpayers’ resources, all show a distinct lack of respect for the public, but so does the Tory public relations sleight of hand technique of hiding important issues behind nonsense and bluster.
Theresa May’s lacklustre leadership, her pathetic premiership, as prime minister of this country has been poor and ineffectual from the outset. She is leading the conservative party in its crumbling fractious state and when the final deal of the exit from the European Union is announced, she will face critics from all sides with nobody being happy. Until then, we will be facing distractions in the press so that we are all looking elsewhere whilst larger frightening issues are being done where we all aren’t looking. This is just the sleight of hand public relations that we are used to from this tired, failing, Conservative Party.