Another day and another Blairite MP crying ‘abuse’ from his left-wing critics. In the latest episode, one of the perpetual PLP splinters in Corbyn’s side, right-wing Labour MP, Chris Leslie, claimed the following tweet amounted to “abuse”.
This is a particularly revealing exchange and provides insight into the flimsy threshold by which abuse is alleged by such self-described “centrists”, often without presenting evidence. It is particularly pertinent considering the media use such claims to amplify their favoured narrative that Labour has a unique monopoly on malicious online abuse.
In this latest case, Umaar Kazmi, who works for his Corbynite nemesis, Chris Williamson MP, questioned why Leslie would once again use an appearance on the BBC’s Daily Politics to pour more scorn on the Labour leadership’s popular economic policies.
However, Kazmi didn’t shy away from calling out Leslie’s accusation, tweeting back:
It is an interesting phenomenon to observe how swiftly the Labour leadership are expected to act against those accused of “abuse” and for “bringing the party into disrepute” and yet how those, like Leslie, who cry “abuse” over such timid political exchanges and demean the very issue they champion, go unpunished.
A further curiosity to consider is this: does Leslie really feel that such challenges amount to abuse? If he does, as I suggested to him, it is questionable whether he is fit to serve as an MP who is routinely subject to public scrutiny. Beyond that, it is perhaps indicative of the safe cocoon such Blairite MP’s have inhabited in recent decades, elevated from the righteous anger of the grassroots.
As another respondent noted, in light of the visceral racial abuse endured by Dianne Abbott MP, the triviality of Leslie’s claim becomes all the more apparent.
Of course, a final possibility is that Leslie knows full well that Kazmi’s comments fall well short of abuse, but is willing to cynically smear an opponent, all too aware that a favourable media will pedal his claims. Whatever the explanation, Leslie needs calling out.