Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Who'd be an MP?

The new MP for my neighbouring constituency, Lucy Frazer, made her maiden speech in parliament on 4th June. You can read the whole thing here - you might think it competent and pretty uncontroversial, whilst referring to the history of the area (that's what maiden speeches are supposed to be...). Indeed, shortly after it was made, Chris Stevens, the new SNP MP for Glasgow South West was moved to 'praise the maiden speeches we have heard so far today from the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman) and the hon. and learned Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer), despite our political and, as has been outlined, historical differences.'

The speech contained the following passage:
And it was the home of Oliver Cromwell, who defeated the Scots at Dunbar, incorporated Scotland into his protectorate and transported the Scots as slaves to the colonies. Now, there is an answer to the West Lothian question—but not one, of course, that I would recommend.
What to make of that? Reasonable attempt at humour - the absurdity of something as obnoxious as transportation being suggested as a solution to a modern political problem? Slightly ill-advised foray into a controversial (albeit nearly 400 year old) historical incident?

Fast forward a couple of days, and thanks to the power of the internet, how about these assessments:
Resign...your speech was disgusting
You are a disgrace to society
Bigoted disgrace. Shame on you.
Or maybe this one:
The only people you have to mock are your wanker parents who conceived you, and always keep in mind: You are a bloody parasite paid by our taxes, do not forget that hooker !!!
Then of course no assessment of a Conservative party politician is complete without:
Racist.
Really quite racist in fact:
Your speech in the HoC has to be one of the most racist things I have seen in Parliament, you should apologise immediately
Or to go further:
Don't the Tories vet their candidates for nazi views before they select them ? Are you the MP for Auswich ? (sic)
You can read the full horror of some of the comments on a thread on Lucy's facebook page about a harmless meeting with a local housing association that has now had nearly 500 comments.

The joy of Facebook is you can find out much about the people making these comments. You can find what types of thing they link to and find amusing. I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader - but its no surprise that a great number of those commenting live in Scotland and probably have never met Ms Frazer or visited SE Cambridgeshire. I'm not shocked or outraged by the behaviour of the 'Cybernats' - I'm actually pretty sad.

Because at the end of it, you think 'who on earth would want to be an MP and have to put up with this level of appalling and undeserved abuse.'? And the answer is obvious - it will tend to be those that really couldn't care less about what people think of them or their behaviour. Our lovely friends from north of the border, once they calm down from their ultra-nationalistic fervour, might want to consider if that was really the outcome they were looking for as they typed away furiously on their keyboards.

Elsewhere in her maiden speech, Lucy mentions
My great-grandparents fled to this country with nothing, with no possessions and no money, not even speaking the language, and Britain gave them a home. It gave them hope and it gave them a future.
I just hope that there hasn't been too much of that optimism destroyed over the last couple of days.