If you have been following the news this week it has been impossible to miss the scandal enveloping House of Commons Speaker John Bercow. For those not aware, an independent House of Commons inquiry has found that accusations of bullying and harassment of Parliamentary staff are not being dealt with due to a culture of "acquiescence and silence".
Just to remove any doubt that it is The Speaker’s office is responsible for this culture. The following paragraph from the report is quite damming:
What I have found most shocking about this has been the response from Labour MPs, who I had naively assumed would want to stand for the rights of workers. As journalist Stephen Bush said the Party’s "literal name is about workplace rights.”
The reason for Labour MP's failure to stand up for these peoples’ right to safe working environment is Brexit, or as I prefer to call it, the root of all evil. As speaker, Bercow has defended MPs’ desire for a meaningful vote on Brexit when Theresa May's deal comes before the commons, and what's a little workplace bullying next to the future of the nation? Dame Margaret Beckett went as far as saying that Brexit “trump bad behaviour”.
This is all disgusting. Bercow has to go, no one should be allowed to preside over a climate of bullying and harassment and be expected to keep their job. Labour MPs should stand up for workers’ rights, be the workers in a coal mine, a call centre or the Palace of Westminster.
The response from soft left, Remain MPs has been shocking and I have lost a lot of respect for some MPs. The response from Remain Labour supporting groups on social media has been similarly awful. The way people have closed ranks around Bercow reminds me of, and it pains me to say this, Donald Trump’s supporters and how they brook no criticism of their President. The rhetoric reminds of how the US right rallied to Bret Kavanagh when he was accused of sexual assault. It was pure tribalism and based on a complete refusal to believe that any higher moral standard has been transgressed. I thought that the point in opposing Brexit is that the EU protects workers’ rights. Well there is no point having rights if they aren’t respected.
Remainers have even engaged in spreading elaborate conspiracy theories as to why this has happened. Naturally, the hand of the Brexit ultras appears in all of these. Like the conspiracy theories that infest the American right, these are spread on social media via rage shares and filter bubbles. I saw this happen in real time as the Bercow accusations came out. I haven't repeated what I saw here as I haven't asked permission of anyone involved to share their words, but if you're doubting my veracity then this stuff is easy to find on Facebook.
I want to say at this point that I am pro-Remain and really wish this whole Brexit shitstorm would go away. I want Britain to stay in the EU so that we can reform it. However, the cause of stopping Brexit is not served by sharing conspiracy theories that see shadowy Brexiters behind everything. Unless your goal is just to project rage at the current state of politics, instead of, you know, change things.
This type of behaviour is what allows fake news or conspiracy theories like Pizzagate to spread. The latter nearly resulted in deaths. Fake news is lies that serve someone's political goals and imaging that Brexiteers are responsible for the Bercow scandal to stop parliament having a meaningful vote on Brexit is fake news.
So-called sensible liberals are no different than Trump supporting sharing Pizzagate stories, or the far left sharing fake news about Portland Communications. I support Jeremy Corbyn, but that story is made up. I have seen a lot of pro-Remain Fake News shared over last two and half years. Most of it revolves around Sinn Fein taking up their seats in Westminster to stop Brexit. The stars in the sky will grow cold and dead before Sinn Fein MPs swear an oath of loyalty to the Queen so that they can sit in the House of Commons.
There is a sad side to all this, which is that this debacle is stopping justice for the people who have been bullied and harassed. It means that this kind of behaviour can continue. It means that Westminster is not a safe place for people to work, especially for women, and our politics is poorer for this. It shows the rank hypocrisy of Remain supporters who claim to stand up for the vulnerable, except when it is politically inconvenient. Having principles isn't principled when it doesn't cost anything.
This whole shitshow also illustrates that fake news and conspiracy theories are not just for the far right or the far left. They're for anyone who believes anything hard enough to stop thinking. This includes passionate Remainers.