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Started by Iancress70 on 06-Feb-2018 17:52:12
Criminalising abuse of candidates

May announced a consultation on this today. Assuming this isn't just an eye catching headline and it has some meaning, is this a good idea?

I'd urge people to be more polite in their political exchanges but a new offence will not help with the alleged coarsening of public life. It will just bring foolish investigations and prosecutions.

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Iancress70 - 06 Feb 2018 17:59:45 (#1 of 50)

An example of such abuse cited by May was the now former leader of Haringey Council.

When I heard she's resigned amid sexist bullying I imagined something akin to Gamergate. But if this true its a whole bunch of nothing.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/02/h
aringey-boss-claire-kober-the-argument-that-im-incompetent-would-not-have-been-used-if-i-were-a-man


Even the Guardian aren't convinced. Hardly surprising

Why did Kober cite “sexism and bullying” in her resignation letter? “Well, I don’t think the argument that I’m incompetent would even have been marshalled if I was a man. Because I think it’s incredible – absolutely incredible. I almost wince in saying this, because I’m not trying to say I’m great, but I’m the chair of London Councils, I’m the most senior councillor in London, I lead on finance in the Local Government Association nationally, I’ve led a borough for 10 years – yet the national executive of my party has people in it saying I’m incompetent.” She’s sure this would not have been said to a man? “Utterly inconceivable. I cannot for the life of me, in any way, think a man would be bullied in that way.”

Trump cannot be incompetent either, after all he ran a number of businesses and is now President. If he suggested prosecuting people who were abusive to him on social media I think it would be much more obvious how sinister the suggestion is.

Brunothecat - 06 Feb 2018 18:02:31 (#2 of 50)

An example of such abuse cited by May was the now former leader of Haringey Council.

The Labour extreme Right and the Tories appear to be quite literally singing from the same hymn sheet, probably written by the same communications agency.

thisonehasalittlehat - 06 Feb 2018 18:13:45 (#3 of 50)

yawn.

Jonked - 06 Feb 2018 18:24:53 (#4 of 50)

This would be a fine idea if they can come up with a clear definition of abuse. But they won't, and in a very short time the law will be used to shut down all sorts of political disagreements at election time.

TigerPaws - 06 Feb 2018 18:31:40 (#5 of 50)

There's nothing more coarse than the gruel you have to eat when your benefits have been stopped and the mercury has fallen to below zero.

Bring on the coarseness. The hungry and homeless have no other weapons.

Stuff middle class good manners.

Iancress70 - 06 Feb 2018 18:35:56 (#6 of 50)

#4 aside from the principle, it's hard to imagine a functioning definition- that should be criminalised- being produced by anyone. Free speech and its limits are not exactly new concepts are they? If such a framework existed we'd all know about it. Instead, abuse and related offence are highly subjective.

darkhorse - 06 Feb 2018 19:02:35 (#7 of 50)

Basically we'll have an NTT meet inside, once we're all banged up for agreeing Boris Johnson is an appalling twat.

HarveyRabbit - 06 Feb 2018 19:04:58 (#8 of 50)

It wouldn't be that difficult to come up with a law criminalising behaviour towards candidates at elections.

The lack of a concrete definition of behaviour which amounts to, say, intimidation is to leave it up to the jury to decide and include such words as 'reasonable' and 'intentionally' and skirt round the ECHR, if that's still going to be a thing, as the right to freedom of expression is subject to the need to protect the rights of others.

My argument against this kind of thing is that it would only apply to the harassment or intimidation of a specific group, namely politicians seeking elected office. What about other people who have similar public profile?

col2001 - 06 Feb 2018 19:14:10 (#9 of 50)

Gina Miller.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-ruling-gina-miller-abuse-article-50-legal-challenge-supreme-court-a7544341.html

HouseOfLametta - 06 Feb 2018 19:15:03 (#10 of 50)

Any kind of significant abuse is already illegal.

Trying to criminalise dissent and characterising it as uncivilised is a fascist trick.

raymie - 06 Feb 2018 19:23:30 (#11 of 50)

I’m sure Rees Mogg will speak out against this, yes

Goneril - 06 Feb 2018 19:25:24 (#12 of 50)

Diane Abbott: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb
/06/online-abuse-mps-laws-theresa-may

HarveyRabbit - 06 Feb 2018 19:27:30 (#13 of 50)

Crumbs!

I agree with Abbott.

bossab2 - 06 Feb 2018 19:54:24 (#14 of 50)

Anything which is not permitted by Big Brother is a crime.

machiavelli - 06 Feb 2018 20:06:07 (#15 of 50)

May never loses the chance to show her authoritarian streak. Her use of Kober is nearly as bad as the asylum-seeker's cat lie.

No to a new law. May needs to look closer to home - she and her cabinet had to be dragged into a weak condemnation of press attacks on the judiciary.

machiavelli - 06 Feb 2018 20:14:15 (#16 of 50)

Good article by Abbott. Her occasional attack of foot-in-mouth disease is unfairly emphasised.

Brunothecat - 06 Feb 2018 21:26:41 (#17 of 50)

May never loses the chance to show her authoritarian streak. Her use of Kober is nearly as bad as the asylum-seeker's cat lie.

A fiver says they are using the same "communications agency" to attack Momentum and Corbyn. The tactics and material are exactly the same as they used to try and smear them during the leadership contest.

Goneril - 06 Feb 2018 21:40:03 (#18 of 50)

Abbott is at her best in writing, when she has time to think, and rubbish when being shouted at by John Humphrys. A lot of us can probably empathise with that.

machiavelli - 06 Feb 2018 21:44:58 (#19 of 50)

Humphreys is a prat. He gave an easy ride to someone who, by his own words is a woman-hating racist.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan
/31/bbc-radio-4-john-humphrys-roger-stone-donald-trump

machiavelli - 06 Feb 2018 21:47:04 (#20 of 50)

Abbott is at her best in writing, when she has time to think, and rubbish when being shouted at by John Humphrys.

Many of Abbott's howlers came without Humphreyesque pressure though. On those occasions I roll my eyes and mutter "Diane, you're better than this".

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