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18 Oct 2018

Tory attacks on you the public are far worse than anything politicians get

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04 Oct 2018
There were no policies and no plans for the future at the Tory party conference.

But it was surprising that there were respectful remarks about me from the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid and the Prime Minister, Theresa May.

They were at pains to say that they disagreed with my policies, but Theresa May deprecated the racist and sexist attacks on me, whilst Sajid Javid spoke about my guts and determination.

I appreciate what they said. But it is rather different from what the Tories were saying during the 2017 General Election. They fought a campaign characterised by the politics of personal destruction.

I was the focus of official Conservative attack material. Particularly during the final campaign weeks, when a third of emails to Conservative members identified what they called the threat of me becoming Home Secretary.

Billboards sprang up featuring Jeremy Corbyn and me. The Tories relentlessly pushed videos of me on Facebook and this was backed by paid-for advertising.

On the horrific abuse I received, an Amnesty International report revealed, 'She receives an incredibly disproportionate amount of abuse and was the target of almost a third (31.61%) of all abusive tweets we analysed. She received even more abuse in the six weeks leading up to 2017’s snap general election, when 45.14% of abusive tweets were aimed at her.'

I would hate any young woman, whatever her colour, to be put off entering politics by this type and volume of abuse.

We should all strive for a less toxic politics. So I would hope to see the Tory leadership give up personalised
attacks on their political opponents.

But I won’t hold my breath, because people only resort to personal attacks when they are panicked and don’t have an argument. And this government is undoubtedly panicked by the popularity of Labour party policies.

This is where there is a stark difference between this Tory party conference and the Labour one of the previous week, especially in the speeches given by the two leaders.

Theresa May really had very little to say. Yet Jeremy Corbyn’s speech set out a bold vision for a more united and more prosperous country.

His speech included detailed policies such as our commitment to increased childcare for all two, three and four year olds and investment in renewable energy.

Even newspapers that are not always friendly to Jeremy Corbyn admitted it was his best conference speech year, and that it captured the mood of the country.

This is important because the attacks that matter are not the ads aimed at me or Jeremy Corbyn. They are the relentless attacks on the ordinary people of this country, which the Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged to continue at their conference. 

Yes, some of the Tory attacks are disgraceful. But the public can decide for themselves whether it is the victim or abuser who is diminished.

Instead it is the growing housing shortage and soaring rents that are being suffered by millions of people that count far more.

Or the millions who have to wait weeks longer for NHS operations. The majority of people who have suffered an unprecedented fall in real wages who are the victims of the Tories. And, of course, the Windrush generation, who have been illegally detained and wrongfully deported have suffered far more at the hands of the Tories than any
one MP.

So, if the Tories respectful remarks about me are a hint that these personal attacks will end, let’s wait
and see.

But it is the attacks on ordinary people right across this country that must end. Only a Corbyn-led Labour government will do that.

 

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