This is getting serious. Having watched the antics in the British House of Commons last week, where MPs were screaming across the chamber at each other, it’s hard not to conclude that violence could break out at any moment. And I’m not talking about violence like Bernadette Devlin clocking Reginald Maudling. I’m talking about lethal violence. Don’t forget, the Making Britain Great Again campaign has already one murder to its credit: the Labour MP Jo Cox, killed by a moron shouting about treachery and love of Britain.
To their credit, quite a few MPs, especially women MPs, seem aware of this, and have called on Johnson to moderate his language and give a more measured lead to the general population. Will Boris modulate? Will he hell. I’ve just listened to a clip from the Tory Party conference with Johnson shouting rhetorical questions of his followers: “Was I right to use a military metaphor: “YES!” “Should I stop referring to the Surrender Bill championed by Hilary Benn?” “NO!” He keeps sounding more and more like Trump every day.
Will Johnson’s “military metaphors” encourage serious violence? There’s a good chance it will. That kind of thing has happened before. Everyone cites, and quite rightly, the murder of Jo Cox. But there’s another example.
On 17 January 1989, Tory Home Office Minister Douglas Hogg stood up in the House of Commons and declared that some solicitors in our NE Nest were “unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA.” On 14 February 1989, Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane was murdered in his own home during a family meal, the killers firing fourteen rounds into his body.
Like Jo Cox, Pat Finucane was murdered at least in part because of language used in the House of Commons. Maybe no-one ever mentions the Hogg-Finucane case these days because it was so long ago. Or maybe because it happened in our fetid NE Nest and therefore doesn’t really count.