Mike over at Vox Political has put up a piece from the Guardian, reporting that the Jess Philips, a Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, has had a panic room installed at her constituency office. She states that she does not feel welcome by large swathes of people in the Labour party, and stated that she would struggle to stay in the party if Corbyn won again, unless something changes in the way people were treated online, in the streets and our security. She later denied that she was planning to quit.
Mike in his comments to the piece wondered who’s paying. He made very clear that no one in a job that doesn’t involve risks to their life, like MPs, should have to fear for their lives. He also makes it clear that he wouldn’t threaten her, or would want to follow through on any threats she had received. But he makes it clear that she is a vocal critic of Corbyn, and a very abrasive character, as was evident from her Twitter feed. Which meant that he was also sick of her unparliamentary behaviour.
I started wondering how far the installation of the panic room represented genuine fears, and how much it was all part of the theatre of victimhood the Blairites have been acting out every since they rebelled. We’ve had Angela Eagle claim that a brick was thrown through her office window, when it wasn’t. A brick was thrown, but it went through the window of shared staircase. There’s nothing to connect it to any Corbyn supporters. We’ve seen people from the Portman PR heckle Corbyn at a gay rights demo, and then claim that this represents popular feeling against him. And then there were the inflated stories about Corbynites hold demonstrations outside other anti-Corbyn MPs offices, when they were simply marching past. And it just seems to carry on. And as Philips is an abrasive character, there is a part of me that thinks she’s brought it on herself. She’s shown a willingness to gratuitously insult and upset people – I assume. I’m not on Twitter. And if she does that, then perhaps she shouldn’t be too surprised at the consequences, particularly as she must be aware that there are some very dark parts of the internet. Again, this makes me wonder how genuine her supposed fear is. After all, if the abuse she’s receiving is bad, you wonder just how much worse the abuse far more famous trolls like Louise Mensch and Katie Hopkins are getting from the people, who loath and despite the rubbish they mouth. Hopkins herself goes out deliberately to upset and offend, and has caused numerous scandals and outrages. But I haven’t heard of her claiming that she fears for her safety. Quite the opposite. Hopkins seems to be one of those vile people, who thrive off any abuse they get, which is why I don’t want to give her any publicity. But at the same time, she’s a national figure while Philips, I suspect, is still quite obscure to most people.
So while part of me feels guilty about the blaming the victim, I do wonder how far she genuinely fears for her life, and whether this is just another stunt at fake victimhood to smear Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters.