Anyone who puts their head above the parapet and stands for election can expect to be the target of criticism. Where this is discussion, even robust discussion, of their views and actions, it is fair comment. But sometimes it crosses the line into abuse.
And it is my impression that, other things being equal, you get significantly more of this on social media for each of the following which apply
- If you are a tory
- If you are female
- If you are a member of an ethnic minority
The most obvious example of someone who is all three and gets an inexcusable amount of abuse is, of course, the home secretary, Priti Patel. Many of the comments aimed at her are such that the very people making them would rightly describe as racist and misogynistic equivalent comments made about, say, Diane Abbott MP or Dawn Butler MP.
When Theresa May was prime minister she once said that you don't have to agree with a word Diane Abbott says to find the volume of abuse directed at Britain's first female ethnic minority MP to be unacceptable. Similarly you don't have to agree with a word Priti Patel says or with her policies to find a great deal of what is posted on social media or indeed printed in supposedly respectable newspapers like the Guardian about Britain's first ethnic minority female Home Secretary to be well out of order.
As the US economist Thomas Sowell pointed out in my Quote of the Day below, it is a little absurd to say that you want to see minorities fairly represented in positions of power and then vilify members of ethnic minorities who have been elected to such positions as members of political parties you don't happen to agree with as traitors. But the left is very prone to vilifying black Conservatives on exactly that kind of basis.
Besides the home secretary there are several more BAME female Conservative politicians who get similar flak from the left. One of them is Kemi Badenoch MP, who was promoted in the recent reshuffle. Not for the first time, the left is running a smear campaign against her, as described by Daniel Johnson on the Article site here. It will not work. When will they ever learn?