If there were a Nobel prize for having double standards

I don't often agree with Labour MPs. 

But I do agree with the comments made by Labour MP Charlotte Nichols to BBC North West Tonight back in November 2022 and reported on here

BBC analysis of three million tweets aimed at MPs over a six-week period had found more than 130,000, about one in 20, could be classed as toxic.

Ms Nichols received more than 11,000 messages in the period, 8.3% of which were found to be toxic, while 4% of the 83,000 tweets sent to Angela Rayner were abusive.

Other North-West MPs had similar percentages, with 4.5% of the messages sent to Ribble Valley's Conservative representative Nigel Evans being abusive, 4.3% of those sent to both Labour's Andrew Gwynne and Alison McGovern, who represent Denton and Reddish and Wirral South, and 4.8% of those sent to Angela Eagle, the Labour MP for Wallasey.

Ms. Nichols, who has had someone come to her office armed with a knife and been physically attacked, told the BBC that she believes much of what she has faced "has been whipped up by things online".

Ms Nichols told BBC North West Tonight that she believed the online abuse had led to consequences in real life.

"I've had someone come to my office with a knife before [and] I've had physical violence against me," she said, adding she had stepped up security at both her home and her office.

"A lot of that has been whipped up by things that have been online."

She said that there was a "need to have clear laws, particularly around online harassment", but added that politicians had to lead by example.

"I think ultimately that all of us in some form of public life, whether it's in the council chamber or the chamber in Westminster, need to be modelling a good kind of debate that is based on policies and not on personal attacks," she said.

I agree with every word of that. It's very important that when those of us involved in politics express our disagreement with our political opponents we do not go over the line between robust criticism and abuse. Who ever does it, whoever it is aimed at, abusive or threatening language has no place in political debate and politicians should indeed give a lead in not encouraging it.

So what on earth was Charlotte Nichols doing this weekend tweeting, and I apologise for the language,

"Big chants of "f*ck the Tories" for @JamieWebster94 at @nbhdweekender and, I can't lie, I absolutely LOVE to see it! Love you Warrington ❤️"

This is exactly the sort of irresponsible nonsense, effectively endorsing abusive and offensive politics, which she rightly condemned in the BBC interview.

If there were a Nobel prize for having double standards ...


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