by Martin Odoni

What a backwards world British politics keeps making of itself.

Protesters at this week’s thoroughly laughable Tory Party Conference were accused over the weekend of physically assaulting the equally laughable backbencher, Michael Fabricant, as he arrived at the Conference Centre in Birmingham.

Fabricant, laudably, did not let this falsehood run wild.

In fact, one could almost argue that Fabricant was sort of admitting to a half-assault himself. But to his very real credit, and in refreshing contrast to the authoritarianism of so many recent Tory Cabinet members, Fabricant was very explicit in endorsing the public’s right to protest as noisily as they wished.

Refreshingly un-Tory-like

So Fabricant definitely having one of his better moments morally. But it still disturbs me to think back a few years and realise that we are once again seeing terrifying evidence that the present faction in charge of the Labour Party are probably even more ethically compromised than the Tories.

Consider fallen MP Luciana Berger, very much from the Blairite wing of Labour. She was involved in a far more mundane ‘incident’ – not really an incident at all in fact – four years ago when she was still the Labour representative for Wavertree. Photographers at the Daily Mail falsely claimed that Berger, who was at the heart of the “Labour anti-Semitism” semi-fantasy, had needed a police escort to enter the Conference Centre in Liverpool. They took a photo of her walking past a policeman and falsely indicated that the copper had been at her side all the way from her vehicle.

Luciana Berger needs a bodyguard, but only when the cameras are on her.

In reality, the police officer had simply been keeping watch on a doorway Berger happened to be walking past at the moment the photo was taken. But as the saying goes, why let the truth get in the way of a good smear?

The rumour was swiftly debunked by smaller outlets, especially on social media like Skwawkbox, but was allowed to run riot across the mainstream. Why did it run riot? Because Berger made not the slightest attempt to correct the story. It was convenient to her relentless “Look-at-what-a-victim-I-am” self-narrative that she was pushing for all it was worth.

Fabricant was in a similar position this week. But to him, the truth was more important than cheap point-scoring based on falsity. So, let us applaud his honour, he nipped it in the bud.

It’s almost like Hallowe’en at the wrong end of the month

Thus, far more and prolonged reaction four years ago to a less serious ‘incident’ – and the Fabricant incident was not exactly serious anyway. Meanwhile, at that same Labour Conference in 2018, there were not one but two bomb-threats against Berger’s opponents; the mainstream media either ignored them or reported them in a misleading way to sound like they were targeted at Berger’s fellow pro-Israel supporters.

Berger, throughout the Jeremy Corbyn years, compromised almost every moral she claimed to stand for. But this is a new all-time low even for her. Out-moralled by Michael Fabricant.

How unclean can any politician get?