the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, and thus of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, has had at least one apparently unintended consequence. Not of course the emergence of links to theocratic haters and approving references to the oppression of women and gays in various places - we all knew that parts of the left were happy with that - but personal hate speech directed against those who did and do not support Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. Unfairly, often, because most UK Labour Party members are decent people who are prepared to work with and support a party leader they did not themselves vote for. I know I have heard from many who take that view. I do suspect that the haters may not even be long-standing Labour Party members themselves, but may be "three-pounders" (like me) who signed up just to vote in the leadership. But haters there are. Now we know there is plenty of hate on the left. As there is elsewhere. But it interesting how and where it tends to manifest itself.
Back before the 2008 US Presidential election I supported Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, not that I had a vote or the remotest scintilla of influence in that process. I received a flood of messages, over several weeks, containing fairly extreme hate speech, much of it to the effect that I would like to have sex with Barack Obama but that he wouldn't be interested in me (they didn't put it quite so politely as that) which explained my support for the somewhat older and female Hillary Clinton. It was all entirely personal, and as far as I know it was all from people I did not know personally. Most of it didn't appear in the comments on this blog, because I don't want to include hate speech in my publications if I can help it. It didn't bother me (I have had the great freedom for many years now of not giving a stuff what anyone thinks of me), but I found it interesting that a public, perhaps in US terms not dissimilar from those who chanted "Jez we can!" in the UK more recently, would engage in extreme ad hominem language rather than pointing out why and how their preferred candidate was better than mine. Well, we know what happened in that contest, and though I am still hopeful of Hillary for President, we shall see.
In the Labour Party leadership contest, things were a little quieter. But as election day approached, the volume went up. Shouts of "Tory, Tory, Tory!" at anyone who was not supporting Corbyn and who dared to say so publicly. No one seemed to be saying why Jeremy Corbyn was better than the others. Well, I voted, for Liz Kendall as it happens, and I put Yvette Cooper second. No other votes in the leadership contest. I was quite public about that. Then quite suddenly I found myself attacked. Because of Israel. When I hadn't been mentioning Israel. Now why would anyone feel the need to discuss Israel in the context of the Labour leadership election? Your guess is as good as mine, and I imagine our conclusions would be the same. Unfriended, left, right and centre. Though more friends were also gained by me as a result, if you treat Facebook as an index of friendship (which might be unwise).
So, why, when people discover that I did not support Jeremy Corbyn, do they start attacking about Israel? Even some who (self-declared) didn't vote Corbyn either have been doing this. And some I considered intelligent people are quite capable of calling me a "Zionist bitch" - thanks guys! and one said that the "considered view" (he didn't say by whom) was that the Israel-Palestine situation had not been resolved because of Israel's fault - but did not of course say why. The same person, in rather queeny petulant fashion (entirely in character) said "This is goodbye!" and gave as the reason that he had "dared to criticise Israel". Perhaps unwisely he used an email address that included his workplace letterhead, so that an unwary person might think he was writing on their behalf. Not me, don't worry. I won't grass you up.
On the whole, calling me a "Zionist Tory bitch" and sending me a picture of a gun and saying they know where I live is preferable to the above. Because it's honest.