WHEN you receive a call from BBC Two’s Newsnight producers, they play a little game before confirming your invite.
They tell you the subject and ask what you think, obviously having discussed your likely response. That’s how they ensure a range of opinions and thus a lively debate.
You wouldn’t invite two Leeds Utd fans onto a sports panel if you wanted to provoke a punch-up, would you? You’d get a Man Utd fan involved too.
Well, there was no punching involved in Tuesday night’s main Newsnight topic, just a bunch of boorish, Brexiteering bullies, giving the sneering hypocrite Tory MP Anna Soubry an unedifying ration of abuse as she tried to do a TV interview.
Now Soubry could talk the back leg off a donkey. She’s on telly more often than the weatherman. But the mob called her some very unpleasant names and on a different day some of them could – should – have been arrested for threatening behaviour.
Why is Soubry a hypocrite? She admits she only backed a referendum because she was sure Remain would win, and when her constituency (Broxstowe) voted Leave she promised to honour the result.
She’s since performed a u-turn that would put Lewis Hamilton in the safety barriers and is one of the most rabid second vote snowflakes.
But a ‘sneering’ hypocrite? That’s because she’s spent much of the last 30 months insulting Leave voters as moronic bigots who shouldn’t be trusted to walk upright, let alone have the vote.
Neither has she shied away from using the ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ labels when she’s felt it appropriate, but which are now words never to be used in the presence of Honourable Members of Parliament, because it upsets the poor sweethearts. Aw diddums.
The fact is that the only real difference between the protesting yobs and Anna Soubry – plus her Parliamentary colleagues, all responsible for dragging the Brexit discourse into the sewer – is their posher accents and slightly better articulation.
On Monday outside Parliament, Soubry and another greasy little self-publicist, the Far Left ‘commentator’ Owen Jones, got a ration of their own insulting abuse, except that it was served uncomfortably close and personal.
Too close and personal for my liking because such aggressive harassment is not acceptable, whether someone is a public figure or not. The police should act.
But to pretend that 30 months of political and establishment insults and lies haven’t contributed to public fury, and hence what happened on Monday, is to hold up people like Theresa May, George Osborne and the rest of the self-serving rabble as sainted patriots.
On Tuesday’s Newsnight I tried to lighten the mood by saying ‘where’s John Prescott when you need him?’ (remember the ex-deputy PM taking a swipe at a heckler who threw an egg at him?)
I should have seen the warning signs when arch-leftie host Emily Maitlis seized on that like a hungry Notting Hill veggie spotting a three bean salad. “Are you saying Ms Soubry should have hit them?”
Of course not, calm down dear!
I was being teed up like a Tiger Woods Titleist, because of course Maitlis knew I would say that politicians have helped create this unedifying mess.
Similarly, she knew that I think the main reason the BBC got its liberal knickers in a twist over a bit of unseemly name-calling, was to underline its agenda that those Soubry-baiting yobs are representative of all Leave voters.
Back Brexit and you’re a far-right thug, according to the BBC’s authoritarian – some might say fascist – agenda.
Hands up, I never saw the knockout blow coming. It was like bending to give Sleeping Beauty her wake-up kiss, and opening your eyes to find Mike Tyson biting your face off.
‘Says you!’ (says Maitlis, seizing her moment). It seems some female Labour MPs refuse to appear on Newsnight if Lockwood is on, believing he’s “a Tommy Robinson-lite”.
Boom. And no good appealing to the ref for a low blow. Damage done sunshine. You got sucker punched!
But really, I frighten seasoned MPs? Wouldn’t it be easier just to not have me waste a day trailing to London and back?
But that’s not the point folks – the point is painting any and all dissenting voices into the corner with the far-right knuckle-draggers.
And boy, you should have seen the online hate that came rapidly spewing out from the BBC’s Fascist Left friends (they probably wear their Antifa balaclavas while typing, because I doubt they could grow a pair between them. Keyboard warriors).
Naturally Maitlis wouldn’t name those paragons of cowardly Parliamentary virtue and when I ripped back in she was eager to move matters on, having scored the goal they’d clearly worked on all day.
We never got to the other point I’d raised with the producer – that if Parliament succeeds in its clear goal of sabotaging Brexit, then those idiots shouting a few names at Anna Soubry won’t even be the tip of the yellow-jacketed iceberg that will sweep through London.
It just needs to bulldoze Broadcasting House on its way to Westminster.
ONE point I would have liked to have discussed surrounding the abuse of MPs, is the continuous exhuming of Jo Cox.
Maybe she’d have liked the thought of being adopted as patron saint of each and every spurious liberal cause going, I don’t know. Tragically she hasn’t a say.
It was bad enough that husband Brendan weaponised Jo’s political value as a staunch Remain campaigner before her body was barely cold.
Now someone heckles a female MP and up flashes Jo Cox’s picture with the tacit implication that there’s a direct and dangerous line between a spot of public rowdiness and Thomas Mair’s murderous madness.
The BBC play fast and loose with their ‘far right’ Mair references, trying to edge him ever closer to any populist British causes – yet I sat through that entire trial, and my recollection is that his sick interests were with South African and Third Reich groups and literature. He wasn’t a domesticised extremist, such as anyone could tell.
Mair was a coward, sick and evil to his core, and no-one spotted it until it was too late.
If I could have got between him and that young woman I would have taken my chances, as I hope most men would.
Have-a-go hero Bernard Kenny tried and got a dagger in his guts for it, while Clarke Rothwell went to Jo’s aid outside Birstall library too, but it was too late.
Clarke jumped into his van to try track the fleeing Mair down, because I spoke to him as he scoured the area.
He’s a massive Brexit believer by the way. Sadly, that won’t fit the Newsnight profile…
LAST week’s warning from West Yorkshire Police to local councillors, highlighting the presence of what were essentially vigilante Muslim gangs in Batley, came as some surprise.
It was nothing to do with the brutal – alleged – car attack on Pte Josh Adams-Mitchell, insisted the police, but “concerned citizens” trying to deal with a rash of crimes in their community.
Why was I surprised? Firstly, because no such crimes had been publicised by Kirklees or West Yorkshire Police.
Indeed, it was only when The Press presented information on a robbery in Healey on New Year’s Day, that the force confirmed it – and repeated their plea for people not to take matters into their own hands.
Good luck with that, because by Monday we were being sent images of those ‘concerned’ citizens getting to grips with young members of their community they suspected of being out of line.
It shouldn’t happen of course, but if the police response is either ineffective or non-existent (and at this point let me support their ‘bare-bone resources’ defence) then it becomes increasingly understandable that people will take direct action.
I certainly won’t criticise Muslim community leaders unwilling to stand helplessly by and let the thugs take over.
In fact here’s a thought – maybe the police should ‘swear in’ public-spirited citizens as de facto deputies, and indeed others in areas like Birstall and beyond who are plagued by crime the police can’t halt.
I know it can’t and won’t happen, but if the police simply cannot cope, it makes sense on one level at least to offer legal protection to public-spirited citizens willing to deal with the problems.
Because someone needs to reclaim the streets.