Personally, and for some time, I’ve questioned why Mark Garnier regularly fails in his Shuttle opinion page to discuss more of the pressing issues happening in Wyre Forest. It seems most of the time he prefers to talk about things going on elsewhere, or his Ministerial travels. Local people, I would think, might prefer our MP pays a bit more attention to what’s going on in his own backyard with issues caused by him and his Party’s Governmental failings and austerity; things like the Worcs NHS crisis, the social care crisis spilling over into the NHS, workers falling pay levels, insecure work, income inequality, inflation, and foodbanks.
To raise such policy matters and constructively criticise, as Labour does, is legitimate. Personal abuse is not acceptable, and no one in Wyre Forest Labour, so far as I know, has engaged in abuse. So, whilst Mark is correct to say the election in Wyre Forest was free from abuse, many might wonder why he’s now talking about such abuse issues happening elsewhere? Especially, when in the same article, he’s targeting Labour supporters as the source of abuse and not criticising some of the frankly disgusting articles appearing in the national right wing press about Corbyn and other Labour politicians during the election.
Let’s not forget, that murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, who he mentions, had a killer who in part was emboldened by the same national right wing media and its frenzied coverage against foreigners, especially during the referendum debate, but he says absolutely nothing about that frenzied coverage.
Further, it’s also relevant to ask Mark why he’s peddling outright lies about Labour’s General Election Manifesto saying we promised to write off student debt when we said no such thing. In my view, telling lies merely for political opportunistic reasons, which is what he regularly does in his own Shuttle column, is a form of abuse. It’s abusing his position as an MP and the trust the electorate put in their MP to tell the truth.
I might also ask why, if he is so keen to stamp out personal abuse, he’s retweeting stuff from a person (Guido Fawkes) who has been personally abusive towards Diane Abbott and other Labour MP’s. My advice to Mark is that people who live in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones, and that he should be more careful about the company he keeps, even if it is on twitter.
It would be helpful to our local political discourse if he apologised for his remarks, otherwise, he’s guilty of being part of the same abuse problem he claims to object to. The problem then might be for him, if others then choose to revisit abuse on him in consequence of his remarks, his objections might sound rather hollow.
Let’s not forget, historically, he expressed a view of some of the Wyre Forest electorate as being ‘dog-end voters’. Is that not a form of abuse too? He really ought to be more careful what he says. I think Wyre Forest really deserves much better from its MP who claims on his twitter account he’s ‘working for all Wyre Forest on every issue’ because sometimes it appears he prefers to work for only some of his electorate, the wealthiest, or only those who agree with him.