Are you the wrong kind of…?

by | Blog

What must it have felt like for Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, to learn that he was “quite a lightweight figure” in the eyes of his fellow Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg?

As a qualified football referee the MP for Moray will have received much more vulgar abuse than this patronising putdown from Boris Johnson’s fellow Etonian, but it was still pretty nasty from the grandiloquent Leader of the Commons.

One wonders why Rees-Mogg prefers “the much more substantial and important” Scottish Secretary Alister Jack who has only been an MP five years and who has never served as an MSP, a Holyrood role Ross combines with that in Westminster.

Could it be that Rees-Mogg feels more at ease with wealthy businessman and landowner Jack as a kindred spirit, a congenial representative of the Conservative Scotland of old? Who is this oik Ross that he cannot fall into loyal line behind the lying Prime Minister? Can he really be a Conservative at all?

Ross and the many Scottish Tories who think Johnson should resign are not the only people in politics considered by leaders not to be made of the right stuff. With much less publicity the Labour party is telling lots of its Jewish members that they are not the right kind of Jew. Not in this case “lightweight” Jews but ones who the party leadership deems “antisemitic”.

In a barely reported nonsense since Sir Keir Starmer became leader dozens of Jewish party members have been disciplined by David Evans, his appointee as general secretary. The “discipline” extends from investigation and suspension to expulsion. Some of those targeted are observant Jews, many lost family in the Holocaust and almost all are long-time anti-discrimination campaigners, including against antisemitism. [1]

While Conservative Ross took a stand against the behaviour of his leader and is castigated as “lightweight”, these targeted Jews take a stand against the behaviour of Israel and are stigmatised as “antisemitic”.

Rees-Mogg made sure his attack on Ross was well-publicised in a desperate effort to shore up his dishonest friend the Prime Minister. The Labour attack on its members is largely hidden from view knowing that support for the Palestinian cause is growing, especially among the young. [2]

Whether done in the open or in the dark both forms of abuse tell us more about the character of those who employ it than those they seek to demean.