After an orgy of desecration of imperial heritage by the Black Lives Matter campaign, Guardian writers had much to celebrate. In drunkenly righteous exuberance, they gloated on Twitter as statues were vandalised and police officers got what they deserved for a history of racism towards black people.
Perhaps foolishly on the part of Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick and senior colleagues, ‘softly, softly’ was the policing strategy for these angry demonstrations. Whether this was due to fear or ideological sympathy I don’t know, but officers on the front line could not have been more conciliatory. Some ‘took a knee’ in support of the cause, a humiliating act that broke guidelines on impartiality.
For the last three months British society has shown gratitude to NHS doctors and nurses for their vital role in the coronavirus pandemic. The Guardian went further than other media by promoting not only the weekly ‘Clap for the NHS’, but also the hectoring ‘You Clap for Me Now’, which referred to BAME workers and ungrateful older white patients who think Enoch was right.
All keyworkers are crucial in a crisis, but the NHS has a special place in the hearts of the metropolitan Left: a socialist institution with a multicultural staff, which the evil Tories dare not reform. The police force, by contrast, remains hideously white. Whereas in the NHS black carers save white people’s lives, in the police white officers kill blacks. That the latest example was four thousand miles away in Minneapolis is mere detail.
Inevitably, a largely peaceful protest descended into violent disorder, as a mob assembled at the gates of Downing Street. After showing much patience with the threatening verbal abuse and raining missiles, the police decided to disperse the crowd. Mounted police cantered along Whitehall, drawing more fire. A brick hit one of the horses from behind, and it bolted. The helpless rider was knocked off as the horse hit a traffic light. Not a pretty sight, but the protestors whooped. While the rider lay unconscious on the road, several young men hurled ‘Boris bikes’ at the mounted horses, while the stricken nag ran off.
The media, keen to show that they were on board with the protests, downplayed the violence. The BBC headline was ’27 police officers injured during largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London’, while the Independent reported a jolly day out, noting that a police officer fell off a horse. This enraged decent people who had witnessed the scenes on video, and the hashtag #ScumMedia was trending again on Twitter.
Among the commentators was Owen Jones. Responding to allegations that the horse incident was caused by thuggery, Jones refuted this as a lie and criticised the police for needless aggression. The horses wouldn’t have been hit if they hadn’t been there! Jones was more concerned with a protestor who the runaway horse had knocked over. He had no words of sympathy for the horse or badly injured rider, or condemnation of the demonstrators’ cruelty. This was despite knowing that the officer was in hospital with a broken collar bone, collapsed lung and broken ribs.
His Guardian colleague Hannah Jane Parkinson, the resident mental health writer, watched the video of the dismounting over and over again. She suggested setting it to music, and asked Jones and a techie for an edited clip, to which she would add a Gwen Stefani song.
As an experienced journalist, Jones could have stepped in here, but he did not. The clip was done, and Parkinson tweeted ‘Thank you so much for your service’. Soon her artwork could be going viral, and she’d gain much coveted kudos from peers. She came to realise her stupidity too late.
Facing a spate of demands that she be fired by the Guardian, Parkinson issued an apology. But in remorseless self-justification, she stated ‘I knew that the officer in the incident was not severely injured, because there were no reports that they had been’. Notice the word ‘they’. For Parkinson had not initially known that the fallen officer was a woman, and knows that this made her behaviour look worse. As someone tweeted, satirically: –
‘In her defence, it was assumed it was a white MALE police officer, hence her justifiable derision and contempt. Had she known it was a female, or if she had suspected it was a BAME officer, she would, of course, have been extremely sympathetic. An honest mistake.’
But Parkinson isn’t the only Guardian writer in trouble. Another insufferably smug scribe by the name of Joel Golby saw the incident and this was his Twitter offering: –
‘Volunteering as tribute to fuck horse traffic light’s wife tonight.’
As the house bulletin of social justice warriors, the Guardian delights in reporting instances of political incorrectness, demonising the wrong-speaker and contributing to many a dismissal by employers. This was bad enough under Alan Rusbridger, but it’s got worse with editor Kath Viner. Monday could be a busy day for HR at King’s Place.