Warning! Offensive Image…

van No reasonable person could possibly take offence at that tweet from Emily Thornberry, yet she has had to resignfrom the Shadow Cabinet because of it. It is beyond belief how pathetic British politics and the British media have become.

21 Responses to “Warning! Offensive Image…”

  1. Without some brief web search (the joys of technology), I had no idea what the debate could be about.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    I entirely agree that witch hunts about racism are out of proportion and out of control.

    • What does that have to do with the tweet in question?

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        If you’ve educated yourself online about the incident then you should know. This is racism against the English. It gives me little comfort that she is English or that it is the English who usually get it in the neck for racism even though England is patently one of the less racist places in the world. Racism is, obviously, evil, but I believe the reactions to it in our culture nowadays have grown out of all proportion. And, so far as the law goes, I believe that freedom of expression is a higher good than racist comments are evil.

      • telescoper Says:

        I don’t get the connection with racism at all. It’s just a picture of a house festooned with England flags (just after an internation football match), with a white van out front. If it could be accused of being about anything it’s about class not race.

      • Could be. I just did a quick search to see what it was about.

        So your take is a) that it is racism against the race of the tweeter, but b) shouldn’t be a reason for her to resign?

        Racism against one’s own society was somewhat prevalent among left-wing Germans in the 1970s and 1980s. (Note: Not criticism of the Nazi time, but real racism as in you were born into this society and thus have an automatic disadvantage.)

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Her resignation is an internal matter within her political party and I can guess what went on but prefer not to air speculation. Obviously it is not racist to criticise the government of one’s country as anti-Nazi Germans were doing in the 1930s.

  3. She seems to be dismissing the working class in Rochester as nasty Little Englanders who vote UKIP. She had to resign because Labour can’t afford to cede the votes of the working class.

    • telescoper Says:

      Had there been a snide comment with the picture I might agree but there is no implication in the tweet that that particular resident is a UKIP voter or indeed any form of racist.

      It seems to me that people have made their own inferences and jumped to their own conclusions about this image, and fundamentally it’s their own attitude to stereotypes that troubles them.

      • Yet clearly that’s her intention. It alienates working class England fans in other parts of the country. So she had to go.

      • telescoper Says:

        It’s not at all clear to me that’s what was meant.

      • I think the fact that it is in Rochester and not in any district which does not have a UKIP MP confirms Anton’s interpretation.

      • I actually don’t understand Anton’s interpretation. It’s not racism against the English, it’s a clumsy jibe at UKIP that backfires by hitting potential Labour voters elsewhere. Like, maybe she’s an autistic with no political savvy who just shares information: “Here is Rochester”, “here is a farm”, “here is a car.” But her bosses aren’t taking that chance.

      • Ps. The reference to autism in your comment is unnecessary and some would find it offensive.

      • Sit down, mate. I’m autistic. Are you?

      • @ross, although you intended the remark “maybe she’s an autistic with no political savvy” as a friendly gibe from one autistic person to (maybe) another, some readers may not receive it that way, and those readers can be hurt by it regardless of your intention. I try to be careful about making such remarks,* because I know first-hand that they can be felt as a slap in the face by people unaware of my intended meaning.

        * For me, the rough analogue is saying things like, “Wow, there sure are a lot of [ethnic group I don’t obviously belong to] people at this party.”

    • Dave Carter Says:

      Exactly when did the cross of St. George, the symbol on the shield of the order of the garter, and the flag of those who crushed the Peasants’ Revolt, become a symbol of the English working class?

  4. For less informed readers (like myself until a few seconds ago): The context is that Rochester now has a UKIP MP.

  5. There’s nothing intrinsically offensive about either the photo or the comment. To find anything objectionable in it you’d have to already consider being linked to houses with England flags or white vans offensive – which presumably all the people criticizing the tweet can’t possibly do? So I can’t for the life of me understand why Labour didn’t just ignore it – “it’s just a photo” – and instead ask everyone who got upset about it to explain what it was exactly that there were upset about …

  6. While one can debate whether resignation was in order, whether people over-reacted, etc., it seems clear to me that context is key. “It’s just a building with flags” would be like Prince Harry saying “It’s just a neat design” after being criticized for appearing with a Nazi armband.

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