IT used to be the Conservatives who worried about being branded “the nasty party”.
Back in 2002, Theresa May, then the Conservative Party chairwoman, stunned a gathering of Tories by telling them many voters thought they were horrible people.
“You know what some people call us: The nasty party”, she said.
Fast forward 16 years and the Tories no longer need to worry because another party has snatched the “nasty” crown.
There is now a political outfit that makes the Conservatives look like the political equivalent of Mother Teresa. It’s Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.
Consider the furious response to Frank Field’s resignation of the Labour whip. There is a delicious irony to the fallout over Field’s decision — it has proven the very point he was making about how his once-beloved party has become a mean, unpleasant machine.
Field has been the Labour MP for Birkenhead for 39 years.
On Thursday he took the extraordinary decision to resign the Labour whip, meaning he will be an independent in Parliament rather than a representative of Labour.
And he did this because, in his words, there is a “culture of nastiness, bullying and intimidation” in Labour today.
Any Labour MP or member who deviates even slightly from the Corbyn world view finds themselves subjected to “thuggish” abuse and slurs, he said.
He has experienced this thuggishness.
His longstanding Euroscepticism has made him a target for the posh radicals who joined the party after Corbyn became leader in 2015.
Field is one of those rare Labour MPs who agrees with the 17.4million people who voted to leave the EU.
In July, he and three other Labour MPs — Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer — voted against a proposal to keep Britain in the Customs Union after Brexit.
That is, they voted to uphold the democratic demand made in the EU referendum that Britain should “take back control” from Brussels.
And for doing this, they were mocked and ridiculed.
Field was threatened with deselection by members of his local branch of Labour.
Even worse, said Field in his resignation letter, the Labour leadership has become a “force for anti-Semitism”.
Corbyn’s failure to tackle the hatred for Jews that has risen up in parts of Labour means “we are increasingly seen as a racist party”, he said.
What has been the response to this veteran Labour MP’s complaints about thuggishness and bullying in the party? More thuggishness and bullying.
There is now a political outfit that makes the Conservatives look like the political equivalent of Mother Teresa
As if to prove Field’s point, Corbyn’s acolytes responded to his concerns about intimidation by intimidating him.
No sooner had his resignation letter been emailed to Labour officials than Corbyn’s zombie army of online enforcers were branding him a racist and a low life.
Like dutiful little McCarthyites, the Corbynista wing of the Twitterati set about trying to destroy his reputation.
The fact that he has criticised mass immigration makes him a racist, they said.
His pro-Brexit stance means he is pretty much a Tory, they wailed.
And he is not really interested in tackling anti-Semitism, these irate Corbyn foot soldiers said.
No, he is just exploiting this issue to land some blows against the Dear Leader.
Field could not have asked for a better response to his resignation of the whip.
Because these ugly, smearing attacks on him for the crime of dissenting from Corbynism shows he was right to raise questions about the state of Labour.
This is not the first time the new Nasty Party has mauled someone for talking about anti-Semitism.
Longstanding Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge was denounced as a traitor and hysteric when she said left-wing anti-Semitism made her feel scared.
When the former UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks criticised Corbyn, the Corbynista blob branded him an extremist.
Labour MPs like Luciana Berger have been subjected to vile anti-Semitic abuse for daring to question the ugly climate Corbynistas have nurtured.
These assaults send a terrible message: That you raise the problem of anti-Semitism at your peril.
Corbynistas have made it tantamount to a speech crime to defend the Jews against anti-Semitic racism.
That is an unforgivable abandonment of the cause of equality and anti-racism.
The Frank Field controversy shows how much Labour has lost its way under Corbyn.
Labour MPs like Field are in touch with everyday people’s concerns about EU authoritarianism, uncontrolled migration and political bullying.
And that makes them unacceptable in the eyes of the aloof, intolerant Corbyn brigade.
Labour is becoming the plaything of a middle-class mob — and that will only sideline more decent MPs like Field.
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THERESA MAY cannot win. When she is formal and stiff, people denounce her as “Maybot”.
But if she cuts loose and shakes her awkward hips and elbows, as she has done during her trip to Africa, she is branded an embarrassment.
I actually like May’s dancing. The “Maybop” should become the new dance craze.
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I’m sorry, but what kind of messed-up country trusts teens to vote but not to neck a can of Monster?