Left Watch

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What would happen if a Tory MP wrote a piece showing Ed Balls with a slashed throat?

by Paul Goodman

Screen shot 2011-04-05 at 15.20.36 Charming illustration, isn't it?

It's published on Left Futures, which is edited by someone called Jon LansmanIt is splendidly denounced on Harry's Place, itself a left-wing site, under the headline "This shames Labour".  As the H.P denunication says -

"I shouldn’t have to explain what is wrong with this sort of imagery. The point was made well by Michael Tomasky, in the context of the prevalence of violent rhetoric in US politics, and its contribution to political assassinations and attempts."

It's not as though Lansman isn't old enough to know better.  As H.P says, he's a veteran of Labour politics.  The site says that Left Futures is "the vanity project of Michael Meacher" as well as Lansman.  It describes Meacher as "a former Shadow Cabinet member, who was wisely kept out of the Cabinet by Tony Blair, and who is now a 9/11 Conspiracy Theorist".

Meacher wrote the article in question - scroll down the home page till you reach April 2 to note his name - and tops LeftFuture's list of contributors.  Now imagine that a Conservative MP wrote an article which showed Ed Balls with a slashed throat, and had strong links with the site that published it.

The left would go ape.  Points of order would be raised in the Commons.  Tom Watson et al would rush around briefing journalists.  The BBC and the Guardian would lead the pack.  The MP in question would be doorstepped, as Oliver Letwin was this morning.  Downing Street would be pressured to "do something".  The Prime Minister would declare that "methods like this must have no place in politics".

The MP would issue a stumbling apology, and withdraw from the site.  This might not be enough.  He could find the Whip taken away if the row escalated.  The Guardian would surely clear space for an editorial.  Yet more proof, the chorus would come, that the Tories the "the nasty party".  But the Left Futures piece is a reminder that elements on the left are as nasty as they come.

So: will Meacher be pursued over this?  Will Miliband be forced to condemn the cartoon?

Don't hold your breath waiting.