I am not a hateful person, and I do not write hateful articles. Nevertheless, after writing a short critical article about a local Labour councillor who has been supporting the undemocratic coup against the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, I awoke to find that these accusations had been levelled against me.
The Labour councillor in question is Abbey wards’ Vijay Riyait; his public Facebook post (which linked to my article) explained to the world:
“The hatred of me just for being a member of Progress and proud of it, just drips from Mike Barker of TUSC who managed just 540 votes as Leicester East Parliamentary candidate. If this is what Corbyn is unleashing then I was doubly right to vote for Owen Smith. Whilst Mike Barker has some Councillors kow-towing to him, that will never happen with me.”
But as anyone who takes the time to read my article (“Councillor Vijay Riyait and the Floundering Labour Coup”) will find out, I directed no hateful words at Mr Riyait. Rather, all I did was suggest that local members of the Labour Party would do well not to reselect him as a local councillor for their ward – hardly an argument delivered dripping with hatred!
My article was clearly critical of Mr Riyait’s proudly held commitment to the debunked and poisonous politics of New Labour, and his early support of an undemocratic coup against Jeremy Corbyn; but I did not criticise his decision to vote in the current elections to replace Corbyn with a former corporate lobbyist (Owen Smith).
Unfortunately, as is too often the case with social media, many of the comments left below Mr Riyait’s Facebook post/smear indicate that their authors had not taken the time to read my article.
One person referred to my article as “nasty bullying”, but this comment should be taken with a pinch of rhetorical-salt, as this same Labour Party member also found my “talk of deselection” as “truly shocking”.
Another Labour Party member (Lisa Holmes) who happens to be the chair of the Grantham & Stamford CLP added: “I am saddened to read this Vijay – there are some very unpleasant people at work at this time.”
Even local Momentum-supporting Labour councillor Susan Barton clicked the “like” icon on Mr Riyait’s facebook post to show her distaste at my dripping hatred.
But best of all was when one of comments on facebook referred to me as “a bloody scumbag.” Mr Riyait quickly liked this comment to show us all who the real hater is.
Evidently my strident and accurate political criticisms of Mr Riyait have touched a raw nerve. Why else would Mr Riyait have felt inclined to tweet twice in short succession?
“It’s like @mbarker_mike has made some revelation that I’m a proud member of @progressonline & yes I’m more socialist than him”
“The things that don’t change with people like @mbarker_mike is their unashamed hatred”
But there is not a competition in the Labour movement to be the most socialist. The point is simply to be a principled socialist… and there are no more principled socialists in the Labour Party than Corbyn.