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Westminster sob story trumped by genuine German political violence

Anna Soubry MP smiles at irate pro-democracy activists

Fifty MPs have written to the Metropolitan Police in London demanding greater protection after the anti-Brexit Tory MP, Anna Soubry, elected in 2010, was shouted at by pro-democracy demonstrators outside Westminster as the debate concerning the EU Brexit deal resumes. She was called a ‘Nazi’ to her face by a small group of demonstrators who chanted ‘Soubry is a liar’ whilst she was being interviewed by the BBC on the state broadcaster’s live news channel yesterday.

Despite the subsequent sob story, Soubry was unhurt and even smiled as the activists remonstrated with her surrounded by the media and watched closely by police officers who didn’t intervene.

Despite voting to trigger Article 50 after the 2016 referendum Brexit vote, which her constituency in Nottinghamshire also backed, Soubry has since demanded another vote on the matter and is seen as a politician who wants to delay or even deny the majority vote.

In the past, various political leaders, including Nigel Farage of UKIP and Nick Griffin of the BNP, have faced worse abuse but neither the police nor media did much to curtail such behaviour. Following the Soubry incident outside Westminster yesterday, Farage said any attempt to curtail freedom of speech would be counter-productive and that MPs had failed to condemn verbal (and physical) attacks on him and others in the past.

In contrast, yesterday in Germany, genuine political violence was being dished out.

A German MP, Frank Magnitz, was left for dead after three so-called ‘anti-fascists’ attacked him in what is being described as an “assassination attempt”.

Mr Magnitz is a member of parliament for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and is also state chairman of the Bremen branch of the party which has rocked the liberal establishment in the country and won substantial public support because of its opposition to the Angela Merkel-inspired migrant crisis in 2015. Apparently, he was set upon by three masked assailants after he left a theatre and only the intervention of a bystander saved him from being killed.

Last week, an office belonging to the AfD was also bombed and the AfD claims attacks on the party and its members have risen from four in 2014 to over 600 by 2017 in a sustained campaign of violence and intimidation by fake left ‘Antifa’ opponents. In a statement, the party said in response to the murderous attack on its MP: “Not only the Left but also the Social Democrats and the Greens support Antifa and their attacks. Is that what the other political forces want? Is that your understanding of democracy? Again, the AfD is the focus for left attacks that are not condemned or are even supported by the other parties.”

All political violence should be condemned, but robust political dialogue should not be conflated with such attacks, just because the liberal media echo a Westminster sob story.