Do you remember the time when a paediatrician had her house burnt down? At the height of the UK’s paedophile hysteria, whipped up by the gutter press, an angry and profoundly ignorant mob attacked the home of a children’s physician because they didn’t understand the difference between paedophile and paediatrician.
It is an oft repeated tale, trotted out by the left leaning media whenever they want to demonstrate the supposed superhuman ability of the right-wing press to exercise the kind of mind control normally associated with science fiction, or simply to brand all working-class people as mindless cattle.
The only problem is it never actually happened.
It is little more than an urban legend too good for Grauniad writers to ignore. The only true story that comes close is that of a Paediatrician in Portsmouth who had ‘Pedo’ painted on her front door. I admit this is disturbing but it is not an angry mob wielding pitchforks and flaming torches, simply a nutjob with a spray can. And it is unclear whether this happened after the myth was popularised, therefore it could well have been the work of an agent provocateur or a misguided attempt at irony.
The ‘Paediatrician Myth’ came to mind recently while witnessing the hysteria over the EU referendum and Trump’s victory. If I believe what I read on my facebook timeline ‘Brexit Britain’ and ‘Trumpland’ are vile cesspits of prejudice and hate, with grade schoolers grabbing each other’s genitals, every Muslim being told to, “Go home!” and tube trains where ethnic minorities cannot escape racist abuse (despite pretty much everyone on the tube being a minority, including white British).
Only we all know this is not true. If half the British or American population were loathsome racists none of us would want to live there anyway.
I have no doubt that many people have been abused but an internet meme does not constitute proof. I am left to wonder how many of these incidents can be verified and how many have been manufactured to fit the overarching narrative of dumb rednecks/thicko chavs. Fact checking is the last thing on anyone’s mind when they see a biting meme – share now, repent later (if ever).
And let us not forget that the hate goes both ways. We’ve all seen footage of Trump supporters dragged from their cars and beaten or revolting placards about his wife. We haven’t seen it to the same extent in the UK but the stigmatization is comparable and as a result we have all experienced the exaggerated eye roll followed by an expletive laden rant after confessing to strangers that we supported Brexit. Hate is hate regardless of the colour of your rosette.
Much has been made of the upsurge in reported hate crimes but the keyword here is, ‘Reported.’ When left-wing pundits warn for months and months that the wrong result will lead to an explosion of prejudice is it any wonder that people start seeing racist incidents at every turn? This is a perfect example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Before the referendum many a racist incident would have gone unnoticed but now social justice warriors are hunting for them like Pokémon. Shouldn’t they be happy that people are now more prepared to report racist abuse?
While I did not support trump and I find many of the comparisons between his election and the EU referendum to be overly simplistic, both votes represent a huge victory for democracy where the will of the people was enough to overcome seemingly insurmountable vested interests. To reduce the countless, complex reasons that people chose to reject the status quo down to, “They are all racists!” is the ultimate insult to everyone who dared to hope for something better and unless the left changes its tune it is a rejection they will suffer for years to come.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty