This lurid front page has come about through a combination of the MP for Thurrock, Jackie Doyle-Price (Con) shooting her mouth off without thinking and lazy, sloppy journalism from the Thurrock Gazette. Both need to take a long hard look at themselves and then issue an apology to the people of Thurrock.
Firstly, headlines like this are not exactly helpful when it comes to maintaining community cohesion. There are a fair number of EU citizens from mainland Europe living and working in Thurrock. As a consequence of the shambles that Brexit has become, they face an uncertain future. Any suggestion that there may be violence on the streets of Thurrock in the unlikely event that Brexit is significantly delayed or there’s a second referendum isn’t exactly going to make them feel better about their already precarious situation.
Secondly, we know a lot of Leave voters. Not a single one of them would contemplate resorting to violence in reaction to Brexit being delayed or even revoked (highly unlikely in our opinion). Sure, there are a few boneheads around in Thurrock (there always have been) who may like a scrap but they’re a tiny minority of the Leave voters. Yes, we know a few Leave voters who feel strongly enough to resort to acts of civil disobedience should Brexit be compromised. Doyle-Price and the Gazette need to understand the difference between non-violent direct action such as a road blockade as a result of a slow moving convoy of protesters and violently putting windows in.
Thirdly, in an ideal world, any local paper presented with the comments Doyle-Price made would take a bit of time to go out on their local high street to conduct some interviews and get a measure of what people are really thinking. It’s called journalism. Old school style journalism, where there’s actual face to face contact and questions being asked, as opposed to regurgitating press releases or repeating what the local MP has said without any further investigation. Okay, we acknowledge that with a few honourable exceptions, local papers are part of large media conglomerates and that the resources allocated to local journalism are pitiful. Having said that, there’s no excuse for this kind of crap which only serves to increase tensions.
Jackie Doyle-Price and the Gazette both owe the people of Thurrock a full apology for implying that Leave voters would resort to violence if Brexit is significantly delayed. If Doyle-Price thinks she can get away with insulting her constituents like this, our advice is that she should start circulating her CV now because at this rate, she won’t have a job as an MP after the next general election! As for the Gazette, it’s not as if a free sheet that gets delivered through people’s doors needs lurid front pages to grab the attention of the punters.
We and pretty much everyone else in Thurrock who’ve seen this headline await an apology. We hope it will be forthcoming…