Nipsa Union official's abusing of voters is unacceptable
On the BBC’s Nolan Live programme last Wednesday, the Nipsa Union official ‘Bumper’ Graham said that he would gladly put everyone who votes for the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland “on a double-decker bus and send them over to England”.
On behalf of the many people across Northern Ireland who backed Conservative candidates at the General Election I was furious, as were my party colleagues.
Mr Graham was suggesting that almost 10,000 people should be expelled from Northern Ireland on the basis of their political opinions, expressed freely and democratically at the ballot box.
Imagine, for a moment, the reaction had he suggested that every Sinn Féin voter should be put ‘on a double-decker bus’ and driven to the Republic of Ireland. The media would have been in uproar and he would have been accused of a hate crime. Rightly so, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, Mr Graham’s comments typify the way that some on the extreme left habitually conduct political debate. Look at the fringe ‘activists’ out on the streets of London, chanting ‘Tory scum’ and other insults. It’s not a huge leap from that type of thuggery to the name-calling, scare-mongering and hysteria with which Bumper, and other Union leaders, greeted the General Election result.
As a Conservative, I might not accept some people’s political opinions, but I’ll listen to them, debate with them and respect their right to hold those views. A mark of political maturity is being able to listen civilly to the arguments of those with whom we disagree, without resorting to abuse or attempting to silence our opponents.
It’s never OK, though, to demonise and dehumanise people because we disagree with them. That’s the first stop on the road to dictatorship.
Suggesting that nearly 10,000 people should be deported, because Bumper Graham doesn’t like how they voted, is sinister in the extreme. He should issue an apology to all those people and if he can’t find it in his heart to apologise, then, frankly he’s got little to offer the public.
He’s just another angry man, stoking hatred in Northern Ireland.