A Good Man (sort of) Fallen Amongst Thieves
Yes I know there has been much tutting about Eric Joyce MP, who clocked a few Tories in the Strangers Bar of the House of Commons, as well as a Labour MP and whip Phil Wilson (a Tory in all but name). But every cloud has a silver lining and this is no exception.
The popular press have all been full of the ‘violence’ of Eric Joyce, but their indignation, as usual, is selective. The violence of ‘welfare reform’ and leaving people hungry, the violence of cutting the benefits of someone who is disabled and killing them through worry and stress is acceptable, the violence of capping benefits in order to deliberately make people homeless, to say nothing of starting wars all over the globe (they call it ‘peacekeeping’) but landing a few blows on a few bloated Tories is apparently unacceptable.
Now Joyce is no socialist. He was the New Labour choice to succeed Dennis Canavan for his Falkirk constituency and Canavan was a socialist. Joyce hasn’t, to the best of my knowledge, broken the Labour whip once. Likewise his ‘achievement’ of becoming the first MP to run up £1m expenses is hardly to his credit.
Joyce was a product of a cracked political system. He saw service in Ireland & Central America. If he had knocked about a few Irishmen then he would have bene seen as a hero and the Percies of this world would have been the first to praise him.
The Daily Mirror’s coverage of the story is quite hilarious. First Joyce bellowed “There are too many fucking Tories in here!” It’s hard to disagree with that sentiment.
He then slammed Andrew Percy MP up against the wall. At which point a ‘Stunned Tory Stuart Andrew’ exclaimed that “You can’t do that to another MP.” Presumably it’s ok for MPs to dish out misery to others but it’s not supposed to be reciprocated. But most MPs probably think they are untouchable and the closest thing to god.
At which point Joyce ‘is said to have grabbed mild-mannered Mr Andrew by the tie, allegedly throttling and hitting him.’ One’s heart bleeds. With all the violence and atrocities in the world, not to say MI6 connivance and participation in the torture of its foes, the ordeals of Mr Andrew deserves a special mention.
And then another Tory, Alec Shelbrooke, pleaded “Stop hitting us – we are MPs.” Maybe there is a law saying that whatever the penalty is for hitting a normal person, you serve twice as long at HM's pleasure if you whack an MP. But the Mirror reports that ‘Mr Joyce caught the roly-poly Conservative on the side of the head.’
Presumably roly-poly did some rolling? At which point Shelbrooke had had enough. After all, Westminster is supposed to be the best club in London. What kind of gentleman’s club is it where the members engage in fisticuffs? Shelbrook ‘fled out on to the terrace shouting: “I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit!” You would have thought that Joyce had shot him with one of those tasers that they give the police so they can torture people in broad daylight. But violence of course is ok as long as it happens to others.
And then a Tory councillor, Luke MacKenzie, entered the scene and according to him ‘Two people were standing up and one guy was going for the other. I got between them and tried to break it up. Punches were flying everywhere.” It almost sounds like a Wild West saloon bar, not the Strangers Bar.
And then the matronly Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price confronted Mr Joyce shouting: “Punch me then, not my staff!” By all accounts he did just that! But not before the brave amazon had jumped on his back before catching an elbow in her face. No doubt it makes a change from destroying the NHS and cutting benefits.
And if you thought there’d been enough action, Labour whip and MP Phil Wilson pleaded: “Calm down, Eric, calm down”. But Joyce wasn’t a major in the army for nothing. It’s not the business of our fighting boys to calm down. You are taught to fight your way out of trouble, not to wimp it. So with Doyle-Price still on his back Joyce landed a few blows on New Labour’s Wilson with the result that he ‘staggered off to the terrace covered in blood as police arrived.’
Even one of the Common’s police officers is said to have looked in before deciding that discretion was the better part of valour and headed straight back out in search of reinforcements.
And having eventually been restrained by 6 police officers, he was handcuffed and only released when he promised to behave. And as soon as the cuffs were off, Joyce broke free and ‘charged at Mr Andrew, allegedly headbutting him. The brawl ended when six officers sat on the MP, who was heard screaming: “Fascist wankers!”
I know that he hasn’t shown much political nous or courage but it has to be said that in this one incident Joyce has redeemed himself. Now if only he can stop claiming expenses and get stuck into the Tories politically!