The Sunday Star Times reports that Sue Bradford’s security has been stepped up following a series of death threats being made against her via blogs, email and twitter.
I’m not surprised. Just about every poster at the Standard has had threats made against them by the thuggish elements of the right. Generally we don’t pay them too much heed as they are unlikely to have the spine to creep out from behind their keyboards but they are out there and what concerns me is they have had tacit endorsement from some members of the the established political right over issues such as section 59 and the EFA.
Now before our regular right-wing commenters start screaming I’ll make it very clear that I don’t think the Nat’s are in direct contact with these loonies (although I’m certain some elements of the Act party are) but I do think that they were getting pretty desperate after three terms in the wilderness and that they saw that they could garner activist support on the ground (something National has always struggled to do) by pandering to the kinds of far-right groups that produce these thugs. Thus you saw Bill English make absurd comparisons between Helen Clark and Mugabe in parliament and senior National Party activist David Farrar push the same messages through his Free Speech Coalition and provide an unmoderated forum for angry right-wing nutters to work themselves up into a frenzy.
Add to that the fact that there has been serious money put into some of these front groups by the same far-right US interests that are helping fuel the “death panel” lunacy over there and a media that has decided the answer to stalling its economic decline is to go more and more tabloid in an attempt to attract readership and you get the perfect environment for enabling the kind of behaviour seen in the death threats made toward Bradford.
“Political” nutters of the Left and the right will always be out there but we don’t need to feed them. I note that despite covering nearly every other policital story in today’s SST, Farrar has avoided this one. I’d like to see him post a piece making it clear to his huge right-wing readership that this behaviour is unacceptable. If political voices from across the spectrum don’t speak up against this kind of thuggery it will only grow.
Correction: As Dave points out in the comments the story was featured in the Sunday News.