One of the few advantages of going on television or radio is that in time you meet all the leading nutters in the land. In most ordinary situations, I would never have encountered Holly Rigby. She says that she is a ‘teacher’, though seems to be part of that miraculous class of leftist activist able to juggle a full-time job with popping up on media channels at any hour of the day or night as a full-time activist for Jeremy Corbyn.
Last week, I found myself on air with Holly for an hour on the BBC’s ‘Politics Live’. She seemed harmful enough. I don’t think there was an answer she gave which did not begin with the words ‘As a teacher’. Presumably as some kind of appeal to authority. And she gleefully trotted out every known far-left trope.
But when we got around to the discussion of my recent book (copies of which can be found etc etc) it became clear what she was really there for. Without having read the book under discussion or being in the slightest way familiar with its arguments she immediately launched at it. Specifically she appeared to think – or was content to pretend that she thought – that my book was some kind of cover for murdering people, or making them kill themselves.
She then waited till I said something she could portray as bigoted (on this occasion I referred in passing, casually to the whole ‘trans thing’) so that she could let out the great denunciation she had been working up to.
For anyone unfamiliar with this trend, the Corbynistas do this solely in order that their supporting chorus of fellow crackpots online can celebrate a great ‘destruction’ of a right-wing monster. It is the best chance that the Hollys have of something that feels to them like stardom.
Afterwards it was brought to my attention that Holly had been braver on social media than she had been in person. Specifically she took to Twitter to portray herself as a great warrior, who had had to suffer an hour in the presence of a person she described as a ‘racist, transphobic bigot’.
In recent years I have taken money off a number of Holly’s comrades for such accusations. Only earlier this year, a little-known left-wing smear-merchant called Peter Jukes was forced into a grovelling apology and libel pay-out to me.
Since Holly unwisely revealed during the programme that her father is a higher-rate tax-payer, presumably there would be some money to take if the spirit moved me. But on this occasion I decided to save time and money by simply stressing that if it came to that I was perfectly willing to play Holly’s game.
After all, the Labour party is a racist political party. The most successful racist party in Britain since the BNP – though wildly more successful than Nick Griffin’s gang ever managed to be. So if I were a paid or unpaid activist for the Labour party these days I’d be wary about throwing around accusations of racism. As for ‘transphobia’ – this is just the accusation made against anyone who won’t automatically nod through medical experimentation on children. So while I’m not happy about it, I’m content to roll with it for now.
And that was that. I thought that Holly’s smilingly ignorant face would never bother my mind again. But fanatics are extraordinary things, and this morning – after the chief rabbi issued an unprecedented denunciation of the Labour party’s high-command for its anti-Semitism – Holly was one of those who attempted to mount a retaliatory strike.
For Holly, it matters enormously that ‘racism’ remain a tool that their ilk can wield, but one that can never be used against them. And so Holly – in her infinite wisdom – chose to retaliate to the chief rabbi’s criticism of the Corbyn-ite Labour party for anti-Semitism by attacking the chief rabbi.
Once again, Holly showed herself to be deeply untroubled by facts. Nobody who knows anything about rabbi Mirvis could describe him as any kind of unalloyed ‘supporter’ of Boris Johnson. Nobody who knows anything about the chief rabbi could describe him as ‘an uncritical supporter of Netanyahu.’ These are claims so laced with presumption and ignorance that it is hard to know how Holly can embarrass herself so publicly. Or rather, it would be hard to imagine, if I hadn’t experienced Holly’s weapons-grade ignorance myself only days earlier.
Anyhow, I’m pleased to see that the medium Holly has adopted in order to try to become famous – Twitter – has now roundly turned on her (she appears to have since deleted her account). But if this country actually wants to confront the sort of zealotry that Holly practises perhaps it is time to adopt some of the tactics she would so gleefully use against others.
Perhaps it is worth finding out precisely where Holly does teach and what it is that she teaches her pupils? Perhaps it is worth parents at that school asking why one of their children’s teachers appears to spend so little time in the classroom? Why she seems to prioritise her work as a leftist activist over her work as a teacher?
Perhaps, indeed, people could make Holly unemployable – as eagerly as she and her ilk would make someone unemployable if they did anything similar from the opposite political direction. Perhaps we should employ these tactics ourselves, for a time.
Of course there are downsides, but the desire to give the Hollys a taste of their own vindictive medicine must have crossed more than one mind over recent days.