In the 1970s and 80s hard left socialists and crypto-communists dominated the Labour Party in local government in many towns and cities around the UK.
In 1981 I became the Conservative Party agent for the London Borough of Haringey, or as it was known by most pepple – The Peoples’ Republic of Haringey.
The Labour group which ran Haringey was led by Bernie Grant and Jeremy Corbyn. In the succeeding years their supporters verbally and physically attacked opponents like myself.
This was not particularly unusual at the time it has to be said. I had a brick thrown through my window at home in Wandsworth and once a Conservative posterboard set alight by socialist campaigners. But the level of menace in Haringey was on a whole new level.
After making a derogatary comment about the IRA at a local meeting, Corbyn’s cronies sprayed “Bobby Sands RIP” across the front of my constituency office – with a sticker attached reading “REMOVE THIS YOU TORY SCUM AND YOU ARE DEAD.” And after one particulary unpleasant council meeting, the comrades torched my car. Nice.
My now wife, who was a Haringey Conservative councillor at the time was frequently threatened. They then turned their attention to their “own side.”
The persecuted Labour councillors who refused to join them in setting illegal rates. They targeted female councillors in particular. It was ugly and nasty. They hounded lifelong comrades out of office and out of politics.
Now in 2017, history is repeating itself. It’s sad day for Haringey, for the Labour Party, and for democracy.