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It’s open season for political thugs and the Tories gave them the pass

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If a malign power wanted to push a peaceful country into political violence, it would follow the example of the British Conservative party. For violence to come from the fringe to the mainstream two conditions must be met: the taboos against violence must be undermined and the forces of order weakened. The Tories have met them both.

Political violence needs authorisation from above. Politicians, intellectuals and religious leaders either issue a call to arms or, more usually, find reasons to “understand” and excuse. In the manner of the sexist judge saying women in miniskirts are “asking for it”, they divert attention from perpetrators and say victims have no one to blame but themselves.

The right once condemned the left for “whatabouttery”. Now Dominic Cummings tells MPs who are receiving death and rape threats that it was “not surprising some people are angry”. A member of Boris Johnson’s cabinet hid behind the coward’s cloak of anonymity and told the Times that Britain would have a “violent, popular uprising” if Remain won a second referendum. Both invoked violence as a tactic to frighten opponents into line.

The point is rarely made on these pages, so let me state it bluntly. People who voted Leave in 2016 have a right to be angry. If you backed Remain and Remain had won, but politicians were still intent on taking Britain out of the EU, you would be angry too.

But Leave anger is based on a sly rewriting of history. Boris Johnson is refashioning the Tory party into an English nationalist party. We won, his message goes. Parliament voted to trigger article 50. MPs........

© The Guardian