The Assistant General Secretary of public sector union NIPSA, ‘Bumper’ Graham, has been accused of “hate filled rhetoric and a completely contemptuous attitude to democracy” after he said that he would put all Conservative voters in Northern Ireland “on a double decker bus and send them over to England”. Mark Brotherston, the Conservatives’ general election candidate for North Down, described Mr Graham’s comments, made on the BBC’s Nolan Show as “absolutely shameful”.
“Mr Graham should issue an immediate apology and withdraw his outrageous, discriminatory, anti-democratic remark”, Mark demanded. “We’ve had a number of calls this morning from very angry Conservative voters. This union leader has just called for almost 10,000 people to be expelled from Northern Ireland, on the basis that he disagrees with their political opinions. It is the most blatantly hate-filled rhetoric and shows a completely contemptuous attitude for freedom of speech and the whole democratic process. Had he made this comment about another group of people the outrage would have been instant and quite rightly so. It’s a suggestion straight from the annals of Stalinism.”
“It’s fair to say that Mr Graham and his colleagues who lead unions have not taken the electorate’s democratic decision to return a majority Conservative government well. We’re well used to them abusing their positions to make tribal, divisive points, trying to prompt strikes in order to pursue extremist political ideas and generally letting down their members. ‘Bumper’ Graham is a regular rabble-rouser on BBC programmes, but this comment is a new low and he cannot be allowed to continue peddling hate unchallenged. It is a discriminatory, abusive remark, directed against a whole section of people, based only on their legitimate political opinions and it must be withdrawn immediately, with a full and complete apology.”