JAN MOIR: Wes Streeting and his threat to throw me under a train (2024)

Wes Streetingand me. We go back a long way. We go back nearly 15 years, me and Wes, so we do.

We have never met, nor spoken on the telephone, exchanged an electronic communication nor a single word or glance. Yet still here we are trapped as one, a pesky fly on a spiral of glue paper, twisting together in the wind.

I like to think that this says more about him than it does about me, but you must make up your own mind. I’m not here to persuade anyone to vote either way, to side with me or plump for Wes (right) politically or morally.

I gave up on all that years ago. What I have learned is that people are going to think what they want to think; they are going to follow their belief systems and ­coddle their own prejudices until they reach the assumptions they find most comfortable, whether based in truth or not.

Yet for Wes and me, our shared past is used as a weapon against both of us, by those who wish to cause either of us harm or mischief. And as the election gets closer and the ambitious Streeting’s star rises, it is getting worse and worse. The Jan & Wes unholy alliance crops up with increasing frequency on social media and in newspapers, flaring up in bitter little fires across the great divide.

It has got to the stage where people often ask what I am going to do about Wes Streeting and up until now, my answer has always been: absolutely nothing. However, silence isn’t an option any more. I’m going to have to address the fact the current Shadow Health Secretary once publicly insinuated he wanted to kill me.

'There would be nothing natural about Jan Moir's death if I shoved the bigoted old bag under a train,' Wes Streeting once tweeted

It happened after my column about pop star Stephen Gately was published in 2009 and wrongly interpreted by many as being hom*ophobic. Infamously, it caused one of the first ever Twitterstorms and became headline news on TV bulletins for days, not that I am proud about any of that. The ­column was investigated by the Press Complaints Commission, by the Met Police and also — good God — by the Crown Prosecution Service, which examined every word and comma to see if any crime had been committed.

The PCC did not find that the column was hom*ophobic, the police and CPS both concluded there was no case to answer and, in my own defence, wasn’t it unlikely that someone who had been a journalist for more than 20 years, who had ­publicly supported gay ­marriage and ­written thousands of ­articles free from even a whiff of hom*ophobia, had ­suddenly, like the alien bursting out of John Hurt’s chest, turned into a ­raging hom*ophobe overnight?

READ NOW:I agree with Gary Lineker when he says rules on BBC bias shouldn't apply to him, says JAN MOIR. But he should have the guts to stand by his views, not blame others for the fallout

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But Streeting thought he knew better. ‘There would be nothing natural about Jan Moir’s death if I shoved the bigoted old bag under a train,’ he tweeted, managing to be viciously offensive, ageist and sexist in one sentence. Really, I doff my Glenda cap to him; none of we professionals, the old bag sorority as he might call us, would dare to go for the triple crown of outright odium in so few words.

He was referring to my assertion back then that there was ‘nothing natural’ about Gately’s death. What I meant was the natural duration of the 33-year-old’s life had been tragically shortened in a way that was shocking and out of the ordinary. Certainly, his death was unusual enough for a coroner to become involved and reports had all pointed to enthusiastic consumption of drink and drugs.

In my original, unedited column I had referred to the type of dangerous party drugs then popular in gay nightclubs and which were becoming a public health issue — could they have been a factor?

A coalition of Mail executives and lawyers — acting with the best of intentions — removed those paragraphs because they believed them to be in bad taste. I know. Cue explosion of the world’s biggest irony-o-meter. This ­excision, which was genuinely meant to be compassionate, only succeeded in giving the column a different complexion. It made it easier to negatively misinterpret my words were you minded to do so, and plenty of people were —perhaps understandably so.

The ambitious Wes Streeting, photographed as a student,harbours Labour leadership aspirations, Jan Moir writes

It will always be a matter of regret to me that this innocent man’s death became the subject of such fevered speculation — and that fault is entirely mine.

Yet I still maintain that it was more hom*ophobic to conclude I had been hom*ophobic and if you want to be outraged by that, be my guest. There is so much more I want to write and say about all these events, but this is neither the time nor the place. We’re here for the Wes side story.

Wes tweeted he wanted to push me under a train, and later under a bus, so you can’t say the guy doesn’t know his way around ­public transport.

Later he compared me to Geert Wilders, the far-Right Dutch ­politician who was then facing trial for discrimination and inciting hatred and had been banned from visiting the UK. Oh, come off it, Wes. I admit my column was poorly timed and badly judged, but I’m not trying to wipe Islam off the face of the Earth.

It has become increasingly clear the ambitious Streeting ­harbours Labour leadership aspirations.

To this end, he has come under pressure to apologise for his alarming history of abusive tweets, against me and others.

In no particular order, he has threatened to punch people, to slap people, to ‘use a rifle’ on tax dodgers and to burn down the flat of someone who annoyed him.

Last month, during the London mayoral elections, he tweeted that a win for Conservative candidate Susan Hall would be a ‘win for racists, white supremacists and Islamophobes the world over’ — a repellent and inflammatory assertion that Hall said put her ‘in danger’ and ‘at risk’.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and health spokesman Wes Streeting may take control of the entire country in the not-too-distant future

‘Wish the Tories lining up to condemn my tweet were as vocal in calling about [sic] the abuse that Sadiq (Khan) receives,’ he meeped on Twitter, a typically Wes

piece of peevish whataboutery. He has a way of apologising without ­apologising, of appearing contrite while actually doubling down

on his latest violent threat or absurd transgression.

He has had to apologise for ­calling Jeremy Corbyn senile, and for saying trans women are women because he changed his mind and now believes women can’t have a penis, so at least there is some progress there. In 2022 he surpassed all expectations by issuing a third-person apology by proxy over what he had written about me. It was a chancer’s masterstroke, an expression of regret which was really an orgy of apology to no one but himself.

I was still ‘deeply hom*ophobic, abhorrent and offensive’ so no change there, boo hoo. However, his spokesman insisted poor, ­misunderstood Wes was ‘sorry for the way in which his anger and upset at this piece was framed’.

Really? What pompous, self-serving nonsense. I understand why politicians need to muck out their stables now and again, but is it entirely fair of Wes Streeting to burnish his reputation and try to make himself more electable and agreeable at the expense of myself and others he has abused?

Here he is, rushing towards power, his hands outstretched as he prepares to take control of the NHS, the Labour Party and quite possibly even the entire country in the not-too-distant future.

Yes, you are right. It is a horrifying thought. But not as awful for me as knowing that despite the lack of personal contact or ­consensus between Wes and me, our names are entwined now and forever more, a pair of tarnished links in a charmless bracelet of unhappy circ*mstance.

JAN MOIR: Wes Streeting and his threat to throw me under a train (2024)
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