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Monday 18 October 2021

Civility In Politics - Or Maybe Not

The killing of Tory MP David Amess has led to the rarest of moments for not only his fellow politicians, but also our free and fearless press: both have momentarily come to the same conclusion, that there should be rather more civility in political discourse. The problem is that neither is prepared to lead by example, nor accept some measure of responsibility.

His family ask for kindness and love ...

Amess’ family are hoping to appeal to those people’s better nature, as Daniel Sandford from the BBC observed: “A new statement from Sir David Amess' family ends ‘Please let some good come from this tragedy. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man’”. Let’s consider the responses.

... they won't get it from him ...

What kind of kindness and civility was on offer from Priti Patel, somehow elevated to the rank of Home Secretary, when she appeared before the host’s inquisition on The Andy Marr Show™ yesterday? “We’re bringing legislation forward. That is why Border Force … will have new powers in terms of turning boats … pushing back … intercepting at sea, all within the law … as well”. Proposing to leave desperate people to drown.

... and certainly not from them

So not much civility there, sadly. Or adherence to the law of the sea. Or adherence to factual accuracy: Ms Patel is lying in order to dog-whistle. LBC host James O’Brien mused “The government wants to offer immunity to people who cause other people to drown in the English Channel. They think, quite plausibly, that this will be electorally popular. I think the conversation about decency in politics might be starting in the wrong place”.

O’Brien was equally scathing at the idea that ending anonymity would cut out the hatred. “I don't see much on here from the most unhinged & disgusting anonymous trolls that is more vile & deliberately inciteful than what I see from [the Spectator] & [Guido Fawkes] ’journalists' so it seems unlikely that outlawing anonymity would solve much”.

And talking of “unhinged and disgusting”, along came alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to prove the point. “Tories laugh at joke about putting Jeremy Corbyn's head in a 'noose' during Boris Johnson speech”. The former Labour leader was, at the same event, also branded a “traitor”. Well civil and kind, those Tories.

Jo Maugham had a message for those politicians not leading by example. “Civility in politics is better than the alternative. But respectful discourse can only follow from respectful politics. To demand it from those forced to live on the edge is wrongly to muzzle those who already lack power”, adding “Worth remembering how Patel and Johnson ignored warnings from colleagues that their attacks on lawyers would incite violence”.

Last year, after Ms Patel’s screaming rhetoric attacking “activist lawyers” who represented migrants, there was an incident at a lawyer’s office in Harrow where a man brandished a knife and threatened to kill someone. There were also sufficient threats against Labour MP Dawn Butler that her office had to close. Not that you’d have read that in most papers.

That’s because, as Jim Caris pointed out, those same papers were waging their own campaigns of, shall we say, rather less than civil and kind behaviour.

Despite attempts to offload on Labour and anonymity, it’s the Tories and their press cheerleaders who need to change their behaviour. Which they won’t. No change there.

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Steve said...

It is and always will be the right that insight violence, in the name of their misguided aims. Socialists Jews Muslims Blacks and migrants will be and have been scapegoated by the right wing MSM, it's time our "fearless press" did their job and reported the facts without resorting to vilifying those they disagree with.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who thinks blue, red and yellow tories will change...is living in cloud cuckoo land.

These are the very people - sleazy urfascists all - who have reduced this country to the far right racist warmongering capitalist shit hole it now is.

British "culture" is now a soap opera of greed, looting, hypocrisy and deluded idiocy, a script written and performed by grubby narcissistic charlatans.

Use common sense and calculate where all this will inevitably lead. THIS IS NOT A TEMPORARY ABERRATION, it is a logical product of an evil creed conceived and executed by evil people.

Anonymous said...

We have hundreds of thousands of innocent dead because of British government criminal negligence in this pandemic and deliberately inflicted "austerity".

Now they whine and plead for "civility".

At what point will a majority in this country say Enough Is Enough?

Mr Larrington said...

Pint-sized purveyor of choice bullshit and Penfold's stunt double Mark François (note cedilla under “c”) has emerged from his boss' postbox to proclaim the monstrous unfairness of anonymous posters on the Intertubes calling him a cunt, or possibly a çunt, with impunity.

Anonymous said...

The judgement of a politician in any era must be based on his/her voting record and political activities. Not on an ability to shake hands, kiss babies and smile at opportune moments.

This is no different.

Anonymous said...


Joseph Wirth, no extremist but a German Catholic politician, said after the murder of Walther Rathenau by a right wing terrorist in 1922, "There stands the enemy who rubs his poison in the wound of a people, and there is no doubt: this enemy stands on the right!"

As true then as it is now.