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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