Sunday 17 October 2021

Further to the previous post...

Some thoughtful parts of the left side of politics are calling out the kind of coverage provided by the likes of The Andrew Marr Show today and echoing some of the points I made earlier:
Sam Freedman, New Statesman: Does seem odd that the focus in so much of the papers [Craig - and on the BBC] around David Amess's murder is around political discourse. I'm all in favour of less shouty/angry hyperbole in politics but it wasn't why he was killed. It's almost like everyone's rehearsing the arguments made when Jo Cox was killed (after which discourse did not, of course, improve in any way) even though this murder was for very different reasons (as far as we can tell at the moment). Also - while clearly a lot of aggression aimed at MPs is OTT and unfair - there has to be space in a democracy for very robust, angry, even personal criticism of elected officials. We need to be careful about "solutions" that drift towards censorship while abhorring violence. Clearly a small minority of MPs do sometimes do awful things (one was convinced of threatening an acid attack this week!) and are corrupt or nasty. They still shouldn't face the risk of being physically attacked. Which is why for me the issue is mainly about security. Also just pragmatically earnest newspaper editorials about civility in politics aren't going to stop the Bob19384735s from sending abusive messages to MPs. Whereas improving security is something that can actually happen (and apparently is going to be offered for surgeries now). 
Sunder Katwala, British Future: Agree with the thread. A rising tide of anger could legitimise violence & important to address safety of MPs on all fronts. But political civility & tone vs terror threats from extreme Islamist terrorism (or far right networks, or Republican terrorism) are distinct issues.
Stefan Schubert, LSE: Agree. Maybe some of that focus was from before they knew the motive of the killer? [Craig - No, it's continuing Stefan, as this morning's Andrew Marr shows.] But no doubt many are also just pushing whatever narrative they want heedless of the facts (especially in the context of something emotionally stirring, like an assassination).

And this from writer Ben Sixsmith expresses it well too:

Ben SixsmithWhat is the likelihood that Ali Harbi Ali was radicalised by people arguing about Brexit and COVID on Twitter? Being abusive is bad, of course, but this whole debate seems to be being conducted in a parallel universe.

It certainly felt like glimpsing a parallel universe watching today's Andrew Marr.  

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