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The risk of political activity… October 18, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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The very grim murder of Tory MP David Ames is a reminded of how potentially dangerous political life can be. And it is striking that he is, as the Guardian notes, ‘the second MP to be killed in just over five years, after the murder of Jo Cox’.

Whatever about the political orientation of individual politicians the reality is that simply by being in public spaces and accessible to all they are presented with risk. Mitigating that is crucial because the last thing that any polity needs is politicians removing themselves from contact and scrutiny.

That Ames was at a constituency surgery in Southend West – a constituency that the Tories have held with majorities of 55 and 59% at various recent elections as against Labour in or around 30% – is intriguing. Under first past the post that was a constituency he’d held comfortably since he was elected there in 1997 (where he received 38.8% and the Labour candidate received 33% – as Tomboktu notes he had previously been elected in 1983 in Basildon). And first past the post, particularly in constituencies where there are significant in-built majorities for political parties tends to exacerbate detachment from constituents. In this state with a markedly more competitive system of PRSTVthe pressure for contact time with constituents is greater again (though it’s more needed in the UK in a sense) and that is, many of us would argue, both a positive feature and a necessity in ensuring that politicians are not removed from citizens.

It’s not difficult to envisage greater protections introduced on foot of this and other attacks, indeed already there’s talk of increased police protections, that will increase the distance between representatives and represented – something that it is necessary to push back against.

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1. Tomboktu - October 18, 2021

He was first elected for Basildon in 1983.

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WorldbyStorm - October 18, 2021

True indeed!

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2. Wes Ferry - October 18, 2021

Constituency clinics by MPs will be even less frequent (if not all done by video) with the jihadist threat and this fatal stabbing on top of the killing of Jo Cox by a ‘Britain First’ supporter.

The in-your-face everyday aggression by right-wing Brexit fanatics and anti-vaxxers (in Ireland as well as Britain) has to be countered too.

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3. Enzo - October 18, 2021

Having been out on political stalls over the past 6 months, there really is a bit of difference in engagement.

Anti-Vax people seem to be increasingly confident in pushing their beliefs on anyone and everyone. Every conversation is quickly turned to the topic and I’ve had anti-vax people argue quite aggressively with myself and members of the public at a Cuba support stall(!).

I used to enjoy speaking to the public, now I’m second guessing every person who approaches.

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WorldbyStorm - October 18, 2021

Very interested to hear that Enzo. Useful to know. Says it all, how all-consuming that issue is to some people.And weird in a way given how many in the society have been vaccinated.

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4. banjoagbeanjoe - October 19, 2021

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