LUKE MARSDEN: We need to listen to each other

Disgusting: that was the word that came to mind when I learned of the brutal death of Sir David Amess.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:55 am

A man who dedicated decades of public service only to be killed in front of the public. Nobody deserves to have their life ended in such a horrifying way and the outpouring of public solidarity shows just how well he was liked and respected despite his political colours.

Let’s be frank: politics in our country has become toxic (not US levels yet but we are getting there). And before you ask, no I don’t think Angela Raynor’s “scum” comment resulted in inciting an attack any more than Donald Trump’s words incited the attack on the US Capitol.

We seem to have lost the ability to have debate without turning it into a slanging match as though we’re in one giant primary school playground. Everybody seems to need to be on a side rather than have rational thought about topics. Unless we start to listen to each other, I fear things really will get worse.

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A UK Iranian Community vigil and shrine for Sir David Amess in Parliament Square

I experienced a version of this newfound toxicity when I was campaigning to become a local councillor in my area of Aspull, New Springs and Whelley in May. I handed a leaflet to a gentleman and informed him I was running as the Conservative candidate. He subsequently branded me as a Nazi. Sometimes you can’t reason with someone’s dogmatic attitudes but throwing around ridiculous accusations do not help the cause, or the solution.

My past experiences in the national spotlight have helped me to deal with online and offline abuse very well but tackling the anonymity of users online is only one cog in a giant wheel that needs to urgently be reinvented to prevent any more tragedies like Sir David’s untimely death.

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