Stop toxic abuse or more lives like Tory MP David Amess' will be lost

Stop toxic abuse or more lives like Tory MP David Amess' will be lost

October 17, 2021

THE fatal stabbing of Tory MP David Amess at his constituency surgery in Essex is a horrific wake-up call for Britain.

His brutal terror-attack killing is another appalling tragedy in a political landscape that is increasingly toxic.

We do not yet know the full details of the knife attack that killed this long- serving MP. But this we can say with some certainty.

We can’t go on calling each other “scum” and “vermin” and “fascists” and names that cannot be printed in a family newspaper just because we have political disagreements. Because this is where it leads.

The unfettered abuse ends in death, murder and tears that are shed a little too late to save a man’s life. Too often — far too often — political opponents are painted as something less than human.

Labour’s Angela Rayner scored multiple brownie points with the comrades recently when she denounced Tories as “scum” — a smear so popular within the party that leader Keir Starmer dared not condemn her. But what do we think is going to happen if we deny the basic humanity of our opponents? Isn’t it a painfully small step from labelling someone “scum” to inflicting violence upon them?

In a democracy, we do not have to agree with each other. But God knows we do have to start treating each other as human. David Amess is not the first MP to die at the hands of someone who took issue with their political beliefs. Labour’s Jo Cox died just five years ago at the hands of a right-wing extremist.

In a democracy, we do not have to agree with each other. But God knows we do have to start treating each other as human. David Amess is not the first MP to die at the hands of someone who took issue with their political beliefs. Labour’s Jo Cox died just five years ago at the hands of a right-wing extremist.

Labour’s Stephen Timms just about escaped with his life after being attacked with a kitchen knife at a constituency surgery last year.

And there is nothing remotely new about name calling in politics. It is 70 years since Nye Bevan called Tories “lower than vermin” — a slur so popular you can get it on a T-shirt.

But the divisions have widened beyond all measure in recent years. Social media — the sewer that allows anyone to say anything about anyone without any comeback — has contaminated our national debate.

Brexit divided us. Jeremy Corbyn’s Marxist, anti-British leadership of Labour divided us. The culture wars divide us. Israel, abortion, taking the knee and pulling down statues — they all build the barricades that divide us.

We must grow up and remember our humanity

And you increasingly have to decide which side you are on. Despite all the tears being shed for David Amess now, there were legions who will have despised him in life because of his stance on abortion, leaving the EU or because he was a Catholic.

I don’t mean they will have disagreed with him. I mean they will have quite literally hated him.

Jeremy Corbyn promised a kinder, gentler politics and one of his staunchest supporters, MP Claudia Webbe, is currently facing jail after threatening to throw acid in a love rival’s face. That’s how kind we are now. That’s how gentle.

And make no mistake — the visceral hatred runs both ways.

Jo Cox and David Amess were at opposite ends of the political spectrum. They died in the same way, in the very heartland of English democracy, their constituency surgery.

And we have to decide who we are now. We have to decide if MPs are in such danger that we can no longer allow members of the public to have access to them.

We have to remember our humanity. We have to watch our mouths when we agree to disagree.

And we have to grow up. We have to remember our humanity. We have to watch our mouths when we agree to disagree. We have to treat each other with basic respect. Can we disagree with each other, without calling the other “scum”? Maybe not.

But if we can’t, then a part of our democracy died with David Amess in Essex on Friday.

HoYeon Game for a laugh . . .

HOYEON JUNG just gained 17million Instagram followers in one week.

The name might not be totally familiar but her face almost certainly is.
HoYeon plays the North Korean refugee fighting for her life in Squid Game, Netflix’s greatest hit of all time.

Jung is brilliant as the distrustful, poker-faced refugee forced to live on her wits in a country where she is considered a second-class citizen.

Squid Game has the casual violence of a video game but also the depth of characterisation you would expect in a novel. That’s why it has reached 111million viewers worldwide in more than 80 countries.

As for all of those new HoYeon Jung fans, nine million of them just liked an Instagram post where she did something that she never managed among the gripping, gory horror of Squid Game.

She smiled.


FIGHT fans wonder what Tyson Fury can do to top a fight that had more drama in it than a Rocky box set.

Even when Deontay Wilder was out on his feet, he still had all the destructive power of a dying lion.

That Fury beat Wilder so emphatically puts him in a league of one.

“The heavyweight champion of the world is either the toughest man on the planet or he is not,” wrote Norman Mailer.

“But there is a real possibility that he is. It is like being the big toe of God. You have nothing to measure yourself by.”

After the conclusion of the trilogy against Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury is now the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

True, Fury doesn’t possess all the various belts – Oleksandr Usyk has most of those after beating Anthony Joshua – but nobody can doubt Tyson Fury dominates the heavyweight roost.

At last, boxing has a champion who is bigger than any belt.


ONE of the most magical memories of my childhood is being taken to Wembley in 1966. But who would dare take their son or daughter to Wembley in 2021?

This should be the start of a golden era in English football. Great players, brilliant manager, so close to glory in our last two major tournaments.

But hooliganism is born again at Wembley stadium. Hungarian yobs – and Polish allies – fought running battles with police after one of them was arrested for racially abusing a steward.

Tuesday’s mayhem comes just months after hordes of half-cut ticketless England fans stormed the final of the Euros.

Tomorrow, Uefa’s disciplinary chiefs rule on England’s punishment because of the anarchy in that match against Italy.

I hope they chuck the book at us. Because right now, football hooliganism is coming home.


LIKE a couple of peevish pensioners squabbling over the last custard cream, Mick Jagger (78) and Paul McCartney (79) are clawing ineffectively at each other’s throats.

The old bloke from Liverpool seems to have started it. “I’m not sure I should say it,” Macca bitched to the New Yorker.

“The Rolling Stones were a blues cover band. That’s sort of what the Stones are. I think our – the Beatles – net was cast a bit wider than theirs.”

“That’s so funny, he’s a sweetheart,” sneered Mick from Kent. “There is obviously no competition. One band is unbelievably lucky to be still playing in stadiums and the other band doesn’t exist.”

I agree that it is nuts to compare the Beatles and the Stones. Penny Lane or Jumpin’ Jack Flash? Ringo Starr or Charlie Watts? The sepia-tinged nostalgia that hangs like a shroud over the mop heads of the Fab Four – or the greatest rock and roll band in the world?

As for the Stones dropping Brown Sugar from their set list, this does not mean that Mick and Keith have suddenly gone woke. The truth is that the Stones have been censoring themselves for decades. You will never hear them play Some Girls, the title track of their great Seventies album. You will never hear them do Stray Cat Blues from Beggars Banquet.

Both contain sexual references that would make the baddest rapper call the cops. We forget it now, what with Mick’s knighthood and Keith’s status as national treasure, but the Stones were never nice.

The famous headline was: Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Rolling Stone? Nobody ever asked that question about those sweet, vastly overrated Beatles.

Chill our blood

AFTER the murder of Sarah Everard, it is appalling that Amazon and eBay are still flogging fake police warrant cards.

But never forget that Wayne Couzens used a genuine Metropolitan Police warrant card to falsely arrest Sarah. And that is what should truly chill our blood.

Not cruising

TOM CRUISE’S face – what happened?

The most handsome man in the world was frankly unrecognisable when he rocked up at a baseball game.

Has Tom put on some weight? Had too much work done? Pulled off a few too many of those clever Mission Impossible face masks? Nobody knows.

But his face will have boosted the self-esteem of millions of middle-aged men who are suddenly as good-looking as Tom Cruise.

Newcastle United's takeover

THE takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has just made Newcastle United one of the richest football clubs on the planet.

Ant and Dec are happy. Amnesty International is not quite so keen.
But our country does £8.5billion worth of trade with Saudi Arabia.

Why should this great one-club city spurn a chance to revive its fortunes?

At the same time, you would certainly not want to be a woman or gay or a journalist in Saudi Arabia – a brutal, repressive, even murderous state. Ant and Dec and Amnesty International all have a point.

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