Monday 24th July
Every invention brings with it dangers. The fact that the internet is (almost) free and fairly unregulated gives us great freedom. The freedom of free speech, of expressing our opinions, of seeking out and agreeing with like-minded individuals. But all too easily this freedom slips over the line and becomes abuse. I have recently seen many hateful posts on Facebook. And not only against Muslims, but really nasty posts about some Tory MPs and Theresa May in particular. Now, I am no friend of Mrs. May and I wish she were not Prime Minister or conducting the Brexit in such a divisive way – but I don’t like personal abuse, calling her a b..ch and such-like. That is no way to conduct a debate. In fact it is just megaphone politics, and shouting mostly to people who probably agree with you. And it seems that women come in for far more nasty abuse than men. To be called a bastard or even a prick or an ar….le is almost a badge of honour for men, whereas the insults hurled at women at far more hurtful and hate-filled.
Although I disagree with the Political philosophy of Conservatives I still believe that the majority of Tory M.P.s (with the possible exception of Jacob Rees-Mogg) have gone into Politics because they believed they could improve the country and its citizens. And despite anger at their recent pay-rise and the expenses scandal I am sure that money is not the motivation behind their seeking to become members of Parliament.
It is barely a year since this hatred spilled over into the murder of Jo Cox – and yet female M.P. s are still receiving threats of rape and murder and even abduction of their children on an almost daily basis. How you stop this I really don’t know – Pandora’s box has been opened and tipped upside down and maybe there is no way back in. And today we have learnt that the nurses and doctors treating baby Charlie are also receiving hate-filled death threats, both on-line and in person. Disgraceful, as they are simply doing their jobs to the best of their ability.
Democracy is not only about the majority winning but about the right for people to differ and to express freely those differences. There has been far too much intolerance, especially since the Brexit Referendum – and sadly I suspect far more when the negotiations eventually conclude. The ballot box is the way to settle our differences. There is nothing wrong with posting sympathetic articles but when it turns into trolling and threats it is simply wrong.