I do not know whether it has always been like this, I have not been around long enough, but one cannot deny how poor the level of debate has become. Personal abuse seems to have become completely normal.
Wherever you stand on Brexit the comments made against Gina Miller by the aristocrat Rhodri Colwyn Philipps have no place in civilised society. He was quoted as calling her a “boat jumper”, posting on his Facebook page he added “If this is what we should expect from immigrants, send them back to their stinking jungles”.
We are all aware of the abuse received by Dianne Abbott. Yes, she was rightly criticised for some of the decisions she has made and her performance on the recent electoral campaign. There is however absolutely no excuse for the horrendous personal abuse she has received. You only have to observe some of the comments on her twitter timeline to see the number of people using the most horrendous language.
During the labour leadership contest in 2015 hard left supporters of Jeremy Corbyn embarked on a campaign of abuse against fellow leadership candidate Liz Kendall and her supporters. Anyone who disagreed with corbynomics were labelled “blairite scum”.
An outside observer might brush all of this off as tittle-tattle. This would be completely wrong. Racist, sexist and threatening comments from strangers online is not funny. It adds nothing to the political arena except to put off good people who might want to get involved.
I myself on writing on this blog have received abusive messages, the worst message was from this gentleman a few months ago who felt it necessary to send me the following message:
It is now accepted that anyone involved in politics left, right and centre will receive personal attacks. I do not have the answers how to solve this issue but I am pleased to see this is finally being taken very seriously. It doesn’t have to be this way we should all be able to debate policy without descending into personal animosity.