Sally-Ann Hart has written about the abuse and vitriol that MPs face on a regular basis. I don’t doubt that this is unpleasant and upsetting, however I would urge her to think about why this is happening.
Boris Johnson and his entourage are not leading by example, preferring the bully boy tactics used successfully by Trump. They have been rapidly eroding the Nolan principles, which outline the ethical standards those working in the public sector are expected to adhere to. The seven principles are: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership – not words I would easily associate with our prime minister. For instance, on selflessness, successive Conservative governments have refused to countenance closing down tax loopholes that allow shell companies to be formed to hide assets for their very rich friends, costing the UK public at least £90bn in lost revenue every year.
For me though, the most striking aspect of this government is the lack of kindness and compassion. Slashing Universal Credit at a time when energy and food costs are soaring is so cruel, as is cutting foreign aid at a time when major recipient countries are struggling more than ever.
Our government is abusing individuals on a regular basis all the time. Just this summer, children as young as 12 were being held in solitary confinement in sweltering conditions for 23 hours a day in a secure training centre in Milton Keynes.
Peaceful protesters calling for social housing to be insulated are risking being incarcerated for long spells. Asylum seekers who are effectively under house arrest in hotels are dying in large numbers, all hushed up by the Home Office. Should this be happening in 21st century Britain? Of course not.
And on the issue of abuse on social media, it is worth remembering that Sally-Ann Hart was twice investigated by her own party for alleged islamophobia and antisemitism. As this investigation was behind closed doors, we can only speculate as to how thorough it was – so much for openness. She was apparently sent on a social media training course, which may or may not be a euphemism. Boris Johnson’s claim that any of his candidates found to be discriminating against people would be “out first bounce” doesn’t sound very honest to me, I must say.
So if I am going to have any sympathy for anyone receiving verbal abuse or threats, I would start with the teachers, the nurses, the shop workers, council staff and social carers.
For those in power, whether they are conservative MPs, or media and business tycoons, I would say: stick the principles next to your bathroom mirror and read them every day. Who knows, if you live by them, maybe they will rub off on others.
Image Credits: Steve Bidmead / Pixabay https://pixabay.com/photos/westminster-palace-of-westminster-347971/.