In the aftermath of the Westminster and London Bridge attacks and the Manchester bombings I would like to say a few words about the levels of aggression and violence to which we seem to be becoming almost immune in our society.
The terrorist attacks are a shocking reminder of how vulnerable our peace and civilisation really are and why borders are necessary between countries. Every culture has its own norms which develop over time and evolve with advances in science, technology and tolerance. What we are witnessing are attacks on our society in the midst of one of our most precious democratic processes, the general election, where we - who are registered to vote in this country - choose who will govern over the next five years.
I received a call from the EDP today to comment on the London Bridge attack and my conversation with the reporter turned to our Prime Minister Theresa May’s comment that social media has a hand in what is happening in our country today.
I agree with the Prime Minister.
Since being selected to stand in Norwich South as the Conservative candidate I have been subjected to an astonishing level of social media abuse and threats. A simple issue like the the debate on fox hunting reduced even some of my friends, who are university graduates several times over, to vitriolic ranting and swearing and cries of “tory scum” and “murderers”. Personally, I feel the repeal of the fox hunting bill is a bit of a waste of parliamentary time, especially as we have Brexit to negotiate, but the appalling and vicious personal attacks which pass for online debate seem little better than the blood “sports” which they so passionately oppose on progressive grounds.
On the basis that supposedly civilised neighbours can’t even seem to talk nicely to one another, it seems unlikely that we have any chance of negotiating with the kind of people who would murder innocent civilians in cold blood in the name of religion. The cultural difference is simply too great and they do not have the same values of democracy and free speech which we cherish here in the west.
Which brings me to my next point. There are calls to postpone the general election and I disagree. We need to get on with the election and then start pulling together as a country against the common enemy, Daesh.
During the election we have been necessarily polarised into camps, depending on which political party we support and the terrorists have used this time of internal division to capitalise on this and cause havoc and heartbreak. We need everyone - regardless of political persuasion - to pull together to defeat this threat to our very way of life. And the sooner, the better.