Na David Amess se dood, beskaafdheid in die politiek is belangriker as ooit

Ekt was refreshing to read Alison McGovern’s piece, maar ek vrees sy is amper te subtiel ('Political debate has coarsened. We MPs can take the lead in restoring calm and respect”, Lewer kommentaar). How can parliament expect the public to be courteous when they promote extreme views, catcalling, drowning out the Commons Speaker etc?

The government encourages extremism by its use of such terms as “traitors” for anybody who disagrees and failing to correct a press that refers to the supreme court as “enemies of the people”. The proceedings of the court are a model of reasoned debate that parliament could well adopt.

Bully-boy tactics and foul language of the likes of Dominic Cummings or Alastair Campbell can only be permitted by the encouragement or acquiescence of their political masters in pursuit of power.

Until parliament adopts a real measure of civility and courtesy, it cannot expect freedom from extremists. It should pull out the mote in its own eye. Such a change in attitude would be a lasting and meaningful legacy to Jo Cox and Sir David Amess.
David Canning
Earley, Reading

I read your editorial ('This grim act comes amid a toxic shift in our politics”) with interest and with the horrific killing of Sir David Amess could this indeed be a watershed moment for kinder and more consensual politics?.

It is dire that our MPs face security problems when holding surgeries, but they are to be commended that the majority do not want to batten down the hatches and put a stop to this very important and democratic transaction between themselves and their constituents.

Die Volksraad tribute to Sir David was a masterclass in warmth, friendship and humour from all parties. It was noted too that at PMQs Sir Keir Starmer reflected on this consensual way of doing politics without harsh, loud and counterproductive rhetoric. I sense the public are fed up with it, social media feeds on its toxicity and the prime minister needs to appreciate that warm words are not sufficient.
Judith A Daniels
Cobholm, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

It’s depressing to hear again that the public doesn’t trust Labour with the nation’s finances ('Starmer’s attacks on austerity not hitting home, says report”, Nuus).

Over the last four decades, there is no evidence that Labour has been worse with deficits and debt than the Tories. Recessions cause less economic activity, less tax revenue and a strain on the social security budget.

Two of those recessions were overseen by a Tory party. The New Labour recession was caused by the banks but was kept shorter by Alistair Darling’s imaginative reflationary policies. David Cameron and George Osborne then came in and blew up the recovery with their shock doctrine – austerity – the effects of which linger to this day. Labour has to call out these lies, otherwise it is destined to be pushed around by a disgracefully biased and spiteful rightwing press.
David Redshaw
Gravesend, Kent

Fintan O’Toole eviscerated Boris Johnson’s disgraceful, damaging, faux grievances about the Northern Ireland protocol and his shameless scapegoating of the ECJ ('Facing chaos and needing a scapegoat, the Tories seek an endless fight with Europe”, Lewer kommentaar).

The Brexit project was always an economically illiterate rightwing fanaticism much more interested in operationalising xenophobia, a fictional sovereignty and as a vehicle for getting Johnson into No 10. He is using Northern Ireland to “mine for grievance” to misdirect the electorate from attributing the huge damage to our economy and society to the Brexiters.
Philip Wood
Kidlington, Oxfordshire

With reference to Eva Wiseman’s enlightening article ('The dark side of wellness”, Magazine), it is clear that the parallels between “spiritual thinking” and extremist far-right conspiracy theories are shockingly stark.

On many occasions, people who vaguely deem themselves to be leftists or educated liberals are promoting sinister conspiracies on important matters such as vaccines. There are often antisemitic overtones to such ideas. Those who push these dangerous anti-vaccine, anti-media, anti-science, anti-fact agendas are never really leftwing or liberal, they are extremist. Extremism comes in many forms and must always be countered.
Sebastian Monblat
Sutton, Londen

As your report says ('Slaughter in Indonesia: Britain’s secret propaganda war”, Special Report), the Foreign Office has always claimed that the government had no involvement in or advanced knowledge of the mass murders of several hundred thousand alleged leftists in Indonesia. This claim has been dismantled by revelations of a government black propaganda special unit aimed at inciting violence against the Indonesian Communist party (PKI) in 1965.

Through advocacy, reports and supporting grassroots organisations, Tapol has highlighted the legacies of the killings, including the dangers that the military continues to pose to democracy in Indonesia.

Military businesses are flourishing in regions such as West Papua where it has muscled in on the region’s rich logging, plantation and mining potential, on the pretext of countering an insurgency by the West Papuan armed resistance movement. In an era where freedom of expression is as much threatened online as offline, the military deploys cyber-attacks against human rights defenders and other “enemies”.

In the meantime, the international community, keen to support the narrative of Indonesia as a democratic success story, for the most part looks the other way.
Steve Alston, Tapol chairperson
London N7

Regardless of whether we approve or disapprove of sex workers ('Sex discrimination: why banks shun workers in adult industries”, Business), those involved need as much help and support as possible, given that it must be one of the most unhealthy and potentially dangerous professions.

My trade union, the GMB, has a branch dedicated to the adult entertainment industry. Some members feel it might be encouraging prostitution. It is not. What it does do is help protect and support some of the most vulnerable workers in the community, also with its own credit union. As always, the solution for all workers is to work together to protect their interests, whatever their profession.
Vaughan Thomas, Norwich city councillor, GMB branch president

The plight of drama schools and their students ('Why battles over race and sex now take centre stage at drama schools”, Focus) prompts me to share something I have argued for some time.

Our drama tradition has been unequalled since the 16th century yet it is now inaccessible, marginalised, even unknown for many. We should have a live professional performance theatre in every community. Companies would work with children, writers and others eager to participate in the extraordinary past and present of theatre. Maar, as with public libraries, it will take political guts to give theatre the familiarity it deserves to all.
Ian Flintoff, former RSC and National Theatre actor

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