Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The egging of Cameron is the antithesis of democracy - not a prank to be celebrated

People who throw eggs, paint or water etc at politicians are  juvenile and cowardly.  They're the kind of people who complain that politicians don't listen to the "man on the street" enough, that politicians are all in it together, are all the same, launch illegal wars of aggression, are deceitful criminals - before trotting off merrily to physically attack someone who actually has the balls to stand for election, put himself out there in front of the public, accept huge media scrutiny of his lifestyle, family and every utterance and actually take on the responsibility of being a potential prime minister - i.e. he may  have to take decisions about things rather than whine about how terrible politicians and the government are all day.

I'm not a fan of the Tory party - in fact I'm a Labour activist.  I don't agree with what David Cameron stands for but I have sufficient respect for our political opponents that I don't jump up and down with glee when they're assaulted while going about the legitimate business of campaigning.  We would expect nothing less from our opponents were the leaders we support to be assaulted.

Would those who think it's funny support a situation where all people seeking elected office at national and local level are fair game for this kind of thing?  We surely don't want to see a situation develop in which it will become legitimate to throw objects or paint at those who bother to go out leafleting or canvassing or hold public meetings?

Democratic politics is surely about free speech, ideas, debate and tolerance.  As the phrase goes -  "I may hate what you say, but I'd defend to the death your right to say it."  Not, "I hate what you say so I'm going to assault you" (but disguise what it is - premeditated physical assault and intimidation - by using something that sounds and looks funny, like an egg).

Didn't the leaders debate show one thing above all else, that the public craves a more constructive, grown-up politics?

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