In Great Britain, there are those who leave politics out of fear and those who resist threats: The MEP-voter bond is the soul of our democracy
from our correspondent
LONDON – Arriving by subway at Westminster station, you happen to see a minister going up the escalator next door; and as you approach Parliament, you may come across some other member of the government coming out of a side street, alone, without even a bag holder to escort him. Why British democracy works: the politicians do not stay closed in an ivory tower, but mingle with the people, they take public transport, shop at the supermarket, above all they regularly meet the citizens who elected them. A system and a custom that were shaken by the assassination of Sir David Amess: which he launched a debate among MEPs themselves on what to do to prevent the horror from happening again, without distorting the essence of the relationship between politics and the people.
The paradox that the Palace of Westminster defended as a fortress, surrounded by barriers and guarded by armed agents: measures introduced after the 2017 attack, when a lone terrorist crashed his car into the gate, after mowing down passers-by on the bridge, and then stabbed a policeman to death. And yet at the conservative congress that took place in Manchester last week, in order to access the works – only if you were accredited, of course – you had to pass a triple police filter and then undergo an airport-style check. But outside these bubbles, British MPs are helpless. As he wrote on the Guardian Chris Bryant, who sits in Parliament for Labor, we pride ourselves on making ourselves available to our constituents: anyone can come to our meetings, find us at the supermarket, talk to us on the bus or train. This opening is central to our democracy and we must not give it up.
But now, after the killing of Amess, the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, has met with the heads of the police and intelligence services and ordered an immediate review of the security of deputies. The minister also spoke with the Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who also announced a discussion on the measures to be taken. After the 2016 assassination of Jo Cox, the Labor MP killed by a right-wing extremist on the eve of the Brexit referendum, Members of Parliament were provided with home alarm systems and, in some cases, armored doors and windows with bulletproof glass. Because the problem today is the polarization of the debate and the verbal violence that overflows from social networks into the real world and turns into a physical threat.
A brave MP like Labor Jess Phillips knows something about it, which has come to receive hundreds of rape threats a day. Nonetheless, you said that you will not give up direct contact with people: You cannot put me behind a screen while I take my children to the cafe: I am not the Pope. there are those who, in the face of threats, have abandoned politics: like former Labor Anna Turley, who has given up on running for Parliament again. Still, he wrote on the Times
former politician and journalist Matthew Parris, MPs would be lost if they couldn’t meet voters face to face: The bond between an MP and the people of his constituency is the soul of our democracy.
October 16, 2021 (change October 16, 2021 | 20:26)