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What are we going to do about it?

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The parliamentary authorities have emailed MPs advising them to take the ‘most discreet’ route when travelling around Westminster. This follows increasing levels of abuse towards politicians and journalists on College Green, the space opposite parliament where, during times of political crisis, a lot of television interviews take place.

Yesterday Owen Jones and Tory MP Anna Soubry were particularly targeted by a group of pro-Brexit protesters, apparently inspired by the likes of the gilet jaunes movement in France and Donald Trump in America. This is not the first time, and they are not alone: Sky presenters Kay Burley and Faisal Islam have both been particularly targeted.

That MPs have to be given this advice is depressing, and a clear sign that the police should be doing more.

But the real story here is about the degradation of our political culture. This cannot simply be laid at the door of the 2016 referendum – like success, this problem has many parents. This week’s actions are clearly those of the political right – most likely far right – but their emboldening did not occur in a vacuum, and the blame is broader than simply those who harangue Jones and Soubry. We can condemn them, but we should also ask ourselves: what are we going to do about it?

-Conor Pope, deputy editor

 


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Conor Pope

is deputy editor at Progress

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