Anna Soubry abuse re­flects the de­plorable state of pol­i­tics to­day

The Guardian - Journal - - Letters -

That a bunch of an­gry men should think it ac­cept­able to in­tim­i­date and abuse Anna Soubry be­cause they dis­agree with her stance on Brexit is a lam­en­ta­ble re­flec­tion of the state of our po­lit­i­cal dis­course, which has been con­tin­u­ously de­graded dur­ing the past two years (MPs raise fears with po­lice af­ter abuse of Soubry, 8 Jan­uary).

Those in­di­vid­u­als (and we all know who they are) who stirred up divi­sion and an­tag­o­nism dur­ing and af­ter the ref­er­en­dum for their own po­lit­i­cal ends bear enor­mous re­spon­si­bil­ity for giv­ing li­cence to ex­trem­ists to be­have in an ag­gres­sive and of­ten crim­i­nal man­ner. It is time pub­lic fig­ures and sec­tions of the me­dia stopped us­ing deroga­tory and in­flam­ma­tory vo­cab­u­lary to de­scribe those who hold a dif­fer­ent view.

It is also rep­re­hen­si­ble that Stephen Bar­clay, the Brexit sec­re­tary, should sug­gest that this in­ci­dent un­der­lines the case for ac­cept­ing Theresa May’s deal, as if this were a panacea for heal­ing the rift brought about by the poli­cies of his own gov­ern­ment.

Su­san New­ton

Old­ham

What are the Metropoli­tan po­lice up to? Some years ago I was ar­rested and charged with “in­sult­ing and abu­sive be­hav­iour li­able to cause a breach of the peace” (sec­tion 5 of the Pub­lic Or­der Act) for protest­ing about nu­clear mis­siles by ly­ing down in si­lence in Par­lia­ment Square. Thank­fully, the mag­is­trate threw it out of court, mak­ing it clear that si­lent, still protest can­not be con­strued as in­sult­ing or abu­sive.

To­day, in that same square po­lice al­low the hound­ing of peo­ple and

the shout­ing of abuse, in­clud­ing openly racist abuse, even at the po­lice. Isn’t this what the act is for?

Michael Ball

Lon­don

It seems ex­tra­or­di­nary that peo­ple who de­claim oth­ers as Nazi and act in a ha­rass­ing man­ner are them­selves ap­ing the tac­tics of the Brown­shirts, mem­bers of the SA in pre­war Ger­many.

Ste­wart Jeph­cote

Ret­ford

Noth­ing re­veals more the sur­real and facile na­ture of our times than a bunch of rightwing racist ya­hoos us­ing the word Nazi as an in­sult.

David Chanter

Led­well, Ox­ford­shire

I was setting my TV to record Brexit: The Un­civil War when a rec­om­men­da­tion popped up for an­other Chan­nel 4 pro­gramme, Catas­tro­phe. Who knew dig­i­tal recorders had a sense of hu­mour?

Cathy Win­der

Swansea

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