Socialist Worker

Right using MP’s murder to stop criticism of Tories

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2777

Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson show their respects to David Amess

Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson show their respects to David Amess (Pic: Number 10)


Politicians and the press want to use the murder of a Tory MP last week to silence anger at the government.

The murder of MP David Amess was followed almost immediately with calls for “respect” for ­politicians and an end to “hatred.”

The speaker of parliament, Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle, wrote in two Sunday newspapers, “The conversation has to be kinder and based on respect. This incident has shown that there is unity across the political divide in support of democracy.

The hate, which drives these attacks, has to end.”

Right wing newspaper ­columnists were most open about what this really means.

Mail on Sunday columnist Dan Hodges wrote, “Casual hatred of Conservative politicians and activists simply for committing the crime of being Conservatives is not acceptable.”

He said there should be no return to “business as usual” for the left after tributes to Amess in parliament. “Tories—they hate the poor, they hate the migrants. They deserve everything they get,’” he wrote.

Protesting at Tory scum who deny children food and destroy jobs
Protesting at Tory scum who deny children food and destroy jobs
  Read More

“They don’t. Because they’re not ‘scum’. Tories are good, honest, decent, committed public servants, who just happen to have a different political philosophy.”

Extremism

Hodges dredged up a quote from Labour MP John McDonnell in 2011, calling for protests and direct action against the Tories, as an example of “left wing extremism” to say this kind of criticism must end.

Meanwhile, the Sun’ columnist Tony Parsons blamed, among other things, anti-racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s Marxist, anti‑British leadership of Labour divided us,” he wrote. “The culture wars divide us. Israel, abortion, taking the knee and pulling down statues—they all build the ­barricades that divide us.”

Other newspapers, though less forthright, said the same thing.

Everyone agreed that it was “unacceptable” for Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner to call the Tories scum during Labour ­conference last month.

That’s why Labour MPs fell over themselves to prove they don’t hate Tories. Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told Sky News on Sunday, “We really do, all of us in parliament, need to tone down the rhetoric towards one another, especially when that strays into rhetoric that is dehumanising.”

Not to be outdone, Labour MP Wes Streeting added, “When I look across the chamber to Conservative MPs, I don’t see a bunch of people who are evil.

“I wish it wouldn’t take awful tragedies like this for us to remind ourselves and particularly to remind the public that we do quite like each other."

The same people who speak about Amess’s murder as an attack on “democracy” also want to use it to silence protests and anger at the Tories.

No one should be intimidated into ending campaigning, “toning” down criticism, and “unity” behind right wing politics


‘Urgent work’ on Prevent will again target Muslims

Amess’s murder could also pave the way for greater surveillance against Muslims.

Some reports say the suspected killer had been reported to the Prevent programme. This makes public sector workers report people to authorities for signs of “extremism” such as opposing British wars, supporting Palestine, or wearing religious clothes.

It is overwhelmingly used against Muslims.

Tory MP David Buckland said Amess’s killing showed that Prevent—which is currently under review—needed “urgent” work to become more “effective.”

One unnamed “security source” told the Telegraph newspaper, “counter-terror police and MI5 have been concerned for some time that once we emerged out of lockdown there would be more people out on the streets.

“Combined with the fact that lots of young people have been spending so much time online, it makes for a very worrying mix and there is a real concern about the possible rise of the bedroom radicals.


The role of imperialism in Somalia

The alleged killer of David Amess is Ali Harbi Ali, a British citizen who is the son of a former prime ministerial adviser in Somalia.

Somalia has been a target of the great powers ever since its independence in 1960.

It has a strategic position with close access to the oil lanes of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. This made it a prize during the Cold War between Russia and the US.

In 1992 the US invaded Somalia, using famine as a pretext. Initially welcomed, the US became hated.

Resistance

Massacres by the US-led forces made them deeply resented and eventually resistance forced a humiliating US withdrawal.

Amid the chaos and poverty caused by the US intervention, various Islamist groups emerged offering stability.

Although harsh, they won popularity compared to what had gone before. They were pushed out by a Western‑backed invasion led by Ethiopian forces.

The present government in Somalia survives only because it is backed by 20,000 African Union (AU) troops and the political support of the US.

The Gulf state of Qatar strongly backs the present Somali president.

And the close ties between Amess and Qatar are being investigated by police after his murder.

Amess was chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Qatar and returned from his latest visit there on Wednesday of last week.


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