That may seem like a bold heading for this article, but the reaction to the report made on behalf of the Home Office has genuinely shocked me.
The report claims that of the 239 MP’s who responded to the survey, 192 of them had been the victims of aggressive or intrusive behaviour. That’s 4/5 MP’s. What’s more, half of those had been in their own homes. 43 MP’s (1/5) had been either physically attacked, or the victim of an attempted attack. 101 MP’s (2/5) had received violent threats, and 52 MP’s (1/5) had received threats to their property. Half of them said they had been stalked or harassed (behaviour that lasted for 2 weeks or more and caused fear).
The report said that one MP (not named) “described how his marriage was close to breakdown, as his wife blamed him for the persistent amorous intrusions of a female constituent”. Another said that “she had to get her husband to go out and look down the street before she could go out of the front door. She had panic attacks several times a day, even in the House of Commons, leading to a ‘mad way of life’.”
Stephen Timms, a Labour MP who was stabbed twice in the stomach in 2010 by a woman who attempted to murder him because he voted in favour of the Iraq war, told The Observer: “After what happened to me I was offered a knife arch for my surgeries, but I refused because that just makes it difficult for people to come and see you. It isn’t the MP I want to be.”
The report didn’t greatly surprise me, there are always going to be nutters out there who believe that they are batman and can take the law into their own hands. What surprised me is how this belief has percolated into the mainstream. And how the actions of these extremists (you could call them terrorists) are condoned, and actively encouraged by many.
The following comments are from the ‘Top Comments’ section on the Huffington Post Facebook page that links to the article:
Is Gordon really going to sit behind his keyboard and claim that 192 MP’s (at least) abuse the system for their own ends? Do every single on of these MP’s deserve their treatment? And even of they do, does this response have any place in a civilised democracy like ours? I think not, Gordon.
Jordan is actively encouraging the murder of MP’s. Disgraceful. By the way, can we just take a moment to realise how many likes these comments have got? 75 likes. This is one of the most popular comments in the Huff Post article. Is this really what people think? I digress. Jordan, are you telling me that 192 MP’s are murderous? Can you point me towards the death camps please? What an appalling comment.
Wow. Where do you start with this one? Ashley, let me explain to you how it works. We elect MP’s into Parliament on our behalf. That is how we get heard in Parliament, through our MP’s who we elect to be there. And yeah, it’s totally reasonable to suggest every decision that has ever been made in Parliament is through bribery and corruption. What a load of tosh. I don’t deny the existence of the odd bad egg in there, sure. But please.
Also, I’d like to know where she got her figures for the claim that MP’s are killing 80-90 disabled people a month? Again, please point me towards the death camp. I agree they have gone the wrong way about the disability allowance, but they are not malicious, I really don’t think that they are going out of their way to purge society of the disabled. Ashley confirms her status as a raging maniac with the last sentence. It will only take the death of 80/90 MPs per month before she thinks it might have gone too far.
Yes Derry, but would you have been stabbed?
Simon here berates the Huffington Post for even reporting on the survey. He clearly likes his media to have an agenda that follows his own. “Tell them to go into the real world. Get a job” he says. I reply that someone needs to represent us Simon. People like you are discouraging potential talent who might actually do a good job in Parliament. These MP’s claim that their constituents “Pulled a knife on me in the surgery”; “repeatedly punched me in the face”; “came at me with a hammer”; “hit with a brick”; “shot with air rifle”; “attacked by a constituent with a samurai sword. I escaped with injuries to my hand, but my assistant was killed.” You think they deserve this? As the Guardian reports,”Of the 101 MPs who had experienced threats to harm them or those close to them, the study notes: ‘You’d better keep an eye on your children’; . . . wife received phone calls saying ‘I am going to kill you or one of your family'”. This isn’t just “bad language” as Simon suggests. This is actual, real-life physical abuse.
Moreover, these crazies are advocating the killing of children. I repeat, children. Do the children of these MP’s have everything that’s coming to them? I suggest Simon et al think their comments through before touching a keyboard.
The next comments come from the Sky news article that reported on the survey:
Steve is suggesting that this is simply the natural response if the MP’s ‘ignore’ the public. Sometimes there is a need for nuance. There is never a complete consensus on anything in politics. These representatives are always going to have to go against some parts of public opinion. I think Steve is suggesting that they have to ‘ignore’ the right people. And by that, I understand the ‘right people’ to mean the non-violent, reasonable people. If they want to keep all of their limbs then the wrong people to ignore are the violent, unreasonable people, such as Steve. Also, in regards to the question “where did the democratic UK go?” I don’t think violence towards those who you disagree with will lead to a more democratic system. But that’s just me.
Ah yes, ‘arrawn’ here exemplifies the classic ‘regressive’. I knew one would pop up eventually. Much like the Charlie Hedbo attacks when one would constantly hear “I don’t condone the terrorists actions, but Charlie Hedbo were racist”. “I don’t condone this BUT…” just stop right there. You don’t condone it, end of. You don’t need to add anything else. Alas, they always do. There is never an excuse to attack an elected representative. I do not care if you disagree with them. You do not try and kill them. End of.
And like a bus, two regressive’s come along at once. “Violence is not the answer. However…”.
Look, there are many MP’s I don’t agree with on many issues, but I can appreciate that it is a difficult job and you’re not going to please everyone all of the time. Particularly when we need to cut back. If the “constituents do NOT wish to go” down this route as ‘Fat Controller’ claims then they wouldn’t have voted the Government back in last year would they? Clearly, they understand the need to cut the deficit. It is just a route that you do not wish to go down, Fat Controller. Do not claim to speak on behalf of the people. After all, you are not the one elected to represent them.
Grasscroft, if you look at the polls, support for Brexit is pretty much 50%. Which means half will not agree with you. Why is it that all these people think that they can talk on behalf of constituents better than those elected to do so? Very strange.
This one’s from reddit. This guy suggests that MP’s are all sociopaths and that they don’t do their jobs properly. In what other profession could you be expected to receive death threats and get stabbed if you don’t do your job properly, may I ask? Furthermore, it is people like you, DrShadyBusiness, who is causing this supply shortage for decent MP’s. Only sociopaths would dare run for Parliament with people like you on their backs!
So, to conclude, there seems to be a theme running throughout all of these comments – and that is that all of these people who would condone the abuse towards MP’s seem to think that they have the support of the people. Is that a narcissistic tendency, to think that everyone agrees with you? Perhaps, I’m not a psychologist. Regardless, the idea that “I am absolutely 100% correct, and if you disagree you are evil”, is a growing phenomenon throughout society. These comments, and the support they are receiving, show that. Sometimes MP’s make mistakes, others are just plain useless. But they are democratic officials, if you disagree with them, tough! I know it’s a lot easier for people to reconcile their thuggish behaviour with the belief that they are evil people, but that’s just lazy.