Electile dysfunction

So finally Parliament has reached enough of an agreement to pass something rather than just vetoing everything put before it. And now some of them must surely realise that their days in the Commons are truly numbered and they will be unemployed before Christmas.

There’s an irony to that as I’ve seen companies pull that stunt time and time again over the years.

Much has been made since the announcement of a general election on December 12 about the number of MPs who are standing down, but this is a bit disingenuous on the part of Sky News, the BBC et al as the number choosing not to contest their seat in six weeks time is actually the second lowest since 1979.

To bring added attention to the women standing down is also redundant in this day and age. It’s a personal decision that I don’t believe has to be dictated by gender. Nicky Morgan and Amber Rudd have sadly decided to leave politics and that’s entirely up to them. But Dianne Abbott and Jess Phillips are standing firm despite some absolutely sickening abuse on a daily basis on social media.

It’s undeniable that today’s politicians are facing levels of abuse previously unseen and the murder of Jo Cox was a real game changer. It will hang over the Palace of Westminster for many years to come.

In that atmosphere it’s understandable why some have decided they’ve had enough of being shouted at in the street and subjected to the most appalling abuse or threats of violence on Twitter, although I can think of a few,including party-hopper Heidi Allen where it’s also a convenient get-out from the humiliation of going through the count in her South Cambridgeshire constituency on December 12.

Ironically, from the others, it’s the ones who should be disappearing from public life (yes Mrs Soubry, Swinson, Sturgeon and S… (damn)…Cooper) who show no sign of walking away.

There are a number of factors to consider regarding the disturbing increase in abuse towards politicians.

Firstly, it’s not just Parliament that’s split – the entire population of the UK has become polarised by Brexit. It’s the stuff civil wars are made of. If this was central America it would probably already be happening.

At times like this Parliament is supposed to show leadership and be a beacon to guide us through the dark, (Churchill during the Second World War comes to mind) but instead they have behaved like hooligans – shouting each other down like rabble while some have openly plotted to overturn the democratic wish of the majority – even to the point of speaking directly to the EC behind Parliament’s back.

Not exactly setting an example is it?

People feel let down – betrayed – and they are justifiably angry. But when we live in a world where someone can receive death threats online just for surviving the dance-off on Strictly, is it any wonder that anger gets taken too far by some?

I wonder what would have happened if social media had existed in the 1980s.

Doesn’t bear thinking about does it?

Lies and damn lies

I haven’t decided how I’m going to vote yet, but I certainly know where I’m not putting my X.

What I will say is, over the next few weeks the parties will release their manifestos in which they will make all sort of promises they know they can’t or won’t keep. Manifestos are not worth the paper they are written on unless they become legally binding.

My dilemma is, whether the vote to secure Brexit also becomes a mandate to treat the sick and vulnerable like crap once the smoke clears.

Stupid TV Quiz answer of the week

Tipping Point Wednesday – Question: In The Bible, Gabriel, God’s messenger, is what kind of entity?

Answer: A ghost?

Edward Case

Columnist