Not even the sight and sound of the odious Ann Widdecombe on the BBC News channel, prattling on about campaigning with David Amess in the Pro Life anti-abortion campaigns, could raise my hackles on this dark day for our country. I just don’t have enough anger to counter some of the loathsome abuse on social media, masquerading as debate, attacking everyone from Mr Amess for his political views to, believe it or not, Keir Starmer who stands accused by some of the real bampots in cyberspace as somehow being responsible for his killing. The dual tragedies are the death of a man who leaves behind a wife and five children and the direct attack on our democracy.
I didn’t agree with David Amess’s strong pro Brexit views. I certainly didn’t share his views on abortion or on the question of LGBT rights. But then, neither did his daughter, the actor Katie Amess, who publicly criticised her father’s stance on same-sex marriage after producing a film in support of gay rights in 2013. But this is of no relevance to what happened today, or shouldn’t have been. In a so called free country, we are free to express views which others may find offensive. We have no idea as to why Mr Amess was killed but if it was because of a political disagreement we are on a very slippery slope.
I felt the same way when Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a right wing extremist. I don’t have degrees of upset on the basis of party political preferences, I was shaken today as I was when she was killed.
My thoughts are with his family and friends and not with trolls and bots on social media. For years we have said we should be kind and then something like this always happens.
I fear for this divided country and hope that somehow someone will put it back together. However, that’s for another day.
RIP David Amess.