Keep it civil: Citizen calls for more courtesy in politics

Electoral Commission data published on 4 June shows that a shocking 56 per cent of General Election candidates have already experienced abusive or intimidating behaviour.

Another report just published by the Association for Public Service Excellence reveals that 81.2 per cent of local councillors have suffered intimidation or harassment from a member of the public.

Hackney’s very own Diane Abbott has the tragic distinction of being the MP who has received more ill-treatment than any other.

A few years ago, Amnesty International measured the bile and found that in the run-up to the 2017 General Election, Abbott was the target of an incredible 45 per cent of all abusive tweets directed at women MPs active on Twitter.

Being in politics is bound to be a tough business, but it should not be a damaging one.

Abbott has been candid about how “debilitating” and “corrosive” it is to be the object of so much hate.

Former Hackney transport chief Jon Burke received death threats over the introduction of the borough’s first low traffic neighbourhoods.

Burke spoke out about the “draining” effect of being subjected to a “six-month campaign against me as an individual”.

He later resigned and moved away from Hackney.

For all our elected representatives and candidates, and for all those weighing up a future in politics, the Citizen is calling on people to be civil.

There is every reason to get exercised – the policies that candidates and elected representatives stand for are important – but debate should be about their ideas, rather than about their personal characteristics.

If you have been the target of personally abusive political language or actions, we’d like to hear your story.

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