The murder of Davis Amess MP in his constituency consulting room is bound to create a kneejerk reaction from government. We live in dangerous times in which it is the poor, foodbank Britain, not MPs who are most exposed to violence, but this will largely be ignored. . As anyone who has queued to attend a debate in a Committee Room in Parliament will know, MPs are already well protected behind barriers and security measures. Little more needs to be done there, so steps will now undoubtedly be taken to make constituency consulting rooms more secure. We can expect generous grants from the government for CCTV and other measures to improve security. Some establishments will benefit from this investment. It’s just unfortunate that the Labour and Trade Union Centre at Ruskin House won’t be one of them as neither of our two Croydon Labour MPs holds their constituency surgeries there. Labour’s support for Ruskin House is largely confined to occasional room hire by Croydon South CLP, while it is the Communist Party which rents the top floor and the Morning Star which rents an office on the second floor.
Also on the government’s agenda for responding to Amess’s murder will be more measures to try to stem the flow of asylum seekers who the government will undoubtedly see as part of the problem. Home Secretary Patel is already seeking to introduce a provision in the nationality and borders bill to give Border Force guards immunity from prosecution when refugees drown after being turned back in the English Channel in contravention of the UN convention on the law of the sea. More effective and humane ways to deal with the ‘threat’ the government perceives from asylum seekers would be
- fewer meddlesome military adventures to topple ‘unreceptive’ governments
- better treatment of asylum seekers after they have arrived, including closure of immigration detention centres
- restoration of cuts to our overseas aid budget
None of these are, of course, on the government’s agenda.
Much of the blame for the current toxic atmosphere is being attributed to social media – Facebook, Twitter etc. Of course these media should be regulated (and taxed) so that they can no longer propagate racist and misogynist views, scare stories about vaccination or abuse and threats to individuals. One can, however, have very little confidence that any capitalist government, least of all this corrupt Tory one, will do anything to undermine the profits generated by unregulated social media. The answer to the problems caused by social media is, as with almost every problem we face, a collectivist one. The corporations that run Facebook, Twitter etc need to be dissolved and the services they provided brought under democratic control and management. In a word, socialism.