Richard North, 16/10/2021  

Orwell, thou shouldst be living now. Having penned the immortal words in Animal Farm about the [in]equality of animals, he would no doubt have some trenchant views about the reaction to the death of David Amess, after "allegedly being stabbed several times" – as the Guardian put it.

It is not so much the outpouring of the media and public figures about the saintly character of the deceased which is so noticeable, as the lack of response almost amounting to indifference to the endless carnage on our streets, as barely a day goes by without one or more people being stabbed to death.

So frequent have these murders become that most don't even warrant reports in the national media, with some meriting only the briefest of accounts in local papers before disappearing from public view.

What seems to be common between the Amess murder and the general street carnage, though, is the absolute determination of the BBC to avoid revealing the ethnicity of the perpetrators, in this case the murderer being described on the front page of its news website as "a 25-year-old man, said by a government source to be a British national".

This is despite Telegraph and others leading their reports with the description of a man of "Somali origin", after initial reports had witnesses describe the police taking into custody a man of "African appearance".

In due course, more details will emerge about the background of the killer, and it will be interesting to see the reaction of the left-leaning media if he turns out to be an illegal immigrant – more so if his route of entry was by dinghy across the Channel.

Given that Amess is described as "robustly right-wing", while the deputy Labour leader most recently characterised Tory MPs as "scum", it might be difficult for the left to sustain any long-lasting outrage over the murder of a figure who represents everything they detest.

On the other hand, after the death of Jo Cox has been so effectively weaponised, the "right" now have their own martyr. It will doubtless be sufficient that Amess has been murdered by a black immigrant, but their cup will floweth over in the event that the knife-wielder is shown to be an illegal dinghy traveller.

Interestingly, Amess hasn't always been seen as the saintly figure that he is currently painted to be, having featured in a small way in the MPs' 2009 expenses scandal. He was again profiled in October 2012 (almost to the day), when he had been found to have rented out his London flat, while claiming hotel expenses for his stays in London, despite also having an empty house in the city, acquired with the help of the taxpayer.

Branding him as a "rent-swapper", who during the original expenses scandal had hidden in a hairdressers after being doorstepped over his "greedy second home claims", an outraged Guido Fawkes noted that Amess had been in parliament for nearly thirty years. "Now would be a good time", it suggested, "for him to announce his retirement…".

It is perhaps ironic that, had Amess followed this advice, when he was in his sixtieth year, he might still be alive today, albeit slightly less well-off without a further nine years of taxpayer-funded expenses.

By convention, of course, one does not speak ill of the dead – although this tends to be honoured more in the breach than the observance. But one could still make a general observation that MPs are best protected from violence by the respect for their roles and their positions in the community, making it unthinkable that they should be attacked.

Once respect is eroded, it is sadly the case that all MPs are more at risk, and it is a disturbing feature of contemporary politics that they are subject to endless vitriol and multiple death threats. In this respect, it has to be said that MPs have contributed to this situation, having turned parliament and the political process into objects of contempt.

It is hardly going to be the case, though, that a Somali immigrant would have booked an appointment with Amess at his surgery – as he apparently did – only to stab him to death when he arrived, in response to the diminished respect in which politicians and parliament are held.

However, MPs have been partly responsible for the wholly inadequate enforcement of Britain's immigration laws, and have been complicit in allowing successive governments to pursue a policy of multi-culturalism, without the slightest attempt to secure an electoral mandate.

In that context, Amess may be the unfortunate whose role has been to reap what he and his colleagues have sown. And if from his murder, there emerges a realisation that MPs as well as the general population are at risk, we might possibly see efforts made to restrict the flow of dinghy people and other illegals, and robust measures taken to restrict immigration.

More likely, though, MPs will learn the wrong lessons from this event, seeking to increase their own personal security – placing more barriers between themselves and the constituents they supposedly serve.

It was once the case that one could saunter unchallenged into the parliament building in Westminster, and demand at the desk to see one's MPs. But now our "democratic" representatives skulk behind blast-proof barricades, subjecting visitors to onerous and time-consuming security checks, under the gaze of machine-gun toting rapists and the occasional uniformed murderer.

Even if one was wholly indifferent to the fate of MPs, it only takes one visit to Westminster to invoke such passion and loathing that one would happily cooperate in the slaughter of the entire breed. Should MPs further distance themselves from the electorate, they might learn the true nature of the term "endangered species".

This, whatever the outcome of the inquiry into Amess's murder, it is already being described as a "terror attack", linked to Islamist extremism. Police officers have raided two homes in London, in connection with the attack.

But, in addition to further fracturing community relations, an amount of damage has already been done, in highlighting the contrast between the treatment of his death, and those of ordinary mortals who have been stabbed to death by their peers. In this pestilent land, where prestige and rank determines so much of our treatment, it is clear that we have never fully emerged from a feudal society.

It is also significant that Amess, a white, wealthy male of some standing, should have been butchered by a black man, although typically (and especially in London), knife crime is a black-on-black offence – even if it is distressingly frequent in most communities.

That again is something which desperately needs addressing where, as Pete notes, the shocking Soweto-style machete gang attack in broad daylight in Hyde Park has become part of the new normal. If MPs decide that knife crime must be taken seriously, then something good will come of Amess's horrible death.

I do have a suspicion, though, that a black immigrant slaughtering an MP points up deep rifts in society and exposes long-standing policy failures so profound that there will be no appetite for addressing the implications. After the initial outpourings, the establishment is more likely to close ranks and fend off any pressure for reform.

If the government is prepared to expend vast fortunes on improving MPs' perception of safety, that may well be a sufficient response to quell voices in parliament and the media, leaving us plebs where we have always been, out in the cold, having to deal with the consequences of the indifference of our masters.

Sadly, it is going to take more than the butchery of another MP for us to see any lasting change.

Also published on Turbulent Times.

comments powered by Disqus

Log in

Sign THA

The Many, Not the Few