Letter: Burall This is no way to conduct politics

A ballot box
A ballot box

We are better than this.

It is a sad fact that almost any woman in the public eye is now a target for abuse.

Maria Caulfield appeared on local television last to talk about how the political environment has made her consider whether to stand again.

Although we are on the opposite side of our current great political divide, we say that no-one should suffer abuse for being who they are or for doing their job.

There is no excuse for such language or such behaviour. Everyone in politics should work together to put a stop to our current hostile climate.

Violence and vandalism have crossed the political divide.

In Lewes in recent months, there has been damage to the property, targeting those with political affiliations and those with none.

Several incidents have targeted Remain supporters. Bricks have been thrown through windows and abusive and threatening graffiti scrawled on fences and walls.

Some incidents have seen the unwelcome resurgence of anti-Semitic and far right language. There has been abuse and violence. In Seaford an elderly woman had her EU flag snatched from her hands and destroyed. People have been threatened and attacked on Cliffe Bridge.

With a General Election called, we can and should make a choice about how we conduct this election and steer our country to a better future.

A few weeks ago, a million Remainers marched through London without a single disturbance.

Sadly, and in contrast to this, some members of Ms Caulfield’s own party, not least Boris Johnson, our current Prime Minister, have let their language and behaviour fall far short what should be acceptable.

The former Speaker of the House was right to urge restraint in language in the face of an increasingly threatening environment.

We have a message for those who think that violence and threatening language is the answer: this is no way to conduct politics.

If this is what is in store for our communities, then we are facing a poorer and less democratic future. Those of differing opinions should be able to speak out for what they believe in without fear or favour.

We in the Liberal Democrats will continue to argue for what we believe are the country’s best interests including staying in the European Union.

We will continue to argue for democracy that tells the truth and upholds the law. And we will continue to condemn anyone who tries to silence anyone else’s voice, no matter who, through violence or intimidation.

It is our hope that this election in Lewes will be conducted with decency and dignity and we would hope that those in other parties will conduct themselves with the same ethical standards.

Simon Burall

Chairperson,

Lewes Liberal Democrats