A Fortnight On: How hopeful can we be of change following the tragic death of Sir David Amess?

By Scott Duke-Giles

Almost two weeks on from the shocking murder of David Amess, a Conservative MP since 1983 and in the constituency of Southend West since 1997, politics seems to have predictably returned back to normal.

The 2021 budget announcement and the regrettable (if seemingly inevitable) resurgence of covid-19 cases dominate the headlines this morning, with little to no mention of the deceased MP. Of course, this is to be expected – stories cannot stay in the news forever. However, those hoping for some improvements to be made in bolstering the protection of our representatives are worried that there will be no positive change following this tragic incident.

The inquest hearing, held yesterday Wednesday 27th October 2021, lasted under five minutes as it was adjourned pending the outcome of criminal proceedings. Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old from North London, has been charged with murder of Sir David Amess and preparing terrorist acts.

Last week I sat down with Professor Andrew Russell, Head of the Politics Department at the University of Liverpool, to discuss the political impacts of the murder and whether we can expect any positive change from it:

“Any reset that would actually make it more difficult for members of the public to have contact with MPs would be hard. But they might have to look at the security of these meetings and ensure that maybe people are vetted or searched on the way into surgeries.”

“There’s always a moment where you think change might be possible. Although I have to say in 2016 when Jo Cox was murdered when campaigning for the 2016 European Union referendum, that did not fundamentally change things. In both the murders of Cox and Amess, what we have seen are deaths of pretty ordinary, nice people.”

“There’s a lot of stuff in the press in the last couple of days about the need to take the hatred out of politics, but perhaps that’s a lesson that newspaper editors need to bare in mind as well. I am relatively optimistic that there is an opportunity here to ask a fundamental question about the regard in which we hold our political rulers and whether we show enough respect for those who put themselves forward for public service.”

Listen to the full interview with Professor Andrew Russell and the rest of last week’s show here – https://open.spotify.com/episode/3yxlgPWH80yRkGffBtBHR5?si=1acdb6f0a92c4a4c

Feature Image Credit: HCA Barbieri News – https://hcabarbieri.it/2021/10/16/boris-johnson-and-keir-starmer-lay-flowers-at-david-amess-murder-scene-in-show-of-unity/

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