They – along with many other current Conservative MPs – have all used “divisive and dehumanised” rhetoric to attack people, mostly minority groups.
Only this week, Vox Political has been hosting a debate (on the Facebook page) discussing whether or not the Tory government should bear some responsibility for the atmosphere of hatred against the disabled that may have incited Joshua Hack and Keith Lowe to murder Brendan Mason.
The verdict was overwhelmingly against the Tories.
“It has been clear for years that the government has seen and described the sick and disabled as shirkers, and benefit thieves, as someone who is profiting from real or even fake medical problems,” wrote one commenter.
“And they have been helped down this road by the British media both print and TV, with programming such as Benefits Street, they are glorifying a false picture of the type of people who need help just to get by.
“Our nation is fractured into many segments, and it seems the sick and disabled are being vilified as the reason this is so.”
Another wrote: “All inciters have blood on their hands. It’s too late for this young man. but his family have the rest of their lives to live with what he had to suffer. Maybe this forum isn’t the time for political blame but if we don’t stand up and be counted against this government’s rhetoric and actions, others will have the same tragedy.”
There’s this: “I think this Tory government, aided and abetted by the media, is absolutely guilty of being accessories to murder. Since coming into power they have systematically blamed the poor and disabled for being lazy or workshy, they get away with it which means (to idiots) it is ok to do it too!”
Another wrote: “Absolutely the Government is at fault. It has encouraged the lies that the old, the disabled, the immigrants are responsible for all the ills that beset this country. Except in the most miniscule numbers of cases, it is entirely due to successive Governments (I include New Labour in my condemnation as they started it; the Tories only perfected it!)”
Here’s another: “If you actively create an atmosphere and make it acceptable to consider disabled people as less than human and drain on society then you are responsible for the consequences.”
Another clarified an important point – that pointing out the government’s part in encouraging a murder does not exonerate those who actually carry out the crime: “Nobody is saying these two cowardly f***wits are anything other than guilty of their own crimes but to deny that a political landscape where disabled people are portrayed as wasters and scroungers has anything to do with the crime is as ridiculous.”
Here’s an interesting issue: “There is a legal concept of criminal negligence, or culpable homicide, where the actions of a person or group are a major factor in another person’s death, even if the accused is not present.
“Removing the safety guards from a machine, to speed up production, despite knowing it could drag the operator inside. Failing to install or check smoke alarms or other building standards in properties you rent. Both are examples of how someone can be deemed responsible for deaths, no matter how much they may cry ‘But I never *intended* anything bad to happen!’.
“Tory cuts and sanctions, especially after being given the evidence that Atos, etc were lying in their assessments, should count as examples of culpable homicide.”
Another commenter went even further: “There is actually a strong case for listing the Tories as a terrorist organisation (and treating them accordingly) under the prevention of terrorism act, if you examine the criteria dispassionately.
“Even the UN has condemned them for it – the only time the UN has EVER condemned a member state for such acts, which makes me ashamed to be British.”
There was, of course, a minority viewpoint.
Here is the strongest example of it that was presented on the FB page. I have edited together several comments to provide a fuller picture of this man’s opinions. Personally, I consider them to be vile:
“Oh, in that case then, Islam is responsible for rape gangs. The kids that did it have probably never picked up a newspaper or followed politics in their lives. Or does Islam make groups of men rapists?
“I’m saying the tory media campaign has f*** all to do with the actions of c***s… they are murderers, cowards and disgusting. Trying to use this as a means to throw s**t at Tories is equally disgusting. Fair enough, attack them for decimating social care, but blaming them for a senseless murder is scraping the barrel of journalistic integrity.
“This whole article is an attempt to smear Tories with the disgusting murder of a disabled person. The Tories have done enough to social care to get all the hate they deserve, without so called “news” outlets, using their reach to smear a political opponent. This is the sad sad state of news media all over. Too much partisan ideology, to be able to tell us the objective truth, without some partisan spin being put on it.
“I attribute the huge jump [in abuse and violence towards the disabled since 2010] to how us as a people have been polarized by a toxic press. I see this as a result of subjective news outlets that have to add bile to what would otherwise be an objective factual news report.
“Outlets like CNN and FOX claim to be unbiased, when their bias is off the map. This has nothing to do with politicians, and everything to do with a people so apathetic to even check if what they are reading, or being told is true. Instead they lap up what appeals to their particular political bias, confirmation bias abound, as long as it supports the ideology they have to get so far up their own a***holes to conceive.
“What is down to politicians is the medical crisis, cuts to health and social welfare budgets, the housing crisis, and for that the tories get all the hate they deserve.”
And some tried to suggest that This Writer was at fault:
“Is Vox Political online using this tragedy to score political points? because if that is the case then you are no better than the system to which you attribute the possible cause of this atrocity.”
Also: “The poor man they brutally murdered needs more respect than to be dragged into an overtly anti-Tory piece of propaganda.”
All I can say is, I was trying to point out something that seemed self-evident – and I won’t apologise for doing so.
This person thought I had a point: “Sadly, there will always be people like this, whether influenced by the govt of the day the newspapers or not, who will go out and commit evil acts like this.
“Whilst I think that Mike may have crossed the line here, I think it’s more than forgivable, because he DOES have a very good point!”
So there you have it.
In the light of the above, why aren’t the Conservatives on Amnesty International’s list?
Politicians who have used a divisive and dehumanised rhetoric are creating a more divided and dangerous world, says rights group Amnesty International.
Its annual report singles out President Donald Trump as an example of an “angrier and more divisive politics”.
But it criticises other leaders, including those of Turkey, Hungary and the Philippines, who it says have used narratives of fear, blame and division.
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