That sort of sums up how I’d felt about violence in British politics. It was rare, remote and not really that important. America had its assassinations, the French have their tradition of street protest and direct action, we have a rather staid and ritualised parliamentary democracy. We’ve not had a civil war in modern times. And extremists have never had much electoral success in Britain. While in much of Europe Communists and Socialists vied to be the voice of the left, Britain’s Labour Party has been able to brush aside challenges from Marxist parties without much difficulty. Until UKIP came along the Tories faced little serious competition on the Right and UKIP, unlike the Front National, Golden Dawn or Jobbik, doesn’t have neo-Nazi roots. It is a product of the right rather than the extreme right. (...)
But on reflection my instinct on this point was wrong. Murder may be more common in the US but the political variety seems at least as common in the UK.
For example, since 1945 three members of the US congress have been killed. (...)
By contrast, in the same period six MPs have been assassinated. Apart from Jo Cox, they were all victims of Irish paramilitary groups. And that hints at a larger point. The peaceful image of British politics that I and others had depends on putting a mental cordon around events in Northern Ireland. But there’s no good reason to do that. Despite Republican efforts, Northern Ireland remains part of the UK, and the conflict both drew in the British army and spilled over onto the mainland. And we should not forget how violent the Troubles were. Indeed they are one of the worst (and longest lasting) civil conflicts to have afflicted a developing country. They resulted in more than three and a half thousand fatalities and turned Northern Ireland into a virtual warzone for decades. And they very nearly broke Britain’s run of not having any Prime Ministers killed: had Margaret Thatcher been using a different part of her suite at the Grand Hotel in Brighton when the IRA detonated a bomb in a nearby room she would almost certainly have been killed.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 10:59