The Importance of Civility in Politics

From local candidates to today’s world leaders, it would appear that the civility once taken for granted in politics is fading.

In the past year alone, there have been countless incidents involving harassment and even assault of elected officials in the UK, and the constant background hum of petty bickering and name-calling.

It only takes a small foray into the political discourse on Twitter or Facebook and you’re bombarded with baseless accusations, unprovoked character assassinations and probably a few insults you couldn’t dream up yourself.  While mildly amusing at times, this contributes to the overall hostile and polarised atmosphere we now face.

These issues however cannot be fixed by changing our language alone, and speaking to those with opposing views in a polite manner, although a welcome change, is not enough.

In order to truly reopen constructive political dialogue what is needed is a shift in attitude, of which the main quality is the return of a level of respect afforded to all, no matter how deeply we disagree with them politically.

With this, inevitably some humility is also required and the acceptance that we may not have all the answers.  As Thomas H Huxley famously said: “It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance”.

I wish my fellow parliamentary candidates well.