The state’s response to the murder of one of their own has been telling. The murder of David Amess produced a rare unity in British politics; one that is always there, behind the façade of confrontational parliamentary performances.
The immediate response was focused around MP protection and the relationship between representatives and constituents. As the days have worn on, the response has shifted towards bringing forward already established ideas around tightening the state’s grip on social media. The fact that forcing Twitter to ensure all its users have their identify verified would not have prevented the murder seems to be irrelevant. On the basis of this recent suspected terrorist attack, seemingly conducted by one individual, the government is attempting to restrict social media activity for all.
The stated link between the two issues is around the hostility politicians regularly face on social media platforms. They appeal for a nicer politics and now unite around the idea of forcing a nicer social media experience. This should actually be seen, not simply in the context of a brutal murder, but in the context decades of hostile policies. If we focused solely on the period starting with the Margaret Thatcher’s first election victory in 1979, we have witnessed a political class that has consistently told the British people that they are in competition with each other for jobs. They have both discouraged collective activity and legislated against it. We have been informed that there is no such thing as society. We have all been encouraged to believe that having winners and losers in an economic sense is natural. The losers made bad choices. The winners are rewarded for taking risks. The results through are a fractured society.
Society does exist but it has become harder to forge links between the disparate groups within it. The emphasis on winning and losing, combined with a loss of collectivism makes it ever more difficult to get help if you’re not succeeding. Successive governments have told us that if we’ve lost, it’s our own fault. Both our triumphalism and our bitterness has been individualised. The hatred they now want to get rid of from politics is of their own making. Their leanings towards legislative answers to social problems will simply paper over the cracks, as they move on to destroying rights to protest and attacking migrants. Does anyone honestly think that forcing people to verify their identity on Twitter will make Twitter a nicer environment? There are plenty of people being abusive on that platform already using their own name.
Mere days before the murder of Amess, the government was lecturing women to take the advice of the Metropolitan Police should they fear attack from an off-duty police officer. The advice was to hail down a bus or to call for more cops. The political class are not united on the need to protect citizens. They are disinterested in the corruption of the police. What unites them is their own self-interest. It is understandable, of course, to be interested in your own safety but the lessons of the last few weeks are stark: They care about themselves and will move heaven and earth to make themselves safe. They don’t care about us.
David Amess was a Conservative who voted against every possible improvement in society. We do not intend to give a full list and we do not intend to do a character assassination. We will simply note that he spent the best part of four decades legislating against us. Whilst the longevity of his career has brought him platitudes over the last week or so, we are horrified that this could be viewed as ‘public service’. We do not accept the representative system of government and we do not applaud those that take such an active role in it.
As anarchists, we stand back, observe how these ‘public servants’ behave and draw some conclusions. It has taken a brutal murder to get politicians to discuss how nasty some elements of society can be. Yet, in doing so, they miss what is in plain sight: they are responsible for an awful lot of what they are now seeking to irradicate.