Dear Sir,

Politics is about character and perception. The character of the politicians and the perception of their behaviour by the electorate. Rude and aggressive behaviour is justified as being acceptable and part and parcel of politics in general when in fact it’s just thinly veiled abusive behaviour.

This kind of behaviour wouldn’t be accepted from children in school, or tolerated in the workplace, yet when it comes to politics the public perception appears to be rude and confrontational behaviour goes with the job. It doesn’t and when we don’t question this kind of behaviour we condone and approve it by default and give the person permission to do what they do.

We live in a country where the right to free speech is still possible but with every right comes an underpinning responsibility in the way that right is exercised. We have a right to form and voice our opinions but that right doesn’t entitle us to attack or denigrate a person for no other reason than their opinions and beliefs are different to ours. Such behaviour rarely, if ever, comes from a position of strength for the biggest bully hides the greatest fear and personal insecurities, and the loudest voice a desperation to be heard above all others.

Maybe the solution to the problem is exercising a little personal responsibility and accepting no one has the monopoly on good ideas or the right answer to every question. Maybe what we need to do is listen more and incorporate compromise into our way of working instead of confrontation. Defending your own beliefs by attacking others is never a good thing, and does it really matter whose idea it was or the colour banner they stand under as long as the electorate are served to the best of their ability.

Who knows, the idea might catch on and raise not only expectations but standards as well, but when you think of it isn’t that what government of the people by the people really means and stands for?

Phillip Hawkins

Independent Candidate