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Yvette Cooper: “I would like a culture of kindness”
She said this in an interview with the Evening Standard, despite receiving threats of violence. She said that things had become much more aggressive,
She was threatened in April 2019 and the person responsible was jailed this month after pleading guilty.
She said about politics :”It’s become everybody shouting at each other, which is a shame and goes against the way we should do politics.”
She made a speech in early March 2020 calling on political parties to show more leadership on the way we treat each other online, asking them to sign up to a joint standard of conduct.
She also talked about dealing with online abuse and asked Facebook “to deal with closed forums where criminal activity can take place and action on algorithms which pushes people towards extremism”.
She mentioned the impact of this on people being bullied, and said: “There are links between what you see in public life, the tragic experience of Caroline Flack. But the other, more positive thing is that people are conscious of attempts to stand firm against it and show kindness.”
She also criticised the way that opinions are crystallising without rational debate, as evidenced by the current row in the Labour party after candidates signed a pledge calling some organisations (such as Women’s Place UK) “trans-exclusionist hate groups”. See Guardian article on this.
She pointed out: “I fear that because of the way in which the debate is starting to happen, with no one able to have a sensible or thoughtful discussion, transphobia gets worse as a result.”” We’re in danger of losing sight of experiences and ending up rowing. ”
She has written a new book – She Speaks: The Power of Women’s Voices.
Overall, when asked about getting into politics, she said: “You can simultaneously be angry about abuse and vitriol that can prevent people going into politics and still believe that most people do want to be kind. That’s what keeps you going.”
Overall a very rational and thoughtful view (from a politician!). We like the idea of a “culture of kindness”.
If you’re interested in how free speech and hate speech differ, see our post on giving offence.
Yvette Cooper sounds like a measured and thoughtful politician – good traits we think, but not necessarily what’s needed to be a successful politician.
The blinkered views on all sides are fuelled by social media vitriol and we like the idea that ‘people should be kind’!
We think the concept of a ‘culture of kindness’ is a great idea, especially when compared to the torrents of vitriol often seen on social media.