Murder of Sir David Amess MP is a reminder of the importance of liberal values – Scotsman comment

Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP murdered by an Isis fanatic while holding a constituency surgery, was knighted for political and public service in 2014, but he was also given another great honour, awarded by popular acclaim: “Mr Southend.”
Conservative politician David Amess was widely respected as MP for Southend West (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)Conservative politician David Amess was widely respected as MP for Southend West (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Conservative politician David Amess was widely respected as MP for Southend West (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

As the MP for Southend West for nearly 25 years, Amess was a tireless campaigner for his constituents and died while doing what all good elected representatives do: meeting them in person to find out their problems and discuss ways to help.

His killer, Ali Harbi Ali, who was yesterday given a whole-life prison sentence, used this opportunity to attack. Heartbreakingly, Amess’s family said he would have “greeted the murderer with a smile of friendship”.

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Ali was unrepentant, telling the court he wanted revenge for UK airstrikes on Syria and “if I thought I did anything wrong, I wouldn't have done it”. But then, what can be expected from someone so morally bankrupt that they support Isis, whose members behead aid workers, throw gay people to their deaths off tall buildings, and turn women captured in war into sex slaves?

His actions did result in the premature ending of a human life, causing grief and pain to those who loved him and robbing Southend and the UK of a dedicated public servant, but achieved little else. British foreign policy will continue unaffected.

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David Amess killer Ali Harbi Ali will never be freed after being given rare whol...

Even his plan to die as a “martyr” was thwarted when the police arrested him, rather than shooting him dead as this creature of violence had expected.

The murder of Labour’s Jo Cox in 2016 by an extreme right-wing terrorist shows there are other cowards in Britain able to convince themselves that the cold-blooded killing of an elected politician can somehow be justified.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of democratic Ukraine and his murders of political opponents, both abroad and in Russia, are further examples, on a much bigger scale, of the violence inherent in undemocratic regimes and ideologies, built on the abuse of power.

For a while, it was somewhat fashionable in some circles in Britain and the West to view overt expressions of support for liberal values as unsophisticated and gauche, even to sneer at them.

The slaughter in Ukraine, the death cult that is Isis, and callous, bloodthirsty fools like Ali are reminders of just how precious those values truly are.

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