Online Abuse Debate
Politics is not for the faint hearted, and being a public representative brings with it the expectation of robust debate and of criticism from those with differing views.
What it should not bring is abuse, threats, fake news, and worse from those whose actions take place in the real workd, away from the internet.
I don't usually dwell on this. That's my choice. But this week, having been asked to speak to a group of young women about entering politics, I have had to pause and reflect. I cannot in all good consience not warn them about the cesspit of online abuse they will face, but I would also still encourage them to come forward, because we are represented better if we have a diverse group of candidates and politicians who look more like the country itself.
I and colleagues across parliaments, council chambers, political activism, are scunnered with it, but we will persist, and I hope that by both legislative means and discussion, the girls and women coming along next will decide to enter public life and will be able to engage in the robust debate without the side order of abuse and threats.