The Westminster attacks last Wednesday were an unpredictable and horrific event that united this nation in condemning the cowardly Khalid Masood. It was a tragedy which brought together politicians of all colours and proved how much of a stateswoman Theresa May can be in moments like this. Social media was filled with statuses and tweets which expressed shock and disgust at this attack.
No one engaged in politics should have generated any political capital from this event. Yet some tried to. Failed Apprentice star Katie Hopkins, who has since embarked on a career as a Daily Mail columnist, was labelled ‘stupid’ for her comments suggesting that people are afraid and disunited. UKIP donor Arron Banks blamed this atrocity on unsustainable levels of immigration. The irony is that Britain is not disunited or scared. If anything, it is Hopkins and Banks who are both dividing this nation.
I have the utmost respect for political activists willing to speak their minds. In an age where Trump and Brexit have both shaken the core foundations of the world order, it is clear the masses are not afraid to challenge established systems. However, an invisible slippery slope is emerging. There have been numerous occasions when Hopkins has expressed views which are refreshing. The Daily Mail columnist speaks on LBC Radio. She relishes in challenging the Remainers who phone the radio station to present an alternative point of view. And she produces some great performances.
I am no UKIP supporter, but I agree with Banks on Brexit. But no one is interested in the civil war he is starting in his party. He is correct when he says immigration has become a problem in this country. Britain needs immigrants if its economy is to thrive in a post-Brexit environment. But most people voted to take back control of our immigration system. There is no logic in discriminating against non-EU citizens whilst enabling anyone and everyone from the EU into this country. The British people are not stupid. This was one contributing factor that ensured Vote Leave won on June 23rd last year.
Despite this, a Spectator article this week highlighted the issue with allowing the likes of Hopkins and Banks a platform on Twitter. This social networking site provides a failed Apprentice star with an opportunity to turn her career around and to air her controversial and, at times, refreshing views. The same with Banks. How far will they go though before they completely push the boundaries of controversy? When will they learn to restrain themselves before they hit the tweet button?
Boldness is inspiring in this day and age. But this week, Banks and Hopkins no doubt lost a lot of respect from their band of loyalists. They are quick to condemn ‘Remoaners’ as attention-seeking, yet they intend to do the same over a horrific incident. They have created their own invisible slippery slope, but how long will it be before they finally fall down it? Because if they do not exercise caution when it is needed, they will find their number of Twitter followers will start to decrease, and worse, so will the respect many people have for them. The best way to silence attention-seekers is to eventually learn to ignore them. And that may happen sooner than expected.