Nastiness and threats have become part of the city council election campaign

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by Louise Harvey-Quirke

I expected there would be a lot to learn as a first-time candidate in the Canterbury City Council elections and busy times ahead.

I was prepared to embrace the hard work and looked forward to the challenge.

What I wasn’t prepared for – and I don’t think any candidate could ever be – is the level of personal attack.

Three examples stick out from this local election campaign:

First, a candidate from another party received threats of violence towards her on social media.

Louise Harvey-Quirke is standing for election to the Sturry ward

Secondly, a parish council candidate I know, when heading home at night after a meeting, found an intimidating note on her windscreen, written by a rival candidate.

Then there’s my own experience. A wonderful person, kind enough to nominate me as a candidate for the local elections, was bullied by people on Facebook simply because they supported me.

Politics isn’t like any other kind of community work. When you stand in an election the gloves come off.

However positive you might be, sometimes you can’t help but have people’s opinions shaped by issues beyond your control – whether that’s the view of the local MP, or national news.

I think all candidates realise that. They also know that from time to time, people passionate about their beliefs make their feelings known. It’s one of the things all candidates like me come to learn.

But no matter which political party you represent, or the type of election you’re standing in, no person should ever feel intimidated or harassed by angry keyboard warriors.

I still like to think these incidents in my campaign are rare. For every negative, nasty comment that’s been aimed at me, I’ve had at least five messages of support.

The people I have met on the doorstep have been amazing – even when I know that politically I’m not their cup of tea. Their kindness and graciousness makes it worthwhile and I thank them for this.

Louise Harvey-Quirke is a Conservative candidate for Sturry at this year’s elections to Canterbury City Council. She lives in Sturry with her husband and children.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The Labour candidate is now sulking that someone else is talking about this. She overplayed her hand talking about the “threats of extreme violence” she faced and repeatedly conjuring the spectre of Jo Cox.

    Because the Conservative candidate is also talking about her concerns, the Labour candidate has said on her Facebook:

    “It seems that the Tory candidate for Sturry, (where I’m standing, and where I recently received threats about campaigning) had decided to capitalise on my experience for her own gain!! It’s repellent that she’s claiming the experiences of me and others for political traction.”

    This is a clear sign (as if it were needed) that the main reason she made such a fuss about a stupid online post was for attention. If she really cared, she’d be happy that others were taking about it. But no, it’s more obvious than ever that she just wanted to play the victimhood game. It’s pathetic and really shows the level to which Labour has sunk.

  2. Oh dear. This was written in support of other candidates that had received abuse – be it online or otherwise. To read comments like that makes me very disappointed. We should be united on a matter like this. Have a lovely Easter Weekend everyone.

  3. After the hysteria and jokes of the General Election (where I was also a local by-election candidate on the same day) I came off all social media. I found it hasn’t impacted my ability to help in the local community or find out what’s going on. My mental health has also improved dramatically.

    Until big tech companies are forced to verify each profile on their sites so threats and abuse can be made accountable it’s best to switch it off. Overrated in my opinion. Better to spend your time with people who appreciate it.

    Have a good Easter 😉

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