We don’t need to manage fear: we need freedom from fear

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There is discussion in newspapers today of MPs being fearful for their physical well-being. I think it profoundly unfortunate that they are. I also think that it is apparent that their safety must be ensured. Whilst safety can never be guaranteed it is apparent that more can be done to protect them. I think doing so would be wise.

But I want to add a discordant note. I do not in any way wish to undermine the significance of MPs’ fear. I wish to show no disrespect to the late Sir David Amess. But MPs are not the only people to know the reality of fear in the UK. Nor was his the only unnecessary, and so to be regretted, death on Friday.

Around 1,000 people died unnecessarily of Covid last week.

The same will happen again this week, and for a long time to come. Many live in fear as a result.

Others without access to healthcare are also living in fear. A person died of a heart attack in an ambulance whilst waiting to get access to Accident & Emergency this week. There is real fear amongst many as a result.

Those who are working out how to live without £20 a week from universal credit are living in fear.

The Treasury is reported to be trying to undermine planned green investment in the UK. There will be countless, especially younger people, who will be profoundly fearful as a result.

And across the world people are fearful of populist philosophy that seeks to artificially divide people from each other by pretending that there is always an elite we can despise.

My point is simple. Fear is widespread. It is real. It is disabling. It is costly. It destroys well-being. It undermines society.

Politics should be about creating freedom from fear. That does not mean we simply manage fear. We should seek to eliminate the causes of fear. That is the real challenge. And that demands real political reform and not just better security for MPs, however important that might be.