Dean: Abuse of election candidates unacceptable

THE Dean of Guernsey has called for ‘completely unacceptable’ abuse of election candidates on social media to stop.

The Dean of Guernsey, The Very Reverend Tim Barker. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28608221)
The Dean of Guernsey, The Very Reverend Tim Barker. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28608221)

The Very Rev. Tim Barker took to Twitter to raise his concerns as more and more candidates declare they will be running in the island’s general election next month.

‘It’s started already: abusive personal comments (on another social media channel) directed at candidates @GSYElection2020. Unnecessary and deeply disappointing,’ he said.

Thanking one candidate for standing who responded to him, the Dean of Guernsey also said: ‘The most serious abuse I have seen so far is directed at a woman. This seems to be mirroring the experience in the UK. It is completely unacceptable, but difficult to know how to prevent or stop it.’

His call was also supported by a range of candidates and current deputies.

Deputy Emilie McSwiggan, who is not standing in October’s election, said: ‘No matter how often this happens, it is unacceptable every time. Don’t be a bystander if you see a personal attack – please counter it if you can, and make sure it’s documented and reported if you don’t feel able to do so.’

Deputy Chris Green, who is also stepping down, said: ‘The election should be a platform for debating ideas and policies constructively. Personal abuse is absolutely NOT what we should tolerate in this island.’

He added: ‘Public discourse & debate both online & off has become much more coarse in the 8 years that I’ve been in politics. Some of it obviously goes well beyond robust policy discussion. The community needs to do all it can to call it out & expect better standards of all in public life.’

n The number of people who have registered to vote has passed the 30,300 mark. The deadline to join the electoral roll closed last night.

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