The veteran Conservative’s killing is a human tragedy and a chilling assault on British democracy

One of the most common accusations to be levelled at MPs is that they are “out of touch”. It is sometimes true, but not as often as people may think. The charge is frequently a device to portray ideological difference as cultural alienation. We disagree with a politician’s opinions, and want that to indicate some moral detachment from the ordinary people they are elected to represent.

In reality, most MPs are more closely connected, more palpably in touch with the electorate than their many critics appreciate. David Amess was making contact with his constituents – physically present, personally attentive, intimately available – when he was killed in his Essex constituency on Friday afternoon.

Rafael Behr is a Guardian columnist

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