Sunak's call for kindness and understanding may come as a relief to many

Credit: PA

The prime minister very explicitly said he chose today to make his rallying call for British kindness, tolerance and decency - and was calling out Islamist extremists and far right groups - in part because of George Galloway’s victory in Rochdale.

But there are risks in doing that.

Sunak is implying, for example, that the 12,335 people who voted for Galloway are in some way a threat to democracy, rather than citizens exercising their democratic right to protest against the government's and Labour’s position on Israel’s military action in Gaza.

Sunak may find Galloway’s views offensive.

He may believe Galloway himself is no lover of the pluralism and liberal values feted by Sunak.

But the point about democracy is it periodically throws up uncomfortable results.

The point of democracy is to try and understand why voters would choose a candidate characterised by many as holding extreme views, not to dismiss, ignore or denigrate those voters.

That said in a world becoming much more polarised, especially around issues of identity, many will be relieved that even in an election year the PM and Tory leader is urging mutual understanding and generosity of spirit, and is eschewing the populist tactic of whipping up division and hate for narrow political advantage.

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