Friday, 17 June 2016

Media Spotlight - The Assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox

The moving statement by Brendan Cox in the light of his wife's recent death was heart-wrenching in nature and among the most difficult to listen to. It is unimaginable how difficult it must have been to write.

Politicians, journalists and commentators in Britain and across the world have contributed pieces of writing as the public and law enforcement try to piece together what happened, and why. These pieces are furious, emotional, poignant, and reflective; wide-ranging in tone and purpose, but together help us shape an understanding of the incomprehensibly horrific, or at least try to.


Gordon Brown, the Guardian: Jo Cox's legacy should be to end the downward spiral in our politics
It took her a large part of her 20s, she said, to recover from Cambridge, but that experience tested her, and then strengthened her, and made her the amazing person we came to know. She was nevver to be afraid again, and her ambition was not to join the establishment but to change it - and to change it for people far less fortunate than herself.

Alex Massie, Spectator: A day of infamy [original, unedited]
Sometimes rhetoric has consequences. If you spend days, weeks, months, years telling people they are under threat, that their country has been stolen from them, that they have been betrayed and sold down the river, that their birthright has been pilfered, that their problem is they're too slow to realise any of this is happening, that their problem is they're not sufficiently mad as hell, then at some point, in some place, something or someone is going to snap. And then something terrible is going to happen.

James O'Brien, LBC: We want our country back from whom?
Convince me if you can, that political debate in Britain in the last couple of years has not created an environment in which we find it easy to believe... or possible to believe that this sort of violence, that this sort of terrorism could unfold on our streets

Jonathon Freedland, the Guardian: If you inject enough poison into the political bloodstream, somebody will get sick
What we do know is that this campaign has torn away at a fabric that took years to weave, one that ensured we could argue with each other without challenging the basic legitimacy of our opponents, one that had grown to accept diversity as a strength rather than a threat to be feared, one that allowed us to keep calm and civil even when we disagreed passionately. 

Polly Toynbee, the Guardian: The mood is ugly, and an MP is dead
This attack on a public official cannot be viewed in isolation. It occurs against a backdrop of ugly public mood in which we have been told to despise the political class, to distrust those who serve, to dehumanise those with whom we do not readily identify.

Michael Deacon, the Telegraph: Jo Cox was brave. So are most MPs. Let's show them more respect
To be an MP is brave. No matter how hard you work, no matter how much you try to help, you're going to be distrusted. You're going to be abused. You're going to be hated. Not by people who know you, but by people who don't.

Adam Bienkov,, Jo Cox's killer is responsible for their actions. Others are responsible for theirs
We all have choices in life. Jo Cox chose to live her life standing up for vulnerable people fleeing from dangerous parts of the world, both as a charity worker and then as an MP. She was responsible for that choice. She will be remembered for that choice. Others took different choices. Ukip leader Nigel Farage chose to spend his life exploiting fears about vulnerable people fleeing from dangerous parts of the world.

Emran Miann, Facebook post: I wrote this raw and unloved thing about the killing of Jo Cox
I thought of it on Thursday morning when I saw Nigel Farage standing in front of that Breaking Point poster. I'll be honest: for a brief moment I imagined someone being violent towards him. Then I shuddered and reflected: what's happening to us, or more specifically what's happening to me. Later in the day a politician was shot - and killed.

Rupert Myers, self-published: Unity
One lesson of Charlie Hebdo was that the pen is mightier than the assault rifle. Violence cannot kill free speech. One lesson of Jo Cox's death must be to try to understand the circularity of the relationship between the exercise of our free speech and violence. "Britain first" is no less significant than exclamations of religious conviction: dangerous rhetoric and poisonous ideology legitimise and encourage violence.  

I have pasted Brendan Cox's moving statement below in full:
Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo's friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo. Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people. 
She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn't have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous. Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.

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