Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message: '2016 Could Be A Wake-Up Call That Brings Us Back Together'

23/12/2016 00:01 GMT | Updated 25/12/2016 15:41 GMT
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Below is the full text of Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message delivered by Brendan Cox, the widowed husband of MP Jo Cox. It will be broadcast on Christmas Day at 2.05pm.

Jo loved Christmas, the games, the traditions, the coming together of friends and family and above all the excitement of our kids.

This year we'll try to remember how lucky we were to have Jo in our lives for so long - and not how unlucky we were to have her taken from us.

2016 has been an awful year for our family, and it's been a divisive one for the wider world.

A year in which fascism, xenophobia, extremism and terrorism made us divided and felt threatened, from America, to Europe, to the Middle East and beyond.

And these trends could strengthen - they could gain momentum they could consolidate and they could threaten the fundamental freedoms, and democracy that our grandparents fought for.

But that isn't how it has to be.

Just as it has become apparent that tolerance and tolerant societies are only as strong as their defenders - there is nothing inevitable about the rise of hatred.

Instead of being a turning point for the worse, 2016 could be a wake-up call that brings us back together.

A wake-up call for all those of us who thought that the values that feel so much part of our society; of tolerance, of fair play - were in some way sacrosanct and didn't need defending.

A wake up call that this isn't someone else's problem.

And a wake-up call, that we all have our part to play.

In a speech a few weeks before she was killed, my wife quoted Edmund Burke who said that, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing."

That has never been more true that at this Christmas.

This Christmas our family will be remembering Jo in every moment, her energy, her enthusiasm, her love and her example. After all that's happened this year, she would hope that all of us make a resolution to do something in 2017 to bring our communities back together. To reach out to somebody that might disagree with us. Now is not a moment to shout louder into our echo chambers. It's a moment to reach out.

If 2016 was a wakeup call, I hope 2017 might be the year in which we realise that we've got more in common than that which divides us.

Thank you for listening and happy Christmas.