THE BLOG

Jo Cox's Murder Is a Call to Action for Us All

17/06/2016 08:39 | Updated 17 June 2016

The murder of Jo Cox is horrific, saddening and shocking. But above all else, I find it infuriating.

For an MP to be killed whilst she was doing her job - and very well, by all accounts - is not only an insult to basic human decency, but also to our democracy. Harm to any individual during their attempts to make the world we live in a better place is disgraceful, but this one hits closer to home.

Over recent months, many have deserved our compassion - those at the Bataclan, Brussels Airport, Pulse and of course not forgetting the countless deaths in the non-Western world that sadly do not receive the same amount of coverage. But Thursday's attack was in the UK.

More personally, it was 20 miles from the village I grew up in. Jo died in the same hospital I was born. Moreover, she and I both work in politics (albeit in different roles) and, I suspect, were motivated to be in politics for the same reasons. I can't help but be alarmed by our similarities.

Much will be made over the coming days of the attack, with tributes already starting to pour in. But amid our grief, we must not forget to look at the overall picture. What caused the slaughter of a good-natured woman trying to represent local people? And what do we do about that next?

If reports are true and the attacker did should 'Britain first!' whilst carrying it out, it is clear that we have a terrorist problem on our hands. We must not shy from calling it that - no matter which political quarter it comes from, we must label it for what it is. The worst part is, is that if this is the case, we don't have to look very far to find the why.

The damaging, bigoted, horrendous perspectives that have been flung about recently, particularly in the run-up to the EU referendum, have caused a feeling of discontent within the UK.

The attack is also a symptom of the aggressive politics we have basically come to accept in the 21st Century. Many elected representatives receive abuse, often daily. Campaigners, advocates, even Twitter users are frequently subject to both verbal and physical abuse. This has become normalised - and it shouldn't have. We are all to blame for that. We must address this.

We need to start calling out people when they are aggressive. We need to start teaching people that the individuals they are abusing are people just like them. And mostly, we need to make this 'new politics' we're so frequently discussing one of love and compassion, not hate and fear.

I don't expect things to change immediately. I don't expect politics to stop being argumentative in nature. I don't expect people to stop speaking their mind. But we need to start drawing a line for how far is too far.

We need to do this before the reality of Jo Cox's death becomes the reality for any more.