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Jo Cox Was a Beacon of Hope Who Stood Against Hate - If Only We Could All Emulate Her

17/06/2016 08:40 | Updated 17 June 2016

When an elected politician, a 41-year-old woman, a wife, a mother, an activist, a truly beautiful person has her life brutally ended, then it is time to stop! Time to ask serious questions. Time to say enough is enough. The assassination of a politician is quite frankly an attack on democracy. It strikes at the very heart of a nation built on free speech, respect for others and a society that prides itself on strong values.

The death of Jo Cox has stopped me in my tracks. This evening I am finding it hard to function. I feel upset, angry, confused but most of all, astonished at the way our lives are falling apart.

Politics is failing. The high promise of the 1997 'things can only get better' Government dashed way by a faith excused, narcissistic leader who destabilised the world with an ill thought out aggressive invasion of Iraq. Followed by a command control bully with few leadership skills. Only to be replaced by a right-wing ideological Government upheld by a so-called social democratic party, and that to retain power 'sold its soul' to the small minded few who have a Trump-ton-esque view of building walls, spreading fear of others and creating a vacuum that allows hate to creep in.

I have written and spoken many times about the HAVES and the HAVE NOTS and an establishment that wants this embedded. The poison of the media that destroys free thinking, the pernicious internet which most of us occupy as if it is an echo chamber of our own views and lifestyle. Our shallow, apathetic disengagement with society and a loss of a sense of community to fall into Thatcher's dogma of the individual.

And then there is business and the banks. Oh how we 'mock the week' and are full of jollity watching Philip Green and Mike Ashley, one perma-tanned, one over eating and projecting their Dickensian leadership styles, treating MPs and all of us with contempt. When we watch a man called Sugar who delivering for entertainment, a bitter catchphrase 'you're fired,' then isn't it time to step back and ask what is so great about Britain.

The Guardian view tonight is simply that Jo's death is an attack on humanity, idealism and democracy. I agree and it is time to hold a mirror up and that mirror is Jo Cox.

Jo Cox was not just an MP. We already know she was driven to pursue great things. Last year in her maiden speech to Parliament she said:

"Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it of Irish Catholics...or of Muslims from Gujarat in India or from Pakistan, principally from Kashmir. While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us."

Wow, what a heroine of multiculturalism. A woman who stood up for refugees, the brutalised and displaced people of Syria. But most importantly she stood against hate. So yes, we still can use the word great today. But not for our much maligned country, but for Jo - a beacon of hope. If we all could emulate Jo, challenge hate and become citizens of a civil and just society, then maybe just maybe that greatness will return.

The referendum has been pure poison - politics, business, the establishment are failing and dragging down our democracy. We need to stop that slide now and discover our humanity. Tonight, my thoughts are with Jo's family and the loss of a beautiful human being, but none of my words can match that of her husband Brendan and we should all read them and reflect.

"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."

Nick Taylor is Chief Executive of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, a Non Governmental Organisation that works to build peace, resolve conflict and to challenge hate. The organisation, in September, is to start work in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, the area in which Jo Cox's constituency is based