Jo Cox, Labour MP, was Murdered in her constituency just days ago. It was a needless and senseless death that will achieve nothing other than great sadness and heartache for her closest friends and family and indeed for those that worked closely to her.
Those of us that are bystanders may well be shocked by the senseless and barbaric nature of the killing and it’s understandable that the official campaigns for the EU referendum take a break and time to reflect.
For the vast majority of people though life goes on and come Friday of next week the headlines will have moved on to the result of the EU referendum.
The reaction from many online has been of course one of condemnation but also one of sadness and anger. Facebook groups have either curtailed certain conversations around the murder or put a hold on group posting, full stop, until at least Monday. Some people are being attacked by others in online discussions for daring to suggest one thing or another in relation to the killing but generally there is an Internet version of an outpouring of grief and reflection. Facebook crying emojis (emoticons) litter Jo Cox articles and there is even a call to cancel the EU referendum. Much of the blame has not only been levelled at far right groups such as Britain First but also at the likes of Nigel Farage and his politicial party, UKIP.
I suggest we need to stop the crocodile tears and refocus on the real issues both from a political and a societal perspective. Too early? No. You’ve been told it’s too early. You now think it’s unacceptable to discuss this kind of thing even before Monday has arrived. Who told you that and why?
Margaret Thatcher. Sorry to blindside you with that name but let’s focus on her just for one moment. Observe the image below…
Do you recall that when, and ever since, Thatchers death, many on the left celebrated her death as if the government had announced a six week paid holiday for everyone. There were even Street parties celebrating her demise. Memes were abound across the Internet. It’s almost certain that each and every left wing friend you know has either posted, commented approval, ‘liked’ or shared with a wry smile an image or meme or article celebrating or mocking her death.
We are no fan of Thatcher, heck we even probably shared those memes, but here is a politician, no, a 3 term Prime Minister who love her or hate her left a historic legacy that few others will. Yes we will hate her for what she did to the miners and the legacy she left for social housing and of course the poll tax, others will love her for her dedication, her ability to stand up for the nation and her no nonsense politics. You don’t get 3 terms in Power by being rubbish. (Although that depends on what side of the political divide you’re on of course).
Yet here we stand today with the media telling us that abuse towards politicians has reached an unacceptable level, who can recall Lucy Allen, MP, hounded by many for lying about a constituent in public. The many Tory MP’s hounded for voting in favour of Tax credit cuts and of course lets not forget Piggate. You don’t need me to explain that one. The call from many quarters in the light of the Murder of Jo Cox is that politicians have lost the respect of the people and that the public needs to find that respect again. The calls will only grow for that to happen. Just watch what happens the next time someone slightly aggressively confronts an MP. They will be treated as an enemy combatant, thrown in prison without trial and left to rot…oh hang on.. that already happens with suspected terrorists. Guantanamo was never shut down. Sure that’s not British politics, or is it? Have we played no part? There have even been reports of high security detention camps in Diego Garcia a British owned American military base. Anyway, I digress.
Could it in fact be argued that far from just the right wing groups and politicians like Nigel Farage being in part to blame for the Killing of Joe Cox that maybe ‘we’ are collectively responsible for creating an atmosphere conducive to murder? Do we have blood on our hands too? Why not? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Why are ‘you’ or ‘we’ any less culpable?
Truth is no one can be blamed except for the man who delivered the fatal shots that day but we have no right to mourn nor cry over it. Not when our record of abuse to even the recently deceased like Thatcher was so vitriolic and nasty. Most people probably had not even heard of Jo Cox before that fateful day yet we react like she was our closest ally and friend. What are we telling ourselves? That it’s ok to abuse the dead politician Thatcher because we didn’t like her politics and decisions but in the next breath claim it’s wrong to even discuss the murder of Joe Cox and we must express and show our grief? You smile when ‘the witch’ is ridiculed on her grave but you cry at this death and pour scourn on those still debating the facts as if you must have silence whilst you mourn from behind a computer screen.
I recall many on the left who never gave so much as a hoot that Princess Diana died. The anti establishment would rather speak about who ‘really’ killed her. We never shead one solitary tear and many exclaimed how annoying it was that every channel was talking about Princess Diana. It was ok then, but it’s not ok now?
Many on the left and certainly the anti establishment must go on challenging MP’s. The politicians must be brought to book. This is not a time to start considering if we should engage in the political process more out of some sense of guilt and remorse. It’s certainly not the time to believe that cancelling the EU referendum ‘might be the right thing to do’. One petition calling for this in the wake of the Jo Cox murder suddenly took off in the last 24 hours and has reached over 30,000 already. Have a read below what the petition reads like… a referendum was promised and that means the public gets to decide, not the politicians, otherwise far from being democratic as the petition suggests it would actually be highly undemocratic. If they want to respect the memory of Jo Cox, I suggest people stop trying to change the democratic process to their own ends.
Some may ask if Fifth Opinion were in favour of remain, would we be saying the same thing then? Absolutely. If you’re really on the left you will respect the Democratic process. Not that it means you stop fighting for your cause afterwards of course.
We have seen many people state things such as the EU referendum ‘is not worth the hate’ or ‘they should cancel it now’ in several pro remain groups. Imagine for a moment this wasn’t an EU vote and instead a general election, would we be calling to cancel a general election because of this.. it would have to continue regardless, it’s the democratic process. So is this vote and as many have claimed, this EU referendum is in many ways more important than a general election.
As if all of that wasn’t reason enough to drop the crocodile tears, on Friday a 17 year old girl was attacked and dragged off only to be stabbed and raped. She is in a serious but stable condition, yet no headlines. No fanfare. Yet again we ask why do some stories make the press more than others? But we know why. It’s sensational. An MP gets killed and the world talks about it because they have the authority and the power yet we know that 17 year old girls getting stabbed and raped.. is not so rare. There is no headline there. No sales.
How many refugees died today? How many refugees did Turkey detain or send back to Greece? How many refugees are sleeping rough or child refugees being abducted and sexualy abused tonight in the towns of Italy? How many people has the EU failed to save in the seas around Greece? How many more children will die tomorrow because of EU policy? How many tears were shead for those refugees today? How many more bombs will drop on Syria today from Western forces voted for by our politicians? How many more people will die because the West are arming and supplying moderate (terrorists) forces.. still.. in Syria? We know that Jo Cox abstained from voting on wether the UK should join the bombing campaign in Syria, perhaps conflicted between her support for refugees and an uneasyness to vote against the action in Syria. Either way under normal circumstances she would have been at least questioned on why she didn’t vote against the bombing.
But here we are, deciding that maybe we should lay off the politicians and let them do their jobs and not hound them so much. No. We should continue to do it. MP’s may be people like you and I, but so often they go against democracy, they ignore the will of the people, they lie, they cheat, they deceive and take advantage of their position. The expenses scandals, the questions around child abuse, multiple pay rises whilst the public sectors are frozen out. Illegal wars, planned austerity and so on and so on. Never let them rest. They hold great power and as such much be held to a high standard and they must remain answerable to the people. This is not the time to let them off the hook.
Jo Cox lost her life needlessly and by all accounts she was well liked and a wonderful person to those closest to her and her loss will be felt by her family immensely. The calls by her husband for peace and unity must be heard and upheld and no politician in peaceful times should ever be considered a target for murder.
Let us not though, as citizens who did not know her at all, be bullied and sidelined into thinking that somehow this should negate the need to push the politicians to uphold democracy and the will of the people and we certainly should not let Jo’s death be the catalyst to throw democracy to the wind by cancelling the EU referendum.
On a final note, we were ourselves questioning the #thankyourmp that began to circulate.. Whilst recognising that it was with good intentions there was just no way we could take part and this screen capture from elsewhere on the Web pretty much sums up our feeling on it. Stay safe.
(WARNING: Screenshot contains explicit language)