Just a few words on Jo Cox’s murder – others more eloquent than me have already said more. I didn’t know her, but she was clearly a quite outstanding woman, who defended refugees despite the unpopularity of the cause and repeated personal threats, and what has happened is utterly terrible.
Three additional comments.
First, we need to remember that it is both a political tragedy and a personal one. As Jeremy Corbyn commented, we in the Labour Party have lost a friend and colleague who worked with us for justice and fairness, but her children have lost a mother and the joy of growing up in a really happy environment. We need to celebrate all that she did to make politics a better place, while respecting the quiet, private grief. Politics is not all of life.
Second, it goes without saying that nobody is responsible for the murder except the murderer (and any accomplices) – we should avoid trying to draw parallels to anyone on the right, in the same way as we ask people not to blame other Muslims for the lunatic in Orlando. It is, however, fair to say that a political climate where terms like “scum” and “traitor” are bandied about create an atmosphere where someone who is unbalanced may feel it’s easier to justify violence. We should accept that the overwhelming majority of people mean well, however much we may disagree with them.
And finally I’m glad that one lesson that has been mentioned is that MPs and other politicians do in general make a real effort to represent their constituents, and we are all aware that there is an element of personal risk in it. Next time you hear someone saying that “all politicians are just out for themselves”, please speak up to disagree.
I do not think you should decide your vote on Thursday in reaction to the murder. Please consider the pros and cons carefully, include the spirit of European friendship and solidarity that Jo championed as one element of your decision, then do whatever you think is best for our society. I shall, as you know, be voting Remain. I respect anyone who reaches a different conclusion but please decide carefully, for all our sakes and for the next generation.
Best wishes, Nick