Jo Cox tribute: Election campaigning to be halted for an hour in her memory

Batley and Spen is a gathering of typically independent, no-nonsense and proud Yorkshire towns and villages. Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it of Irish Catholics across the constituency 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 than that which divides us.

Those were the words of Jo Cox in her maiden speech to the House of Commons

Looking at that just now, I’ve just realised that her maiden speech took place just after the House had paid tribute to one of its former members, our Charles Kennedy, who had died two days before. What extraordinary talents those two people were.

Election campaigns are about the debate of different ideas. At their best they should be inspiring and uplifting and full of vision. But political activists of all parties have a lot in common – the dedication, the determination and the exhaustion for a start.

Tomorrow, though, there will be a pause in campaigning in Jo’s memory, a chance to reflect on the things that unite us rather than divide us. From the Guardian:

Party leaders will halt political activity and instead visit community projects. The parties have asked all their candidates to do the same.

Jeremy Corbyn is due to visit a project in Liverpool, while Tim Farron will take part in a picnic in Kendal. The one-hour pause will be at a time of each candidate’s choosing.

In Jo Cox’s former constituency of Batley and Spen, the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green candidates will attend a farmers’ event to raise money for a baby care unit. Before she became an MP, Cox worked in the charity and aid sectors.

Her widower, Brendan Cox, said that the break would send a positive signal. “Doing so in such a coordinated way will, we hope, send a powerful message that, whatever our political disagreements, we really do hold more in common and show a united front against hatred and extremism. in all its forms.”

In Edinburgh, Labour have invited candidates from all parties across the city to an event to remember Jo at noon.

At such a huge moment in our history, when we are about to embark on a pretty dangerous journey, I guess what we need to consider is how we build a compassionate, caring, open, generous-spirited culture. In the face of an increasingly polarise political landscape, how do we bring people together and build a consensus around values of collaboration and togetherness?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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3 Comments

  • Christopher Haigh 21st May '17 - 1:25pm

    How come Bernard Kenny never got any honour for his bravery trying to protect Jo ?Also Colin Frith an instructor from the Dance Studio across the road from the Birstall library was first on the scene to administer first aid to Bernard. How come these acts of public spirit go acknowledged ?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st May '17 - 1:29pm

    Politicians need to be more like that special woman, and politics more like the hour to remember her with !

    We shall honour her memory by creating a more unifying and moderate approach , in these divisive and stressful times.

  • It might perhaps have been appropriate to have also included a mention of Ian Gow, Anthony Berry, Robert Bradford and Airey Neave who were also murdered by people who opposed what they stood for in politics.

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