Tag Archives: jo cox

Jo Cox Square Opening in Brussels

September 27th 2018, the sun is out and it’s warm once again after days of cold and rain in central Brussels. Rainbows splatter walls, murals, and road crossings along Ancienne Belgique, the large Concert hall that sits upon Brussell’s LGBTQ District. A large crowd gathered to remember and praise Jo Cox on this vibrant Belgian square which the City of Brussels is naming after the late British MP for Batley on Spen.

Jo Cox lived and breathed the streets of Brussels for six years, first as political assistant to Glenys Kinnock MEP and later as a lobbyist for Oxfam. Cox later went on to defend the European Project during the long political battle that was the 2016 EU Referendum. Two years ago, Cox sailed along the Thames with her family proudly flying an “IN” flag up against the pro-Brexit Flotilla. This was one of the more jovial and surreal moments of the referendum campaign. The next day Jo was assassinated by a Neo-Nazi terrorist, set on sowing hate.

Do you remember where you were when you found out Jo Cox had been murdered? I was at the University of York, where I was due to be in the audience on BBC Question Time. “The show is cancelled I’m afraid,” said the producer, “An MP has been shot”.

The political toxicity that led to Jo Cox’s assassination had not been seen in the United Kingdom since the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. ‘A lot of people hoped that the violent assassination… on the streets where she grew up would have a profound impact on the political discourse. however two years on I’m sadly not at all sure this is the case’ said Kim Leadbeater, sister of Jo Cox in front of the large crowd. The vindicated far-right have been emboldened by the Conservatives and Labour’s growing acceptance of their worldview. Jo Cox, conversely, ensured the political establishment called out extremist violence during her time as MP.

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More in common – my visit to my local mosque

Campaigning for the General Election has been suspended twice in recent days, and rightly so. Last Sunday, we paused in memory of Jo Cox, her lifelong work to show that we have more in common and her tragic death, whilst in recent days we ceased campaigning in the wake of Monday’s atrocious terrorist attack on Manchester by those who wish to use death and destruction to drive us apart.

Last Saturday I visited the North West Kent Muslim Association for their public open day, and now feels like a good time to write about that visit. Like many people, I learned something about Islam while at school, but had never been inside a mosque before, and to be honest, I would have struggled to tell people where my local mosque was.

Dartford’s mosque is on Crayford high street, in a converted church building. For the open day, they had set up an exhibition in their community room, focusing on the fundamentals of Islam, the relationship between Islam and Europe (including the many things that we have gained from Islamic cultures, such as coffee drinking) and on Islam and Science.

As both a Liberal and a Christian however, the most interesting parts of the day for me were the discussions with local Muslims. I was surprised to see the mosque had separate entrances for ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ (though we were all welcomed through the same gate this time). However, women at the mosque assured us that this was not a sign of inferiority or subjugation for either sex and that they felt that Islamic law and practice was there to guard their equality rather than undermine it.

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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.

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MP security – we must keep access for the public

I never met Jo Cox. All I have heard about her tragic and pointless death is that she was the right sort of MP that entered Parliament with pure motives and who is a sad loss. She cared about the people in her constituency, regardless of their background. She worked for OXFAM, and knew that life in Britain is much easier than in other parts of the world – and she believed that it is our duty to help those in need, not least those children who have fled war in Syria and are now alone. …

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Kath Pinnock’s tribute to Jo Cox

Kath Pinnock was supposed to be campaigning for Remain with Jo Cox on the afternoon she died. This is the tribute she gave this afternoon in the House of Lords.

My Lords, Jo Cox was my MP. She was savagely attacked and murdered on a street just yards from the market place where we were due to meet that very afternoon to campaign together on an issue about which we both cared passionately: being part of an open, co-operative EU.

That was not to be.

Jo had strongly held, principled, views. She was willing to work with all those who would help to

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Let’s create a positive legacy for Jo Cox

 

The tragic death of Jo Cox is a potent symbol of what Britain in 2016 has become.

A society in which blame of the other, hatred of those with differing  opinions and distrust of MPs have all sadly become de rigueur.

Yet she is also a beacon of what one human being can do to change the course of politics and something good has to come from her tragic death.

She entered the House of Commons just a year ago  and campaigned fervently to change government policy on refugees. George Osborne said tonight that Jo would never know how many lives she has changed. What a fitting tribute.

Any aspiring MP should watch her fabulous maiden speech and wonder if they could do the same. I have been considering the idea and she has made me want to try.

Posted in Op-eds | 26 Comments

Jonny Oates on rejecting the easy option of cynicism and taking the harder route of making the world a better place

Late on Thursday night, Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates put his very powerful reaction to Jo Cox’s murder on his Facebook page. With his permission, it’s reproduced here.

Enough, now, with the angry people. Enough with the raging and the cries of betrayal. Enough with the cynicism. Enough with the shout that every politician is dodgy, or on the take or untruthful. Enough with those who fuel the cynicism in their puerile, childish headlines or their languid, over-sophisticated commentaries. Enough with those who would never step up to the plate, do the work or accept the accountability. Enough with those who twist the slightest openness in the words of politicians and then complain when their words become closed and their language obtuse. Enough with those who have never done anything for anyone but are happy to question the motives of any person who attempts to do so. Enough of those people who listen only to their own opinion and then castigate MPs for being out of touch – MPs who week in and week out are in their towns and villages, on the doorsteps, in their surgeries, listening to others, soaking up pain and grief and suffering and often abuse. Enough of the people who fuel the rage, enough of those who can take the image of suffering and desperate people, robbed of dignity and hope and of the lives of those they love and use it for their political advantage. Enough of all the rage and division and hatred.

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RIP Jo Cox MP

I never met Jo Cox, but I was very much aware of her warmth, energy, talent and total commitment to standing up for the most vulnerable people in our world. She made a massive impact in the political world and was admired across parties.

I’m sitting here in shock, as many of you reading this will be, at the brutal and violent way in which her life was taken as she was going about her work. We had all taken for granted that she would be making the headlines for decades to come.

Every week, MPs get out there into their communities, helping their constituents with problems, helping them to break down barriers, often battling to get unwilling agencies of the state to accept that they have made mistakes and to sort things out. It’s an essential part of our democracy. They do it because they are decent people with a massive commitment to public service.

On behalf of LDV, I want to express our love and sympathy to Jo’s family and friends first of all, to our friends in the Labour Party who will be grieving and to everyone across politics and the third sector who knew and admired her.

Many tributes are being paid to her. In this post, I’ll include those from Tim Farron and Paddy Ashdown. Tim said:

I am utterly heartbroken at the news of the death of Jo Cox.  This is a devastating attack on our peaceful society. An attack on an elected representative is an attack on everyone.

She was outstanding representative who stood up for her community diligently.  She also stood up for the desperate and those in need – I am proud of the stance she took raising the plight of refugees.

Her compassion for the voiceless and dispossessed absolutely shone through to me. She was a star of the 2015 intake and was inspiring to listen to.

A young family has lost a mum and a wife, a community has lost a great MP and Parliament has lost an authentic and passionate voice.

It seems the vile politics of hate has gone from the darkened corners of the internet to violence on our streets. Our country is poorer for this mindless slaughter.

My thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and with all her colleagues in the Labour movement and throughout her community. We stand with you.

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