June 17, 2016 : Craig Wilson

A pitiful and senseless crime

With the murder of Jo Cox we have lost a bright and talented public servant.

You and I will be sharing the same thought this morning: that the murder of Jo Cox MP was as pitiful and senseless an act as any of us are capable of imagining.

Because of the actions of one deranged individual, Jo Cox’s husband lost his young wife and her two children had their mother taken from them. The country as a whole lost a bright and talented public servant.

Jo Cox was first elected in 2015, having previously worked as Head of Policy for Oxfam and also with the anti-slavery charity, the Freedom Fund. She was an active campaigner for human rights, helped ensure Jeremy Corbyn was nominated as a candidate for Labour leadership, co-authored a bi-partisan paper on military intervention in Syria and was a champion for Britain’s continued membership of the EU.

Her life was short, but as a charity worker, a mother, a wife, a public servant, a thinker and a politician, it was a full and fruitful one. That her integrity, passion, dedication, love and energy should be extinguished in this barbaric way is a complete tragedy – particularly for her family and friends. It is a sad fact that she will be remembered not primarily for her great qualities and what she achieved, but as the victim of a brutal crime.

As reports surrounding the seemingly politically and ethnically motivated nature of the attack are unsubstantiated, I will not credit them with repetition. However, regardless of the specific views of the murderer, the growing sense of radicalism and intolerance, at home and abroad, is palpable.

we all have a duty to fight against the use of violence and intimidation to win an argument

Jo Cox was killed performing her civic duty; holding a surgery in the community she was raised, attempting to offer help to those who needed it. Politicians know they are loathed by some people and tend to develop a thick skin. They also continue to put themselves into public arenas where they accept the likelihood that they will have to listen to people who want to ‘give them a piece of their mind’. They understand that politics, by its very nature, is divisive and most politicians welcome the chance to argue their case. What cannot be tolerated is when someone brings a handgun to a battle of wits.

I certainly don’t have a glowing and nostalgic view of the past. Indeed, I believe that we are living through one of the most peaceful and enlightened moments in human history – something which the facts bear out, even if the opposite sometimes seems to be the case. Having said that, it does appear that the forces of reaction and small mindedness are gaining momentum, and this attack is but one bloody embodiment of that.

In the last week we have witnessed yet another mass shooting in America, this time targeting the LGBT community. Donald Trump continues to gain ground in the race to become leader of the ‘free world’ and the language and tactics in some quarters of the EU referendum continue to descend towards new lows.

Like Jo Cox clearly did, I believe we all have a duty to fight against extremism, barbarism, oppression, racism, bigotry and the use of violence and intimidation to win an argument.

Whilst I wish she were still here to articulate the message I am attempting to, perhaps her death will cause others to think and act as she did.

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by Craig Wilson