Why Jo Cox’s death is an attack on democracy

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The killing of Jo Cox is heartbreaking – not just for her family, friends and constituents. But for democracy.

 

Democracy because to separate a murder of a serving politician in her constituency from the political climate of the moment is naive. This piece captures that well, I think: http://bit.ly/1S7PUnY

 

Democracy because being an MP is a pretty bloody thankless task. And Jo Cox was one driven by a yearning need to make the world better and alert others to plight of people suffering beyond these borders. These were principles she maintained even as the public mood shifted and her ideas were pushed increasingly to the fringes.

 

Let’s be clear. If we don’t have these sort of people in public life, who are driven by their principles rather than blown by the wind of public opinion, then what’s the point of politics at all?  Such acts will undoubtedly make future minds like hers more likely to sidestep a career in politics altogether, and take a job in an NGO, charity or the private sector.

 

Democracy because you don’t shoot and stab a sitting politician unless you’re trying to make some sort of political point, however tangled in your own ignorance or mental illness you are. And because acts like these only widen the gap between people and their politicians.

 

Finally, the most befuddling question is why and how this killer acquired a gun. The courts and due process will eventually shed light on that. In the meantime it is why I can’t sympathise with the view that this was an apolitical act by a self-hating, misguided or mentally-ill loner. You shouldn’t either.

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