Friday, 17 June 2016

This Did Not Need To Happen

This is a post no blogger or political commentator should ever have to make, and I'd like to confess, I'd heard scant little of Jo Cox before yesterday, save a few bits and pieces on her stance on Syria, refugee children, and the fact that she lived on a boat - all of which I agreed with. Especially the living on the boat - I wish I had the guts to give up bricks and mortar.

I have been known to boast to my friends and family abroad, about how our MPs walk about amongst the general public, take the train or bus, or ride bicycles to and from work, take selfies with anyone who'd walk up to them, and move about without motorcades, flashing lights, and an army of armed commandos.

Yesterday broke my heart. I watched the horror, the senseless attack on Jo Cox unfold on my TV, leading to her death. A young, vibrant, dedicated MP, who sought nothing but to help make the world a better place, using nothing but her beliefs, her conviction and her wide open heart. That she belonged to the opposite side of the political divide didn't and doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, we both wanted the same things in the end, differing only in the means of how we get there.

This isn't an obituary - I could never find the right words to make one anyway, after all, death, especially an untimely and completely senseless death render even the most verbose of people speechless. Nor will I seek to apportion blame, like the childish elements of Remain, Leave, Stronger IN, or extreme Left journos, are wont to.

But then, there is something fundamental here that needs to be said: People often deride and laugh off the seemingly abstract term, 'British Values'. In the decision by the Conservative Party NOT to contest her seat and passing the by-election by isn't subverting democracy, as some commentators may feel strongly about; it is respecting it. In a democracy, it is the electorate that decides, and the electorate DID, just over a year ago. Our reactions to a senseless act of violence cannot, should not, and must not overlook that. Nothing speaks louder for British Values (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs, and those without any religious affiliation)  like the aftermath of this tragedy does.

This is what separates us from the rest of the world. This is what makes us, us. THIS is what is worth fighting for. This is why I am a Briton. This is why I hate the castrating effects of homogeneity, homogenization, communism and conformity. Top-down politics as opposed to bottom-up politics. If ANYONE can understand that, it'll be a Tory, not a commie.

The fact remains; the people of Batley & Spen elected a Labour MP. The only reason they no longer have a Labour MP now is because she was savagely murdered. That the Conservative Party will NOT be contesting the seat in the by-election that now has to follow is a small sliver of goodness I can find a little bit of comfort in, and trust me - there IS very little comfort in any of this. I'll take whatever straws I can clutch. I just hope Labour will select someone who believes as she did, represents what she represented and shows the same amount of engagement and commitment to her electorate as she showed. I hope that other parties will follow suit.

Just about 26 years ago, the Conservative MP for Eastbourne, Ian Gow was murdered by the IRA. In the subsequent by-election that followed, the seat changed hands, in favour of Liberal Democrat, David Bellotti. "Bellotti," as Ann Widdicombe observed at the time, "is the innocent beneficiary of murder. I suspect, last night as the Liberal Democrats were toasting their success, in its hideouts the IRA were doing the same thing".

I don't want to be a part of that. I'm glad that neither does the Conservative Party. I'm sure Ms Widdecombe would agree, and anyone else who knows British Values like I know them.

Let's not forget, if it's not by the people, of the people, and for the people, it's not democracy, and to coin a phrase lost amid the current football hysteria - not quite cricket.

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