by Stephen Kinnock
My friend and colleague Jo Cox was killed by the poison that has seeped into Britain’s politics in recent years. We owe it to her to defeat the forces of cynicism
There are those who say we must “take our country back”, who castigate those on one side of an argument as an “elite”, in the pay of an establishment, in it for themselves and detached from the real world. Those people have to realise that their aggressive words and dangerous rhetoric have consequences. If you try to light a fuse, you can’t be surprised when it catches.
I have never known anyone less in it for themselves than Jo. She cared about our place in the world because she cared about the lives of the real people that she had committed herself to serving. She believed in unity over division, a sentiment she conveyed so beautifully in her maiden speech just a year ago.
And she had been actively campaigning in recent weeks for our place in the world as an open, tolerant and generous nation. Just as she fought for our values as a nation when advocating for refugee children and those caught up in the Syrian conflict, so she fought for our values and place in Europe.
Jo was an internationalist to her fingertips, believing that we can do more good by working together with our friends and neighbours than we ever could on our own. She wanted Britain to continue to be an open, tolerant and generous country that engages with the world with our heads held high, instead of turning our backs on it. She wanted Britain to face the big challenges of the 21st century – from climate change and terrorism to the stresses and strains of globalisation – with our eyes and hearts open and with the strength in numbers that comes from being a part of a community of 500 million people.