In lieu of a ‘Bae of the week’ piece this week, we have instead decided to write a tribute to Jo Cox, the Labour MP who was brutally murdered on Thursday. We aim to shed light on her views and the good work she did, bringing her to life as a strong woman as opposed to a victim.
I would be truly surprised if you hadn’t heard the terrible news about Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was shot, stabbed, and eventually died of her wounds on Thursday 16th June. Forget, if you will, the man who killed her: he is at the most a calculated terrorist who purports to act on behalf of Britain First and, at the least, a vile man who deserves more than he will get. Forget, also, the gruesome circumstances of her death – they have been covered in enough detail in the news. Let us instead focus on the beautiful, talented, dedicated woman whose life was cut cruelly short.
She was a mother, a wife, a daughter, and almost certainly a good friend. But happily, she is now being remembered for the work she did, and was doing, in her community.
Jo used to be an aid worker, and worked for the NSPCC, Save the Children, and Oxfam before becoming an MP in 2015. Though she was a new MP, having only been elected in the last election, she was already making an impact on her constituency. Looking back before her tragic death, it is easy to see how she was a woman, as her husband describes her, who “fought every day for a better world”.
A piece in the Huffington Post surveying newly elected MPs outlines her views on life, policy and other parties. She was genuinely interested in foreign politics, including the situation in Syria and the migrant crisis. She condemned the Syrian civil war as “the worst humanitarian tragedy of our generation and one that our government, and the world, is failing to deal with adequately,” and praised news that her council would be welcoming 100 refugees over the next two years. She was proud of the diversity of her community, and sang the praises of those immigrants whose cultures had enriched the constituency.
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 with each other than things that divide us.”
She believed in inclusion and cohesion. She wanted more cooperation between different UK parties, greatly admired her opposition MPs, and believed that “a more consensus style of politics looking at problems and getting the best brains involved in them to find solutions” was sorely needed to fix Britain’s problems.
She wanted better for children. She spoke up for several campaigns that dealt with the plight of refugee children. She spoke up for children diagnosed with autism and their families. Speaking in a Parliamentary debate on autism, she said that long waits – over 3 and a half years – for diagnosis in children not only places “tremendous strain on their whole family, but it also means that many children are not receiving the early intervention which could have a big impact in their formative years.” Earlier diagnosis means a better quality of life and, if they’re lucky, a relatively normal life for many children.
She described herself in three words: Passionate, compassionate and loyal.
Let us remember Jo. She is not a statistic. She was a real woman, doing real work, who was really dedicated. We should all aspire to be a little bit more like Jo.