On Thursday afternoon I was watching TV when the news broke about an MP, who, going about her constituency duties, was shot, stabbed and lost her life, leaving a husband and 2 children aged 5 and 3 without a wife and mother. I am sure everyone will be horrified by what happened, and today we pray for Jo Cox, that she may rest in peace, for her husband Brendan and her 2 children, that they may be consoled by the outpouring of love and sympathy for them.
Most of you who know me, know I am very politically minded and come from a political family. My dad was on the Liverpool City Council from 1978-80 and 1982-87. I remember that in his time on the Council, he and my mum had threats made against them, because? Because he voted to replace the Lord Mayor with a Chairman of the Council. The electorate have the right to oppose the elected’s view but have no right to put their lives in jeopardy. People who put themselves up for election should be appreciated and should never have to suffer threatening behaviour, physical abuse or even attacks on their lives. Thursday for me was an attack on our democracy, and we must not let this kind of attitude win. The way to show our disapproval is through the Ballot Box, the method they were elected by, not by a physical attack or worse, the bullet.
So what can we do? This coming Thursday, we have the Referendum on whether or not we should stay within the European Community. It has been a very divisive campaign with much mud slinging on both sides. For the sake of democracy we have to use the ballot box to decide the future of our country. So please next Thursday, whatever your thoughts are whether better in Europe or out, go and vote and let democracy be the winner.
Our prayers today must be with Mr. Cox and his very young children that they be upheld by the love of this nation and for Jo Cox, that she may rest in peace. And may ALL who serve us in political life, keep strong and continue to represent their constituents, may democracy not be lost to violence and the bullet. And pray that this attack may not put people off from standing for office and becoming our elected leaders of the future.