The death of British MP Jo Cox this week was a cause for concern and disbelief that anyone could be so violent towards another human being. By all accounts she was a talented, principled young woman who achieved a lot in her first year of being elected to office. However, there are a couple of issues that trouble me.
Firstly, I’m glad that MPs across the country marked their respect for Ms Cox by attending their weekly advice surgeries across the country. This is as it should be. MPs in the UK are accessible to their local constituents so that they do not entirely forget why they are there and who put them there. MPs are there to answer and resolve grievances of the people who elected them to office, as well as to be reminded that ordinary people with ordinary problems are what connects us all.
Secondly, I’m glad and hope that MPs will not resort to having superstar-type security around them. This is not the USA but the UK and as mentioned previously MPs should be accessible to all their constituents.
Thirdly, what is absolutely reprehensible is that the media are trying to turn around what is a rare and tragic act of violence by someone of a weak, impressionable and disturbed mentality into an act of heroism that MPs go through in their jobs in the same manner as staff in A&E units or as beat police officers across the UK do. This is not the case and in no way justifies what the media (and in turn certain MPs) are trying to draw parallels with.
MPs not only court publicity they revel in it. Whether their constituency is a small cluster of villages (or even one) or large town. MPs need publicity as part of their job and in order to put their ideas and proposals into the public domain. This is how it should be.
However in recent years MPs have tried to shut themselves away from the outside world and put themselves in a place above and beyond the reaches of common decency, politeness and fairness that many people outside of Westminster abide by.
Indeed only last week George Osborn actually threatened voters with more cuts to public services and cuts to benefits if voters dared to vote to leave Europe. The voting public in the UK have been subjected to outright lies, smears, manipulation, personal insults and the kind of behaviour no doubt seen in public schools or in bars by rugby teams that are shameful and an utter disgrace to the office they hold. This was evident not only in the 2010 election but also in last years election in May, previously in the Scottish Referendum and again in the London Mayoral election and also in the last few months in the EU Referendum. If nothing else it is an insult to the intelligence of the average British voter if they honestly believe we’re that stupid to believe them. It also betrays the contempt many MPs hold the average person in. If MPs want a fight then they only need to continue as they have been doing in the last 6 or more years and remember this, the EU Referendum is also a vote of confidence in how well or otherwise we, those same people who have been treated with such contempt by these rich politicians, think Dave and the rest of the Tories have done. A vote to leave the EU will also be a vote of no confidence in Dave’s negotiating abilities.