After her horrific murder, I write to express my personal sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Jo Cox. It is for the police to investigate her death, and to take the action they think is needed to protect others.
However, this is not the first time an MP has been attacked by a constituent. I think everyone should reflect on how politicians are seen by the public. The politicians I know all want to make a difference, and to help their constituents in any way they can. Public service is a noble ideal, which they strive to live up to.
This is not the picture painted by many sections of the media. How often have we heard sneering reference to ‘politicians’ in general, as if every politician were the same? Such glib language invites the public to despise politicians and undervalue their work. Politics is the art of the possible, and that means making progress in small steps, to achieve the best outcome for individuals.
It is for the media to say what has happened, not to speculate endlessly about motive and character of those involved. Or even worse to speculate about what has yet to happen and may never happen. Reporting should be calm, objective and factual. Anything else is a disservice to the public, and to the very possibility of democracy.