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.
Following the launch of a petition in November, Sir Robert Smith, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, and Peter Bellarby, councillor for Stonehaven and Lower Deeside, have welcomed confirmation that consideration will be given to the introduction of a specific coastal flood warning system for Stonehaven, but caution that the pressure needs to be kept up.
In November Sir Robert and Cllr Peter Bellarby launched a petition and wrote to SEPA and the Scottish Government calling for a specific coastal flood warning system for Stonehaven. Responses received from SEPA and the Scottish Government state that consideration will be given to a new warning system this year and if such a system is “feasible” it would be implemented in 2016 at the earliest.
Please click here to sign the petition for a coastal flood warning system for Stonehaven
Commenting, Sir Robert said:
“Following the launch of the Stonehaven coastal flood warning petition it is encouraging that SEPA and the Scottish Government will be giving consideration to a new system later this year.
“However, a new warning system will depend on ‘technical and financial’ considerations. It is also the case that families and businesses in Stonehaven will have to wait until 2016 at the earliest if there is agreement. It is therefore crucial that pressure is kept up to ensure that Stonehaven gets the specific warning it needs, as soon as possible, to help keep residents safe.”
Cllr Peter Bellarby has said:
“It is vital that a proper warning system is provided for Stonehaven and the east Aberdeenshire coast. We need to have this in place as soon as practicable so that residents can take action when needed.”