I was shocked and am really saddened by Jo Cox’s death. A few weeks ago I and others were angry at her public remarks about Jeremy, but now I feel regret, not for the disagreement but because the potential for her continuing to work with us has been taken away forever. However dysfunctional it is at times, the Labour Party seems more like a family than a corporation. When a family member dies we regret arguments we may have had and harsh words said and it no longer matters who was right or wrong, we remember the great things about them, and for a while at least we remember that we are a family.
I don’t know much about Jo but I know that despite her differences with Jeremy she was one of the handful of MP’s who nominated him in order to ‘widen the debate’ and without that choice we would not have this remarkable leader. I will always be grateful to her for that.
Jo clearly had a commitment to open debate and an ability to listen to opinions differing from her own while wanting to state her own robustly. If there is any lesson to be learnt from her death it must be that we need to be tolerant of views that diverge from our own, we need to make people feel safe in expressing those views knowing that while there may be robust challenge it will always be in the form of ideas and arguments rather than invective and violence.