Saturday, 18 June 2016

Jo Cox

I can't add anything to the wave of sadness and misery which Jo Cox's killing has produced. Perhaps I shouldn't either, because it's to upsetting to see that rare jewel, a Member of Parliament so committed to her constituents and causes rather than her ego and slippery pole climbing. Goodness always shines through in Parliament but is rarely lauded.

It is right however to think about the causes of her killing but to take politics out of that process.The media are agog at extreme right literature and Polly Toynbee in a disgraceful article in Friday's Guardian inferred that somehow it was due to the hysteria and fear produced by Brexit. Polly always sees things in black and white and she's right to say that the argument has become bitter and almost hysterical but honesty requires that we should recognise what a government running scared has done to up the ante by overkill in fear creation and the inevitable response of Euro denunciation that produces. Terrifying predictions produce fear not rational debate.

The problem is not the rights and wrongs of one side or the other or using Jo Cox's tragedy for partisan purposes. That demeans her and devalues her  tragedy.The sensible reaction is to recognise the impact of a disturbed society on disturbed minds. Already austerity recession and the death of hope have produced the politics of extremism in Europe and even here among the complacent Brits.

The impact is worse on the mentally unbalanced.The mentally ill take on the colour of the society round them. Their precarious balances are disturbed as they absorb the vibrations of a divided embittered society.They feel threatened, isolated, ignored and can't just ride them out or discount them as we ordinary mortals do so they seek help and support. Some can get it from family, friends, neighbours. Loners can't.

They can only seek help from mental health services which are inadequate, run down, undermanned and overburdened. So they end up treated by the police, usually helped but sometimes tasered, or told to fix an appointment in a desperately overburdened service and go away. Back to the solitary confinement of their own disturbed minds, to fester, fail and fanaticise.

That's the problem. That is, as I see it, the cause of Jo Cox's tragedy and that's what we must do something about rather than using her death to belabour one side or the other. 

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