Jo Cox's More in Common message should be the foundation our politics is built on

Posted by Martha Spurrier on 16 June 2017

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of friends, neighbours and strangers will gather in parks, streets and back gardens for the Great Get Together.

Communities will come together over football matches, barbecues and picnics in a collective rejection of divisive politics and a celebration of everything we have in common, inspired by the life and spirit of the indomitable Jo Cox MP.

Great Get Together

At Liberty, our Get Together got off to an early start today with a party in our office garden, joined by friends and colleagues from other campaigning organisations. 

Ours is one of nearly 120,000 events that will form this massive shared expression of unity, humanity and solidarity – a beacon of light after the darkness of the last few days and weeks.

More in common

What better tribute could there be to an MP who dedicated her life to reaching out, building bridges and helping others?

What better response to the man who murdered her – fuelled by hatred and a desire to divide us – than to reject his twisted ideology and stand together?

Bitter rivals united to honour Jo this week. The Sun and Mirror even published joint editorials for the first time in their history.

At Liberty, we believe firmly in Jo’s ethos: that we have more in common than that which divides us.

We’re steadfastly cross-party non-party and always have been – and our members support many different political parties and none. 

We stand up to whoever’s in power – so we’ve had our disagreements with all parties at some point over our 83 years!

But Liberty will always listen to and work with allies across the political spectrum, and they work with us.

Because human rights values cross party lines. They’re the key to consensus, change and a better, fairer UK.

They’re what help us work together – and that’s what helps us get things done.

A message to the top

Politics is at its most divisive and – as last week showed – the electorate is at its most divided, at least when it comes to voting preferences.

The referendum split the vote. The general election did the same.

Campaigning rhetoric has scraped the bottom of the barrel, and politicians have resorted to laws that divide, discriminate and spread fear and hate. Race inequality is entrenched and growing.

But this weekend shows there’s something more fundamental that unites us – something that can withstand and ultimately overcome the toxic tone set by some at the top.

That’s the “more in common” Jo Cox spoke of in her maiden speech. The shared values that make us human – compassion, respect for dignity, fairness and justice, a willingness to help when others are in danger or distress.

We’ve seen it this week as strangers and local residents rallied round to help survivors of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower.

We’ve seen it in recent months, with acts of kindness and extraordinary bravery after terror attacks.

The spirit and the message of the Great Get Together mustn’t come to an end on Sunday night. It should be the foundation our country and our politics are built on.

So our message to our new political leaders is this: don’t just pay lip service. Live Jo Cox’s values in your words and your actions as you navigate our country through the uncertain times ahead.

Look fear, hatred and cowardice in the face and respond by defending and celebrating the values that unite us, more resiliently and more loudly than ever. Respond by building bridges, not walls.

That’s where our strength lies. That would be a fitting tribute to Jo.

Martha Spurrier

Martha Spurrier