Friday, 17 June 2016

One for Jo.

We in Britain will soon be voting on whether to remain in the European Union, or leave it behind and go it alone. Politicians on both sides of the argument have been saying some laughably silly things throughout, and now they’re engaged in vilifying one another for saying laughably silly things. The whole campaign has been creepily redolent of an American Presidential Election, with Boris Johnson for the Leave campaign even doing a passable (though infinitely posher) imitation of Donald Trump.

One of the favourite hobby horses on the Leave side has been the question of immigration and refugees, and I remember reading an article in the local paper a couple of weeks ago. Ashbourne wants to accept a quota of refugees, but voices have been raised strongly against the move, saying we should use our money to help our own people first.

‘Own people?’ I thought. ‘Who are our own people? People are people, surely, and decent people help other people when they’re in serious difficulty.’ I remembered what Jacob Marley said to Ebenezer Scrooge on that fateful Christmas Eve:

‘Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. ‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how people rejoice in Scrooge’s rehabilitation, but when the real situation occurs, the mind shrinks and the pocket deepens?

And today matters took a nasty turn. A Labour MP called Jo Cox was murdered in a street in a little Yorkshire town, repeatedly shot and stabbed by a crazed man crying ‘Britain first!’ She was on the Remain side, you see, and by all accounts was a very beautiful person who campaigned to stay in the EU not so much because it favoured Britain’s interests, but because she wanted to ensure that Britain would still offer a safe haven for refugees trying to escape the hell in which they have lived for heaven knows how long. It seems she was a rare example of an honest and genuine politician who fought for the poor and oppressed, and for this – for being a good person – she was taken out, to use the Trump’s butler’s phrase.

Maybe the crazed murderer was inspired by recent events in Florida, but who can tell? Who can really get to the bottom of the madness that infects the human condition?

Jo Cox, bless her.


Della said...

Very eloquently expressed, as usual. Such a tragedy.

JJ Beazley said...

I always feel dissatisfied with this kind of post, Della, and maybe even a little guilty. I haven't made my point quite clearly enough; I've been too simplistic because I was too lazy to write a full blown essay; I've allowed my emotional response to suppress critical analysis, and so on... This kind of thing splits me between the feeler and the thinker, which two aspects of being then accuse one another of inadequacy.

But I suppose they're both right in their way. This was a horrible event that should naturally bring tears to the eyes of any decent person, and incomprehension as to the nature of the human creature. And yet at the same time I feel it encumbent upon us to try to understand that nature, and even be non-judgemental. The old question raises its head again: what is the meaning of life?

It's nice to see you again. I hope you and the family are doing well.

Della said...

Actually I think your post is very balanced, touching on the right points which I think should be both emotional and rational. Of course I can imagine you could delve deeper but it's your blog, your perspective, and as in all our personal lives, world events come and go in mere moments, affecting us and then leaving again. We're exposed to so much from around the world -- it seems with a greater frequency of tragedy everyday -- and we can't do half of it justice in all our combined social media response. At a certain point it's quite a lot of noise. I do admire the way you pan in and out of your daily business, with your tongue-in-cheek asides and occasional thoughtful outcries on what's happening in the world (sorry for the plagiarism :)). It paints an overall comforting picture and I regret not revisiting more often (as really, I forget how transporting your writing is).

Thank you, the family is doing well. My daughter has finished her first year studying Social Policy & Sociology at the University of Edinburgh and my son will go to the Uni of Amsterdam for Communications & Media this autumn. My husband and I are not getting any younger, ha ha, but that's life. I really hope you're well. Take care.

JJ Beazley said...

Thank you, Della. It makes a refreshing change from some of the irrational and inarticulate abuse I get hurled at me when I make similar observations on YouTube. Still musing on 'transporting' though...

Glad your daughter is doing well in Edinburgh. That's two people I know who've traveled to study in Edinburgh recently. So let me see, what's Amsterdam famous for? Tulips! That's it.

Della said...

Ha ha. Yes, I was possibly too creative with 'transporting' ... I meant that your writing often 'transports' me out of my current mind set. Something between 'moving' (too emotional) and 'provoking' (not subtle enough). Maybe that's what Youtubers are responding to -- some folks don't like to be transported (provoked) ha. Actually Youtube is rather notorious, you're brave to leave comments there.