17/06/16 We have far more in common than that which divides us

Take a look at the heading again. Think about it. Say it out loud. 

Think of groups you might ordinarily believe you have little or no affinity with. 
Look at the heading again – no, bugger it, let me help you out here…

We have far more in common than that which divides us.

These are the words of Jo Cox MP, who was tragically murdered yesterday, in her maiden speech in the House of Commons last year. 

A speech  that I urge you to listen to.

Spoiler alert – a speech that contains passion, optimism, joy, more than a little humour, and a sprinkle of self deprecation. It’s a speech from an MP who is clearly, genuinely delighted to be there, an MP who believes she can make an impact. 

When I heard about her death, I took to Twitter, as many people did, sharing her maiden speech since I felt it was a celebration of who she was. 

Even now, I’ve watched that speech maybe 10 times, and I can’t help smiling at her…her…absolute Jo Coxiness. 

A lot of people seemed to understand my angle – the message I was trying to get across, but one message slapped me hard in the face…

 ‘her body’s not even cold, and you’re already using her death to political advantage. Utterly fucking shameful.’

I responded with ‘no, not at all – nothing to do with politics – more to do with a lovely vibrant light that has been needlessly lost’

I really felt the 120 character limit there – I wanted to say so much more – this person didn’t know me, and yet they presumed to know my motivation. 

I wanted more from the exchange – but that was that…unsatisfactorily the end…
We have far more in common than that which divides us.

This was an MP who worked passionately for her constituency, who worked with cross party groups in the belief that together they could affect real change. 
Today tributes are cascading from people, family, politicians of all flavours, good God – even the media, who want to celebrate the life of this, clearly inspirational, woman. 

Such is the passion in each and every accolade bestowed upon her, the question that leaps out at me is, 

‘Why haven’t we heard about Jo Cox before?’ 

I’m not for one second suggesting that she’s not worthy of all the praise coming her way today. I’m just wondering – what is it about us…about the UK media…that stops us from rejoicing in the general wonderfullness of…yes, let’s start with MP’s…but of the people around us? 

Why is it so much more easy to hate and snipe…to exaggerate tiny differences whilst ignoring our massive similarities? 

We really are bigger and better than this. 

Do me a favour – take a few seconds out of your day to think about…anyone who you know who makes you feel that little bit better…perhaps taller…more worthwhile by their very existence. 

Then tell someone about them. 

What’s wonderful about them? What is it about this person that makes you smile…that makes your life richer? 

Tell ME about them. 

I’ll happily share their story about the place. 

I can easily think of one man who regularly makes me smile with the generosity of his greeting – his cheery ‘hello mate’ as he shakes my hand…the same guy who gives Ella a kiss and a cuddle every time he sees her…

I’m smiling now as I see his big grin in my mind’s eye…a man whose name I don’t know, but who I feel richer for seeing each and every time…

I am, of course, talking about the bloke at the Shipston upon Stour tip. 

And that’s just one person – with almost no thought whatsoever – I bet you’ve got many more. 

I know I have. 

Walk a Mile


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