L’ASSASSINIO DELLA DEPUTATA INGLESE È FIGLIO DELL’ANTIPOLITICA DILAGANTE, DELLA QUALE HANNO RESPONSABILITÀ DIRETTE ANCHE I MEDIA, CHE SQUALIFICANO SISTEMATICAMENTE IL LAVORO DEI POLITICI, SENZA MAI RICONOSCERNE I MERITI, QUANDO QUESTO SAREBBE DOVUTO
Articolo pubblicato sul Financial Times il 17 giugno 2016 – V. anche il mio editoriale telegrafico del giorno dell’attentato
Jo Cox was a young, courageous and hardworking Labour Member of Parliament. Her murder on Thursday has rightly dismayed millions of people in Britain and beyond. A 41-year-old married woman and the mother of two small children, she was the victim of a senseless act of hate. She died outside her constituency office in her native Yorkshire town while trying to serve the people who had elected her to the House of Commons. Her killing was a vile assault on democracy and on the British way of life.
Ms Cox was not a nationally known figure but many today will sorely wish they had known her while she was alive. Born in the seat she represented, she was bright, funny and unstuffy. Before entering parliament, she was a charity worker who had been in some of the world’s most dangerous places, including Afghanistan and Sudan. She campaigned tirelessly over the plight of Syrian refugees, an issue neglected by much of the British political class. No country can afford to lose a politician of such promise.
We do not yet know for certain what motivated her alleged killer. He is said to have shouted “Britain first” as he stabbed and shot her, which has led some to link him with a far-right group. But any rush to speculation is unwise.
While attacks on MPs remain mercifully rare, Britain has been living through a period in which vilification of elected politicians has become increasingly common. Since the expenses scandal of 2009, many voters and much of the UK media have been all too quick to dismiss their elected representatives as venal, untrustworthy and self-serving. Ms Cox’s record stands as a powerful rebuke to this lazy generalisation: many MPs have strong ideals, a firm commitment to public service and modest private lives. The electorate should respect them far more for what they do. Nearly all MPs meet their constituents weekly without personal protection and many are now understandably reviewing security arrangements. But it is vital that the tradition of representative democracy is upheld. The behaviour of one crazed man cannot be allowed to destroy the link between MPs and their constituents.
Many will wonder whether Ms Cox’s death is the product of some failing in Britain’s political culture. Public debate in the UK has long been more restrained than in the US. But the growing dominance of social media, with the cloak of anonymity it offers, is coarsening political argument and leading to an upsurge of violent and intemperate language. Repugnant attacks on women — especially female politicians — have become so frequent that often they pass without comment. We need to look at ourselves and ask what we have become.