eu figHt Has Been divisive
Many years have passed since Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a Paris tunnel.
But after the murder of Jo Cox and the growing mountain of flowers in her memory in Birstall in her West Yorkshire constituency, the mood in the country brings back memories of the events of 1997.
We once thought this sort of thing happened only in faraway places, but a woman was assassinated for her political views in the heart of England. Since a man has been charged with the murder of the Labour MP, who entered the Commons only in May last year, there can be no further comment on the details of this very un-British crime.
The Brexit lobby has protested that the Remain side hijacked the tragedy, since Cox wanted the UK to stay a member of the European Union. Many have already suggested that there appears to be a clear link between Brexit’s anti-immigration campaign and the actions of her alleged killer. But to discover what really triggered the killing, it’s wiser to wait for the trial.
What is required now after a very divisive campaign is a period of quiet introspection. Whichever way the result goes, the losers should accept the outcome with good grace.
But this may not be possible, especially if a handful of votes separates winner from loser. The passions that have been unleashed by the campaign will not easily die down. The rightwing of the Conservative party has smelt blood and may well want David Cameron’s head on a platter. But there is no reason for him to stand down. He was elected prime minister to serve the full term from 2015-2020, and should do just that.
Of course, he did say that he would step down before the next election. But I think he has been a good prime minister during a difficult period in British history and should consider leading the Tories into the next election and beyond. The best successor to David Cameron is… well, David Cameron.
What we certainly don’t want is an internal coup in the Tory party and a right-wing politician taking the Conservatives back- wards in time.
On the issue of immigration, which the Brexit side seized on, it is no good not acknowledging that many people feel that foreigners have changed the face of Britain. It is pointless throwing statistics at them, trying to force them to concede that free movement of labour within the EU is good for Britain.
Indeed, future governments in Britain and in other EU member states should recognise that the Treaty of Rome can and should be amended.