Over the last few days as I have been on LinkedIn keeping an eye peeled, looking out for people I might know who I am not currently connected to, one face and name popped up on several occasions. Sadly while the face of the 42 year old women shown above was very familiar, we never met and she died on 16th June 2016 whilst going about her work as a constituency MP. This morning I was alerted to the launch of a new political movement that is named in tribute to her, and her maiden speech. Jo Cox was the Labour MP for Labour and Spen and her maiden speech was made on 3rd June 2015 including the phrase “While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.” This is a phrase which is very familiar to people like myself who have worked extensively in what the Church refers to as the ecumenical movement, dating back to the early 1960’s. However this is a political movement intended to improve the prospects of electing MPs and Councillors who have a commitment to this value of mutual strength, irrespective of whether they are members of a party or not. I added my name at 08.30 this morning, I was the 435th person to do so, and it appears to be growing fast with a new name being added every few seconds. The movement has five fundamental beliefs:
- A fair, modern, efficient market based economy that closes the gap between rich and poor and supports strong public services
- A modern democracy that empowers citizens, rather than politicians
- A green economy that protects the environment and works to reverse climate change
- An open and tolerant society where diversity is celebrated in all its forms
- A United Kingdom that welcomes immigration, international co-operation and a close relationship with the EU
I recognise that some people I know would not be able to agree with some elements of the final item, and there are some people in our society that would reject other principles because they personally benefit from the many inequalities in our nation. However I believe that all of these principles if applied effectively could improve society for all men and women and particularly for our children. The movement is being promoted by people such as Paddy Ashdown MP, Clare Gerada GP, Caroline Criada-Perez activist and journalist, Jonathan Porritt environmentalist, Martha Lane-Fox entrepreneur, Simon Schama historian and Dan Snow broadcaster. I am proud to have added my name to those others and the other 6,000 who are currently supporters as of 1pm today.