Firstly and foremost my thoughts and prayers go out to Jo Cox’s family and colleagues.
This senseless killing is the pinnacle of an ugly referendum campaign that has brought the hate-filled dogma of British nationalism into the mainstream of public life.
For years the English right wing press and many branches of the UK political establishment have steadfastly preached xenophobia, racism, bigotry and social division.
It is recorded that Scotland has 400,000 English “migrants” and I wonder what the reaction would have been if the Yes campaign had produced a poster depicting English “refugees” heading North on the M6/A1, like the Ukip’s “Breaking Point” caption? Despite media hysteria, the worst that happened during the Scottish referendum was a Labour MP awaiting trial charged with kicking a Yes supporter.
Hopefully Jo Cox’s legacy will be that we vote Remain and the tabloid press will modify their hysterical rhetoric and hateful personal attacks.
Watson Crescent, Edinburgh
Tragedy strikes down a politician who all sides recognise as someone who sought only to help people, whether they were here in the UK or elsewhere in our troubled world.
Yet other politicians with less noble ambitions have been dominating the public consciousness of late. They cannot be blamed for the workings of a perpetrator’s troubled mind, but neither they nor the divisive process of a referendum have helped.
The atmosphere created by those who would wring power from discord has drawn out the worst in many.
West Linton, Peeblesshire
How do you come to terms with the shocking killing of a compassionate, hard-working, deeply humane young woman who spent her life fighting for social justice and human rights? Jo Cox’s life was taken from her in the most brutal way imaginable.
There are almost no words to describe such a senseless act, but it is possible to recognise the symptoms of a disease which has been spreading unchecked throughout parts of the UK since the referendum campaign began.
Just an hour before her murder, Nigel Farage unveiled an enormous poster showing Syrian refugees fleeing to Slovenia last year. The message on the poster calls for Britain to “break free from the EU and take control of our borders”.
The image is a totally objective news photograph taken by Jeff Mitchell, a staff photographer with Getty Images. The company has expressed discomfort at the use of the image to deliver a political message.
Farage’s poster shows a chilling similarity to Nazi footage of migrants “flooding Europe’s cities after the last war”, with accompanying reference to “parasites”.
Wellbank, Broughty Ferry, Dundee
We would be foolish in the extreme to think in Scotland we are somehow immune from the horrors associated with the assassination of the brilliant young Labour MP in Yorkshire. Only the day previous your newspaper carried reports of an extremely disturbing event when in the course of an election campaign a canvasser was threatened in a terrifying way as presumably his presence was not welcome by the recipient working in his garden.
At the root of all this is a new political intolerance, very marked in Scotland. This unhinged hatred of others because of their views is a relatively new phenomenon. It is visible daily on the social media and also was seen on the streets when what Jim Murphy had to deal with in Fife is considered.
It was visible again at the placard-waving demonstration of zealots outside the BBC offices in Glasgow after their political leader was asked tough questions. These people threaten our entire democratic process.
New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh