Celebrate what unites us - Brendan Cox delivers Jo Cox Memorial Lecture

The rise of the far right and extremism has to be tackled by communities uniting across the country.

Saturday, 18th March 2017, 8:22 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:10 am
Brendan Cox
Brendan Cox

That was the message from Brendan Cox, husband of murdered MP, Jo Cox, as he gave the inaugural lecture in her name at the Adam Smith Festival of Ideas in Kirkcaldy.

Mr Cox outlined his nine-point plan to tackle the growing problem after travelling widely across Europe over the past 18 months to understand more about the rise of extremism.

He said extremists were in a minority but they were ‘‘racists, bigots and xenophobes who want to tear our communities apart’’ adding: ‘‘We have to call them for what they are.’’

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Mr Cox, who worked extensively in Bosnia and also as an adviser to Gordon Brown during his time in office, wants communities to unite to protect the values they believe in.

He warned that extremism should not be linked to any one group, pointing and warned there were no easy solutions.

‘‘There is a toxic mix of economic, society and physical insecurity and issues of identity we have to address. We haves to build inclusive communities.

‘We have to reach out.’’

He also wants society to value what it has in common, and announced a ‘Great Get Together; on June 17 – the anniversary of her murder outside her West Yorkshire constituency office during the Euro referendum campaign – to bring people together.

“We spend much too much time talking about what divides us and not enough about what brings us together,’’ he said.

“The best way to defeat extremism is to work locally and work closer together.”