Friday, June 17, 2016

Times and Tides

These are strange times. Times for reflection in a week when the small minded hatred   of others has cost many lives.  If I was a pessimist I  suppose I  would say ‘No change there then.’

My father is terminally ill. He is 80 years old and until recently has been very fit- I can’t really recall him ever being ill.  Born right beside Ibrox, the home of the (in) famous Glasgow Rangers, the son of a Irish migrant/immigrant/economic refugee and a local lassie.  This year, he was inducted into the cycling hall of fame. He  started on the Clydeside as a 14 year old apprentice and educated himself at night school to become Chief Draughtsman at the biggest crane builders on the Clyde. Many of his designs and creations are now in China, South America and Korea. Clyde built means well built. He has seen his children go onto university and be successful. His grandchildren/step grandchildren are bright, intelligent young men studying subjects like theoretical physics, playing in bands and being champion golfers.

People keep asking me how I feel. My answer is philosophical. He has lived a good life. In my job, I see the other end of the scale. A friend lost a child at 2 years old. Another friend died two weeks ago, of a very brutal cancer. She was 55. She had been retired for two weeks from her busy surgery when she fell ill.   That was cruel.

And yesterday we watched the news at the hospital. MP Jo Cox was stabbed in the street, shot three times with a pistol. Her attacker had pulled her to the ground by her hair and was yelling Britain First as he attacked her.  (Britain First is a far-right political party formed in 2011 by former members of the British National Party.)

She was airlifted to hospital and initial reports suggested  that she might pull through. She didn’t.

She was part of Corbyn’s new ( small n) Labour.  She was  popular, witty and a kind hearted MP with a huge social conscience. For our own selfish interests, she was a vocal opponent of l the planned library closures planned by this government. She had also been outspoken against the rise of the Neo Fascist movements that are in full voice with the Brexit debate going on.

Her children are 3 and 5 years old.

The gunman was later arrested, and reportedly has been suffering from mental health issues.

As a mark of respect, I believe that all Brexit debate and campaigning has been suspended for 24 hours.

Her kids will grow up without the support I had as a kid. I wish them well.
I’ll leave the last words with her husband.  

  ‘She would have wanted two things above all else, one that our precious children are bathed in love, and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn't have a race, creed or religion, it is poisonous.' Brendan Cox, husband of Jo Cox, murdered this day. ‘Terribly, terribly sad.’

Caro Ramsay 17 06 2016


  1. Terribly sad. Terribly sad. And well said.

    Thank you for that, Caro, and even more for capturing the essence of what truly keeps us going--an abiding faith in the good still all about us, as reflected in the joyful love and respect you show your father for a life well-lived.

  2. Interesting comment on FB from crime writer David Mark saying that given the tone of prejudice that is passing for political debate in the Brexit campaign, some of the far right should have a long hard look at themselves in the mirror this morning.

  3. Isn't there another planet that we can run away to? This one is getting intolerable.

  4. Caro, there were post-Orlando comments in the States - some from ministers of religion (sic!) that all homosexuals should be killed, that the ones that died, deserved it.

  5. All that saves humanity from total collapse is that good people like Jo continue to stand up, to lead, to repair the foundations of our society. Thank you, Jo, and I'm sorry I never knew you.

    Thank you, Caro. When I was "working for the man," I always looked forward to Fridays. Now your columns give me reason to look forward to Fridays.

  6. Maybe not another planet to run away to, Annamaria, but the world of books can be a welcome escape, whichever genre is your favoured transport device. If it all gets too much, you can always close the page.

  7. I have my passport ready to move to another galaxy. Or I'll move vicariously by reading.

    The murder of Jo Cox is just unfathomable and horrific as was the murder of 49 people, mostly young and Latino at a gay club in Orlando. Whatever else was going on, anti-LGBT bigotry and hatred was surely a large part of it.

    Everyone I know has been grieving all week about the young lives lost in Orlando.

    Now another young, promising, very good person to grieve about -- and get angry about.

    Everyone has to unite and work to stop these right-wing and other shooters, and to stop the bigotry behind them.

    And, yes, two "Baptist" ministers, one in Sacramento, one in Arizona, were seen on MSNBC, calling for more shootings of gay people.

    Interestingly, Muslim groups in Florida and elsewhere in the U.S., immediately expressed grief and solidarity with the victims and families and the gay community.

    But right-wing church officials did not. But one bishop in Florida said that if the bigotry isn't criticized, then violence will occur. True.

    I am so sad about Jo Cox and her family.

  8. "Hate doesn't have a race, creed or religion, it is poisonous." Truer words were never said. It has been a sad week on both sides of the pond. Beautiful post.