Political and media rivals unite ahead of Jo Cox-inspired weekend of unity

Tom Lawson

A year on from the murder of MP Jo Cox, this weekend’s Great Get Together will see people and organisations who usually sit on opposing sides come together to celebrate what they have in common

Communities, politicians and media organisations are set to put aside their differences and recognise what they hold in common this weekend, in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox.

Inspired by her maiden speech to parliament in which Cox said: “We have more in common and are far more united than that which divides us,” the weekend will see more than 116,000 events take place across the UK as part of the Great Get Together.

People with opposing viewpoints are being encouraged to unite for street parties, football matches, bake-offs and other get-togethers up and down the country. Organisers hope it will be the biggest community event in the UK since the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012.


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Initiated by her friends and family, the events will mark the anniversary of Jo Cox’s death. The MP was murdered while on her way to a constituency event on 16 June 2016 by Thomas Mair, a man with extreme rightwing views.

Organisers claim the killing was designed to divide people, a message they aim to counteract. “We believe there is a groundswell of people who reject divisive politics and simply want to bring our communities together and celebrate all that unites us,” said a spokesperson from the Jo Cox Foundation.

We believe there is a groundswell of people who reject divisive politics and want to celebrate all that unites us

Rival media organisations and politicians have united in support of the campaign. On Tuesday, The Sun and Daily Mirror published the same editorial for the first time in their history. It read: “After the turmoil of the past few weeks, it’s just what Britain needs.”

And the editors of the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph published a jointly-written opinion piece acknowledging their editorial differences, but highlighting their common values of press freedom and holding power to account.

In Yorkshire, where Cox was MP for Batley and Spen, local BBC and ITV news teams will join forces to produce a collaborative broadcast on the weekend’s events.

And in politics, all four living former prime ministers: Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of Labour and Conservatives John Major and David Cameron, will record messages about what they believe unites Britain as a nation.

It was designed to divide communities and it’s failed in doing that – it’s actually brought Jo’s community much closer together

Cox’s husband Brendan told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on Monday that support for the Great Get Together demonstrates a failure on the part of her killer to drive people apart and silence her voice.

“Jo’s killing was designed to do a few things,” he said. “It was designed to divide communities and it’s failed in doing that – it’s actually brought Jo’s community much closer together. It was designed to stop her speaking, stop her message reaching people. That has failed as well. Her voice, and the messages, and the things she cared about can reach more people even after her death.”

Featured image: Flickr user Garry Knight


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