Labour MP Jo Cox died today after being stabbed and shot on her way to a meeting for the pro-EU Remain campaign. Bright Green co-founder Gary Dunion reacts.

I don’t have the words to express the depth of the sadness and anger I’m feeling right now. I’m on a train and I’m crying because I’ve just heard that Jo Cox died this afternoon after being shot and stabbed by a far-right white terrorist.

I’m sad and angry for Jo and for and her family. I’ve lost people but I hope never to know what it’s like to lose someone you love like this.

And it’s selfish in a way, but I’m sad and angry for myself and for our society which is being so torn apart by hatred that events like Pulse and now this are beginning to feel commonplace.

This hatred is not just human nature. It is being manufactured deliberately, by people who then deny any connection between their supposedly respectable xenophobia and its violent consequences, in order to achieve political goals.

The idea that this terrorist murder was unrelated to the steam of aggressive, racist rhetoric that has been poured across Britain for the last two decades and has become a torrent with the EU referendum, with a tributary of bile being supplied by the US election, is completely absurd.

Such is the fever pitch of paranoid white nationalism from ‘mainstream’ sources, that frankly I’m surprised something like this hasn’t happened already.

It’s time we said enough. No more polite tolerance of hate. No more pandering to racists for fear of “genuine concerns about immigration”. No more turning a blind eye to regimes that torture gay people because they also torture people the UK wants tortured. No more expecting people to “lighten up” when they’re attacked or marginalised for their gender or transgender status, their race, religion, sexuality or disability, and no more smearing these people as bigots when they seek just one space in their life where they are safe from that.

Love or hate: there can only be one winner; and right now love is getting its arse kicked.

I’m not prepared to tolerate a world in which we concede the ill-deserved mantle of “natural” or “inevitable” or “pragmatic” to hate, and relegate love to a utopian fairy story we tell to kids.

Love is real, it is our human nature, and it is not optional. Love has to stop apologising. Love has to toughen up.

As Lyndon Johnson, a man who knew something about a society at war with itself, said: “These are the stakes. We must either love each other, or we must die.”

Gary Dunion

About Gary Dunion

Gary Dunion is Parliamentary Officer for Friends of the Earth Scotland. He has prevously worked for Green and Independent MSPs, and campaign organisations including Global Justice Now and WWF Scotland. He was a founding editor of Bright Green.