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Enough

1
I laid him in his cot and whispered over his milky breathed head how special he was and how I loved him so. And I thought how she, Jo Cox, the MP killed in cold blood in her home town at lunchtime today, must have done the same with her two babes.

How she too might have marvelled at how any living thing can be as softly fleshy as a baby’s cheek. How you feel like dissolving when little hands reach around your neck and a tiny body wiggles itself into yours. How you keep completely still so as to better feel the sensation as he buries his head into

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your neck, and closes his eyes, and sighs with blissful love. And although you worry, worry until you are sick at all the awful things that may befall them, not once do you imagine that someone will rob you of this: this peace, this love. And in so doing, rob your babies of it too.

A few weeks ago, my husband was carrying our 20 month old son through the doors of a pretty county pub out of the Sunday sunshine and to our table. It was the sort of pub I imagine would make tourists clap their hands with glee at having discovered: beamed timber ceilings,

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sloping wonky floor, low doors which cuff your head as you stoop to pass through them, a lingering smell of sweet old cider.

A man, drinking with his friends, turned to face my husband and my son and unleashed a torrent of vile-tongued abuse into his face. What evil had he committed, my husband: what act so abhorrent that a grown man felt able to shout such spittle flecked insults, as our son clung like a monkey to his neck. None, save that he had decided to spend the last six years of his life as a Member of Parliament, for a party this man disliked.

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He had decided not to use his double-first degree to line his bank balance in the City or by running a business, or by writing and talking about others, as his friends and contemporaries had. He had chosen to earn less than the head teacher of the school that he helped save. He had chosen to work weekends, and Christmas Day, and to fall asleep on the night bus home after making the kind of decisions most people would never wish to. And because of my husband’s choice, this man in the pub, and his friends, and all those watching who failed to get involved
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and admonish him, thought that it was entirely reasonable that my husband should be abused, no matter the time or the place.

Of course, this is not the first time. Nor even the tenth. Not the first I have witnessed, nor our infant son. And I am not counting the daily, relentless and ever present slurs and threats and abuse sent by tweet and Facebook comment and written over his face on posters.

And of course, he is hardly unique. Almost every MP has suffered the same fate, with a weary acceptance that this is what happens when you choose this kind

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of public office. That they are the only people, really, whom it is publicly acceptable, indeed publicly encouraged, to spew vitriol and abuse at, in the name of healthy debate.

But when the unthinkable happened today, to a woman my husband knew and was working with and enormously liked and respected, I say, enough.

Enough with the misdirected, misconceived, and tolerated hate.

Enough with the constant slurs that MPs are out for themselves, when most work tirelessly only for others, with problems large and small, and celebrate in the small

SelfishMother.com
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victories they are able to make for those people.

Enough with the heckling and abuse and name calling from people who win back pats and accolade from their friends in the pub or in the audience. Or indeed, from the other side of the House.

Enough with the media encouragement of this tirade under the false guise of public accountability. Challenge, oppose, argue: passionately and fearlessly. But say enough to this, before my son and his unborn sibling believe that this life, a life of public service, a life where you use your gifts and talent to try

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and change the world for the better, is a life not worth having.
SelfishMother.com
Sarah Langford

By

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- 16 Jun 16

I laid him in his cot and whispered over his milky breathed head how special he was and how I loved him so. And I thought how she, Jo Cox, the MP killed in cold blood in her home town at lunchtime today, must have done the same with her two babes.

How she too might have marvelled at how any living thing can be as softly fleshy as a baby’s cheek. How you feel like dissolving when little hands reach around your neck and a tiny body wiggles itself into yours. How you keep completely still so as to better feel the sensation as he buries his head into your neck, and closes his eyes, and sighs with blissful love. And although you worry, worry until you are sick at all the awful things that may befall them, not once do you imagine that someone will rob you of this: this peace, this love. And in so doing, rob your babies of it too.

A few weeks ago, my husband was carrying our 20 month old son through the doors of a pretty county pub out of the Sunday sunshine and to our table. It was the sort of pub I imagine would make tourists clap their hands with glee at having discovered: beamed timber ceilings, sloping wonky floor, low doors which cuff your head as you stoop to pass through them, a lingering smell of sweet old cider.

A man, drinking with his friends, turned to face my husband and my son and unleashed a torrent of vile-tongued abuse into his face. What evil had he committed, my husband: what act so abhorrent that a grown man felt able to shout such spittle flecked insults, as our son clung like a monkey to his neck. None, save that he had decided to spend the last six years of his life as a Member of Parliament, for a party this man disliked. He had decided not to use his double-first degree to line his bank balance in the City or by running a business, or by writing and talking about others, as his friends and contemporaries had. He had chosen to earn less than the head teacher of the school that he helped save. He had chosen to work weekends, and Christmas Day, and to fall asleep on the night bus home after making the kind of decisions most people would never wish to. And because of my husband’s choice, this man in the pub, and his friends, and all those watching who failed to get involved and admonish him, thought that it was entirely reasonable that my husband should be abused, no matter the time or the place.

Of course, this is not the first time. Nor even the tenth. Not the first I have witnessed, nor our infant son. And I am not counting the daily, relentless and ever present slurs and threats and abuse sent by tweet and Facebook comment and written over his face on posters.

And of course, he is hardly unique. Almost every MP has suffered the same fate, with a weary acceptance that this is what happens when you choose this kind of public office. That they are the only people, really, whom it is publicly acceptable, indeed publicly encouraged, to spew vitriol and abuse at, in the name of healthy debate.

But when the unthinkable happened today, to a woman my husband knew and was working with and enormously liked and respected, I say, enough.

Enough with the misdirected, misconceived, and tolerated hate.

Enough with the constant slurs that MPs are out for themselves, when most work tirelessly only for others, with problems large and small, and celebrate in the small victories they are able to make for those people.

Enough with the heckling and abuse and name calling from people who win back pats and accolade from their friends in the pub or in the audience. Or indeed, from the other side of the House.

Enough with the media encouragement of this tirade under the false guise of public accountability. Challenge, oppose, argue: passionately and fearlessly. But say enough to this, before my son and his unborn sibling believe that this life, a life of public service, a life where you use your gifts and talent to try and change the world for the better, is a life not worth having.

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Sarah Langford

I used to work as a Barrister but nowadays am judged mainly by my two small boys. We shuttle between London and Suffolk. 'In Your Defence' is published by Transworld on 28th June 2018 and available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Defence-Stories-Life-Law/dp/085752528X https://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Defence-Stories-Life-Law/dp/085752528X/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1524691844&sr=1-1

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