THIS week marks the fourth anniversary of the death of Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered on her way to a constituency surgery. During the fatal attack the man who killed her shouted “This is for Britain”, “keep Britain independent”, and “put Britain first.”

When asked to confirm his name at his first court hearing following his arrest the man replied: “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain”.

During his trial it became clear the man found much of his inspiration for his views through the internet where right wing groups stoking fear and division provided litanies of hatred and sought to sow seeds of division.

The work of such groups has been evident in recent days across our country and on social media. Using the pretext of “guarding” statues and war memorials, rallies have been organised to exploit the understandable concerns of many in order to promote the hatred of the few. This situation was summed up in an image of some of those in Westminster last weekend, offering Nazi salutes whilst “defending” Winston Churchill’s statue.

In her maiden speech as an MP, Jo Cox spoke about one of the central tenets that drove her: “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.” Those words still ring true.

There is no contradiction in wanting to honour the sacrifices made by so many and commemorated in memorials and statutes in the North-East and also supporting those who call for racial justice.

There is no contradiction to be found in honouring and cherishing the Durham Light Infantry memorial in Durham’s Market Place whilst also recognising – in the words of the Prime Minister – the “cold reality” that people from black and minority ethnic groups “face discrimination: in education, in employment, in the application of the criminal law”.

In many ways the images couldn’t be more different. The statue of the then 18-year-old Colour Sgt Brandon Mulvey, from Chester-le-Street, symbolises the poignant moment after the infantry buglers sounded the ceasefire in Korea in 1953, the regiment’s last battle honours. The image of George Floyd, laid on the floor with a police officer’s knee on his neck, symbolising his last breath and the open display of brutal violence.

Both images represent a call to remember and to act. To remember the sacrifices made for a country that is ours together and to work for a shared future that honours those sacrifices.

The opposition to building that future together is already mobilising, stoking the fires of intolerant hatred and replenishing the wells of poisonous fear to create the toxic narrative of blame that drove the murderer of Jo Cox and seeks to recruit more followers.

Standing against the seduction of division is not just a fitting legacy to the memory of Jo Cox.

It is a call to action on our streets and on our screens to stand against hatred in our shared endeavour for the common good.

Arun Arora is vicar of St Nicholas Church, Durham