I was there only two weeks ago, visiting my parents. An old post-industrial mill town in Yorkshire; all dry stone walls, pubs and curry houses, carpet warehouses and fields. I'd lived in Batley a good eight years of my life and I return there every few months for a weekend with the family. Ten minutes walk down the road from their house is a little market square and library, the centre of the village of Birstall.
And that is where Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, was shot down emerging from one of her regular surgeries in the local library, where she addresses the needs of her constituency. As she was stabbed and shot, witnesses heard the cries of "Britain First!" from the assassin. Though the killer was quickly overpowered and arrested, one of the bright new lights of the Labour Party, a tireless campaigner for the rights of Syrian refugees, lay dead. For the killer, her efforts on behalf of the Vote: Remain campaign for the EU Referendum were enough to place upon her a sentence of death.
It is the popular, cynical view that all politicians are simply out for themselves. In truth, a lot of them run risks in their regular engagement with the public. Jo visited many war zones in her search for answers to the turmoil of the Middle East, and to find ways to alleviate the suffering of the people out there. It is bitterly ironic that having survived such harrowing ventures, she was instead to be violently murdered a scant few miles from her family home in a quiet market town, fulfilling her democratic duties, just as Gabrielle Gifford had been that dark day she and six others were gunned down.
I was at the vigil on Friday night, on the slate steps of the Welsh Assembly Senedd building. The speeches by politicians, campaigners and religious leaders were heartfelt, moving. Half way through an immense and powerful squall of rain hammered at the canopy above, drowning out with a frightening roar the PA system. For a moment our huddled little community cast around, each listener sharing looks of frustrated disbelief with their neighbour, their voice stolen away. Then, just as suddenly as the rains had descended, the storm passed. And the skies became beautiful once again.
I'm not doing enough. Everywhere fear and ignorance is on the rise. I pride myself on my journey in learning how to use a box of tricks and around me the world regresses as demagogues pound messages of hate into people who have rejected objectivity, empathy and truth. On Friday the leader of the leave movement stood in front of a giant billboard featuring a heavily photo-shopped image of a snaking line of refugees. His message was clear. In a week's time I find out if I'll have to say goodbye to some of my European friends here in Cardiff. I'm going to have to find a way to do something, anything, to help turn this tide of hatred and ignorance.
Then, maybe I can fully believe that there's still hope.