I’ve put off saying too much about this due to the frantic amount of rumour, but what is clear now is the killer (fuck saying his name, we know it so no point giving him even more publicity) was in some way politically motivated. Hilary Clinton described the murder as an ‘assassination’ and I fear once the dust has settled she may well be right. Whatever the cause, this changes everything, or at least, it should do because look at what happened on Thursday; we stared with Nigel Farage standing in front of a poster which was akin to Nazi propaganda, to the murder of a British MP on the street.
Well today any doubt was blown away. The killer (and as said, I refuse to use his name but it’s in this report and this is the only time you’ll see it from me) said this when being charged today:
Asked at Westminster magistrates court on Saturday to confirm his name, Mair said: “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” The judge then asked the defendant’s lawyers to confirm that his name was Thomas Mair, which they did.
Yet scour the internet and you find people excusing the killer. He was ‘mentally ill’ as if all mental illness is the same or in fact it is incapable to be mentally ill and a terrorist. You know, like the killer of Lee Rigby is. We don’t see people making excuses for him based upon his mental illness yet, throw a stone in the fetid stinking pools of the internet and you’ll find people doing it. For example:
Cox’s killer has been found fit to stand trial by two doctors yet as Craig Murray argues here, people are falling over themselves to say he’s a poor soul who is just ill. Well, fuck you if you’re making that argument. It not only is offensive to people suffering from mental illness as it paints the picture that everyone with a condition could be easily turned, and secondly, you’re making excuses for a racist killer who murdered Jo Cox for political reasons to make a point and scare people. If you’re telling me that isn’t terrorism then you’re arguing the IRA were just lot of people who just needed a psychiatrist and a hug,
The killer of Jo Cox is a terrorist. Just like the killers of Lee Rigby are terrorists. Just like the 7/7 bombers are, and the 911 hijackers were, but we’re at the stage where people’s Islamophobia is so entrenched they can’t see what’s in front of them. We’ve had years of the media hammering home xenophobia, bigotry and racism as normal yet only 11 years ago the Tories with Michael Howard fought an openly racist, xenophobic campaign in the 2005 general election and were totally rejected.
Two things have changed things in the time since. Firstly is the crash of 2008 and secondly is the rise of UKIP who have adopted the tactics of the BNP while making them palatable to the media. After all, Nigel Farage is a geezer ‘innee, ‘ees a laugh. You can have a drink and a smoke with him. He’s ‘good telly’. He’s ‘good copy’. He’s a ‘character’ in the same way the old boy down your local talking loudly about ‘Pakis’ is a character.
Yet Farage is homophobic, and as we’ve seen, racist. He’s been normalised into mainstream debate so that people disenfranchised by the political system who see Cameron’s Tories as the ones keeping them down, and Corbyn’s Labour as too distant see Farage pop up and think ‘here’s a chance to give them a bloody nose”. In effect, a far right party (and lets stop mucking around and start calling UKIP a far right party) has been allowed to shape debate in the way the BNP never did. As Alan Moore put it in V For Vendetta:
He also wanted to portray the Fascists in the novel as ordinary people, some of whom may even have been likable. The Nazis, he points out, were not monsters from space and did not suddenly arrive from the pit of hell.’
People like Farage were the vanguard. He was the frontman. Look at the people behind him and his words and actions. They’re not of a reasonable, inclusive human being but someone that wants to demonise immigrants and refugees. Do we seriously think the way UKIP and the right wing press have acted especially in the run-up to the EU referendum is encouraging sensible debate?
Of course not but if you tell people scared of what’s happening and whether they’ll have a home or money to live on that ‘immigrants are taking your job’ rather than explain about the political system and offer an alternative, then you want an instant solution because the kids can’t clothe or feed themselves. Ask yourself as well why Farage isn’t offering a genuine solution to the democratic deficit the UK imposes upon people marginalised at the edges? After all, if there’s actual democratic reform of the UK people like Farage (who is as much a part of the establishment as those he decries) lose out. It is a situation as Marina Hyde argues, that the UK faces up to a choice on Thursday to become a country where the values and ethics of UKIP will dominate. After this week if you’re even remotely of the left and voting to leave, I urge you to think again because if you think progressive politics will return after a Brexit then look at the last week and think whether you’re going to get what you want after a Brexit?
Yet there’s still hope in all this. Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo, released an astonishingly human, and decent, statement after his wife’s murder. As he says:
She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.
Again, dive into the cesspool of the internet and you’ll find people that didn’t listen. They’re too far gone by this point.
An MP has been murdered in the street. Her husband is grieving while trying not to pander to the hate that killed her, and here’s people desperate to get back to calling people all the cunts in the world because they need someone to react to their hate to give them validation.
We’re at a crossroads here now. This isn’t like the Scottish Independence Referendum (regardless what Shelagh Fogarty thinks) where the worst violence from those trying to break the status quo was Jim Murphy being hit by an egg, but is instead the worst of the right wing Unionism multiplied to the nTh degree which is what we’re seeing here as English/British exceptionalism takes root and feeds prejudice and hate.
A look at any debate online especially shows horrendous polarisation. ”Lefties”, Tory scum’, ‘Yoons”, ‘Cybernats’, ‘Kippers’, and on and on yet it doesn’t increase the level of debate but drives people to become even more entrenched, and yes, I’ve thrown around the odd ‘Tory scum’ in my time, but you know what, I’m going to make the effort because if we don’t we’re going to end up with a level of debate like we’ve had over the last month becomes normal and I’m not having that. It’s repellent and it’s ended up in the murder of the sort of MP Parliament needs. Cox wasn’t from the right family. She didn’t get gifted a place at the right university because of her parents wealth and connections. She didn’t leave where she came from behind. God knows, Labour needed her type but her voice has been silenced by a terrorist killing.
Yet it need not be. If we learn anything from this it’s the fact we can withdraw and pull back. Seeing Cameron and Corbyn (as someone who isn’t a supporter of either I have to say they did a good job) together in her constituency sends a message out. The pair clearly hate each other, but they can put that aside to make a point this sort of shite stops now if we make an effort to transform the debate and I ask everyone to come together, even UKIP supporters, to try to make things better. If anything good is to come out of this awful EU Referendum, then its at least from now on we return to a level of civilisation we used to have.
There is however one exception. Britain First. In the last month they’ve said they’ll ”target” the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The killer of Jo Cox is reported to have shouted ”Britain First” as he ended her life. He was also involved in their rallies and seems to have had serious far right beliefs from what has been confirmed so far. As of now, it should be time to turn the tables on Britain First. Sure, as a democracy they can spill their sewage as much as they want but we turn on them. We call them terrorists. We hold them to account, peacefully and democratically. We make it clear to them that they are not tolerated and we don’t want them harassing our Muslim friends, while making it clear we’re better than them.
One last thing. The 77 year old who tried to stop Jo Cox from being killed was called Bernard Kenny, a former miner who was stabbed in the process of trying to save Cox. He’s the name we should remember today above the killer’s, because it is people like Kenny that show a better side to us than the person that murdered Jo Cox and those that influenced him.