|RIP Jo Cox, 1974 - 2016|
Only within the last hour have I read of the horrifying attack on MP for Batley and Spen of West Yorkshire, Jo Cox. The level of violence against this young wife and mother was just atrocious, utterly harrowing and beyond redemption, and in the last few minutes we've now learned she has in fact died from the inflicted injuries.
This is merely days after yet another gun massacre in America, at a gay club in one of the world's leading tourist destinations - Orlando. Prior to that, a few days before, a young singer from a U.S TV talent competition was shot dead whilst signing autographs for her fans. In recent weeks, we've seen passenger planes "disappearing" and getting shot down, nightclubs and music venues attacked by madmen - it's easy to understand why a good many people simply switch off to it all, and don't want to know. ("There's nothing I can do about it, so I'm going to enjoy my life - not rant or be miserable about things I can't change" is the type of argument often levelled at us, the implicitly criticised "ranters".)
However, sometimes there is. A misinformed and uninterested, spoon-fed populace has a moral and ethical responsibility to educate itself of the policies carried out in their name. In the same way, sometimes the misery and woe around us might seem senseless, but sometimes it isn't - sometimes it's a veritable symptom of what we, the populace, have mitigated and allowed to happen. The murder of this poor young woman in West Yorkshire today stands out in such respect, not only because it was truly heinous, but because it's the first assassination of a British politician in a very long time. (I believe there have only been about eleven in the whole of modern history.)
There is a lot going on in the world today. So many tragedies, so much violence, so many pressing issues. Such is always the case, but recently (certainly in the past few months), to many it seems the Western world is quite literally sliding to madness. Respectable, intelligent and well-meaning people we all know and associate with on a day-to-day basis are suddenly arguing in favour of dangerous and egocentric lunatics like Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage; it's hard to just sit back and watch that happen. It is giving strength to very sinister geopolitics. I can only imagine opposers of Hitler and his National Socialist party in 1930's Germany probably felt something similar, watching those around them shout and cheer in adoration of policies they recognised might take their nation to the darkest of places.
The similarities are all too disturbing, even for a rudimentary student of history. The right-wing media have whipped the UK populace into a frenzy, and what seemed unthinkable in recent years has suddenly become a populist movement gaining alarming momentum, for a host of allegedly "justified" reasons. The populists of 30's Germany... they too sought to be "unshackled" from the restrictions of Europe, they too blamed all their economic problems on foreigners, and immigrants. They too insisted Germany knew better, that they were superior, that they could stand alone, that their "powerless" leaders should be able to make decisions without being subject to the international community. And like National Socialism in 30's Germany, the movement's success has soared upon the shoulders of an outspoken "celebrity" politician's astute, almost Machiavellian opportunism (please see previous article: http://macs-mouth.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/boris-johnson-affable-face-of-ambition.html). Boris Johnson's affable face on all this has proved catalyst to a populist landslide of "nationalism" that threatens to derail our economy, and renege on a mere 71 years of peace, prosperity and cooperation between Britain and mainland Europe. The importance of that cannot be overstated, and no potential repercussion dismissed as hyperbole.
Of course, if you point that out to those of the Brexit bandwagon, they condemn it as "sensationalism" - and will possibly go on to argue some cod-Patriotic dross about how our forefathers "fought against the corruption of Europe in the Second World War". (Yes, yes we did - you shortsighted cretins. We rooted out the weeds, and then we joined with them - that was the point of it all. We formed a greater international, European community. Now you want to tear that apart. Not because there's a tyrant annexing countries or murdering minorities or anything like that, but simply because you feel "there's too many bloody foreigners over here", and have been mindlessly herded into believing EU membership is the cause of all our economic problems.)
Jo Cox was a devoted Liberal, left-wing inclusionist and activist, as is her husband Brendan Cox. They were at the forefront of their local "Remain" campaign, and accounts suggest she was savagely murdered on the street by a far-right "Britain First" supporter: only days before this referendum that could change the world and international community as we know it. That is significant, and don't let any Brexit supporter tell you otherwise. This awful murder is very much a product of nationalist stirrings within this country, and whilst nobody would or should ever suggest all Brexit supporters condone such nationalist-inspired violence, those who do, will be voting for Brexit. In the same way, nobody would suggest all Brexit supporters are racists or national supremacists, but one thing is also true - all racists and national supremacists will be voting for Brexit.
|Jo Cox's last Tweet, before her murder on June 16th, 2016.|
Her Twitter page is filled with similar pro-remain sentiment.
We should never blame an entire ethnic/cultural/political group for the actions of isolated terrorists, but neither should we acquiesce to their demands - even inadvertantly. At the very least, decent rational people should perhaps take stock and examine whether their own choices should share any common ground with such hate and malevolence. In other words, whatever the different reasons, justifications and/or motivations you may have Brexiteers, make no mistake - your decision will be pandering to people such as this "Britain First" psychopath. You follow and cheer the same voices, with the same mentality and same mindset - the only difference is they own newspapers and seats on the government. Many of you are our friends, family, our loved ones: we don't wish to offend you or imply you're terrible people - so we just tip-toe around the issue. But how or why your attitudes coincide is almost immaterial now, the point is we absolutely cannot and must not let divisive, aggressive nationalism have its way.
Though I doubt it would be of much consolation to Jo Cox's husband, children, or her family and friends she leaves behind, I cannot help but pray this horrible event might somehow shock the system and serve some greater purpose - perhaps prove the turning point and thunderous wake-up call Britain needs, finally impeding our steady spiral to division and potential disaster.
If it is, the late Labour MP Jo Cox will be nothing short of a 21st century martyr.