The murder of the Batley and Spen Labour MP, Jo Cox, a forty one-year-old mother of two, and a professional campaigner from her student days, who was shot and stabbed in an altercation in Birstall, near Leeds, is a profoundly tragic event, which has halted organised political debate across the country following her death last week.
The EU referendum campaign has been suspended until further notice. And the media is now talking about the supposed toxic atmosphere surrounding politicians, who are widely distrusted or even openly reviled, because of their rhetoric concerning immigration, whether it is false promises to control it or self-serving assertions concerning its benefits and expansion.
All the main parties have agreed not to contest the subsequent by-election in her constituency, which will allow the Labour party an easy victory, if the election is eventually contested.
Jo Cox was a working class girl, born and raised in West Yorkshire, who, following her graduation from Cambridge in 1995, entered the glittering world of professional political campaigning and fund-raising.
She worked for Glenys Kinnock, the wife of Neil Kinnock, who was a Member of the European Parliament at the time, and later the wife of Gordon Brown, both former Labour leaders. She also worked for Oxfam, the NSPCC and the Save the Children Fund. Her husband, Brendan, an adviser to Gordon Brown, also worked in an executive position for Save the Children, but resigned suddenly at the end of last year when allegations were made that he acted inappropriately towards female staff, something which he strenuously denied. More recently, the family had gathered on the River Thames as part of a stunt organised to oppose anti-EU fishermen who had sailed their boats past Westminster, and both were committed supporters of the Remain campaign.
Following her death, her husband has vowed to continue the fight against “extremism” and the promotion of “tolerance”, raising money for a pro-Labour pressure group, Hope not Hate, in the process.
Jo Cox was elected to parliament in last year’s general election. Despite nominating Jeremy Corbyn, a far-left fellow traveller, something she later regretted, she actually supported the Blairite candidate, Liz Kendall, who finished last in the leadership race. Jeremy Corbyn easily won the Labour leadership, much to everyone’s surprise, but, with hindsight, his victory was merely another sign of the disillusionment and antipathy towards so-called ‘mainstream’ politics and politicians.
However, just like Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Cox supported many of the internationalist causes which he supports explaining perhaps her initial naivety and nomination of his candidature.
Jo Cox was the epitome of modern Labour politics. A working class girl made good, with fashionable left-liberal opinions, a supporter of ‘diversity’ and immigration, albeit plugged into the non-trade union Labour power structure, both within and outside the party.
A poster girl for the shiny brave new world that the New Unhappy Lords have created in our name, which she enthusiastically embraced, and which eventually killed her.
In contrast, the alleged assailant, now charged with Jo Cox’s murder, the Scottish-born Thomas Mair, was a fifty-two year old loner, who had never worked, growing up with his grandmother in a working class area of multicultural Yorkshire, albeit heavily segregated, following waves of Muslim immigration from the Third World.
He was the product of a broken home, his mother marrying a West Indian man, producing a mixed race half-brother, in the process, though Thomas Mair apparently remained on friendly terms with them both.
He also carried out voluntary work in the area, helping elderly neighbours with their gardens. He was featured in a local newspaper a few years ago talking about his mental health problems, although none of the neighbours seemed aware of his problems when questioned by the media.
Apparently, he expressed no political views in public, but was a keen reader, spending considerable amounts of time in his local library, close to the street where Jo Cox was eventually killed.
During the altercation, allegations were made, principally by a Muslim man, that he had shouted political slogans as he shot and stabbed the Labour politician.
Later, allegations were made by a far-left group that he had subscribed to a publication called the ‘South African Patriot’, though both the slogan shouting and links to the publication are disputed.
Hope not Hate claimed he was a “far-right activist” attending related meetings in the past, and an equivalent group in the United States produced invoices from a “neo-nazi” group showing he had purchased books concerning weapons in 1999.
Despite that area of West Yorkshire being a BNP hotspot in the past, electing BNP councillors, Thomas Mair’s name does not appear on the leaked BNP membership list, nor does he appear to have any links with any of the current groups which have emerged following the BNP’s collapse after the 2010 general election.
Thomas Mair is an extreme example of a dying people, an isolated individual from a dysfunctional family, struggling to comprehend events and profound changes to his society and country, sponsored by the politicians and media, who now seek to revile him.
Seemingly, he lashed out in a violent manner, towards a well-heeled representative of that process, though many questions remain as to his alleged motives, state of mind and sponsors.