Today Thomas Mair, the man who murdered Jo Cox MP, appeared in court charged with her murder. When asked for his name he gave it as, “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain“. It is clear as anything that there is something deeply disturbing about his ‘name’. According to reports, Nazi regalia and other signs of his connection to far-right ideology have been discovered in his home.
If anything positive can come out of Jo Cox’s murder I hope that it will be a calling out of the fact that a hatred of ‘others’ and racist talk masquerading as nationalism is now alive and thriving in British society. You could almost predict the car crash that was coming the closer we got to the date of the EU Referendum. What would have at one time been considered vile was now openly said and given credence.
As a brown skinned person I have watched and listened to the rhetoric of hate against immigrants which started off as a slow tempo a few years, became louder during the 2015 election, turned up the decibels during the mayoral elections and which has now reached a crescendo over the EU Referendum debate.
These political events have allowed for hate speech to masquerade as free speech. Political events seemingly legitimize words that, in reality, only serve to provoke fear and, consequently, a backlash. All the while people who are stigmatized by this so called ‘free speech’ live nervously.
Till last year, every time UKIP made some sort of big announcement the consequence would be that I would encounter a personal slight. I once got on a bus and a man made a very loud comment about “these people…everywhere…”. When the refugee situation was making our daily news last autumn a young white man tried to trip me up on a busy road.
You may think that I am exaggerating or, even worse, telling fibs. I wish I were. I am only glad that my personal encounters were not serious ones. But something serious has happened now and a white MP who stood up against racism and who pleaded for a recognition of foreigners as being human beings is dead. The problem is not confined to skin coloured immigrants anymore.
Westminster politics has forgotten about the concept of ‘causality’. The Westminster talk positions every event and occurrence as a stand alone act. The austerity cuts, Globalization and the rise of Asian countries where labour is cheap is hardly ever talked about or given air time as being factual reasons as to why Western economies are facing huge challenges.
Instead, immigrants are blamed for everything. How does a child refugee in Greece pose a threat to us? How does a mother on the borders of Macedonia who is struggling to find a safe world for her children pose a threat to us?
The following is a quote taken from Twitter and purportedly published by the organisation ‘Britain First’. The last sentence is the most chilling and gravely seeks to undermine the great British value of the ‘Rule of Law’. Such organisations are the real enemy, not decent people like Jo Cox.