“Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”

June 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm (assassination, crime, Europe, immigration, Jim D, populism, Racism, statement of the bleedin' obvious, Tory scum, UKIP)

The man accused of murdering Jo Cox gave his name in court as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”. As he (allegedly) shot and stabbed the MP to death he cried “Britain First” or “Put Britain First”.

It is now established that he had links with the far-right. It seems very likely that he is mentally ill. We do not know to what extent the anti-Europe campaign fuelled his murderous hatred, but those of us who believe that political rhetoric inevitably has practical consequences are obliged to point out that the poisonous, racist campaign for Brexit has created precisely the political context for murderous violence of this kind. Just a few hours before the murder, Farage unveiled a poster showing Syrian refugees fleeing to Slovenia as though this was a threat to the UK: a clear incitement to racial hatred:

Nigel Farage with the poster

Remain campaigners have, on the whole, been reluctant to publicly link the murder with the racism of the Brexit campaign, but some have now had the guts to start doing so. I recommend Polly Toynbee here, Alex Massie here and Jonathan Freedland here.

Alan Woods at Socialist Appeal makes some good points here, but eventually bottles it by trying to argue that the official Brexit and Remain campaigns are equally culpable – something that is demonstrably untue.


  1. Steven Johnston said,

    Absolute bullshit! I’ve read some rubbish but this sinks to new depths, as much as I hate the brexiters you cannot blame them for the death of Jo Cox nor should you try. You might as well blame the failings of the EU for creating the Brexit campaign, but no, you’ll never do that.

  2. henacynflin said,

    Really this is a step too far. It is likely that this man was mentally unwell and that this underpins his actions. In any event, it is in very bad taste to use the unfortunate and tragic death of a well loved and respected person simply to make political capital. Would you have made the same comments after Daniel McNaughton’s case when we changed the law, or after Gyulchehra Bobokulova in Moscow or any of the other times when mentally ill people have committed heinous acts ? Or would you at least have waited to be sure of the facts ?

    • Steven Johnston said,

      Glad I am not alone in thinking this. It’s vile and hypocritical given that his hero is Trotsky a murdering thieving bastard that had women and children shot.

  3. Ted Edwards said,

    We have oniy just got back from ATV radio newspaper free holiday in Scotland and I have been catching up on details of the very sad death of Jo and our hearts go out to Brendan and the children as well as Jo’s mum and dad.I agree with much if which I have read but as yet I have not read anything other than her killer was racist and mentally ill both of which he could be but with regard to his mental illness no comment as been made about the extreme lack of care mentally ill people receive. Having a sister aged 63 and who has been a long term patient initially in a large hospital specifically for mentally ill people and more recently a care home I have seen a deterioration in her care over many years. The hospital use to allow her to attend therapeutic work shoos and to walk safely around the grounds and there were specialised staff to deal with her specific needs but now she is just ensconced in what was basically someone’s home before it was turned into a care home and she is restricted to being in her room or walking out into the garden. The staff seem kind enough but do not have any real skills specifically to deal with her and are needless to say paid poorly and each week someone comes in to give my sister a calming down injection. And they call this care in the community. Only time will tell but I cannot help but wonder whether Jo’s killer is another victim of the deterioration we have seen in the mental health care in this country.
    Sadly having read about Jo’s career and her attitude if being an MP I wouldn’t mind betting it’s an issue she must have expressed concerns about at some time and if we are to honour Jo’s life amongst all the questions that need to be answered to why Jo lost her life so needlessly we also need to ask why are mentally ill people not being given the support they require and are allowed to wander the streets.

    • henacynflin said,

      Yes, Ted, this may well become the issue. We will need to await details but unfortunately our mental health services are now well below the standard that one would consider fit for purpose

      • Steven Johnston said,

        Wot, even after 40 years in the EU? How is that possible Jim?

  4. Glasgow Working Class said,

    I seem to notice that Islamists have been on a killing spree since the end of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They kill their own and anyone else that may or may not disagree with them. Farage is right and so is Trump. Keep them out of Britain and the USA. Another eight arrested in Belgium yesterday. A muslim guy murdered in Glasgow for wishing his local people a happy Easter. I wonder when the brains of people will kick into gear.

  5. Rilke said,

    Mental illness is rarely only neutral and/or simply a matter of neurological disturbance or chemical imbalance and so on. Various psychic repressions, social forces and ideological frameworks for example, can often play a part. We know for example, that depression, loneliness and psychic vulnerability among young women is effected by the various commodified cults of female beauty that surround us and also by the intense and standardised versions of female sexuality that currently operate and so on. We know that this contributes to the high rates of suicide and self harm that coincides with mental illness within this social group. If we acknowledge this, and all experts do in fact accept it, then we must also accept the framing aspects of ideological forces on people with mental illness. The nature of the impact of these forces is subject to strong debate, but it is foolhardy to simply state that they have no effect whatsoever, we know that they do. We cannot say that these ideological pressures are causal, that is for sure. But the idea that they have no forming effect at all, is naive; they do.
    A banal example: I got off the train at San Pietro during the period when the Pope prior to Ratzinger was dying. A women was writhing on the floor outside the station wailing about the Virgin Mary, her stigmata and how she was related as mother, to the coming ‘holy father’. The police arrived, people tapped their heads – simply a nutcase, mentally disturbed. True, but why was she ranting about the Pope and stigmata? Why not rant about Mickey Mouse or the Grand Patriarch? She was clearly influenced by the ideological images and various cultural forms in which she lived. This is Jim’s point I think and taken in this way, it is not without merit. If however, he is saying that the Brexit campaign had a direct causal effect on the killers actions and his illness, then the proposition cannot be sustained.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Thanks, Rilke: for the record, I am saying that the killer was clearly influenced by the current anti-immigrant, racist atmosphere engendered by then nationalist right, of which the Brexit campaign is thje most obvious current example: I’ve been careful *not* to state that there was a simple causal relationship between the Brexit campaign and the murder.

      • Glasgow Working Class said,

        Well Jim the remain will milk this incident but is that all they have? A trade agreement is all we need. The EU Parliament is a waste of taxpayers money. Even the Romans could not have dreamt up this lot.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Remain have noticeably *not* ‘milked’ this. We can only imagine what the bunch of bare-faced liars, opportunist, racists and scumbags who make up all wings of the ‘Leave’ shower would have done if one of theirs had been murdered at this time.

  6. Rilke said,

    I wish to add an apology. When I wrote ‘nutcase’ I do not want to imply that this is in any way an appropriate or acceptable term. It was simply the colloquial term that some of the assembled crowd used at the time. I apologise if using it made it appear that I take mental illness lightly, I do not.

  7. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Jim, your last comment is clearly emotional without any thought to those who differ from your opinion. I like yourself are not a rascist. The EU is corrupt and not democratic. Let them offer change if they can.

  8. Steven Johnston said,

    Remain have noticeably *not* ‘milked’ this. We can only imagine what the bunch of bare-faced liars, opportunist, racists and scumbags who make up all wings of the ‘Leave’ shower would have done if one of theirs had been murdered at this time.

    But you have Jim, for all it’s worth and you show no sign of stopping.
    As for me the bare-face liars, opportunists, racists and scumbages are to be found in all wings of both the ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ shower. Which is worse? Probably the ‘Remain’ who should know better. They are supporting a system that has leads to the deaths of scores of migrants.

  9. jojo said,

    According to reports, Mair suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which has no precedent as a risk for violence and/or crime. He was a voluntary worker with disabled children and would have had to undergo an in-depth search to assess if he had a criminal record and also any physical or psychological issues. If he had engaged with the mental health services, a very involved risk assessment would have also been undertaken. It is too premature to make any judgement about his motives but the ‘mentally ill’ label seems to be getting used as some kind of explanation for his behaviour, this just reinforces the idea of the ‘mad axe man’.

    For those who are interested, a diagnosis of a serious mental health problem such as schizophrenia, does not automatically mean that the disorder has anything to do with any crime committed by those with that diagnosis. That’s why our prisons contain those who have killed and suffered from a serious mental illness and others are being treated in a forensic hospital.

  10. Rilke said,

    Fair observations jojo. Strange that people are not so keen to label the crimes of the likes of Frankie Frazer and the Krays as linked to psychosis or mental illness, but I have seen an interview with Paul Ferris in which he says that at one point he was ‘in love with violence’. That seems like one reasonable definition of insanity to me, but I doubt it would stand as a clinical category.

  11. Steven Johnston said,

    Instead of blaming capitalism for failing to help this sick individual lets all blame the Daily Mail instead. That is a damn site easier.

  12. Rilke said,

    ‘….us all…’
    Where did you get such wonderful phrases Ludovico?

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