Cause and effect: the shameful evasions and irresponsibility of the “left” Brexiters

June 19, 2016 at 9:37 pm (apologists and collaborators, Europe, Jim D, murder, populism, Racism, stalinism, SWP)

Above: the criminally irresponsible ‘Lexit’ campaign

No-one wants to use a horrible death to make political capital – it’s not done and it’s not decent.

But imagine this: after weeks of vicious racist propaganda in sections of the mainstream press and from the far-right of the Tory party, there is then a racist attack, even though it may be by a mentally ill  “lone wolf”: surely, the left would not hesitate to ascribe it to the racists in the press and the Tory party?

We might, privately, acknowledge that there isn’t, necessarily, a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the racist propaganda and this particular attack: but we’d be clear that words have effects and those responsible for stoking up racism deserve to be held accountable for the political atmosphere they’ve created, and, therefore, for any physical violence that follows.

A below the line commenter at Shiraz Socialist has made the following apposite observation regarding my previous post on this subject:

“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’ (sic), 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.”

I can accept that reasonable point, but it doesn’t change my question: why is much of the left so reluctant to link the murder of Jo Cox in any way to the racist campaign that has been waged by all sections of the Brexit campaign over the last couple of months? Partly, it’s an admirable sense of decency: a reluctance to politicise or seek to make political capital out of a tragic death – and that reaction is admirable.

But also (see, for instance, the craven editorial in Saturday’s Morning Star or this wretched, evasive piece in Socialist Worker) something more simple and more shameful is at work here: some idiot-leftists have been giving “left” cover to the racist Brexit campaign, and now they seek to evade their responsibility. They’d not be so reticent about ascribing blame for a racially-motivated murder under any other circumstances. I suspect that the more thoughtful and honest of them are now recoiling in horror at their role.

The truth is that, unlike the contemptible Labour xenophobe Gisela Stuart, the rather pathetic ‘Brexit’ campaign is so marginal and irrelevant to the main debate going on over the EU that their intervention will have little or no influence upon the final result. Even so, the “left” Brexiters will be branded with infamy by the serious left for their criminally irresponsible role during the referendum campaign.


  1. Jim Denham said,

    James O’Brien on LBC radio a couple of days ago:
    “Is it even vaguely possible that a man living in Britain today could be pushed to the brink of murder by political debate and the political situation? I don’t care where you come from, I don’t care who you vote for. Can you conceive of circumstances in which somebody living in Britain today could be pushed to a point where they contemplate this sort of conduct. I’m afraid to tell you that I can.

    “If I was to be reading my newspaper every single morning and be told that my very existence was under siege from people I’ve never met and never seen but keep getting told are coming here in their hoards. If I was to open my newspaper or turn on my radio or TV to hear that everybody who is coming here is a rapist and they’ve got their eyes on our women and we’ve got no chance whatsoever of protecting ourselves. And unless we do this or do that, or treat them like this or treat them like that, then we’re all doomed, we’re all going to hell in a handcart.

    “If I was being told it’s time to reclaim our country every time I got out of bed in the morning, I’d begin to believe it, I think, if I didn’t have the knowledge and the insights and the education to know that it is not true. We want our country back from whom? We want our country back from when? “

  2. Steven Johnston said,

    At least your hands are clean and you in the Remain camp are not evading anything…

  3. Steven Johnston said,

    To be fair to the newspapers, do they lead opinion or does it lead them? I think they just reflect what is out there and if you read Bad News, written by a bunch of left-wing academics about media bias they reached the conclusion that the media does not shape our opinions. Unless of course you think the workers are too stupid to make up their own minds.

  4. Andrew Coates said,

    The worst is contemptible official lexit statement which blames Fortress Europe for the murder,

    “Statement on the killing of Jo Cox from #Lexit the Left Leave Campaign:

    We are horrified at the death of Jo Cox and send our deepest condolences to her husband and children, to her family, friends and colleagues.

    We believe that the murder of an elected representative marks a deterioration of our society and our politics. Any links with possible far right groups must be fully investigated.

    The atmosphere of racism and Islamophobia, and the scapegoating of migrants and refugees, which have been so much part of political discourse in recent years, is in danger of poisoning all political debate.

    We are in favour of leaving the EU because ‘Fortress Europe’ and the EU’s sytematic promotion of austerity policies has led to the growth of such reactionary ideas.

    Whatever the outcome of this referendum, all on the left must unite against such racism and support policies which undercut appeals to scapegoating minorities.

    Lexit the Left Leave Campaign
    Steering Committee
    Friday 17 June 2016

    • Steven Johnston said,

      A plauge on both their houses!

    • Steven Johnston said,

      They might have a point Andrew:

      Amnesty are not happy about the way the EU are treating it’s refugee’s.
      Please don’t tell me “but we never asked for this”, if you support the remain campaign, yes you do. You have to take the rough with the smooth and voting Labour will not change this.

  5. seditionsquare said,

    Lexiteers had nothing to do with Cox’s death, and for the most part have nothing to do with the Leave campaign, which is run by halfwits like Boris and Gove. That’s assuming that Mair was influenced by the EU debate at all, rather than a lifetime of being a right-wing crazy and gun enthusiast.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      Agreed, they come across as left-wing versions of Mary Whitehouse!
      As laughable as claiming that listening to Black Sabbath backwards will turn you into a homicidal maniac.

  6. seditionsquare said,

    Also notice how Jim has absolutely no understanding of ‘criminal responsibility’.

    • Jim Denham said,

      If racist propaganda has no effect on peoples’ actions, why do we bother protesting about it?

      And, Mr (or Ms) “Sedition”: criminal irresponsibility is a political, not a legal, concept. The craven “Lexit” people are, indeed, criminals from a socialist perspective, and must never be forgiven or allowed to forget their shameful role, akin to Third period Stalinism (but thankfully, without the practical influence).

      • Steven Johnston said,

        I don’t protest against it, I protest against that which creates it; capitalism.
        If you have scientific proof that it affects peoples action then please provide the links!
        Both the Lexit and the remain people are indeed, criminals from the socialist perspective but the remain lot refuse to face up to their shameful role. As for lacking practical influence what do you intend to do about the migrant crisis and fortress Europe Jim…nothing?

      • seditionsquare said,

        Mr (or Ms) “Denham”: as criminality means breaking the law, it is nonsense to claim that it is anything other than a ‘legal concept’.

        I am, however, genuinely puzzled by your hostility to Stalinism – given that your ‘socialist perspective’ involves criminalising people for holding a (harmless) opinion if it happens to be shared by other people for entirely separate reasons and purposes.

        Of course, holding people accountable for things they weren’t responsible for through by linking them to more appropriate parties is the very signature of Stalinist repression, as Solzhenitsyn showed long ago in his ‘Gulag Archipelago’.

      • Jim Denham said,

        No need to put apostrophies round my name “Sedition”: it’s my real name … unlike the one you hide behind.

        Those of us brought up in a socialist and TU culture understand that the word “criminal” can be applied to shameful, irresponsible and anti-working class politics… like the idea that supporting the racist ultra-right will somehow aid the left: the hallmark of Third Period Stalinism, now being repeated (as farce) by the ‘Lexit’ shower.

      • seditionsquare said,

        Mr (or Ms) “Denham”: as you took the same stance (read: ‘supported’) as fascists in the Scottish Independence referendum, please consider yourself a criminal – in whatever perverted version of the term you subscribe to.

        I’ll be seeing you in the gulag.

      • Jim Denham said,

        What a stupid “argument”: the case for opposing the creation of a new and unnecessary border between England and Scotland is exactly the same as the argument against re-erecting borders within Europe: workers’ unity. A concept that may be unfamiliar to you “sedition”.

      • seditionsquare said,

        Mr (or Ms) “Denham”: so you supported fascists, thinking, “after Hitler – our turn”? That makes you both “politically illiterate” and “criminally irresponsible”, according to…er, Mr (or Ms) Denham.

  7. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Looks like the Russkie fitba team will be diverted tae the Gulag. As tourists of course!!!!!

  8. Steven Johnston said,

    Jim, sedition must be reading the wrong newspapers!
    it’s just a shame you are so strongly in favour of borders in the middle-east.
    Where is your workers unity there?
    Plus, with your love of Trotsky you have surely blotted your copy book there, how many women and children did he have shot in the name of workers unity?

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Steven, the way the remain lot are going on you would think the EU were responsible for workers rights in the UK. It seems the struggles since the Industrial Revolution started never happened. We should be forever gratefull to the EU!!

      • Steven Johnston said,

        I take it, that this is not the reason that Cameron, Osbourne and British business men and woman want to remain in the EU?
        Or are we not allowed to mention that the Remain campaign is a broad bunch?

  9. Ella said,

    I find it interesting that this blog has endless praise for Israel, a country where 52% of Jews agreed African refugees are a “cancer” and 48% said all Arabs should be removed from the country. Jews now can be jailed for 3 years for marrying non-Jews and there are huge anti-“infiltrator” (refugee) walls. The biggest advocates of Israel are almost always wildly and furiously against Europeans showing just one sixteenth of the nativism displayed in Israel on a daily basis.

    If it’s good for Israel, why can’t it be good for Europeans? And Donald Trump is a veritable American Netanyahu!

    • Steven Johnston said,

      Oh I’ve heard worse than that, they have even voiced support for the child-killer Trotsky, Ho Chi Minh and supported the creation of South Africa.
      For internationalists they don’t half love nationalism.
      For socialists they don’t half love reform capitalism.
      on this site, you’ll find that terrorism against the British forces is wrong, if carried out by Irish, but right it carried out by Israelis.
      National liberation movements are always right, as that is fighting against imperalism, even if those liberated countries later carry out acts of imperalism.

      • Glasgow Working Class said,

        Steven, are you suggesting continuous imperialism as opposed to continuous class struggle.!😂

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Ella, you are a bit off topic. Israel should join NATO and should be welcomed being the only democracy in that region…. It would be interesting to see what NATO members would resist Isreali entry. But I would put a bet on them.

  10. Steven Johnston said,

    No Glasgow, imperialism could not continue, it cost too much.
    Just that national liberation movements are a bit like putting money in a slot machine, you never know what is going to come up…

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Aye right Steven and the slot machine is a winner.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        Yep, when did the left start believing that nationalism was a friend of the working class?

  11. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    If you are going are to call someone contemptible (which she and the handful of Labour Leave MPs – none of whom have incidentally ever been identified as ‘left’ even by Labourt standards – certainly are) at least try and get their name right?

    it’s Gisela Stuart not Giselle Stewart.

  12. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    And not that anyone is either still reading this (or cares) but my vote today is Remain because that has clearly emerged as a lesser evil.

    But God forgive us all that voting to hang on to nurse because there really is something worse is being presented as a radical and progressive act.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      You voted for British capitalism in the EU! Now who here is going to present that as something radical? Jim???

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