The death of British MP Jo Cox in the most awful circumstances by a right-wing nut with a gun may well swing the upcoming referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU to the “remain” voters when it has looked like “leave” was going to win.
Tommy Mair, arrested for the killing, had subscribed to right-wing and fascist publications, most notably white South African ones. A recent picture showed him clad in a camouflage jacket. He seemed to be an oddball living alone, no friends, like so many of these nuts are. The Guardian reported Thursday he had links to Neo-Nazi groups in the US.
He allegedly shouted "Britain First" when running from the scene, the name of the extreme right-wing party that is pushing for Britain to leave.
This killing will give many British pause, I predict. The real nature of the right-wing phonies has been revealed in this killing. While the vast majority of “leave” voters hold sincere views, there is a right-wing cabal of parties who will not be happy until every foreigner leaves the "Sceptred Isle."
Ignore the fact that Britain occupied for centuries many of the countries now sending immigrants to Britain, including Ireland, India, Pakistan, and you face a harsh reality. Like in America, where Donald Trump is stirring up hate and racism, the right-wing parties in Britain are doing the same.
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The explosion of hate in Orlando and now in a quiet town in Yorkshire makes clear that the scare tactics are impacting.
Jo Cox was a hugely talented British politician who welcomed immigrants, and who spent her pre-political life working with humanitarian organizations.
In her maiden speech in the House of Commons she referred warmly to the immigrants in her constituency, including "Irish Catholics," Indians and Pakistanis.
For that reason alone she became a target. What is most shocking is that she was killed by a gun, a very rare occurrence in Britain, where only .06 of homicides are carried out by guns.
Jo Cox was leaving a drop-in meeting at a library yesterday when she was shot and stabbed multiple times by the 52-year old suspect, named locally as Tommy Mair.
Taken to Leeds General Infirmary, 41-year-old Cox was pronounced dead at 1.48pm UK time while police confirmed that another man in his 70s had also sustained injuries in the attack.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster both paid their respects to Cox whom they described as a hardworking and dedicated politician.
PM on Jo Cox: We’ve lost a great star. Jo was a great campaigning MP with huge compassion & a big heart. My thoughts are with her family.— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) June 16, 2016
Devastating news about Jo Cox MP. Thoughts and prayers with her family and colleagues at this sad time.— Arlene Foster (@DUPleader) June 16, 2016
Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan also paid tribute stating: “The fact that Ms Cox was attacked in this vicious way in the course of carrying out her duties for her constituents is deeply shocking.”
“The suspension of the Remain and Leave campaigns for today is an apt recognition that today’s horrific incident was an attack, not just on Ms Cox personally, but on the practice of democratic politics.”
The world is changing and not for the better. Immigrants, gays, anyone who is different is now a target. Like in the 19th century, the latest to arrive are viewed with suspicion and are handy fodder for demagogues. Just eight years ago Americans elected a black president. It's been a long way down.
Read more: British Chancellor of the Exchequer warns Brexit would “shock” Northern Ireland