We are being constantly told that the murder of Jo Cox has nothing to do with the increasingly fractious debate over the upcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU - or, rather, those who are advocating for Britain to leave are telling us that. Instead, we are assured that it is all about mental illness, the actions of a “lone wolf”, that we should not politicise the matter, that it is better to “look over there”.
This has been the response of, by the most fortunate of coincidences, all the Outers prepared to make a comment in both print media and online. Those wanting an Out vote not telling us to “look over there” are instead keeping the EU debate off their front pages, pushing that mental illness angle and going no further than the tragedy of a relatively young MP whose life has been so brutally cut short.
Just how selective that view is can be seen if we look for a moment at how mainland European media has reported the murder: here, there has been no hesitation in linking Jo Cox’s killing to the EU referendum debate. Take, for instance, French language newspaper Le Soir, which has told simply “Le débat sur le Brexit vire au drame”. You need that in English? That’ll be “The debate on Brexit turns to tragedy”.
How about the view from Italy? We can get a flavour of the reaction in that country from the front page of la Repubblica, which tells its readers “Brexit, sangue sul referendum uccisa donna simbolo del Labour”, which means, more or less, “Brexit - blood on the referendum as woman representing Labour killed”. Two papers, two explicit references to the EU referendum. And, as the man said, there’s more.
From Spain, that country so often cited by the Outers because of its recent economic problems, El País tells readers “El asesinato de una deputata sacude la campaña del ‘Brexit’”. Translation? “The murder of a woman MP shakes the ‘Brexit’ campaign”. No ambiguity from the people in Madrid, either.
How about somewhere a little closer to home? Well, apart from Belgium, there’s always the Netherlands, where the best selling daily morning paper is De Telegraaf. How do the folks in Amsterdam see events in Birstall? “Moord in Brexit-Strijd” is their stark headline. Many will get that without the sub-titles, but for those unsure, it reads simply “Murder in Brexit Battle”. It doesn’t seem to be a problem for those mainland Europeans to figure out.
(c) Martin Rowson 2016
And, while we’re on the subject of “Lone Wolves”, perhaps not everyone has seen Martin Rowson’s brilliant yet chillingly dark cartoon for today’s Guardian. That is included here, just to remind those casually throwing the phrase around just what it might mean in a society where all that comes into so many peoples’ lives is an incessant stream of screaming prejudice, bigotry, and shameless intolerance.
It’s interesting that while the Outers in the UK find it difficult to put Jo Cox’s killing in context, it is, for those looking on from the continent, all too straightforward.
Lee Harvey Oswald was "a loner with mental problems" too, according to one official version. Except he wasn't, as the evidence showed at the time and has become even clearer since as other evidence has been uncovered. The second official version said there was a conspiracy. Naturally, the Yanks have done next to nothing by way of a genuine investigation.
Now, I'm not claiming the murder of Jo Cox was a conscious conspiracy by any group. But there is a not so uncanny coincidence in the manner of the follow up by those on the extreme right of the media. That is, "Had nothing to do with the climate of hate we created, guv."
Then there's the lunatic far right mass murderer Anders Brevik in Norway. And the Bologna Station bombing mass murder in Italy, the worst terrorist attack in Europe.
We never thought we'd see such an act here in Britain. But now, horribly, here it is. And ranting righties perform like they always do everywhere: despicably and with cowardice.
We all hope this is an aberration and not the start of something too awful to contemplate......But if it isn't, we know who started it, how it began and what the consequences are. In Britain it's been on the cards since 1979.
In the meantime, let's not forget Jo's family. They and justice are the most important sufferers in this horror. But, given the record of the British establishment and its civil servants and media of stenographers, who can be sure we'll get it? How can we trust them?
In Britain & (Ireland) we are seeing increase in mainly women taking hits for public angst.
Any males in British politics assassinated?
Dando, Guerin, Diana, Jo....
Failed attempts (nameless).
I don't think I see the tendency you identify in French/Spanish/Italian/Dutch media in German headlines thus far, and I'm wondering why.
Good analysis. Someone a couple of thousand years ago said 'as you sow, so shall you reap', which seems to have come true in the most brutal fashion. I'd mind the 'Leave' campaign less if they came up with a reasonable intellectual argument about the case for leaving the EU, but most of their campaigning seems to have been based on 'I don't like foreigners'. Shame on you, Farage, Gove and Johnson for all your poisonous rhetoric and borderline xenophobia, and on all your allies in the press who have spread this bile further.
I guess you haven't watched Brexit movie?
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