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Wednesday 23 November 2016

Jo Cox Killing - THE REALITY

Today, Thomas Mair was found guilty of murdering Labour MP Jo Cox. He failed to enter a plea, was refused permission to address the court by the trial judge, and was given a whole life term, a very rare occurrence, meaning only a Secretary of State can sanction his release. What that means will make uncomfortable reading for many of those whose pushing of borderline incitement, hatred and rabble rousing contributed to her death.
As the judge put it, “Mair's inspiration was not love of country but admiration for Nazism”. He told Mair “You affect to be a patriot. The words you uttered repeatedly when you killed her, give lip service to that concept … Those sentiments can be legitimate and can have resonance but in your mouth, allied to your actions, they are tainted and made toxic”. Mair “had maintained his silence throughout the trial and during every police interview”.

That much will not be disputed. Some of what follows certainly will. But it has to be said, and some of those being referred to need to listen - and learn.

Thomas Mair was not a “loner. He was a member of the far-right, an extremist, a radical, a zealot for his particular cause.

Thomas Mair did not have mental health issues. One of the first excuses deployed by the ranters and bigots in the right-leaning press was that Mair had some kind of mental health problem. This was bullshit. Had he been so afflicted, he would have been able to have a plea of manslaughter entered, probably on the grounds of diminished responsibility. No such plea was entered, as there was no problem. He knew what he was doing. The whole life term handed down underscores that.

Radicalisation is not just about Muslims. Right-wing indoctrination and radicalisation is out there, it is at least as poisonous as any other brand of extremism, and it needs to be tackled before someone else gets murdered. And the press needs to wake up to its role in deflecting attention elsewhere, taking ownership of its very considerable problem.

Had Mair been a follower of the Prophet, the press would have behaved very differently. There would have been no “look over there at the loner with the mental health problem”. There would have been no “it’s got nothing to do with the referendum”. Every contact he had made in the past year, and perhaps going back longer, would have been pored over and splashed all over the papers. Unlike what actually happened.

The press will now try and divert attention elsewhere. Mair’s actions will be justified with that nudge-and-wink “well, he was right to be worried about all those migrants”, “it’s not racist to be worried about someone else taking your job”, and of course it will all be someone else’s fault. That is not good enough. The right-wing press knows that its constant barrage of migrant and EU bashing contributed to this tragic event. They have a problem and it’s about time they agreed to man up and own it.

Right-wing extremism is being legitimised. It’s not just groups like the BNP, NF, Britain First and the rest of the neo-Nazi pond life. There is also, more worryingly, the rise of what is politely called the “Alt-Right”, which is in reality just far right unpleasantness masquerading under an ostensibly legitimate name. This includes the likes of Breitbart and others pretending that males, and especially young white males who can’t get laid, are being oppressed by some mythical tide of political correctness, rather than their own inadequacy. This, too, is radicalisation, and it too is potentially dangerous.

All of this combined to help poison Thomas Mair’s views, and no doubt many others. But I have news for all those hoping that there will be a more tolerant and civil approach to the EU, migration, other religions, other languages and nationalities, and opposing political views - the press and their legions of attack dogs will not take ownership of their problem. Indeed, they will protest that any toning down of their rhetoric is an attack on free speech.

So the Sun, Mail, Express and the rest will continue to insist that they be allowed leeway to shout “Fire” in the crowded theatre of life. The incitement will continue, the hate speech will go on, the hate crimes will continue to mount up, and ultimately someone else will get killed. But it will be someone else’s fault.

Thus the sad state of political discourse in Britain today. The words of Stanley Baldwin were never more apposite: the newspapers “are engines of propaganda for the constantly changing policies, desires, personal vices, personal likes and dislikes … What are their methods? Their methods are direct falsehoods, misrepresentation, half-truths, the alteration of the speaker's meaning by publishing a sentence apart from the context … What the proprietorship of these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility - the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”.

Jo Cox need not have died. Think about that, editors and proprietors, next time you bleat about your freedom of speech. I’ll just leave that one there.


Alan Clifford said...

"The loner with mental health problems."

Now where, just where, have we heard that before?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant piece.

Sadly, we won't see a court admit that the government are to blame in part.

The sad fact is they are part responsible.
They have failed to address long standing concerns on groupism and gang mentalities.

He killed a Labour politician in England.

The proof is there.

The judge is an idiot.

I don't think she will be the last.

Anonymous said...

I hear via someone in a position to know that most Precent referrals in Cornwall are on the basis of RW extremism. Don't know how I can check this. Seen suggestion that the same is true in Wales. I note that a "Safer Cornwall" web page on Prevent is illustrated with a photo of a stereotypical "Muslim with a gun".

SteveB said...

Well said.

But it won't affect things. Wait till Brexit and Trump's first time fail. Whose fault will it be? Someone foreign, you can bet your pension on it. Assuming the economy hasn't collapsed so much you don't have a pension.

Anonymous said...

An interesting but not surprising aspect here Tim is your reference of his life being picked apart and communications leading up to the event.

Can anyone cast their mind back to what No and her husband and kids were doing that week?

They were, if memory serves me right on their boat joining in the opposing of leaving EU.
Bob Geldof was featured heavily in news around the time.

Now, as she was a politician I would agree with her wanting to show her stance but does an MP's job description extend to stirring opposition by way of protests?

It comes back to the same point for me.

You are all given a base to do your 'thing' whether it be religion, politics.

Go do it there.

Adrian said...

I'm reading that he had mental health problems,including the claim that he had an appointment booked to see a mental health professional.

From his actions, as well as his collections of nazi material and weapons, he exhibited classic and recognized signs of mental illness. There is no doubt his illness was exacerbated by the nonsense he read in the papers and heard from various hate groups.

Mental quirks or tendencies are present in most people, it is a sliding scale. Politicians and the media have long used fear to manipulate and control. Far right groups - and media have it down to a fine art. A side effect of this method of persuasion will always be people with mental health issues going over the edge.

It might be somebody killing a politician, it might be somebody shooting a doctor who performs abortions,it might be somebody who believes they've been told by god to go out and kill prostitutes.

Perhaps it is fear that they might suffer such an illness at some time, but time and time again there is a tendency to try and label people as evil rather than unwell. It does nothing to recognize or solve very real problems that could and should be addressed.

It is also extremely dangerous when states decide mental health to suit themselves - to shape public opinion,silence debate, or to satisfy people's need for vengeance. The Soviet Union was always condemned for classifying political dissidents as mentally ill, but the USA will happily classify the most insane people as culpable for their actions. Executing the mentally ill is just politically popular over there,

We also see ludicrous claims made in the UK, recently we saw Peter Sutcliffe suddenly declared sane. It is unlikely that he has suddenly become sane, or that after so many decades they have finally found the correct medication. In fact to start at the beginning, Sutcliffes original plea of mental illness was rejected, so that the public could have their satisfaction in seeing him in a prison rather than a hospital. Shortly after arriving in prison he was assessed to be mentally ill and dangerous. Now he is old,mostly blind and in ill health, he is declared sane again and moved to a prison, where he faces considerable personal danger, but will cost the state less to 'warehouse'.

It is not right to base a diagnosis on anything but medical grounds. The State should not be allowed to do it, and the people must refrain from doing it themselves. Personally I have no more respect for judicial rulings on mental capacity than I have on an ATOS panel regarding physical health issues.

Facing both ways said...

Leeway to shout 'Fire' in the crowded theatre of life is almost poetic and perfectly sums up the irresponsibility and dangerous nature of the Press' actions.

Stephen said...

Anonymous - what on earth are you trying to say? That she brought it on herself? Because it bloody looks like it.

Every politician involved in the EU campaign, on both sides, was involved in extra-parliamentary campaigning. That is pretty much the point of being a politician in the middle of a campaign.

Stephen said...

Sorry, that last comment was to Anonymous #3

Anonymous said...

I'm saying that measures sometimes go beyond.

Unlike the so called 'Justice system' in this country whos blinkers are managing to fool many, some of us see more to problems than others.

Expect more of the same.
Because, well, you know !

Anonymous said...


If the stories are true in regards to him in fear of losing his home, then a simple Google search of who thought up the bedroom tax could answer that.

Or, you could just open your eyes a bit wider and see the full truth?

Happy to help!