MP (Member of Parliament) Jo Cox may have expressed opinions that grated on the nerves of many of her fellow Brits, but she was open and tolerant of diverse points of view. In Cox’s very first speech to the House of Commons in the British Parliament, the youngest MP took a light and loving tone when describing her dedication to her diverse electorate. Cox described the nature of her constituency using metaphors from the biscuit and candy industries found there.
“Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it Irish Catholics across the constituency or Muslims from Indian Gujarat or Pakistan, principally from Kashmir. And whilst we celebrate our diversity, the thing that surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common that that which divides us.”
The Inquisitr, in its report on her murder, described Cox as “passionate about fighting… poverty, suffering, and discrimination and [having worked] with organizations like Save the Children and the NSPCC.”
The shock, then, that an extremist appears to have killed Cox, is great. Thomas Mair, 52, was arrested in connection with the assassination of Cox.
As Mair shot and stabbed Cox, he was reportedly heard by witnesses to shout out “Britain First.” Britain First is the name of an organization that, according to its own website, stands for protecting British culture and values against Islamic jihad. It is generally regarded as a right-wing extremist group. However, the facts have not yet been clarified, and on its website, Britain First states that it is aghast at the murder of an MP and this attack on democracy. Whether or not Mair actually shouted out “Britain First” is still in dispute.
The fact that Thomas Mair was apparently not a member of Britain First does not negate his extremist beliefs. According to The Independent, Mair has a ten-year association with a far-right extremist organization, the Springbok Club, and was a subscriber to their online publication. The South African Springbok Club promotes white supremacy, capitalism, and patriotism and opposes capitulating to political correctness.
New reports are coming out that link him to neo-Nazism. The online website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, that monitors a hate-watch, claims that Mair has been a member of the extremist American National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group, for over 10 years.
Since 1999, Mair has been purchasing materials online that would allow him to carry out his extremist views. He bought a manual giving pistol making instructions and another explaining the chemistry of explosives. The publisher of the manual is National Vanguard Books, an agency of the extremist National Alliance.
The Telegraph found a connection between Thomas Mair, killer of Jo Cox, and another extremist organization. Mair was apparently one of the first subscribers to S.A. Patriot, published by a pro-Apartheid group in South Africa.
Cox was a respected parliamentarian. The Guardian notes that grief and condolences have been quick to come in from all sides of the political map.
She is praised for her impassioned speech in April, in which Cox declared the need for Britain to be part of the move to pressure all sides to the conflict in Syria to “stop all attacks on civilian targets.” She asked for cooperation with European allies to drop food into stricken areas. Cox also championed the idea of immigration of Syrian refugees into Britain.
“Given the escalation in Aleppo [Syria] and the lack of medical care available there now, what further can the UK do to get the most vulnerable people out of harm’s way? And surely, given what we know about the horror that we know about what the refugee children in Europe have fled, isn’t it time to end the government’s shameful refusal to give 3000 unaccompanied children sanctuary here in the UK?”
The mood is ugly, and an MP is dead | Polly Toynbee https://t.co/CJgaF2K5fk— The Guardian (@guardian) June 17, 2016
Is hate and extremism to blame for the murder of MP Cox? According to the Telegraph, Mair’s brother Scott, 49, claims that Thomas is mentally ill and has been for most of his adult life. Neighbors are shocked at the revelation that Mair killed Cox, describing him as a loner, quiet, and a man who volunteers and helps others. Mair’s brother denies that Thomas has any extremist views or even any political affiliations. The evidence seems to refute that claim.
Can a mentally ill person be tipped into acting out extremist views? Apparently. Can neighbors and family think they know someone when important aspects of that person’s life remain secret? Apparently. Does mental illness excuse extremism?
Cox offered her goals for her service to her votes at the end of her first speech in the House of Commons. She promised to be true to herself and to a “spirit of non-conformity.”
“The spirit of non-conformity is as prevalent now in my part of West Yorkshire as it was in the time of my two immediate predecessors, Mike Wood and Elizabeth Peacock. They were both known for offering their own brand of independent, non-conformist service, albeit in very different ways. And I intend to maintain that established tradition in my own unique style.”
If an extremist can only conform to a rigid view of what one side of the political map believes should hold, then it is not a surprise that an extremist by the name of Thomas Mair killed Jo Cox.
[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]