Britain’s Shame As Media Blame MP Jo Cox Murder On Brexit Campaign

Yesterday, the world looked on in horror when U.K. Labour party Member of Parliament Jo Cox was murdered in the street whilst going about her business. Cox was a 41-year-old mother-of-two who was elected to the U.K. parliament just over a year ago. Cox was shot and stabbed to death in a West Yorkshire street just minutes after holding an event for her constituents in a local library. It has been widely reported that Cox’s killer shouted the name of far-right extremist group “Britain First” as he slaughtered Jo.

Britain First is an extremist group that has been accused of having links to terrorist organisations in Ireland, and to white supremacists in America. The organisation has recently proclaimed on its Facebook page that it is currently putting its members through military style training camps in the Welsh mountains. Unsurprisingly, Britain First wants the U.K. to leave the European Union.

Britain First
[Image via Britain First Facebook]
Before her brutal murder, Cox had been campaigning for Britain to remain part of the European Union. The BBC reports that prior to entering parliament Cox built a career working for charities including Oxfam, Save the Children and the NSPCC. Since Ms Cox’s murder she has been praised by all sides of the political spectrum for her tireless efforts to “do the right thing.” Cox believed passionately in inclusivity and equality.

Jo Cox was the first member of her family to attend university, she studied at Cambridge where she quickly discovered that Britain’s class system is alive and well.

Just last Christmas, Cox told the Yorkshire Post that attending Cambridge was a huge shock to her, one that “knocked her for about five years.”

“[Cox found] that where you were born mattered. That how you spoke mattered… who you knew mattered.

“I didn’t really speak right or know the right people. I spent the summers packing toothpaste at a factory working where my dad worked and everyone else had gone on a gap year.”

Her experiences helped Jo Cox to campaign tirelessly for equality and fairness and she realised that western foreign policy in the middle east was at least partially to blame for the european refugee crisis.

It is fair to say that the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s European Union membership has brought out the very worst in the U.K’s generally right-wing media machine but with Jo Cox’s murder the media has stooped to a new low. This time everyone seems to be getting in on the act. Less than 24-hours after Cox’s appalling murder it seems that Britain’s media will stoop to any depths to press home their own political views.

In the left-leaning Guardian, Polly Toynbee lays the blame for Cox’s murder at the feet of those who are campaigning legitimately for Britain to head for the european exit door. The Brexit campaign, she claims, have stirred up racism and created an “ugly public mood.” Toynbee ignores the fact that Britain’s ruling Conservative party used immigration as a key weapon during the last two elections.

The similarly left-leaning Spectator also lays the blame for Cox’s murder with the “Brexit” campaign. They point to Nigel Farage’s claims that immigration has caused Britain’s public services to reach breaking point. Their short-sightedness makes it appear that the Brexit campaign has stirred up racial hatred to achieve its political aims. The truth is of course far more uncomfortable.

The reality is that Britain has been sliding inexorably to the right since Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister in 1979. Currently immigrants have joined Britain’s poor in becoming scapegoats for all of Britain’s woes when it is undoubtedly the politics of austerity that have put the U.K.’s public services under pressure.

It is against a backdrop of division and xenophobia that the extreme right has flourished in Britain and in the U.S. in recent years. Donald Trump has been using exactly the same rhetoric in his presidential campaign. It is the politics of fear that must bear the ultimate responsibility for Jo Cox’s murder. The rise of xenophobia in Britain is not a product of the Brexit campaign, though they have clearly tapped into racial tension to push their political aims.

Britain’s political classes have been stoking the fires of division for close to 40-years and as a result Jo Cox and her family have paid the ultimate price. By blaming her murder on the tactics of the Brexit campaign the U.K. media have used Cox’s death for political advantage and besmirched all that she stood for. Cox stood for inclusivity, elements in the U.K. media are using her death to create further division. Cox would be horrified.

[Photo by Matt Dunham/AP]

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