Blind hate

The late Jo Cox: Maybe this isn't the best picture of her, but it seemed the most candid [Image: Brendan Cox].

The late Jo Cox: Maybe this isn’t the best picture of her, but it seemed the most candid [Image: Brendan Cox].

I didn’t know Jo Cox, although she has been mentioned on This Blog at least once. I cannot comment on her life or character. The tributes offered by others suggest she was an admirable person.

I do know that she did not deserve the fate that was visited upon her yesterday (June 16). From the reports available to us, we can see that she lost her life, not because of anything she did, nor because of anything she represented, but at the hands of a man with a history of mental illness in a display of blind hate.

Yes, blind hate – because the man we are told is responsible does not appear to have committed his crime for any tangible reason other than a belief that Mrs Cox would not “put Britain first” in the upcoming European Union referendum.

My personal impression is that he didn’t have the faintest idea why he was attacking her; he just believed she was wrong and wanted her to stop. Blind hate.

As she was a campaigner to remain in the EU, it seems likely he had become emotionally charged by the arguments of the ‘Leave’ camp – many of which simply don’t make sense when subjected to the light of scrutiny. That doesn’t seem to have mattered, so we may suggest he was blind to the facts.

Isn’t that what the referendum campaign has been all about, though? Blinding people to the facts and simply playing on their emotions – to manipulate them into voting one way or the other?

Time and time again, I have witnessed interviewers allowing one spokeperson or another slip the same arguments into their TV or radio appearances – without challenging even the smallest assertion that has been proved to be false.

Even those that have been disproved have risen from the dead. Yesterday I heard the claim that we pay £350 million a week into the EU has become a zombie – despite having been killed by the facts, ‘Leave’ campaigners keep repeating it in the hope that people will be convinced by it anyway.

The result: We are blinded to the facts and instructed to hate those who disagree with our side (whichever side that is). Blind hate.

If the mass media had done their job and fact-checked every assertion – and challenged every false one – then the perpetrators would not have been able to get away with it.

Instead, that job was left to the social media, which have a far more limited audience.

The claim that the attacker shouted, “Britain first,” or used the phrase in combination with other words, sent a shock running through the far-right of the UK’s political spectrum, and spokespeople rushed to deny any connection with him and to make counter-claims against their opponents.

It was a sickening display. One early comment actually suggested the incident was a “false flag” attack, carried out by ‘Remain’ supporters in order to smear the ‘Leave’ campaign.

It’s an abominable suggestion – trying to blame Mrs Cox’s own colleagues for her death and asserting that the attack was a perverse act of political terrorism by one side against itself.

I think these people were so scared the attack would swing public opinion against them that they were prepared to say anything to swing suspicion away from them. They were blind to the implications of what they were doing and, again, motivated by hatred for their political opponents. Blind hate.

So it seems to me that there is a lot of blind hate going around – created by the campaign teams selling falsehoods to the masses; amplified by the mass media outlets who failed to check their facts; and concentrated in one man who directed it all into an attack on an innocent woman.

The attacker was even blind to Mrs Cox’s history as an aid worker in foreign countries and a campaigner to stop – among other things – violence against women. Then there’s the fact of his history of mental illness – would this have happened if the Conservative Government didn’t have a history of blind hate towards people like him?

How do we neutralise such blind hate?

I don’t know.

All I can do, for now, is refer to the statement made by Mrs Cox’s husband Brendan, who appealed for us all to “unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.

“Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.”

When I first heard about the attack, I suggested that the referendum should be called off; it simply isn’t worth anybody’s death.

Sadly, I don’t think anybody with the ability to pull the plug on it feels the same way. This is about money and power, and when it’s about money and power, the lives of individuals don’t seem to matter as much as they should.

So perhaps the best way to “fight against the hatred… hate [that] doesn’t have a creed, race or religion” and to drain away its poison, is to reconsider what we’ll do with our votes in the referendum.

Let’s look at the facts, and consider which side has had least to do with them, and most to do with spreading division or trying to split people apart from each other and their neighbours. And then let’s vote against that side.

It seems to me that the best way to start honouring Mrs Cox’s memory would be to vote ‘Remain’ on June 23.

A start is all it will be.

But it will show we can fight hate with hope.

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33 thoughts on “Blind hate

  1. John

    “Then there’s the fact of his history of mental illness – would this have happened if the Conservative Government didn’t have a history of blind hate towards people like him?” – I have to admit that when I first heard about this aspect, that thought did run through my mind. Very interesting question Mike!

    1. Dez

      Mental illness was my first thought as to what might have happened and this Governments pathetic efforts in bringing Mental Health back to near the top of the Health agenda.How many lost lives have happened because of the inability to deal efficiently with folk with mental problems. We will have to wait for the police investigations to see if the perpetrator had any mental health problems or if this was a terrible case of blind hatred. RIP Jo Cox

  2. Brian

    “would this have happened if the Conservative Government didn’t have a history of blind hate towards people like him?”

    Now we wait, Who will be the first to try and manipulate political mileage from this.?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It has already happened and it was a far-right group, defending Britain First.

  3. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    I echo your excellent worthy and kind comments Mike. Like you I feel that we must pursue Jo’s desire for a better world for everyone by keeping up our vigil for decency and voting to maintain our strength and friendship with our neighbours by voting to stay in the EU.

  4. jeffrey davies

    the once great house have breed so many lies that some people believe them and whot happened to this woman is a tragic and should have never happened in our society yet another life lost

  5. Josef K

    The killing is a tragic event but not surprising when the last few months has brought opinions to the fore that just a year ago people would have been ashamed to voice. The chance of any sensible debate was lost a long time ago and has been based on spiteful racism and ultra nationalism. I’ve even had one say to me that they don’t care what happens when we leave but it will be OUR MPs doing it to us and not foreigners. What can you say to that?

    I’m not surprised there has been a great speed about declaring mental illness but sadly this does a great disservice to many with a whole raft of conditions. If the report is true the man had OCD, is there any history of people with this condition becoming killers? Literally hundreds of thousands manage life with mental health conditions and lead a life where they are never a threat to anyone, we can assist the stigmatising of people with mental health issues if we give it as a possible cause when we have no idea of the situation. Are we saying that this person was missed by professionals and should have been held securely under the mental health act?

    Given the politics of hate that have been nurtured over the last few months, especially against immigrants, then I’m not surprised at the killing at all, nor am I at all surprised that the victim was someone with the history of speaking up for vulnerable people, including refugees.

  6. Jenny Hambidge

    Yes all the cuts to mental health services; we are all aware by now that the cuts and lack of funding is having a devastating effect on those who have mental health issues. My guess is that government induced poverty played its part too.

  7. casalealex

    Tuesday, 14 June 2016
    The Nationalist.

    You cannot stand alone,
    Against a sea of woe,
    If a man should fall in Paris,
    Is your blood the stronger?
    Is not your freedom less?
    Our only strength is Unity,
    Together we stand,
    Divided we fall.
    And if, many years from now,
    When you are old and grey,
    And your enemies mass at the gate,
    Who will save you if not your brother across the sea?
    All men are equal,
    Only those who do not love mankind would separate us,
    Only those who hate you would divide us,
    We are one or we are lost.
    And those who blow the trumpets of Nationalism,
    Would freely welcome Fascism,
    If it meant they could wave their little flags,
    And scream hatred at the other,
    As they proclaim themselves an island.

    – Kanjin Tor

  8. NMac

    For some years now, there has been a continual peddling of right-wing propaganda which incites animosity and hatred towards different sections of society. This Tory government has done nothing to stop it and is even responsible for some of it, particularly towards the weaker members of society. As part of the current Referendum campaign the Out camp have almost continuously peddled extremely unpleasant and inaccurate propaganda which is aimed at inciting animosity and hatred.

    The murder of Jo Cox appals and saddens me. My thoughts are with her family.

  9. Linda

    Really thoughtful blog Mike….. agree with much of what you say…

    How can the Media know what caused this man to shoot Joe, causing her death, or even if it was his intention to murder her so early on…. I find the speculation alarming…

    I find the Media too quick to jump in and become judge Jury and executioner, without having time to gain real understanding of what happened.

    He murdered Joe, yes, and that is a tragedy, and yes a crime….

    But I get the impression this is being used as a political tool…. which for me is immoral….

    And I agree with the comment john made above re ‘would this be happening if the Con Gov etc……

    All their policies and propaganda are as you say designed to divide us, create confusion and fear…. Out of that grows division and rage, anger and hate…..

    So while the person with the mental illness pulled the trigger, Think we also need to ask, what conditions caused the loading of the gun,

  10. Linda

    I also believe that the time or even the need for this referendum was ill judged, and politically motivated.

    My concern out of all this is what they, those in power are doing in the background, what legislation is being written, changed whilst we are all diverted……

    And what new draconian measures will be put on the table in response to the shooting of Joe……

    I really hope that Mental Illness will not become more stigmatised and demonised as an outcome of all this rage….

  11. Roy Beiley

    It was blind hatred of Jews fuelled by state sponsored propaganda which enabled the Nazis to persuade a whole population to support its actions. It would seem to me that the Referendum has been hijacked by both sides and will result in a fractured society no matter what the outcome is.

  12. David

    I have read the headlines in the Sun, Express and Mail today. I have never seen so much hypocrisy in all of my 81 years. Those papers have helped to poison the referendum campaign as well as the political scene for the rest of the year. Hate is a powerful emotion and, who knows what effect the tabloid headlines had on the man who murdered Jo Cox?

    The tabloids talked about Jo Cox wanting a better world – but it was not a world which shared their values.

    The general referendum debate has been totally stripped of reason by politicians backed up by our awful press. Surely the worst in the democratic world? Jo Cox has paid their price.

  13. Joan Edington

    I said in a comment here yesterday that I hoped the Remain side wouldn’t use this sad death to score political points. Your last paragraphs do just that. I would have thought better of you Mike.

  14. Joan Edington

    I saw this post on Facebook today and it is probably very true.

    “Why is Tommy Mair not being classed as a terrorist?

    Taking the life of an MP, a servant of the people and government?

    Imagine his name was Tariq Mohammed?

    Media and political rhetoric would have been very very different…”

      1. Anon

        Does that mean people with MH issues will start to be labelled as “terrorists”???

        We know what joe public can be like, they love a bone to sink their teeth into!
        I wonder what the governments solution will be to disabled terrorists.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I reckon the mention of the suspect’s history of mental health problems was intended to muddy the situation. Do we have any evidence that he was receiving treatment at the time of the attack?

  15. Nick

    There is no doubt that Jo was a good balanced forward thinking mp who cared for others a caring mp like most are

    however there are many mp’s that are not like IDS etc and it’s about time that both the labour leader and conservative leader got rid of those mp’s within their parties that are out to cause conflict and to bring either of their political parties into disrepute

    No member of the public could do it in their workplace and neither should a mp be allowed to either

    getting to become a mp on a falsehood of joining a political party with an ideology of a different political party should be outlawed and once uncovered that person should be sacked

    hopefully after this EU referendum both the conservative and labour leaders will remove all of their mp’s that are not in keeping with the main profiles of their party’s and to remove all of those mp’s that continue the mantra of hate for others like the sick and disabled and consistently vote this group of people down at every turn

    these mp’s need to resign their political parties and join UKIP for the sake of transparency

    the public at all times needs to know on what their mp is capable of in a transparent and honest way so that they can be voted in as a mp with complete confidence and not as now just wishful thinking and on the hoof voting for someone who is not all they seam to be and in reality false

    politics of this nature always leads to the deaths of the vulnerable in society and throughout history that has always been the case

    hopefully on the 23rd of June this country votes to stay within the EU and to always reject the ideology of the hate of others wherever it rears it’s ugly head and to condemn all mp’s who are out to destroy the life of others be they the sick or disabled or whatever’ hate is hate and it’s needs to be outlawed

  16. Zippi

    This referendum “debate” is the most irresponsible incitement that I have witnessed in recent years. Almost every television debate that involves members of the public has descended into frenzied verbal attacks, slanging matches, on the part of the politicians and out and out shout fests. If those in charge of the mood of the debate are behaving in such manners, those who govern us are behaving with the same deplorable demeanor as football hooligans, what hope is there, for impressionable, confused and vulnerable people like Tommy Mair?
    Both sides in this referendum debacle are guilty of misleading the public and whipping up emotions whilst providing little, or no context. People are following one camp, or the other, blindly, with no discernment. The public is being starved of facts, of honesty, integrity, reason; instead, we have lies, spin, hyperbole, hysteria and it is a shame; a shame that it has come to this; a shame that a young woman has lost her life; a shame that two young children have lost their mother.
    What is worse is that the referendum has not yet taken place; many of us have still to make up our minds; nothing has changed. Jo was simply trying to convince people to vote a particular way.
    Both campaigns must stop talking about the future like they have the gift of foresight and start talking honestly, instead of treating the electorate with contempt. A clear distinction needs to be made between fact and conjecture, belief, supposition, hypothesis, speculation and claims should be supported by evidence. Not all people have the tools to separate fantasy from reality so it is up to our politicians to be honest, in this regard, to be responsible in their campaigning, to have reasoned discourse and temper the mood of the debate.
    Whatever the result, we all have to live together so, let us have cordiality, lest there is civil war should the vote not go our way.

  17. mohandeer

    Today I encountered two neighbours voting to leave. One showed outright racism, not realising that many of the racists “hate” all “bloody foreigners” which would include his Swiss wife, as many of the losers guilty of “hate” will not differentiate between Poles and Swiss. He is not a person who can be reasoned with since his answer to anyone disagreeing with him is abuse and is too stupid to realise the consequences of his bigotry. The other told me I would not like to be living among Muslims, because he had met some. I was shocked because he is not usually inclined towards any form of bigotry. I informed him that I had lived as a member of a small minority white element among a vast Muslim part of the city, without problems and that the minority he had encountered were not representative of ALL Muslims. I met a lady on the estate whom I often chat with and she had seen the #false flag posts and decided that if these were the sort of people voting out, she was going to vote remain, all because she did not want to be associated with such nastiness. She really didn’t know which way to jump, but she was quite serious about her decision, so the haters have shot themselves in the foot as far as one voter is concerned. One chap on facebook said that “not all leave voters are racist but all racists will vote to leave”. I think he may have been on to something with that comment.

  18. mrmarcpc

    It sounds like this man had mental health issues as they keep saying on the news, if the tories didn’t have such a hatred of sufferers and closing down hospitals to treat sufferers, this might not have happened, all goes back to Thatcher’s day, she started the rot! Britain First are very right wing, both the tories and UKIP will ove them, secretly of course!

  19. kitchenmagictime

    although it has not been mentioned anywhere i wonder if he might have been DWP sanctioned, thus pushing a man with mental health problems over the edge to attack the first figure of authority (and blame) he could find. I do wonder this, and if this were the case and are we likely to ever know? It is a known fact that people with mental health problems have been adversely affected by the DWP medial assessment process, because – for whatever they may say – the medicals are in large part based upon physical appearance more than mental stability, plus of course the Assessor is rewarded financially for failing or downgrading the claimant. Also, presuming that the individual is recognised to have a condition (minor illness) and is placed into the ESA Work Support Group rather than being dismissed completely, the individual is then expected to attend all sorts of meetings and training. This in itself can be a heavy burden for people with fluctuating conditions, and failure to do so will result in a sanction being imposed. And then, when taking into account also that he had connections with far right groups (although I do not know what knowledge prior of Mz Cox’s work record he had), he would most certainly have been more likely to know about her refugee and remain work than her outstanding work on behalf of disabled people. These points (although the sanction part is purely speculative) should be taken into account. I do believe there may be more to this story than we are being told.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Was he receiving treatment for a current mental illness or did he just have a history?
      You ask interesting questions about the DWP.

  20. PhDe

    “Then there’s the fact of his history of mental illness – would this have happened if the Conservative Government didn’t have a history of blind hate towards people like him?”

    Absolutely disgusting and insulting. (I have ptsd).

    Using “history of mental illness” just for worthless political points. “blind hate” from “Conservative Government” AND my Welsh *Labour* government AND my *Labour* local government.

    And of course all of the “blind hate” from all of the ‘blind eye turning’ Political cult believers. No amount of ignored evidence will ever get through into their censored little dreamworlds.

    Shoot all of the ‘governments’ sick criminal abusers only with a CAMERA, that’s how to really hurt them.
    .
    If I had tried reporting all of the crime/abuse to saint Jo would she have bothered to reply? Hmm… none of the others have, so probably not.
    .

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      What is “absolutely disgusting and insulting”, in your opinion- the Conservative history of blind hate to the mentally-ill, or my reference to it?

      For what it’s worth, I think the “mental illness” aspect has muddied the issue. The suspect is known to have very strong far-right-wing sympathies. If he had a history of mental illness, that implies any such history is behind him.

      I don’t see the relevance of your line about the Tory government, the Wlsh government or your local council, unless you’re saying they all react with blind hate to the mentally-ill. Unless your council has deliberately acted with such hate, I don’t think you can say that about anybody apart from the Tories and would like to know your reasoning.

      What is a “political cult believer”? Why do you think they live in “censored little dreamworlds?” Why do you think we should accept your use of such terms with no explanation of their meaning?

  21. John

    We are told that in court he said something like “death to traitors, put Britain first”? That’s quite a powerful statement to make, and although I don’t want to speculate too much, it would seem that he has been obviously deeply affected by the EU campaigning. At this stage, I’m not convinced that the DWP had any bearing on it at all. However, I imagine we may learn more as time goes on.

Comments are closed.