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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